Ayden K. Morgen
Flame: Excerpt & Giveaway
Team Apocalypse returns TODAY in Flame!
You'll hear me talking a lot about this book and how much I struggled with writing it. It is probably the most difficult book I've ever written. I wrote it, rewrote it, and then rewrote it again. I still don't know why I struggled so much with it. But I do appreciate how it turned out.
Betrayal is a nasty thing. For Ari and Dace, the betrayals keep coming, one after another after another. They're backed into a corner, fighting for their lives. Facing the realization that, despite how badly they want to win, they've been manipulated since the very beginning.
It doesn't help that Ari also finds herself struggling to contain Freki at the same time. She's broken beyond belief and trying hard to hide that fact just long enough to do what she needs to do.
Despite it all, she and Dace find common ground. Dace and Ronan unite against a common foe. Because you know what they say about backing a wild animal into a corner, right?
God pity the fool stupid enough to do it.
You can check out the book below, read an excerpt, and enter the giveaway!
FLAME: The Ragnarok Prophesies #3
Who do you trust when betrayal threatens to destroy everything you hold dear?
When Arionna Jacobs fled town in a desperate bid to save Dace Matthews, she never expected the chaos she would leave in her wake. Now her closest friend is dead, and another is missing, forcing Ari to return to face the devastating consequences of her actions and the broken boy she left behind.
Her problems are only just beginning.
Even as her bond with Dace grows stronger, Arionna finds herself weakening when Freki's cage shatters. Fighting the wolf for control is tearing her apart piece by piece. And at every turn, she finds that those she's put her faith in aren't who they seem, bringing her face to face with Sköll and Hati. As the depth of their betrayal is revealed, Freki spirals out of control, and Arionna must face her greatest fear: losing herself to the fierce wolf within.
The world balances on the edge of a blade, and one wrong move will destroy it all.
With few allies she can trust and little choice left, Arionna must decide between the lives of her friends and her own future with the alpha she loves. Will she be able to stand firm for the sake of the world, or will she falter in the face of defeat?
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Geri burst into the middle of the battle without slowing. Kalei leaped out of his way. Seff and Rafe lunged at Aki, momentarily holding his attention away from my wolf. They danced backward, out of the reach of his fangs, and out of Geri's way.
He hit Aki like a hammer from the left, flinging him off his feet. The old wolf slammed into the base of a tree, rolled across the ground, and then climbed back to a loose fighting stance with a single shake of his head.
One of the shifters swore loudly, realizing, perhaps, what the pack had grasped before Lykaois died. Aki possessed too much power and speed to be the ordinary wolf we'd long believed him to be. He was not Sköll or Hati, I knew, but he was one of theirs nonetheless. A bastard Jötunn shifter. A Giant, hiding his presence with a wizened face, none of us thought to question.
Buka reached the scene but didn't come forward. She hung back, lurking in the shadows of the trees, unnoticed by Aki. The shifters and wolves spread out around us in a tight circle, leaving Aki nowhere to go. The wolf curled his upper lip and snarled, but he didn't try to attack again. He may have taken on the wolves alone, but only a fool would try to tackle the combined might of the pack, the shifters, and Geri.
Aki stood where he was, Lykaois's blood staining his muzzle.
Surprisingly, Geri didn't immediately go for the animal's throat. He sat back on his haunches, waiting for something.
A flutter of thought drifted across the canyon between us, startling me.
Without Arionna, Geri still understood me more clearly than I'd imagined he did.
I reached deep, grasping at every ounce of energy I had.
We must question him, Kalei, I said, relieved when the thought made it to her. Before Ari strengthened the bond between Geri and me, my attempts to communicate with the pack's alpha would have been useless. Even if I screamed from my corner of Geri's mind, and Kalei would have heard nothing.
She stepped up beside Geri with a disdainful toss of her head. Aki could give no explanation that would satisfy her. He'd betrayed the trust of the pack, pretended to be one of them―killed one of them―for an enemy the pack had hated instinctively for as far back as wolf-memory stretched. He'd condemned himself to death the second he attacked one of theirs.
Kalei would allow him to be questioned first, however, because we needed answers. If Aki knew where to find Mandy Chapman, we had to know, before Sköll and Hati killed her.
After that, the pack could kill him slowly. Painfully.
I told Kalei as much.
Aki's twisted laughter sounded in my head again. You think I fear death, níðingr?
A murmur of surprise wound through shifter and wolf alike, each taken off guard that he communicated in the human way, with words and Old Norse insults to my honor. Kalei and Geri were as surprised as the rest, though neither showed their emotions. They―no, we―were alpha for a reason.
Kalei stepped aside, her mind full of disdain for Aki and human speech in general.
Where's the girl? I asked the old wolf, putting everything I had into the demand. The thought held no real power, but my question didn't waver.
Aki looked right at Geri, at me, but didn't answer.
Buka hovered in the shadows, waiting for a chance to attack.
Where is she? I asked again.
Níðingr, Aki repeated, the insult full of venom and loathing.
Geri dove forward, knocking the Jötunn shifter to the ground with a menacing snarl. He sank his teeth into Aki's side and shook his head. Flesh tore like paper beneath his sharp fangs. The metallic taste of Aki's blood running down his throat sent a savage stab of pleasure through both of us.
