Who wants a sneak peek of the final book in The Underground Trilogy, Wings of Light? I had been overly optimistic about my original release date, but I would rather invest more time in the editing process and produce a high-quality book. After multiple rounds of editing, Wings of Light is nearly ready. It will release in February. For now, enjoy a portion of the first chapter:
Meghan and Grunge moved into the crowd of students leaving the lecture room. She did her best to remain inconspicuous.
“We need to head to the food court, for the old switcheroo.” Grunge took her elbow and guided her to the student union.
Meghan shook his touch off. “Switcheroo? What are you talking about?”
“I missed my last detox rotation while on protect-the-human duty.” Grunge gestured over his shoulder. “Avery noticed my wings were more wilted than ever, so I’m being sent to the islands.”
Meghan focused on keeping a straight face. Not easy, when a gigantic smile threatened to escape. Free from Grunge for two entire weeks? What a lucky break. “I’m finally going to fly solo for a while?”
“Sorry to disappoint you.” Grunge held open the door of the student union for her, then entered himself. “This is a changing of the guard, not a disappearing of the guard.”
Meghan couldn’t hide her groan. She was sick of being babysat and of constantly worrying about her safety. If Grunge made another terrible British pun, she might even scream.
As she walked through the union’s large atrium, she spotted examples of the other students’ freedom. People hung out—smiling, joking, and laughing—on small groupings of couches and chairs. None of them seemed worried about being kidnapped by an evil faerie tyrant. Along the far wall, nearly every small table was occupied; students studied textbooks or typed on their laptops alone. Thoughts of being cut and bled—again—didn’t appear to be interfering with anyone’s studies.
Maybe she wasn’t quite ready to give up her guard.
“So who’s replacing you?” Meghan tried not to get her hopes up. But just maybe… Between her hours of homework and his rebuilding of the Seattle’s Fae new Underground, she and Avery had barely had time to see one another.
Grunge grinned. “I’m not ruining the surprise, pretty girl.”
“How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t call me by demeaning terms.” Only a few more minutes, and she would have fourteen Grunge-free days.
“I was complimenting you,” he argued, guiding her into the food court. They wove among the long lines of students that snaked through the crowded area.
With the loud din of dozens of chatting students, she didn’t have to worry as much about being overheard. “Did you pay any attention during Feminist Theory?”
“My job was to prevent you from getting human-napped by Avery’s big bad daddy, not to get an education.” He smiled. “I give myself an A+.”
“Are the two of you going to bloody bicker all afternoon?” Raine glared, hands on her hips. The position accentuated her toned arms, easily visible through her sheer blouse. “It’s bad enough I have to wear this awful garb, but if I have to listen to your row for another minute…”
Out of her century-old ball gowns, the faerie looked uncomfortable. She was pulling at her tight miniskirt, which barely covered her lacy leggings.
Grunge picked up her hand and kissed it. “Darling, you’re by far the most fashionable here.”
He was right. Everyone around was wearing jeans or pajama bottoms. Raine, as always, looked like she had just stepped out of a magazine photo shoot. She pulled off any look effortlessly, Victorian or modern.
“I feel almost naked without my wings.” Raine twirled around, as if giving a personal fashion show. A black tank covered up most of her scarring, so only an inch of raised skin lay nearly hidden under her see-through black blouse. She obviously wasn’t as sensitive as Kiernan about revealing her scarring.
“Don’t even complain,” Grunge raised his voice. “You get to take yours off and leave them in your bedroom. I have to tape my stuff all up.”
“Don’t bother being inconspicuous,” Meghan muttered. “So you’re going to be guarding me, Raine?”
“Unfortunately.” The faerie rolled her eyes. “Darkness forbid we let anything happen to the princes’ favorite little human.”
What had happened between London and Seattle? Back in London, her interactions with the faerie had been nothing but friendly. Raine even freed her from the Underground—not once, but twice.
Since arriving in Seattle, though, Raine had been aloof and downright rude. But only to Meghan. Raine chatted with the other Fae and acted as Avery’s primary assistant. Meghan had racked her brain, trying to figure out how she had upset Raine, but only had one guess. Kiernan. Raine had been a close friend of his when he lived in the Underground. Maybe she felt more than friendship for Kiernan.
“I’m taking off, pretty girl.” Grunge waved and slung his backpack over his shoulder.
“Now I know you’re trying to annoy me,” Meghan called, as Grunge headed out of the food court.
Raine folded her arms and stared in the opposite direction, toward the crowds filling the area.
After a solid minute of silence, Meghan studied the faerie’s black combat boots. Grunge’s flirtation and teasing were bad, but Raine’s blatant hostility was even worse. “I think you look cute in that outfit. Maybe we could go shopping together sometime.”
“No bloody chance.” Raine leaned close. “I’m here as a favor to Avery. We attend your classes, then we head straight back to the tunnels.”
“Whatever you want.” Meghan joined the line at the closest vendor, a sandwich place. More awkward, silent minutes passed, until she finally reached the counter and placed her lunch order. “Ready?”
“No, I need a latte. How else am I going to stay awake during,”—Raine pulled a folded piece of paper from her pocket and scanned it—“Advanced Botany?”
“That class is more interesting than it sounds.” As Meghan grabbed her soda, pain pierced her back.
The attacks have never happened at school before. The sharp pain spread to her shoulders. Her fists tightened.
A moment later, they went lax, and her soda hit the ground. Meghan collapsed on the soda-soaked floor. Waves of agony raced through every limb then receded, only to return.
“Blast it! I just bought this shirt.” Raine’s voice echoed in Meghan’s head
Everything faded to black.
If you haven’t read the beginning of The Underground Trilogy, try Wings of Shadow for free.