The world was alive. Ancient. Teeming with power. Xun Rosario and her team quested in the High King's name to deal with rogue gods, extra-dimensional monsters and to stay alive despite everything that came their way.
Xun stopped, panting. She ached. Climbing the mountian to the Valley of the Thorns was hard enough without her new teammates.
Keanu Marchetti was as cheerful as Garnett Daughterty was dour. Demigod and Mage matched with Xun's gardening.
Together, they should have the skills necessary to rescue Prince Cyrille Notariano and his lover from the ancient God Dorji Kita.
If not, they were all dead.
Wind whipped around them, icy one second and then dry as a desert the next. Akuchi stood firm against it. The door in the wind blasted them, carrying threat from another world. Or perhaps that threat had already come through with the creeping unnatural moss coating the glade around them. Whatever the threat, Akuchi hoped that he could deal with it. Otherwise, his soulbond Prince Cyrille was doomed
One would think that killing a god and then fighting a monster from another world entitled one to a bit of a break.
One would be wrong.
Garnett wasn't happy to be in Boitumelo tracking down a rogue spell. Or dealing with another Ancient God.
And if Keanu didn't come back from wherever he'd flitted off to Garnett might just turn around and leave without the team.
If that was even possible.
The Silent Winter: floating library that drifted in the sky far above the highest peaks. Only three people lived on it, sworn to keep the evil books from infecting the world below.
Or was there?
Prince Cyrille returned to the Silent Winter, intent on locating a missing librarian.
Alone, trapped, he had to find a way to not just survive but also defeat the evil of the Silent Winter.
Rich brown velvet that wasn't actually real gave under Keanu's fingers as he slowly sank back into the chair he'd been offered. Oh, so graciously offered.
One could hardly be offended at all.
Except Keanu knew that he was in danger.
Because someone had stolen the moon and Keanu was supposed to find out who.
If he didn't, he'd be the one to pay the price for it.
With his life.
Xun's breath puffed into the air, crystallizing in a cloud. So cold. If Chifundo hadn't begged…
But she had. And Xun had to answer her, treking all the way up to the glaciers over Turnbull.
Only to discover that Chifundo didn't want her.
Or need her.
Something was very, very wrong. Xun had to fix it or lose her cousin forever.
If it wasn't already too late.
The Headquarters of the Snakes of the Empire was a blot against the white marble of the Holy City. Akuchi would rather be anywhere but here. Bonding to Prince Cyrille was the best thing that had ever happened to him. It had taken him from this duty and he was so glad. But his old friend Kirran Pekkanen waited for help that only Akuchi could give. Though Akuchi refused to give what he demanded.
Cyrille strolled to the library window overlooking the east rose garden, Akuchi by his side. Misty rain fell outside.
Odd for his favorite place in the world to be so grim but then the murderous ghost haunting the High King's library was a great threat.
Greater than Cyrille usually faced.
For being possessed by a ghost determined to kill the High King might get Cyrille and Akuchi both murdered.
Keanu clung to his form. Only Cyrille, his beloved First Follower, kept him from being blown apart by the power of the sea surrounding him.
Baby gods should never confront the Gods of the Sea. They just shouldn't.
But the team needed Keanu so he had to cope with the roar of the waves, the pounding of the surf, the tearing at his fragile energies.
The air stank of roses. Nothing good came from roses, especially these.
Garnett kept one hand over his mouth to keep the pollen out. He would not give the Goddess Gyanyu a chance to capture him again.
Not after escaping all those years ago.
But there was no escape now, not with Xun leading them deeper into Gyanyu's territory and the High King's orders.
Towards the slaves of the roses.
The steppes were cold, stunningly cold, not that Xun felt it. The blood of Dorji Kita shielded her from the worst of it.
Unfortunately, it also prevented her from seeing and hearing the dark threat lurking under the steppes, waiting to flood out and consume all of the Red Hunters.
The Red Hunters asked Xun for help.
But how could one woman face down something this powerful and not be drowned?
Gods dwell in everything. Above, below and between, the Gods imbue everything with life. And death. When Dorji Kita goes mad and kidnaps Prince Cyrille and his soulbond, the warrior Akuchi, it falls to gardener Xun Rosario and her newly formed team to save them. No matter the cost to Dorji Kita. Or to them. Includes ten short stories and a sample of the upcoming novella, Waves of the Falling Moon.
The eclipse was coming.
Xun roamed her mother's place halls, unable to sleep. Restless energy filled her; Dorji Kita's energy.
She would have called it boredom with being home if it weren't for visiting deities, prophecies of destruction…
…and Xun losing her humanity inch by inch.
Change was coming for Xun and this time she wasn't sure that it could be fought.
Sweat dripped down Garnett's ribs to pool at the beltline. Coming home, back to his house and his friends and his former lover Kali, wasn't something he'd planned on doing.
But when home called, Garnett came.
Because Kali had changed since the eclipse of the falling moon. Garnett didn't know if it was his fault. It might be.
If so, Garnett would do whatever he had to to save Kali.
Six hours of training, riding, helping build a wall around Countess Delaney's fortress and now Akuchi had to go to a party. He'd been on battle fields that felt less like a trap than this room did.
Until he realized that this was a true trap, that magic had sealed them all in.
With everyone else caught in the spell, Akuchi was the only one who could decipher the riddle of the lights of the stone
If there was one thing that Cyrille accepted, it was that his horse was a nervous wreck. He didn't care. She was lovely and he'd never chose a different horse. Still, when Sunshine's behavior suddenly flipped on its head, Cyrille didn't expect that it was anything more than a curse or a spell. He certainly didn't expect that it all went back to him.
Su Magee's house was squalid. Strange from a woman who took such care with her appearance. The mud-walled hut was something she'd expect from the poorest of Mama Rosario's people, not someone who worked at court. Except no, it wasn't Su Magee. Ancient magic was warping the world around Su Magee's house and Xun was the only one who could fix this. If she had the time before the effect was lethal.
Snow drifted implacably out of the sky. The clear blue sky.
Keanu frowned, unsure what ancient magic could have created this pocket of snow in the middle of the jungle.
As the others left, Keanu hesitated. And then found himself trapped, his power burning away by the seconds.
God or not, the snow would consume him if he didn't figure out what was going on.
Keanu was on his own.
Water dripped relentlessly, each drop echoing like the blows of a hammer nailing shut a coffin.
A coffin that doomed Cyrille.
He glared at the darkness around him, at the monster he couldn't see. This was not going to be his end. No so-called 'emperor of shards' would throw him into a pit to die.
No matter what it took, he'd get free and get his vengeance.
Fire in the night. Garnett didn't know what had happened to Abiah Knutson hundreds of years ago but since the eclipse Knutson's house caught fire every night.
A mystery, to be sure.
Not one that Garnett wanted, despite his curiosity about Knutson's mysterious disappearance.
He didn't have a choice though as their team had been commanded to solve the mystery, no matter what the price might be.
The air Keanu had summoned dripped moisture. As it should. A thousand feet below the surface, one expected dampness.
One did not expect the Gods of the Sea to request Keanu and the team locate a baby god.
Even less did one expect that Keanu would know that god: Narinder Vieth, who had been part of the conspiracy that nearly saw Keanu destroyed for 'stealing' the throne of the moon.
Gods live in all the quiet places. Behind every single event, a god lurks, alive, dead, undead.
Their power buoys up the world and tears it down.
When Gods threaten mortal life, one team is called in to deal with it: Xun Rosario and her God Killers.
But challenging Gods changes not just the world. It changes your soul, too.
Includes an excerpt of Secrets in the Prayers.