Get ready for Gatebreaker, like you’ve never seen it before.
This fall I am relaunching the new and improved Gatebreaker series. Not only do you get to spend more time with Lydia, John, Murphy, Erin, and Aidric, but the book will be available on all major retailers!
If you’ve already read Gatebreaker, don’t worry! The second edition is the same story you know and love with more adventure, more drama, and more romance.
As a special treat, check out this brand new scene from the book:
The applause and cheers started again as Aidric and the three others filed out the door. As soon as they left the rest of the recruits filed out behind them. Murphy, Erin, John, and I waited, letting the crowd filter out around us. If it wasn’t for the strange clothing and food the surrounding faces looked like they could be our classmates back home. They were just regular teenagers, normal humans. In a world where unicorns and magic existed, there was something about the normalcy of the people around me that disquieted me. If I wasn’t careful, in moments like this it would be easy to forget we didn’t fit in here.
As the thought drifted through my mind, my magic surged inside me. I gripped my stomach with one hand, willing the energy back down within me. My magic. It wouldn’t let me forget I wasn’t normal.
“Lydia, are you okay?”
I looked up to see Murphy watching me. I let my hand drop by my side and smiled.
“Yeah, I’m fine. My stomach’s a little upset. Just nerves.”
He gave me a tight smile and ran a hand through his hair.
“I get it. We’ll be okay.” He reached out a hand. I imagined it was to pat me on the shoulder like he so often did. Instead, he stopped himself and let his hand drop to his side.
I looked down at my shoes, unsure of what to say.
“Lydia, are you busy?”
Of all the people I expected to see at that moment, it wasn’t Aidric. Especially after the way he’d acted in the throne room. He stood on the other side of the table, glancing between Murphy and me. His companions from earlier were nowhere to be seen. Murphy cleared his throat and headed for now clear aisle and left the building.
“Oh—no, I’m not.” I watched Murphy’s back as he retreated. Part of me wanted to follow him. But what would I say?
“Would you like to take a walk with me?”
I felt torn. Murphy and I hadn’t talked about our argument last night. I didn’t want him to stay mad at me. I bit my lip and glanced at Erin and John. They were waiting at the end of the table. Erin’s eyes bounced between Aidric and I like she was watching a tennis match.
“You guys go ahead, I’ll catch up.”
Erin opened her mouth, but John cleared his throat and practically dragged her out the door.
Aidric still wore his silver circlet he’d had on every time I’d seen him in the castle. But now that it was just him and me, the sense of regalness and formality vanished. He looked more like the wide-eyed explorer I’d found in the woods.
I smiled as he offered me his hand and led me away from the open door to the building and out through a smaller side door instead. I knew I needed to make things right with Murphy. But as I followed Aidric away from the rest of the people gathered around a fire in the center of the old village, I realized I wanted to be here. With Aidric. And what did that mean?
He was the only one here that knew about my magic. The only one who could give me answers. Even as Murphy’s words from last night echoed in my head, I kept telling myself that was all this was. To find a way back home, I needed to unlock the secrets of my magic. And Aidric was the best way to do that.
We walked in silence away from the village and down toward the sea. The breeze off the water was cool, and the stars were out in full force, lighting our way. I started to ask where we were going when Aidric stopped along the outer wall of the castle. A ladder was propped up against the rough stone.
“Want to see one of my favorite hiding spots?”
I couldn’t see Aidric’s expression in the moonlight, but the laughter in his voice was clear.
Aidric climbed the ladder first. Once he’d disappeared over the top of the wall, I followed. As soon as my feet hit the top, I knew why this was one of Aidric’s favorite spots. From here you could see the sweeping, peaceful part of the harbor on one side of the wall as the waves lapped against the deserted shore. On the other side of the wall the grand ships that lay docked were just visible over the horizon.
Aidric patted the bench next to him where he already sat, his feet stretched out in front of him. I joined him. For a time we sat and listening to the echoes of noise from the docks and the waves lapping against the shore.
“I’m sorry about this morning. This was not what I had planned for you and your friends. However, my father overruled me.” Aidric sighed and stopped talking. I thought he might say more, but he fell back into silence.
“It’s fine. Might not be such a bad gig, really. Olma told us we get paid double for volunteering early.”
“Volunteering—right.” Aidric’s typical cadence was tinged with bitterness.
I wondered how the conversation between he and his father had gone, but he didn’t seem inclined to tell me about it.
“There is one good thing about this,” Aidric continued. “All the fresh army recruits get tested and trained for magic. I can let the evaluators know about you and you can start training right away. We can find out what you’re capable of now.”
Ice filled my veins.
“Aidric—no.” I jumped to my feet and whirled to face him. “No one can find out about my magic.”
Aidric leaned his head back and held up his hands. “I haven’t said anything, yet. But why not? Lydia, why this insistence on keeping your magic a secret?”
I paced along the wall and ran my hands up and down my arms.
“You said yourself those bandits were looking for me in the forest. What if I’m in danger? You said you’d keep me safe.”
“You are safe. Here at the castle no one can get to you. Now we can figure out why they were looking for you in the first place.”
“I’ve told you, my having magic doesn’t make any sense. It’s complicated. But it shouldn’t be possible. You promised you wouldn’t tell.”
Aidric stood up too. He laced his fingers behind his back and looked out over the still water.
“Lydia, things have changed. I have a duty as the prince and the commander to make sure I prepare my people for anything. You have a skill that could come in handy. A well-trained Magic Wielder is enough to turn the tide in battle.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My gut twisted at Aidric’s words. This wasn’t happening. Just when I thought I could trust him. Just when I started to think—no, I didn’t even want to think about it.
“Just last night you asked me to trust you. And now this? Is that all I am to you, a soldier in your army? A tool you can use however you see fit?”
Aidric turned to me and stepped closer. His face was still hidden in shadows, but I watched as the wind played with his dark curls.
“All you are to me? What do you want to be to me, Lydia?”
I could barely hear his voice above the roaring in my ears. With him standing this close to me, I realized my eyes only came to the top of his shoulders. Had he always been so tall? The wind picked up, whipping Aidric’s cloak around him. Starlight glinted off his crown. His crown. I stepped back and turned my head.
“I saved your life. You owe me.”
I held my breath as I waited. Seconds passed in an eternity. Then—a sigh. Aidric’s voice was further away when he spoke again.
“You’re right, Lydia. All I ask is that you think about coming forward when the magic evaluators are here in a few days.”
“I’ll think about it. But the decision to tell or not is mine. Keep my secret and we’ll be even.”
“Of course.” Another pause. “It’s late. I should get you back to your rooms.”
I tapped my fist on the side of the wall. Coldness still sat in my chest.
“I know the way back.”
Aidric remained silent as I brushed by him to get to the ladder. I couldn’t bring myself to look at his face.
“Lydia—I didn’t mean—I would never—” He took a step closer, then stopped and cleared his throat. I waited. I’d never heard Aidric at a loss for words before.
“You’re more than just a soldier to me.”
He stopped. I said nothing.
I glanced up and cursed the darkness for once again hiding his expression. He was still a few feet from me. The wind had stopped, and a mugginess hung in the air between us. Before I said or did something I would regret, I grasped the ladder with clammy hands. As soon as my feet hit the ground, I trudged away from the harbor and back toward the village. It took all my strength not to look back.
GATEBREAKER, CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Gatebreaker is available now.
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