Aki didn't make a sound.
Where is she?
Geri took a step back, allowing the damned wolf to roll to his feet again.
Answer me, I demanded.
Answer you? You are a foolish pup, demanding answers when you do not even know the question.
Kalei darted forward, moving with a quiet grace that took Aki off guard. He barely missed the slash of her fangs across his muzzle. As quickly as she'd leaped forward, she danced back out of his reach.
Geri snarled a warning when Aki made to follow after her.
The old wolf reluctantly moved away from the pack's alpha. He didn't make the mistake of ignoring the danger she presented this time; instead, he kept one wary eye on her.
Where is Mandy, dammit?
Beyond your reach now, pup. She'll wish for death before you set eyes on her again.
Son of a bitch!
Sköll and Hati already had her.
I'd suspected as much, but Aki's confirmation made my blood boil. We were supposed to be protecting the girl, keeping her safe from Sköll and Hati, and we'd failed. How many more would we lose before we stopped the twin wolves and their mad plan to free Fenrir from his chains and usher in Ragnarök?
Where are Sköll and Hati?
We come into your family, right beneath your nose, and you do not question us. We sit in your circle, attend your council, and you do not notice. We attack your mate, kill your kin, and you do nothing. We are everywhere, and you trust blindly. Aki's gaze roved around the group. This is who your foolish god sent to save you? This is your véurr? Your champion? He laughed again. Eldhúsfífl. Useless fool.
His insults strung like the sharp edge of a blade against my flesh. I fought the urge to wrest control from Geri and wrap my hands around the bastard wolf's throat.
If the shifters or pack doubted my leadership, they didn't show their uncertainty. Their murmurs and snarls were full of defiance and the same corrosive hatred eating away at me day in and day out since Sköll and Hati attacked Arionna.
This idiot has beaten them before, I reminded Aki. Time and again, your masters have come against us and lost. Fenrir will remain in the chains Odin bound him into like a neutered pup. Sköll and Hati will fail, exactly like they always do. When the sun falls on this age, it will not be by their doing, hraumi. Foolish braggart.
Aki's eyes burned with hatred.
He leapt toward us, snarling savagely.
Geri braced to absorb the impact of the charging wolf.
Aki struck like a clap of thunder, knocking him off his feet.
He bounded to his feet again in seconds.
So did Aki.
He came like a bull this time, fangs gnashing at the air.
Geri met his charge again.
Aki leapt at the last second, attempting to catch Geri unprepared. He failed
Geri rose, and with his fangs, grabbed Aki by the throat before slamming him to the ground so hard bone would have snapped if Aki were the ordinary gray wolf whose face he wore. As it was, Aki struggled to get his feet beneath him this time. He sat back, panting.
Geri and I watched him for a moment, disgusted. The old wolf had run with us, lived amongst us, and we hadn't known. How much had we said in front of him? How much had he gleaned from Kalei and Buka? From me?
Everything, I had to assume.
Sköll and Hati knew everything about us, including where to find Arionna, Fuki, and Ronan.
Kill him, I said to Kalei. As much as I wanted to feel Geri's fangs rip into Aki's flesh again, his fate didn't rest with us. Vengeance belonged to Kalei and the pack.
Geri cast Aki one final glance and then stepped back, making room for the other wolves to close ranks around the doomed Jötunn.
Aki spoke before they could move. My kin follow behind her, pup. They cling to her shadow unseen, setting traps to spring upon her. She and the raven and the little wolf will die soon, and you will be all alone. You will not talk so foolishly then.
I didn't have to ask what he meant. I knew.
Arionna was in danger.
FLAME is available at most major retailers!
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Need to catch up on this bestselling upper YA series?! You can grab FADE and FALL below!
FADE: The Ragnarok Prophesies: Book 1
She's a college student grieving for her mother. He's a teaching assistant torn in two by the feral wolf sharing his mind. Together, they're Odin's last hope for the world…but they have no clue who they are or what's coming for them.
When nineteen-year-old Arionna Jacobs meets Dace Matthews at her new college, she quickly learns there's more to him than meets the eye. They're drawn together in ways that defy description, leaving them questioning everything they thought they knew. More importantly, he and his wolf have intimate access to her mind for reasons neither of them understands, and something inside her fights to rise to the surface.
As Arionna and Dace struggle to discover who they are to one another, things quickly go from bad to worse. A mutual friend is brutally murdered, her dangerous boyfriend is lurking in the shadows, and Arionna's dreams warn her that something deadly is on the horizon.
With the help of Dace's shapeshifters, the gray wolves lurking in the woods around the town, and their human friends, Dace and Arionna will fight through hell to uncover the terrifying truth. What they find will change their lives forever.
An ancient Norse prophecy of destruction has begun…and they are all that stand between the world and those called forth to end it.
Can they figure out who they are and what they're destined to do, or will they be forced to watch the people they care about die?
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FALL: The Ragnarok Prophesies: Book 2
How do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved?
Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren't strong enough to stop it.
Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.
It's up to Arionna to stop him before it's too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self-destruction. This time, Arionna isn't sure she can save him from himself.
Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?