A Sneak Peek of Ever Touched

Hi, guys! Erin here. Here is a sneak peek of Ever Touched, book #3 in my Fey Touched series, which will be released on May 1st. This part is from early in the book. Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of its release (that’s like, 30 days from now! Holy cow!).

“What do you see? What do you see?”

Charles was experimenting again, which meant more serum.

More predictions.

More abuse.

The light was too dim and my eyes kept wanting to close. Charles had been slapping me to wake me up.

I hadn’t slept in a while. In fact, it was quite possible I’d not slept for at least twenty-four hours. My sense of time was completely skewed. It felt like night, but I supposed it could be morning.

Or something.

I kept talking.

Every so often I caught sight of a person in the shadows. He never came forward, never helped or hurt me. He just stood there, observing, making notes.

He unnerved me.

“Another injection. Up it by fifty,” Charles said, and I jolted with the pain of it. No one was ever gentle. “It’s not clear enough.” He glanced at me. “Hang on. The ride’s about to get really bumpy…”

And bumpy it was. Images flashed in my mind’s eye like flashes of a camera: a man with black wings. A woman in armor and…wings made of…light? They were talking. She looked transparent underneath the armor. I relayed all of this to Charles, who …

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The Night Forest

The Night Forest

by Kit Campbell

 

She looked through the window though there was nothing to see on the other side; the depths of night hid what lay within her view.

She could sense him behind her, close enough to touch, but not.

“What is it you see out there?” That weird tightness to his voice that had been present lately.

“Nothing,” she said. “I see nothing.”

“Then why do you look?”

She shook her head and turned to look at him, this man who would one day be her husband, though now he drew subtly away from her. Why did she look, when she knew the small window and the black of night would show her nothing?

“It is past midnight,” she said instead. “Why are you not abed?”

“While you wander the halls, so shall I.” A light remark, one that could have been sweet, had she not seen the tension in his shoulders, had he not held himself so far away from her. He was watching her, like she might turn at any moment.

Turn into what, she had not decided.

~*~*~*~*~

The first change had been her difficulty sleeping. She’d taken to wandering the halls at night, though all slept except the guards on the walls. Still, despite her nightly excursions, she was not tired, not drained. But then, when she did sleep, the dream had come.

She was somewhere deep and dark, with trees towering overhead. She could …

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Sun Touched

Sun Touched
by Erin Zarro
a free serial story in the Fey Touched universe

I woke up in filth.

A dirty, cold floor. Two mice chased each other along one equally dirty wall. It was stained with who-knew-what. Musty, sweat-filled air surrounded me. And, I could smell blood.

I looked down. All I wore was a simple cotton shift that opened in the back. I had a bad feeling I knew what that was for. A pool of blood surrounded my leg, so I must have gotten injured somehow. I couldn’t remember what had happened.

I was in a small prison cell. A filthy cot sat in one corner, no blankets. A bucket sat in the opposite corner, and apparently, someone had emptied it recently, because I did not smell the stink of human waste. Thank Artemis for that.

My prison was in a dark, large room.

All I remembered was fighting the rogues with my tribe. I’d spun around to stake one. Then, a punch to my gut, and nothing else.

Where were the others? Had they been captured, too?

I shivered, curling up into a little ball

Freaking hell.

Was anyone around?

I licked my dry lips. “Hello? Anyone there?”

“I see you’ve woken up,” a male voice said from the shadows. He stepped forward, and I saw that he was outside of my cell. And that he was one of the rogues.

I uncurled and stood, not wanting to seem submissive. I was …

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Operating Systems

A poem by Siri Paulson

He was an apple boy
she was an android girl
living their lives side by side
orbits and orbits, never intersect
lost in the space ‘twixt the stars.

He went for coffee here,
white earbuds and logos on every table;
played on the blue side of app-based games,
drank his beer at the chosen locations,
walked the streets with his tribe.

She loved her artisan tea café,
black tablets and laptops everywhere near;
played with the reds, talked smack to the blues,
drank her artisan ciders one gastropub over.
They crossed paths outside and went their own ways.

His school taught him iOS,
hers taught her Linux; he learned to draw
and she programmed on Windows.
They never saw the same job ads; Google
showed them half the world only.

His search results, social media feeds,
the ads that followed him through his day,
pointed all to one reality. Living on the flip side,
she saw black where he saw white,
two views almost entirely unlike.

One saw hope where the other saw fear.
Change was coming too slow, or maybe too fast.
Tilt the world like a kaleidoscope, and watch the facts
fall into place; then tilt again and see them shift.
The patterns are only what you see.

The social networks where they hung out
watched …

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Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate VII

Once wild magic shattered human civilization. Mage-built cities collapsed, spell-sped galleons sank, airships fell from the skies. Magic-born chimerae turned on their creators, and then their neighbors. The peoples of Awrhee fell into barbarism.

