This book deserves a proper introduction. I am not a die-hard fan of the Paranormal/Fantasy genre and have always been very selective in my picks, but at the same time I have spent more than one sleepless night devouring series like The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, … so I’d like to think of myself as “hard to please” rather than a non-fan. That is the way I approach this genre because I know that once in a while a series does comes along and it knocks my socks off, it leaves me breathless for the next instalment and makes me stalk the author relentlessly, desperate for teasers, clues, anything. Well, the Fate series by Heather Lyons is THAT series. Apart from being spectacularly written, it is so imaginative and original, so emotional and honest, it engaged every one of my book junkie brain cells. It made me dream with my eyes open of another world where Fate determines one’s destiny, where hearts are tied together by invisible binds, helpless in whom they love or in their heartbreak. This series might technically fall into the Mature Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy category, but it is so much more than that and it should be read by EVERYONE!
Read my review of A Matter of Fate (Fate #1) …
Today, I am honoured to be sharing with you the stunningly beautiful cover of the second book in the series, designed by Carly Stevens, and a delicious never-seen-before excerpt. I give you A Matter of Heart…
Expected release date: June 2013
Why does he have to be so fricking good at being an Emotional? Not only can he and Jonah pinpoint an exact feeling in a plethora of jumbled, messy ones, but they can also sense out the whys, wheres, whos and hows beyond such emotions. Jonah tells me that he chooses to tune most people out when he isn’t on a mission because it can wear him down to be privy to numerous emotions over an extended amount of time, but I’m the one person he never, ever blocks out. It’s a Connection thing, he says, less because he’s physically incapable of doing it and more because he sees that link to me as comforting. How anyone, even Jonah, can find my crazy feelings comforting is truly astounding.
I wonder if Kellan is the same.
But no—he’s chosen to block me out for eight months. Longer even, if I were to count the time in high school he avoided me. He chose to stay away.
He chose to let me go.
Anger transitions to sorrow. My emotions are all over the place, and I don’t know if I ought to just hold onto the roller coaster or simply let go.
“You know this is how it has to be,” Kellan tells me from his spot on the wall. He’s twisting the studded leather cuff on his wrist over and over, looking as miserable as I feel. But then, when he realizes my eyes are on him, the misery is replaced with indifference.
The fact that he can look so calm, so indifferent at will when I am angsting thankfully turns the sorrow back to anger. “Must be nice, having all the answers.”
His head leans back against the wall. “I wouldn’t know what that’s like.”
I laugh. It’s completely unattractive sounding, all brittle and false. “Could’ve fooled me.”
He lets go of the cuff and rubs at his hair. “What do you want me to say here? I’m trying my best.”
Maybe it’s the situation we’re in, trapped inside some random cave on the Elvin plane. Maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t spoken more than a sentence to each other in nearly eight months. Maybe it’s because I’m incredibly messed up, someone who selfishly clings to things she shouldn’t. Maybe it’s in reaction to hearing that Jonah’s struggling right now, too and it’s making me needy because there’s nothing I can do. Maybe it’s because there’s a very real possibility that we might never get out of this cave alive. But I can no longer help myself. I blurt out, laughing that ugly laugh, “What’s that? Trying your best to pretend I don’t even exist anymore?”
Caleb does the mental equivalent of throwing his hands in the air in defeat. I ignore him. Clearing the air, seeing where we stand, laying the cards on the table—whatever it is I’m trying to do, and the truth is, even I’m not so sure at the moment what that might be, feels just as critically important as breathing.
The cuff spins on his wrist. “Don’t do this, C.”
Where does he get off, acting the victim? I plow forward, incensed. “You—”
“Don’t,” he stresses, and his eyes are so sad, so … so vulnerable, I guess. Only for the quickest of seconds, not long enough for me to assure myself they were really there or not. But I pause long enough for Caleb to barrage me with a hundred and six reasons why Kellan is right with his request.
Not to mention remind me how Kellan is technically receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to the Connection we share. Because I chose Jonah. And how that must truly suck for Kellan, knowing he can never be with his Connection.
The large cave closes in around me. My skin is too hot, my clothes too tight. The air is hard to pull into my lungs. All of my thoughts scatter, and I’m seeing Kellan for the first time in my history class in high school, and the letter he wrote telling me he no longer thought we could be friends in perfect, excruciating clarity, and a zillion other moments, small and large. And my heart hurts, physically aches while bites are taken out of it.
But when I look back at Kellan, boredom practically radiates from every pore. And that just slays me, because here I am, feeling so many, many things, and he’s acting like he doesn’t have a singular care in the worlds, now I’ve gone quiet and he’s gotten his way.
Had I imagined it? Was the vulnerability yet another act he’s perfected that I’ve always been too blind to notice before? Or, worse yet—did he force me to back down by manipulating my feelings without my permission?
I want to wipe that expression off his face.
I want to hurt him like he’s hurting me. Hit him where it counts.
My fists clench. “You’re an asshat.”
And he proves it, because he doesn’t even bother looking at me. Instead, he yawns before offering a leisurely, “That’s probably true.”
Nothing Caleb can say will stem this tide now. “Do you want to know what I hear about you?”
Now he’s picking at his nails. “Not particularly.”
I stomp closer. “Why are you acting like this?”
His eyes finally find mine. And if he’s truly acting, he’s worthy of golden awards, because damn if I don’t see anything other than boredom and disdain in those orbs of blue. “Acting like what?”
“Like you … I don’t know. Don’t care or something!”
