Spotlight: Forget Me Not, by Anca Antoci

Forget me not

Forget Me Not
Forget Me Not
Chimera, #1
by Anca_Antoci
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Deceiving the vampire that saved her could get her killed, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take.

When tragedy strikes, Rae makes a terrible choice and struggles with the aftermath. In the wilderness of the Tongass rainforest, she finds herself hunted by creatures of hell, monsters she never dreamed could be real.

A hidden world, an ancient race, and a secret she discovers by accident give a new meaning to her life but only if she can escape and return to civilization. If she is to survive, Rae must comply with Ari, her reluctant hero, and allow him to wipe away any memory of this realm. Knowledge is power, but is it worth dying for?

When push comes to shove, that’s when real strength emerges.
What would it take to discover what you’re made of?

Excerpt:

She ran through the darkness of the forest without looking back. Rae ducked under the low hanging branches the way she had a million times before. A howl from nearby brought her to a halt. Smiling, she wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand and whistled. He was close enough to hear her.

“They found me! Take everyone back to safety, and I’ll take them off your trail. I’ll see you later!” Her words came out in a rush but she had no doubt he understood. Without wasting another moment, she ran in the opposite direction. This wasn’t her first rodeo with the forces of evil. A dark cloaked silhouette emerged from the cover of a thick tree. His voice was hoarse, and he mumbled something under his breath. As Rae got closer, his words got clearer. He was chanting in a language she didn’t understand, yet the effect wasn’t lost on her. A debilitating headache almost blinded her. She fell to her knees, grasping her temples, breathless, as blood trickled from her nose. A sharp pain tore through her head. An ear-splitting scream left her lips with what she imagined was her last breath. It was a signal for the others to keep running and not look back. They were on their own.

The pain stopped as suddenly as it started, and she panted, filling her lungs with air again. Rae rubbed her eyes and waited a few moments to regain her sight while she used her sleeve to clean the blood up.

The cloaked man knelt and sobbed while someone’s face buried in the crook of his neck, long blonde curls cascading over his shoulder. Seconds after the sobbing stopped, the man dropped to the ground.

Blondie stood up and turned towards Rae.

“Are you OK?”

“I am now, thanks to you!” She recognized her sister’s voice and felt at ease.

“It’s my job to look after you, Rae.”

“Maria, it’s almost dawn. You should find shelter. Run as fast as you can! I’ll be fine on my own. I promise I’ll be careful!”

Maria stopped for a moment and smiled. The full moon lit her face in a grotesque picture of pitch-black eyes, bloody lips, and protruding fangs. She took a deep breath, and her face morphed back to human. Her eyes reverted to their natural blue, revealing the pretty girl behind the monster.

“Please be careful! You’re getting cocky, and that makes you reckless. That was one of their elders. You’re no match for them. You were lucky I got here when I did. As a shadow, too many lives depend on you. We can’t afford to lose you!” Her voice softened. “I can’t lose you!” After a quick hug, Maria disappeared in a blurred motion into the darkness.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and listened for any sound that would give her stalker away. She counted the bodies she left in her wake, adding the one Maria killed. There was at least one more hunting for her. She couldn’t be taken by surprise if she expected an attack. Rae didn’t have to wait long. A twig snapped at her right. She pivoted with grace on the ball of her right foot and faced the threat.

A man stepped out from the treeline holding a dagger and glaring her way. She rubbed her palms to create friction, a blue flame balling up between them. He didn’t stand a chance. Her lips curled into a smirk as the blue flame shot from her palms and hit him on the chest, stopping his heart. She was getting good at this. Another confirmed kill. This is where she belonged. Believing her actions kept the Resistance safe from the Council pleased Rae. She was part of a greater plan, more than a mere pawn in the grand scheme of life. She mattered! She was about to give herself a pat on the back when the smell of brimstone tested her gag reflex. That scent always came with bad news: hellhounds! She couldn’t outrun them, and her power was useless on them.

