believed it to be?
turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and
move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her
new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral
wolf caged inside him.
they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s
mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface.
They don’t understand what’s happening to them or why, and they’re
running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.
in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than
either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust
themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery
surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the
I jumped as his voice sounded clear as bells in my head.
What are you doing? His mental voice was too calm. He’d heard my thoughts.
My face burned. I was trying to talk to you. I don’t exactly know how to do it, I answered, defensive and mortified. I didn’t mean to share those last thoughts with him, and like so much else, he received them anyway.
Again, it just wasn’t fair.
I guess it worked. He sounded amused, though his tone seemed darker than usual, like when he kissed me. I stored that knowledge away for future use.
I don’t know where Chelle lives.
You could have called.
Why? You never call me.
Would you like me to call you?
No. I had his attention now. Why bother with the phone? It didn’t make sense. Still, would it kill him to pick up the phone once in a while, like normal people did, instead of always leaving me to do the calling?
I’m not normal people, Arionna.
How could one boy be so clueless?
Oh, forget it. Where does Chelle live?
run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike
any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren’t strong enough to stop
destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been
consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he
is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward
self-destruction. This time, Arionna isn’t sure she can save him from
himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true
destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the
people she loves?
I stood alone in a shadowy cavern, my legs trembling.
Ancient torches flickered around me, so brittle they looked as if a single touch would destroy them. Massive boulders shot upward in the eerie, inky light, standing like endless mountains barring my way. My gaze bounced across round and jagged alike, trying to pick out where one ended and the others began. I couldn’t tell the difference, though.
My attention drifted and skittered around the cavern, focusing everywhere except on what waited for me beyond the thick fingers of solid earth standing like the bars of a prison ahead. Soft, ominous rumbles sounded from that direction, so deep the cavern floor vibrated beneath my feet.
Run, Arionna. Run.
I fought to listen to the voice of reason urging me to flee for my life, but I couldn’t seem to keep my legs locked in place. The compulsion to move, to look, to see, was too strong.
I took a step forward, then another, slipping through narrow cracks between one rock and the next.
The rough surface scraped against my arms and tugged at my hair, pulling small strands away from my scalp. I kept moving though, squeezing between narrow openings until the craggy ground gave way, ending suddenly at a frothy river.
I glanced across the foamy water.
My lungs stopped functioning.
The endless spread of boulders scattered all around were tiny pebbles compared to the solitary mass of earth on the far side of the underground channel. A chain wound around and through the mountainous rock, so thin it was almost invisible to the eye.
I ran my gaze across the shimmering links, checking to ensure the magic bond still held firm.
Air shuddered into my lungs.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid, I chanted to myself, but when I turned my head, my heart pounded uncomfortably anyway.
I bit my lip to keep from crying out when my gaze landed on the monstrous black wolf lunging against the tiny chain. Foam ran in buckets down his chest and into the river around him, as if his hatred cut a canyon of desiccation through the rock like a knife through butter. He towered over me, taller and wider than any wolf I’d ever seen. He was a giant. A Titan.
I shivered at the sound of his name echoing in my head.
He gnashed his razor-sharp teeth and roared, struggling against the chain binding him to earth. The sound echoed throughout the massive cavern, bouncing from rock to rock in the same deep, ominous rumble I heard earlier.
Pebbles showered down from overhead, falling to the dirt floor all around.
Fenrir shook them off, then tried to leap.
The chain stretched taut, groaning in protest, but it held firm.
Fenrir hit the ground―hard―and was up again in an instant.
He coiled, crouching as if preparing to spring again, then twitched.
He stilled, not even his chest moving when he drew breath. Sanity flickered in his gaze for a brief moment, burning away the obsessive rage pouring from him. What swept through those yellow eyes in its place was far worse: intelligence.
Fenrir knew his prison would not hold him forever. Eventually, he would break free.
Not today. Please, not today, I pleaded, hoping someone in charge heard me.
Fenrir sniffed the air.
I stopped breathing, praying he didn’t see me standing amongst the rocks.
He turned his head slowly in my direction, one ear twitching.
His rage-filled gaze met mine and held. Recognition flared in his baleful eyes.
