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Demon Storm, Book One

 

YA Fantasy

Release Date: 6/13/22

Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing

 

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A bolt of lightning. And a dream of vengeance.

For wolf-demon Kari, these define her every waking moment. Her parents are
dead, slaughtered by human hands, forcing their only daughter to masquerade
among their killers to save her own skin. Now she dwells among them, hiding
her lightning-based abilities and plotting a terrible revenge, believing her
schemes are all she’s good for now. But when she discovers unexpected solace
among a group of humans who look past her monstrous nature, Kari finds
herself questioning everything. Her mission. Her dreams. Even the hatred
festering in her heart.

Is it possible for a creature like Kari to find happiness in a world that
despises her?

Or will the specters of her past force her down the path of vengeance in
the end?

Birth of the Storm tablet

EXCERPT

Prologue

A woman and man sat

 on a couch in Zina’s main room. The former was resplendent despite the plain, floor-length silk dress draped over her muscular form. A curtain of moonlight silver hair cascaded down her shoulders to her hips.

In contrast, the man was rugged, bare-chested, with hair darker than the blackest night. Zina had no clothes he could borrow; instead, he’d torn a table cloth and tied it around his waist. While they dressed to conceal their natural nudity, they did not attempt to hide their ears or tails, wolfish in appearance. The woman’s tail was long enough that the furry tip poked out from the bottom of the dress.

They were the first demons since Raven to enter Zina’s castle. If her mother were around to see this—her eldest daughter consorting with demons—what would she say?

The two watched as Zina took a seat in the cushy armchair across from them, back to the gently cracking fireplace.

From the floor beside the woman’s feet came a soft growl: a tawny young wolf was there, teeth snagged on the woman’s—Zina’s—dress.

The woman lowered her gaze, golden eyes narrowing. The wolf pup felt the glower and froze, then released her jaw and laid down.

“Apologies.”

“It is alright, Vymara. The dress is replaceable.”

“Can we get this over with?” the man, Rannul, grunted.

Vymara laid a hand on his knee. “Patience, bue.”

Zina clasped her hands in her lap. “He’s right. The point of my inviting you here. Your daughter. You said she—”

Rannul stood from the couch and walked away. He stood at the edge of the room, back to them.

Vymara leaned toward Zina. “It started as sparks. The day after she was born. She doesn’t seem to control it…not yet.”

Zina recognized a tension building over her shoulders. She shook herself and sat back. The change in posture did nothing to dissuade the creeping discomfort. “It sounds like magic.”

Rannul snorted.

Vymara shook her head. “We have seen human magic. There is something different about this.”

“It’s unnatural,” Rannul growled.

Vymara said nothing. She leaned down to trace her fingers over the wolf pup’s ears. 

Zina shifted, then stood. “May I?”

Vymara nodded. Zina stepped closer, kneeling when she neared the wolf. The pup bared her teeth in a pitiful snarl. Zina extended a hand. The tips of her fingers shook.

“Show me, little one.”

The pup snapped, retreating.

Show me. Show me if the words are true.

Zina kept reaching, ignoring the wolf’s yapping. She backed up until her back hit the couch. Zina’s fingers hovered closer, nearly touching her shiny, wet nose. 

The space between them charged with energy. Zina snatched her hand back as the pup snapped again; this time, a series of yellow sparks scattered in the air.

Zina shot to her feet, surprise raising her brows.

Vymara watched her. Wariness dulled her gold eyes to bronze. “Well? We wanted your opinion. You, the only human that treats us as more than demons.”

Zina was quick to control of her expression. She exhaled, wiping away everything but mild interest.

“There is a possibility…for this to get out of control. However, I don’t believe the concern will show itself for at least several years.”

Rannul spun. “What concern?”

Zina looked down at the wolf pup, mulling her words. “Just as with magic, there is a need for control. Understanding the power, and how—when—to use it.”

Rannul stepped closer. “Can’t you do something? Your magic is great. Can’t you…strip her of this burden?”

Vymara shot a snarl at him. “Rannul!”

Zina shook her head. “You know this is not the same. If this power is at all tied to her soul, it is out of my hands.”

Rannul threw his hands up. “Then what do we do? Others will shun her. Shun us!”

“We have not shared the company of others for many summers now,” Vymara snapped.

Rannul glared at her.

Zina raised her hands, placating. “There may be nothing I can do right now. She is too young to learn any form of control, and I know you do not desire to live here—”

“I can smell that holy lord from here,” Rannul seethed.

“—So, I have a suggestion.”

Vymara’s ears perked. “Tell us.”

Zina looked down at the pup. “Seclusion. With no provocation, there should be no concern. And when she grows to an appropriate age…bring her back. I will guide her.”

Rannul shifted his weight. “How long?”

“Depends on the rate of maturity. Ten years. Fifteen.”

“What if…” Vymara frowned, dropping her gaze. “Mistakes happen, and humans are expanding their grip on the land. What if…”

“Find the farthest pocket of isolation you can.” Zina stood and walked to the bookshelf against the wall. She grabbed a small chest and flipped it open. “Once you do, place this on the ground.” She extracted a glass sphere the size of her palm. Starry gas glittered within. “It will burst, alerting me to your location. If you need to find me, you know where I’ll be.”

Vymara stood and took the sphere in a long-clawed hand. As they touched, Zina laid her hand over Vymara’s.

“Don’t fear for her. This is unprecedented, but it is still all mystery. No one can truly know what this power means or what it will do.”

Vymara offered a rare smile. “Thank you, my friend.” She scooped up the wolf in one arm.

Rannul said nothing more and simply followed Vymara. When the door shut behind them, Zina braced her hands on the back of her chair and stared into the fireplace.

She was born. The demon of wolf blood with the power of a storm. Though the sparks were nothing like a storm now, Zina was not foolish enough to take this lightly.

The Catalyst had come.

About the Author

Valerie Storm was raised in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, she fell in love
with everything fantasy. When she wasn’t playing video games, she was
writing. By age ten, she began to write her own stories as a way to escape
reality. When these stories became a full-length series, she considered the
path to sharing with other children & children-at/heart looking for a
place to call home.

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