Her best bet was to make it back to her car and drive like a bat out of hell. Her legs started working long before she finished her thought. She rushed towards the treeline where her car was waiting, and she almost made it. Almost! Her sprint was brought to a halt by a hunk of a man leaning shirtless against her car. His eyes caught her off guard: endless pits of smoldering fire. But his stare was ice cold. Just then, a waft of brimstone and coal tickled her nose and made her eyes water. Hellhounds were the most vicious chimeras: only used as enforcers by the Council. No one figured out what they looked like because no one lived to tell the tale.

Rae woke up gasping and covered in a sheen layer of sweat. Reality came down with a vengeance. This kind of dream took atoll on her. It all started the night Maria died.

They weren’t on speaking terms and Rae hadn’t even known that her sister was sick. Rae loved reading fantasy and paranormal books, so when she woke up from her nightmare, she assumed it was all because of her late-night readings. Then that dreaded phone call came and changed everything. A woman claiming to be Maria’s next-door neighbor gave her the bad news. These dreams plagued her each moment she managed to get some shuteye. Rae had trouble accepting the sudden death of her sister, so she imagined her dreams came as a coping mechanism.

Her brain changed Maria into a vampire so she would live forever. She believed it wasn’t real, but it made her feel better. Despite being almost always nightmares, Rae welcomed them. In her dreams, she was amazing: fearless, strong; a fighter who could shoot blue light from her hands and save the world. In her dreams, she became a hero, and her sister was still alive.

In real life, none of these things were true. She was meek, scared, and alone.

 

Author bio
Anca Antoci started out as a fanfiction writer and then moved on to write her own story. Thus her debut novel Forget Me Not got published in January 2020.
Her fanfiction stories are still available on her blog www. Living in Romania, Anca speaks English as a second language.

Because she’s a passionate reader, Anca started a blog where she reviews fantasy books called Summon Fantasy. When she’s not reading or writing, Anca loves cooking and watching movies with her daughter while eating nachos.

Goodreads
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Facebook

Book Blitz: Windchaser + Excerpt

windchaser

 

 

Windchaser
Phantom Island Book 1
by Krissi Dallas

YA Fantasy

Published: August 2020, 2nd Edition

Publisher: Thunderfly Productions

 

 

When one camp rule is broken, five teenagers embark on a mysterious journey full of magic, romance, and true friendship…

High school senior Whitnee has spent six years rebuilding her identity after her father’s mysterious disappearance left her with more questions than answers. With her two best friends, Morgan and Caleb, she returns as a mentor to the summer camp of her childhood. Nestled in the Texas hill country, Camp Fusion is everything Whitnee remembers—except for the haunting visions that only she can see. One fateful night, Whitnee and her friends embark on a magical voyage where unexpected adventure and heart-stopping romance collide—a journey that might unlock the dark, complicated mysteries of Whitnee’s family history. But will she find the answers she is looking for?

Purchase Links

Amazon

Publisher

 

Excerpt from Windchaser: Phantom Island Book 1 by Krissi Dallas

 

Kevin, how badly are you hurt?” I knelt down beside him.

Aw, it’s just my leg. I cut it pretty bad when that stupid bug showed up. Good thing Caleb found me,” he muttered. And, sure enough, there was a nasty cut along the side of his right leg. Blood had dripped down and soaked into his sock and shoe. It looked deep enough to need stitches.

We need a doctor or something,” Caleb finally stated seriously, looking to Gabriel. “He can’t walk on his leg, and he’s losing blood.”

Oh, come on, Caleb. It’s not a big deal,” Kevin complained.

Gabriel, can we just give him some of that pure Water? Won’t that heal it?” I prompted. Gabriel turned and faced me then with an expression I was starting to interpret as annoyance.

Why do you not listen to me? I explained that the pure Water is not what heals. Only a Hydrodorian, someone who is gifted with the life force of Water, can use it to heal a wound. Except—” He paused and thought for a moment. “You are not a Hydro, yet you were able to heal yourself. Perhaps you can do it again for him.” He gestured to Kevin.

You did what?” Caleb piped up, looking to me for an explanation. I didn’t have the patience. Gabriel was already moving purposefully away from the group.

I have to go to my tent and get more Water. Wait here,” he called back.

