Thursday, January 9, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Lights of Aurora by Theresa McClinton

Book Blurb:
After the discovery of her ancient Maya bloodlines, eighteen-year-old Ashley Coreandero is faced with a daunting responsibility. She must protect the stone of Muuk’Ich while Sarian, the underworld general, relentlessly drives her to the brink of insanity.

As the winter solstice approaches, it brings an onslaught of unexpected side effects. Ashley must seize control over her supercharged powers, while dealing with the overwhelming suspicion that her boyfriend, Arwan, is hiding a secret so dark it could destroy them both.

With the arrival of a surprise houseguest, Ashley’s deepest fears about Arwan are confirmed. And when middleworld deities intercede, the group of gifted Maya descendants are confronted with hardships they never saw coming—including an enemy more deadly than they have ever faced.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned—but when that woman has no soul and a taste for revenge, they will need the powers of every surviving ancestor simply to stay alive.

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Ashley stood at least ten feet away; her hands were tucked under her chin while she continued to take backward steps.
“Ashley—” His voice was cracked and raw.
“Where are we?” Her tone was now a soft whisper. “What happened to you?”
He wanted to answer her questions, but each one was more difficult to explain. He’d start with the first and work his way down—if he could just get to his feet. With a push, he finally stood.
Ashley jumped.
The anguish in his heart deepened. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He gripped his ribs, which ached from the impact of his body landing on the stone ground. “Please stop trying to get away from me.”
She shook her head. Strands of wild hair hung around her face. “You.” That single word carried more accusation than he could stand.
He straightened his posture, still gripping his side. “I got us through.”
“By giving your blood.”
He turned his head and examined the placid cave lake yards away. The mirrored surface reflected the light from the glittering clusters of rocks overhead, glowing like amber stars.
“You better tell me what the hell is going on, and I mean right now.” She jabbed her finger in the air, glaring at him.
It wouldn’t be that simple. In order to get through the gate, she’d have to trust him. If she knew everything, there was no way that would happen.
“We need to pass through the gate to enter the underworld, Ashley.”
Her eyebrows pushed together and she let out an exasperated breath. “So you’re just going to pretend like nothing happened? Like you didn’t just slit your own wrist!” She raked flyaways out of her face, and then rubbed her chest with her free hand, panic in her features.
Arwan knew Ashley hadn’t suffered an anxiety attack in a while, but if anything was going to set it off, this was certainly worthy. He stepped toward her and rested his hands on her arms.
“Listen to me,” he said softly, holding her gaze. “Now that we’re crossed from the middleworld to the gate, we need to pass through.”
“Why aren’t you answering me?” She squared her jaw. He knew that look. She wasn’t going to back down. She pulled away from him. “You’ve been lying to me.” It was a very matter-of-fact statement, and he didn’t know how to respond. Not at the moment at least.
“I never lied to you, and I swear I’ll tell you everything when we get out of the caves.”
No. You said you would tell me if I wanted to know.” Her arms crossed over her chest, her hands balled into fists. “I want to know.”
“We can’t do this right now, and if you’d just listen to me for a moment, you’d understand why.”
Her shoulders trembled while she continued the facade of being fearless. But he could see she was freezing cold and on the edge of breaking down. Every muscle in his body ached to hold her and ease her shaking, like he did at the coffin house, when she still wanted him. He could almost feel the warmth of her bare skin from the dressing room just a day ago—something he’d be lucky to experience ever again.
Her silence dragged on another moment before she hung her head, and her shoulders dropped. “It’s not like I have much of a choice now, so fine.”
He stared at the lake, then dragged his gaze back to her, the dread spreading deep to his bones. “The water is the portal.” He swallowed, and braced himself for her reaction.
“We have to swim? We’ll die from the cold. You know that, right? It’s suicide.”
He clenched his fists. “Exactly.”
Her eyes grew wide. “What?”
“We have to drown. Water is the portal, it always has been. Only the dead can enter the underworld. We have to die to get through. It’s the only way.”
She inched away from the water while staring into the murky depths. “No.” She glanced at him. “I can’t…” She turned and rushed to the farthest wall, frantically prying her fingers between every seam in the stone. “There has to be a way out of here.” With every word, her voice rose in pitch until it cracked.
She reached and stooped, searching more cave wall.
She was terrified. This was the last thing he wanted. “I asked if you were sure you wanted to continue. I told you there was no way out.”
She spun, pumping her fists opened and closed. Electricity sparked over her skin as the light in her chest flickered to life. But its color was dark, and her face took on the same shadowed exterior he would expect to see from someone in his native realm.
Ashley took a bold step forward. “You did not tell me we would have to drown in a freezing cold lake to get there,” she spat, pointing at the water. She clenched her chest. A bead of sweat ran down her temple. “Wha—”
She dropped to her knees and doubled over on the ground. Arwan hauled her up and cradled her against his chest. Something was wrong. He’d never seen her look so threatening. It reminded him of Sarian and his ominous grin. Maybe Sarian’s hold on the stone was affecting her. In that case, her situation was worse than he thought.
Her body trembled, silence weighing heavy in the air. He’d do anything to make her unafraid, but death was so profound, and it brought even the most courageous men to their knees.
“If you want to get Jayden back, this is what we have to do,” he whispered. “We can’t go back the way we came. The water is the only way out.”
With her forehead rested on his shoulder, she shook her head. “I can’t,” she whimpered. Her fingers twisted into the front of his shirt. “I’m scared.”
“I know.” Her entire body pressed against his, and it spent every ounce of strength he had not to kiss her softly and whisper in her ear. So he would tell her the only thing he knew that might calm her down. “It won’t last.” He buried his face in her hair. “It just takes a second, and it’s over.”
He scooped her into his arms and stepped toward the gate. Her arms laced around his neck when he made his first step into the lake.
The freezing water flooded his shoes and his feet immediately tingled with frostbite. His muscles tensed as the water inched up his body with every step. His lips quivered.
The still surface now rippled with movement, and the amber glow of the rocks reflected off the silken waves, absorbing the color and painting the lake scarlet.
When the water touched Ashley’s skin, she gasped and clung tighter to his neck. He paused for a moment. If there were only another way. “It will feel like you’re dying…” He took a moment to contemplate his words. “And you will be. But we’re beyond the middleworld now, and death means something different here. Once we leave the underworld, we’ll return to the middleworld unharmed.” His words didn’t seem to offer her any solace, though there was little he could do to remedy that.
It would be better to get it over with as quickly as he could. He knew she would fight. It was human instinct to run from death.
Heaven help him.
He’d have to hold her under.

A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa began her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and feature articles to delve into the whimsical world of fiction.

Since then, Theresa has been married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and has been repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having traveled to over a dozen countries—not to mention an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, Theresa will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.

Coming Soon: 13th Street, Novella 2.5 of The Stone Legacy Series

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi! Thanks so much for having me on your blog for the Lights Of Aurora book tour! I'm really excited to be here and can't wait to chat with you and your readers! :D

    1. email bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

  2. What a fascinating book! Thanks for sharing the great excerpt. How many books are planned for this series?

  3. great title and love the cover - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com


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