I trembled, trapped in his sights like a prisoner, unable to move. The wolf sharing my soul snarled, trying to shake herself free of the thrall freezing me in place. She was too weak to do more than flutter and twist inside me though.
Fenrir’s lip curled in a menacing snarl as he looked into me, looked through me, and saw everything I was and everything connecting me to him. For a moment, no more than a split second really, he looked pleased. As if he knew his wait was almost over.
And then rage blazed to life in his eyes again, wiping away recognition and replacing it with burning, poisonous hate.
He growled low in his throat, the sound that of a gathering storm.
The cavern floor vibrated beneath my feet again.
Pebbles showered down, striking my arms, my legs… my face. Each hit stung and burned.
The river of foam at my feet churned across the rocks like mini-tidal waves.
Dust filled the air in thick puffs, choking me.
Fenrir dove toward me, howling.
she never expected the chaos she would leave in her wake. Now her
closest friend is dead, and another is missing, forcing Ari to return
to face the devastating consequences of her actions and the broken
boy she left behind.
Arionna finds herself weakening when Freki’s cage shatters. Fighting
the wolf for control is tearing her apart piece by piece. And at
every turn, she finds that those she’s put her faith in aren’t who
they seem, bringing her face to face with Sköll and Hati. As the
depth of their betrayal is revealed, Freki spirals out of control,
and Arionna must face her greatest fear: losing herself to the fierce
lives of her friends and her own future with the alpha she loves.
Will she be able to stand firm for the sake of the world, or will she
falter in the face of defeat?
“Arionna, dammit, wake up.”
Unseen hands gripped my upper arms, shaking me. A familiar voice called my name over and over. Furious howls ripped through the air.
None of those sounds made sense to me.
I felt different, like I’d been taken apart and put back together in the wrong order. Everything hurt. My body ached, muscles locked tight in protest. My head throbbed. Each painful pulse rattled against my skull, sending ripples down my neck and into my back.
I groaned and rolled onto my side.
The hands shaking me relaxed.
I fought to open my eyes, then blinked, confused. Worn brown carpet scratched against the side of my face. The bottom edge of a pale blue bed-sham fluttered inches from me. Dust bunnies and small pieces of plastic were strewn beneath the sagging bed. A table and two chairs were grouped on the other side. A crack ran up the leg of one chair, splitting the wood.
None of the room looked familiar.
Where am I?
The voice calling my name stopped mid-shout and sighed.
Oh, thank god, he said.
For what? I wondered, marveling that the words came from inside my mind, but didn’t belong to me. How was that possible?
I couldn’t place the soft, silky tones either, but they made my stomach flip and my heart flutter. I knew the speaker. At least I thought I did. Before I could ask him who he was or how he spoke in my head, someone blew out a sharp breath. This time, the sound didn’t come from inside.
“Finally,” that second voice said.
Nope. Definitely not coming from my mind.
I rolled my eyes toward the relieved sound, and then frowned at the guy leaning over me. Long, dark hair hung in his face. His eyes were black, and full of concern. His features were sharp, severe, but handsome.
This time I was certain; I knew this guy.
“Ronan,” I said. His name was Ronan LaCrosse, and mine was… Arionna. Yes, Arionna Jacobs. Memory began to slowly trickle back in. We were at a motel in Illinois, looking for someone. And the howls were coming from Fuki, the little wolf we’d brought with us, though I couldn’t see him.
Where was he?
I tried to figure out why I was on the floor, but came up with a big blank.
“What happened?” I asked, looking up at Ronan.
He held out a hand for me, then pulled me into a sitting position.
The room tilted before straightening again. I clutched my head in my hands, groaning. When the initial wave of nausea passed, I tilted my head up slowly so I could see Ronan. “Did I hit my head?” I asked, trying to blink away the dark spots floating in my peripheral.
“You don’t remember?” He narrowed his eyes, tilting his head to the side like a raven assessing me.
I scooted back against the edge of the bed, frowning.
What was I supposed to remember?
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series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood
sweetheart/husband of thirteen years, and their six furry minions.
When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering,
causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa
cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic
Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in
CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social
services and CJ field.
Ayden K. Morgen.