I’ll go with you.” I raced to match his stride and called back to Morgan to explain everything to Caleb and Kevin. “We’ll be right back,” I promised, purposely ignoring Caleb’s protests. I wanted a minute alone with Gabriel anyway. “Could you slow down? My legs aren’t quite as long as yours.” He slowed so I could come alongside him, and we darted under the darkening canopy of trees. He was right. The sun was already setting, and I had no idea where we would go or what we would do once it was completely dark.

When we were out of sight from the group, I grabbed his muscled forearm and made him stop and look at me. In an exasperated and slightly shaky voice, I said, “You have got to do a better job explaining what is happening to me. I just shot a freaking tornado out of the palm of my hand! My eyes are changing colors and my body is doing weird things and I may be confused, but I’m not stupid. You’re not telling me everything. I want to know what it is you’re hiding.” I stared up at him fiercely.

His gorgeous face hardened into stone. “I am uncertain of your meaning.”

Okay, well, let’s start with this: why is the ‘Attendant to the Guardian’ out here on this deserted beach at the exact same time when we drop out of the sky?”

I was having a swim,” he stated with a shrug.

You said people didn’t come to this beach because they believe it’s haunted. Seems a little far-fetched to me that you would choose the place where ‘Travelers tend to arrive’ for your private little swim.” Why was he lying?

What is your point?” he questioned me back, his face showing no sign of breaking. He crossed his arms over his chest.

I refused to be intimidated by him. “My point is that you seemed to know I was coming. You also changed completely when you found out I brought friends. I want to know why.” I glared at him, and he glared back at me, his hazel eyes alight with frustration.

You would do best to stop asking such questions. If I had not helped, you would have already died on this Island—twice. Surely I have earned some kind of trust for that.” His voice was low and dangerous. He had saved me—and I supposed if he ultimately meant me harm, he wouldn’t have taken the time.

Fine,” I conceded. “You don’t have to tell me now, but eventually, I will find out what you’re hiding.”

He laughed then, a dark and humorless laugh. “You speak like a true Aero already.” Then he came intimidatingly close, which nearly took my breath away. He met my eyes and whispered, “You do not know what I am capable of. I have little faith that you understand what you yourself are capable of here.”

I have a feeling you don’t know that either,” I shot back in a low voice, trying not to flinch from his closeness. “And I think that scares you. I’ve been paying attention to everything you’ve said so far. And you’re just as confused as I am.” He slowly pulled away at that. I could tell that even though he might have been expecting my arrival, he was not expecting me to produce that whirlwind or be able to heal myself. I was confused by what was happening with my body and with these abilities. And if these abilities were normal here on this island, and yet Gabriel was baffled by me, then something very strange was going on, indeed.

You are in a precarious position, Little Traveler, and you better learn the rules quickly if you want to survive here.” Then he turned and headed further into the jungle as if the matter were settled. I noticed the symbol on his shoulder again.

As I trudged behind him, I narrowed my eyes and asked, “What tribe did you say you were from again?”

The Pyradora Tribe.”

And you have what power?” At this question, he glanced back at me. His eyes were lit from inside, and for the first time, he looked a little dangerous.

Fire.”

That shut me up for a little while.

About The Author

 


Krissi still goes to camp every summer with the teens of Fusion Student Ministries. Like her fictional heroine, Krissi is also a gray-eyed Aerodorian from Texas with a ridiculous fish phobia. She adores her youth pastor husband, two sons, and two Yorkies. When she’s not busy throwing dance parties, both in her living room for her boys and at school for her junior high prep students, she daydreams about and writes down fantastical adventures. She has a hard time not hugging during a pandemic, so you can send her virtual hugs on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Visit KrissiDallas.com for all the fun.

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Promo Link

 

Thunderfly Productions Links:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

 

RABT Book Tours & PR

Book Blitz & Excerpt: To Dream of White & Gold, by R.K. Hart

To dream ofwhite and gold

TDoW&G Black Cover Final - eBook
To Dream of White & Gold
Death Dreamer Legacy, #1
by R.K. Hart
Pindika Press
552 pages
Young Adult, Fantasy

All the dreamers are dead.

All but one.

Seventeen-year-old Lida d’Cathan has inherited something from her long-dead mother, Siva. Something unknown, something unwanted, and something entirely dangerous. Lida must make a choice: should she spend her life mistrusted and maligned, living as an outsider with the other gifted? Or stay in Kingstown, and risk hurting the people she loves with the power that spills from her in sleep?