He looks me up and down, and had anyone else done that with the same look of carefully cultivated derision, I just might’ve slapped them. “Whatever.”
I struggle to find anything that will sting. “Jonah would’ve gotten us out of here by now. He wouldn’t be sitting on his ass, picking at his nails. He would have done something by now.”
Kellan looks up at me, eyebrows raised. Daring me to continue.
I throw out my coup de grace. “I wish it was him here.”
He surges to his feet. “That makes two of us.” When he’s not two feet away, he snaps, “Jonah puts up with your shit way too often. Grow up, Chloe.”
I bristle. “Yeah, well, to put up with my shit, he actually has to be around me. Which isn’t something you are mature enough to do.”
Now he laughs. “Is that the problem? I’m not being mature enough for you?”
“Let’s see.” I pretend to consider this. “No.”
I’m scrutinized before he lets out another laugh. “Wow. You actually believe that.”
I cross my arms and lift an eyebrow of my own. Despite Caleb’s very vocal censure, I let my body and soul fill with all of the toxic sensations of just how much Kellan’s let me down this last year.
It hits home, just like I knew it would. Kellan’s eyes narrow; his lean frame tightens with barely controlled anger. “You think I’m an asshat? How about this: you’re a bitch.”
This might’ve once made me cry, but I’m reveling in the fact he’s losing his perfect control. “That’s probably true.”
A step brings him so close his hot breath hits my cheek. “It’s always all about you, isn’t it? What Chloe wants. What Chloe needs. You never stop to think about what other people want or need, do you?”
I lob another of his words at him. “Whatever.”
He surprises me by immediately cutting to the heart of the matter. “Have you ever stopped to think why I keep my distance?”
All the time, I think, before my self-righteous anger slaps back the rising guilt.
My neck cranes to look up at him. He’s trembling, he’s so angry. “Or stop to consider that Jonah might be listening to all of this insane bullshit you’re spewing right now?”
Okay. That gives me pause, not to mention alarm.
“That he can see right through your tantrum and know, just as easily as I, why you’re actually doing all of this?”
My heart does a funny stutter. “Is he?”
“Oh, so it’s alright to put the brakes on if Jonah’s listening, but otherwise, it’s okay to torture me, huh?”
I don’t need Caleb to tell me to retreat. I’ve crossed too many lines here, and I’m well aware of it. I physically take a step back. “Kellan, I—”
“You, what?” He closes the gap I just created. “You’re sorry? I already know you are. You’re upset over me keeping my distance? I already know that, too.”
“You chose to stay away,” I manage to whisper over the screaming outside.
And then he says, “You’re engaged to my brother.”
And my heart breaks.
“I am trying.” There’s no more indifference, no remnants of boredom. He is all wild anger now. “Do you know how hard it’s been for me, what it’s been like to actually act upon what’s best for you and my brother, rather than myself?” I open my mouth, but he cuts me off immediately. “No, of course you don’t. You’re only thinking about yourself, about your hurt feelings. Gods forbid you actually take a moment to consider mine.”
The cave spins around me. I want to reach out and grab something, to steady myself against his attack, but there’s nothing, no one nearby but him.
“I am trying to do the mature thing here.” His words crack just as surely as his carefully constructed façade. “And yet, it’s still not good enough for you. So maybe you ought to just tell me how I ought to act, since I’m clearly doing it wrong.”
I merely stare up at him in delicate wonder. No words surface. Because he’s absolutely right on every account.
An unbearable tension surrounds us, so thick I just know I could touch it if I let my fingers trail through the air in the sliver of space between our bodies. It’s hard to get a proper breath, especially since my heart is hammering so loud that he must hear it over the screaming.
Don’t do it, Caleb whispers.
Kellan’s chest rises and falls rapidly. He’s angry, and hurt, and his heart must be slamming around, too, because I can see it, actually see it thumping beneath his shirt. My hand moves on its own and hovers over that spot, so close I can imagine exactly how the thrum would feel under the pads of my fingers.
Don’t do it, my Conscience reiterates.
I don’t know if it’s because I do it or he presses forward, but now my hand rests on his chest, and the feel of his heart is so strong, so familiar, I’m overwhelmed by the emotions flooding over me. He has to grab my arm to steady me.
Jonah, Caleb says, but his voice is faint in the clamor of our heartbeats.
“I can’t do this.” I look up once more to find his eyes dark and sad. There is no need to ask for clarification.
“Me either,” I tell him. And I mean it. I genuinely do.
So why am I so disappointed when he pulls away?
No longer in high school, Chloe Lilywhite is now living and working in Annar, the Magicals’ city-state plane of existence. Since moving, she’s joined the Council, gone on missions with the Guard, moved into her own apartment, and enrolled at the University of Annar. Plus, she’s happily engaged to be married to Jonah Whitecomb, the literal man from her dreams, not to mention her Connection. While she still struggles with aspects of her craft, Chloe feels like she’s finally coming into her own, especially after a difficult year that had her questioning nearly everything in her life.
After a brutal attack by the Elders, her life is turned upside down once more. Accusations fly throughout the Council and Guard, forcing Chloe to confront her worst fears about what’s she’s capable of as a Creator. And then there’s the matter of Kellan Whitecomb, Jonah’s twin brother and Chloe’s ex, who resurfaces after disappearing months before. Although Chloe chose Jonah, and despite their best efforts, the two find it hard to stay away from one another.
But no matter what Fate throws at her, Chloe is determined to take charge of her life, even as it begins to spiral out of control.
Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words. She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher.
Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.
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