By Holly Barbo
Erin's parents are murdered and she can sense that same malevolent energy hunting her down. With little time to grieve, Erin is forced into hiding and discovers an unusual ability she's never had before — she can talk to animals!
With the help of her new found animal companions, she eludes the killer. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the Autumn Gathering and is able to concentrate on the questions she needs to solve: Who killed her parents? Why are they trying to kill her, too?
Quakes, storms, and murders begin plaguing Erin's world and she soon realizes that they're all connected. The fabric of her world is just beginning to unravel…
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Excerpt from Chapter 1
There was a breeze in the moonlit forest; the shadows shifted and blended as the branches moved. A young woman raced between the trees, oblivious to the branches that tore at her hair and clothing. In her haste, her feet slipped on the leaves and decaying foliage, adding to her terrified flight. The slender girl whirled behind a tree and crouched low. Her large, blue eyes darted back over her trail, searching the flickering shadows for her pursuer. Her breathing was ragged. Where was he?
She tried to catch her breath so she could listen, but her heart was racing like a stampeding elk; her breathing was so choppy that her whimpers escaped her throat in short, ragged bursts. She looked around the tree at the terrain she had just covered. Was that a movement back there? With a gasp, she darted back behind the tree and staggered into motion. She knew he was following. Goose bumps raced up her arms as she tore over the small rise, her heart pumping like a smithy’s bellows.
Something brushed her cheek. At first the soft touch didn’t register through the overwhelming terror of her flight but it came again, this time with a voice. ‘Erin. It’s all right. You’re safe for now. Erin, hear me.’
The light contact came again and abruptly broke through her mind. Startled out of the nightmare that had gripped her, she opened her eyes and with a shuddering breath, looked up into the gentle eyes of the merlin falcon that was standing beside her head.
“Thank you, Keir.” Her breath hitched as she spoke. She rose up on one elbow and reached up to touch the bird, but her hand quivered with the remaining adrenaline that still coursed through her blood. “That was . . . terrifying.”
The bird bobbed his head. ‘The nightmare is understandable. The murder of your parents is bad enough, but there’s also the fact that you have new abilities. Erin, you’re sensing the dangerous person who is seeking you. I am sure of it, and that had to play into your dream. But that person isn’t near. My kind have been watching. Rest. Dawn will arrive soon. There are some miles to go yet to get to Ree. She will have some answers for you. Rest. You are safe for now.’
Erin’s nod was a little shaky. She could feel the sweat from the nightmare drying on her skin. “You’re right. It was so real, it’ll take me a few minutes to be clear of it so I can sleep. I’m sorry I woke you, Keir.” She shook her head and her long hair slipped behind her shoulders. A few strands still clung to the sticky sweat on her face. Erin raised a hand that was steadier than it had been moments before and brushed the hair away from her forehead. “I know Ree will at least be able to advise me, because she’s a wise woman, and right now I need all of the advice I can get.”
MEET the Author:
Holly Barbo's world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world in Northwest Washington State and an irrepressible creative drive.
Living where the scenery is incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife "is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic," according to Barbo. She is drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly, perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. Her stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building a discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.
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Giveaway rules: Giveaway is open internationally and ends on September 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winners will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter and announced on the widget as well as emailed; winning entries will be verified prior to prize being awarded. They will have 48 hours to respond. Failure to respond will result in a new winner being selected. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Number of eligible entries received determines odds of winning. **If audiobooks cannot be downloaded via Audible for whatever reason, winner of audiobook prize pack will be given the Sage Seed Chronicle ebook set as an alternative.** Giveaway was organized by Paper Crane Books and sponsored by both the press and the author. Void where prohibited by law. Your information will not be sold or shared and will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner.
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