In order to control her gift, she will need to follow in Siva’s elusive footsteps and travel further from home than she ever imagined. But just like her power, knowledge has a cost – and it might be more than she is willing to pay.

What will Lida give to become the last dreamer?

An epic coming-of-age future fantasy filled with adventure, mystery, and the complexities of falling in love.

 

add to goodreads button
Excerpt:

The midday sun was merciless, golden and high in the unbroken sky. It beat down, relentless and inescapable, burning skin and heating sandstone brick, turning the air in the Kingstown forum into a turbulent clamour of sweat and scent and spice and sound.

It was Lyda’s favourite kind of weather.

She wove between the packed bodies, avoiding the spill of arms and legs and the swing of hair and bags of goods. She wasn’t always lucky: she swore as a blacksmith twice her size stepped back onto her sandalled foot, almost crushing her toes under the weight of his bulk. She narrowly avoided being pushed against a stall selling iron pots, slipping under elbows to escape, listening to the tangle of accents around her. The language was mostly the fast, clipped Eilin spoken by the city-dwellers, but she could hear the drawl of northern Eilan too, and, as she moved further into the crowd, the caressing lilt of Brinnican. Looking around, she spied a group of envoys from the cold northern country, all dressed far too warmly for an Eilin summer’s day, their pale skin turned pink by the sun, sweating in their fur-trimmed tunics.

It was the only reason she’d agreed to do this favour for her father: the summer market day was always an overwhelming mess of people, and Lyda liked to look at them all. Familiar Eilins manned stalls selling everyday things, the wool and knives and grain and cheese that would stock pantries for the coming winter. Vendors from further away – honey-skinned Setiians with caramel hair and black-eyed Auterans from the desert land – sold the objects Lyda coveted but could never afford: beautiful tapestries woven with gold and silver thread, glass blown with rainbow colours, scarves printed with careful patterns of birds and flowers and waves, and cunningly wrought mechanical toys for the children of lordlings. She ignored those stalls with difficulty, pushing further into the crowd, though she stopped for a moment to stare longingly at a display of Setiian scents, the table shaded by gauzy fabrics to protect the precious wares from the sun. The tiny vials were worth a small fortune each, and came in a distinctive woven green bag. Lyda’s sister had been given one as a courting gift, and though Maya hadn’t kept the man, the vial was one of her prize possessions. At almost eighteen, Lyda wasn’t too old to wait until Maya left the house to steal into her room and sniff it longingly, though she’d never dared dab some of the precious liquid on her wrists.

There were other smells, too, some of them more pleasant than others. She edged past a row of stalls selling bread to hungry shoppers, when one of the stall owners – a small man named Torig – called hello. Lyda smiled and waved, regretting that the coins in the pouch tied to a ribbon around her neck were meant for something else. Torig made the best pastries in Kingstown, in Lyda’s opinion at least. His specialty was a mix of potatoes and peas swirled in a creamy white sauce and wrapped up in flaky, buttery pastry, topped with cheese. Lyda’s mouth watered just thinking about them.

The crowd thinned as she neared her target, the southern end of the city market square. For the first time since she’d arrived, she took a proper breath. It was here that the market square met the side of the public bath complex with a towering sandstone wall, and beneath its shade stood a row of permanent shopfronts, all identical and distinctly Eilin in design, with square facades and wide front windows. Lyda made her way towards a small shop that stood pride of place in the middle, its front step flanked with pots of wild white roses, its doorway crowned with a bunch of dried barley grass tied with black twine.

Lyda opened the door and breathed again, deeply.

The shop sold goods from the islands of Erbide, primarily honey and barley grain, although for a hefty price redwood products could be specially imported. Inside, its walls were lined with barrels, filled to the brim with different types of Erbidan grain, and shelves displayed a range of products: honey soaps and creams, candles and oil burners, wax for seals, and varieties of expensive flour sold in colour-coded paper bags.

Salu, little one! I did not expect you for a month at least.’

‘Hullo, Jorge,’ Lyda said with a smile.

