Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Shadow Stalker: Falling to Pieces (Episode 14) by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, Savior of the Serpent Isles.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

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About the Book

Things go from bad to worse after Cali is captured by the Galvadi. The new technology they have employed is making a rescue attempt impossible and endangering the lives of all the shadow stalkers. Auren refuses to give up though, but the more she tries to fix thing, the more Kado tightens the leash.

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If you haven't read any of the series, download Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 - 6) free here!

Keep reading for an excerpt from Episode 14:

I woke on the rough floor of an alcove in the cave which doubled as Kado's office. He was sitting at his make-shift desk. I tried to sit up, but when I met resistance, I noticed I was cocooned tightly in a blanket.

"Stop fidgeting and relax," Kado said without taking his eyes off of whatever he was doing.

I struggled in the blanket again. "Can I get up?"

"No," Kado said, almost absentmindedly.

I groaned. "Why?"

"Because I want you to relax."

"Kado, I swear I'm fine." I tried once more to wiggle out of the blanket.

He drummed his fingers on his desk. "Either you lie there quietly and relax, or I'll sedate you again."

"I think you're going a bit overboard," I mumbled to myself. "How did you bring me back to Appolia?"

Kado gazed at me, eyebrows raised, then went back to what he was doing. I sighed. It made no sense to force me to lay here like this. I needed to get up and do something. Staying here with nothing to do but think about Cali would drive me insane. After my experiences on Nadiria, my imagination showed me, over and over again, in great detail what was likely happening to her right now. I knew what those Dansig Troopers were like, especially towards shadow stalkers. I shivered as I remembered the threat from the trooper on Nadiria just before he released me to return the demon back to the shadow world. Worse, they didn't seem to have any qualms about raping young girls.

No. I couldn't stay here like this. I tried to wiggle my arms free, but they wouldn't budge.

"Be still, Auren," Kado said, his voice stiff and a little deeper than before.

"I have an itch." I didn't really until I mentioned it. Now I seemed to have several, including one on my nose that was driving me nuts.

Kado didn't respond. Why was he doing this to me? It must have been some sort of punishment, though I had no idea what I'd done wrong. Perhaps for allowing Cali to be captured. That had to be it. Tears pricked my eyes. I deserved much worse than this for not getting her out of there. I had to help her. Then Kado might forgive me. I tried to shift, but even though I sensed the veil, I was anchored to the physical world as though bound by an invisible rope. I was completely powerless.

"Please, Kado," I said, no longer able to hold back the tears. "I need to do something. I won't leave Appolia, but we can do some sparring or something. Please don't make me stay here like this."

"No. I'm not going to allow you to go off somewhere to bury your grief while it turns to anger. You'll face it here and now."

So that's what it was. He wanted me to grieve for Cali. "Kado, she's not dead. We can—"

Kado stood over me. "Auren, that's enough. I told you it's not possible to go after her. You need to accept that."

I screamed. How could he not even discuss it? How could he not even try? Well, I wasn't going to just stay here like this. I struggled again in the blanket. Maybe if I rolled myself over I could loosen it. Kado knelt next to me, laying a hand on my shoulder to hold me in place when I started rocking myself back and forth. I cried and yelled a lot of incoherent things before I finally exhausted myself. Kado placed his hand on the side of my face, rubbing my temple gently with his thumb. It was something he'd done often when I was young to calm me, and it had the same effect on me now.

"I love Cali too, Auren. She is my niece and one of only two blood relatives I have left in this world. But as much as I love her, there is nothing we can do for her right now that won't risk the lives of other people I love as well. Cali knew and accepted the risk just as any of us do, and she wouldn't want us to risk ourselves for her if there was so little chance for success."

"Doesn't even the smallest chance make it worth it?" I asked, my voice hoarse.

Kado shook his head sadly. "Let her go, Auren."

"I can't." My eyes blurred again.

He sighed. "You have no choice."

Kado pulled me into his arms and held me while I sobbed.

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