The man behind the counter was typically Erbidan: tall and broad-shouldered, his golden skin sprinkled with freckles. His beard and thick hair had once been raven black, but were now peppered with grey. Lyda had known him since she could walk, and this was the only thing about him that had changed.

‘Where is Cathan?’

‘He was called to the Palace – one of the northern mares is foaling.’

Jorge made a tsk sound. ‘That is late in the season, is it not? I suppose you have come to rob me again?’

Lyda laughed. ‘Yes. Da says you charge too much.’

‘When you have braved the Kelti Sea you may change your mind.’

Lyda knew Jorge hadn’t sailed for years, though when she was younger she would spend as long as her father would allow listening to his stories. ‘I’d rather you braved it for me.’

Jorge smiled rather sadly, and selected a pot of honey from the shelf behind him, pushing it into a black woven bag. ‘Just the usual?’

Lyda nodded. The local honey was a golden yellow; the stuff in the pot was a thick, rich red, from Erbide’s southern-most island, Kell, and was worth its weight in coin.

‘You are going to eat this, are you not?’ Jorge said warningly. ‘Last time I found out that Cathan had smeared it all over a horse.’

Lyda bit the inside of her cheek and nodded, her face warming. She knew very well that the honey was going straight on a wounded piglet and nowhere near the kitchen. Honey staved off infections in wounds, and her father preferred to use the thick Kellith honey; Eilin honey was too thin, he would complain, and didn’t seal. The Kellith honey stuck.

‘Have you apprenticed yet, Lyda?’

She shook her head. ‘I’m still wearing Da down.’

‘That may take some time.’

She grinned. ‘I’ve had a lot of practice.’ Cathan Valson was well-known for his stubbornness, but his daughters had their own ways of working around it. Maya cajoled, strategically working on her father so gently he often didn’t realise she was doing it. Lyda was more forthright. ‘He wants me to go to Brinnica, and learn from his old master, but I told him I want to learn from the best, so I’ll stay in Kingstown and learn from him. He’s torn between wanting to be rid of me and knowing that I’m right.’

Jorge laughed. ‘Well, you have a month, no? Much can happen in that time. You may yet change your mind.’

Lyda didn’t think so. She had little interest in leaving Kingstown, and she didn’t like cold weather. Brinnica was often carpeted in thick snow and its capital city, the Kali’s Court, was inaccessible in winter. She chatted to Jorge a while longer, before they half-heartedly haggled over the price of the honey. Lyda handed over a sizeable amount of coin, though less than she’d expected, and before she left Jorge pressed a small paper bag full of bite-sized honey biscuits into her hand, just as he’d done when she was a child.

‘For you and your sister,’ he said.

‘I can’t make any promises,’ Lyda said, smiling as she stepped back out into the noise of the summer market.

After a swift internal struggle, she decided that she would share the biscuits; the hospice where her sister worked had been quiet of late, and Lyda thought Maya would appreciate the visit. She pushed and elbowed and ducked her way back towards the main road, stopping to watch a weaver at his loom; as she moved away again, a display of jewellery caught her eye.

Brinnican gold and silverwork was the best in the four lands, but the woman behind the stall was not from the snow. Her skin was darker than the usual warm Eilin brown and her hair was braided across her head; beginning at the left temple, the plait pinned in a coil over her right ear. Her amber eyes were bright and lined with kohl, her frame strong beneath the simple white shirt and tan pants, tight to the skin like the jodhpurs Lyda favoured.

A familiar sadness tightened in Lyda’s chest. Her own skin was the same, and she wagered that if the woman was to unbraid her hair, it would fall in tight coils just like the ones she unsuccessfully tried to tame each morning, though Lyda’s unbound nest of hair was streaked yellow by the sun and this woman’s plait was closer to black.

The woman behind the stall was Myrae, a sea-maiden, one of a race of merchant women from the Isle of the Gods, which hid uncharted off the southern coast of Eilan. The Myrae rarely came inland, preferring to stay in view of their ships; it was said that they only went home for birth or death, and spent the rest of their days on the waves, sailing the four lands and beyond.

Lyda had no idea whether this was true, but it had not been so for her mother. Siva had died in the bed she shared with Cathan on the outskirts of Kingstown, with Maya asleep at her side and the newborn Lyda at her breast. Lyda sometimes wondered if it might have turned out differently, had Siva gone home to the Isle to birth her instead. Along her skin and her hair and her eyes, Lyda had a delicate white-gold chain set with a single sea-pearl that Siva had owned, which she wore alongside her guilt. She could never quite forget that she was the cause of her mother’s death. Her father’s reluctance to speak of his dead wife made the burden somewhat heavier, and the only stories Lyda had heard of her mother came from Maya, and they were so fuzzy that there might not have been any truth in them at all. Lyda constructed an imagining of Siva on every rare occasion she saw one of the Myrae, layering each woman upon the next over the solid base of her sister’s heart-shaped face.

The Myrae trader was fierce-looking, stern and aloof, so Lyda took her unwavering stare and mixed it with Maya’s warmth. Her cheekbones were as high and sharp as Lyda’s own, so she stole those unchanged. The thin lips could not come – both she and Maya had full, plump smiles that had not come from Cathan – but the eyes were of a similar shape, almond and framed with thick lashes, so Lyda used them, too, and transformed the irises into Maya’s piercing emerald.

She was so enthralled in the image she’d woven that when she stepped back, it was straight into something warm and sweating and far taller than she. She spun in surprise, and found herself caught up in a thick black messenger’s cloak. It clung to her as she fought to break free, and someone exclaimed crossly in Brinnican.

‘Sorry,’ she muttered, finally disentangling herself. ‘I didn’t see you.’

‘Clearly,’ the deep voice said, the lilt of an Erbidan accent heavy on the word.

For a moment, Lyda thought Jorge had followed her, but when she looked up she saw the flushed face of a young Erbidan man of twenty-six or -seven. His black curls were dishevelled and he had bruise-like shadows under his dark eyes. She frowned.

He frowned back, straightening; something twisted deep in Lyda’s chest, a tug underneath a rib. She stepped away, taking in the square leather letter bag slung across his body, and the golden cuff on his left wrist. He pulled his cloak back into place, hiding it. He studied Lyda’s face, blinking rapidly.

‘Who are you?’ he demanded.

Lyda’s lips twisted at his rudeness and she tried to walk away, but he mirrored her movements. She glowered at him. ‘Get out of my way.’

His hand snaked out to catch her wrist, his eyes darting to the woven bag that hung from her elbow, taking in her face and hair. ‘Who are you?’

She tried to wrench her arm away. He held it fast. ‘Don’t touch me!’

‘Why are you here?’ he said, his brows drawing closer together.

‘Let me go.’

He hissed through his teeth. ‘I do not have time for this.’

Then let go of me.’ She wrenched again, increasingly desperate, fear starting to creep up her spine. She rose onto the balls of her feet, ready to run if she could break free. ‘I’ll scream.’

‘I would prefer that you did not. Where do you live?’

‘As if I’d tell you,’ she spat, twisting and aiming a kick at his knee; he stepped away derisively, and his fingers tightened on her wrist.

So Lyda did exactly what her father had taught her to do: feinted a jab to the stomach with her captured elbow, and slammed the heel of her palm up into the Erbidan man’s unprotected throat. He wheezed and let her go. For a moment, Lyda stood still, stunned by what she’d done, before instinct kicked in and she darted away, straight into the enveloping crush of shoppers. Her dance through the crowd was far swifter this time, fuelled by fear; she did not look over her shoulder, nor anywhere but forward, and in a handful of minutes she found herself at the edge of the forum and in the gutter of the Southern Way. She sprinted up the main road breathlessly, darting in and out of the arches of the aqueduct, ignoring the sideways glances and exclamations of surprise, the honey and biscuits still hanging from her arm as she ran as fast as she could towards the hospice and her sister.

Author Bio

R.K. Hart is an author and educational designer living on Ngunnawal Ngambri land in Canberra, Australia, with her husband and two small children. She enjoys drinking more coffee than is strictly necessary and reading books with magic in them.

She is the author of To Dream of White & Gold, and is currently working on the second Death Dreamer Legacy novel, A Lie of Desert Red, along with a Death Dreamer Legacy origins novella.

 

r.k. hart