But that was generations ago. Humanity has scraped together kingdoms again, and learned to live without magic. Those who practice spellcraft are eyed with suspicion, as are the old ways, and the old places.

Some, however, seek treasure in the ruins of what was. Knowledge, gold, power—it’s out there. Treasure untold for anyone clever enough to find it, bold enough to take it, fast enough to get away with it.

It’s out there, in the Spell-Wracked Lands.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate VII
A Serial Story by KD Sarge

 

The morning had dawned far too bright, and it was too warm as well, making Flame’s head and stomach hurt as if she’d spent the night enjoying herself. She huddled under her hood, enduring the warmth in favor of shade as they left the Stone Eye.

“Flame, do you really think you should take a hearth-cat into the wild?” Lory asked.

“I’m just going,” Flame said. “He’s the one following.”

“He came from the wild,” Kessa said. “He probably doesn’t want to be a city cat. Do you?” She scooped up the cat and cuddled it. “Him doesn’t want to be a …

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Spiritus Viri

by Erin Zarro

After our wedding, Jerry carried me over the threshold of our home: a small ranch that was cozy and practically ancient. We’d repainted most of the walls and removed the carpets, as we liked hardwood floors.

It was our first night in it after the renovations.

I laughed as Jerry fumbled with skirts just to put me down again. “Maybe I’ll just stay in this dress,” I said. I was a bit tipsy from the champagne and dancing. I twirled, watching my skirts flare, then stopped. Except the room didn’t stop spinning.

“You’ll freeze, my lovely wife,” Jerry said, coming up behind me and pulling me against him. “The sheerness of the top…”

“But my bottom half will be warm,” I said with a giggle. I wiggled free and headed toward the bedroom, which sat at the end of the hall. A very long hallway, unlit, in high heels.

“Be careful, Lizzy. I should probably help – ” Whatever he was about to say was lost as he fell, his head hitting the floor with a crack.

I picked up my skirts and went to him. Kneeling, I put my hand gently on a red, large bump that had formed on his head. “Jerry, are you okay? How bad is the pain? Are you dizzy, nauseous – “

“I’m fine. I just tripped on something, that’s all.” He tried to stand, and didn’t seem to have a problem doing that, although he was the type …

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Brothers (A Fractured World Short)

by Siri Paulson

 

Astrolabe started out of a nightmare, his face wet with tears. Toric had been calling for him, his brother’s voice getting farther and farther away as the monster carried him off. It was a Type III monster, the ones with the legs that stayed long and powerful no matter how their bodies shifted. He had known it was pointless to chase the thing, but he’d been trying anyway, in his sleep.

His sheets were twisted and soaked with sweat, and the stump of his right arm ached horribly. It wouldn’t ease up until the doctor’s assistant came to change the dressing and administer his next dose of goatweed. No point trying to sleep again now.

He got out of bed and checked for daylight in the crack between the heavy shutters of the room where he was staying in the Medical wing. Satisfied, he unbolted them one-handed and pushed them open. The night chill was already fading, early morning was seeping across the sky, and he could see the fighter trios trickling back across the rooftops and the street in front of HQ. Some were limping or leaning on each other. Was Theo among them? He didn’t even know whether she was already back on patrol with her new trio, the two young fighters who had replaced him and Toric.

The fighters were only three stories down, but as Astrolabe leaned his head on the window frame to watch, they felt as distant, as …

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A Constant Companion (Fractured World Short)

A Constant Companion

by Kit Campbell

“…as long as you’re living under my roof,” Jael was saying, but Briony tuned him out, choosing instead to glare at the table. Her hands sat on its uneven surface, curled so tightly in on themselves that she could feel her nails digging into her palms.

Behind her, she could hear the laughs of her brother’s small children as his wife told them a story. Their youngest, Brin, would be a year soon, and had taken to copying everything her older brother and sister did, much to the amusement of all involved.

Jael should be in there parenting them. He didn’t need to be parenting her. He wasn’t her father. Just because Mother—

Briony shook her head to clear it of the thought.

“Are you listening to me, Bree?”

“It’s not really your roof, is it?” Briony leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest and staring sullenly at the fireplace. It was a silly argument—she didn’t fault Jael and his family for moving back in, not after… and it was nice to not have to sleep in an empty house. But that didn’t mean he had to act like he owned the place. It was as much hers as his.

Jael groaned and pressed his fingers to his temples. He’d started growing a beard, probably trying to look older. “Bree, for the love of the Old Ones, we’ve been over this. Mother asked me to look after you until …

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Changeling: The Faerie Escape

Changeling
Part 5: The Faerie Escape
a free fantasy serial by Erin Zarro

Links: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

I turned to face the woman who claimed she was my mother, but didn’t feel like my mother at all. My twin was with her, looking terrified.

Mother was pale, and her hands were clenched into fists. “Aisling, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Ronan stepped forward, putting his hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged him away. “Mother, I am leaving here. I belong out there with my family.”

Mother sighed. “Are we going to do this yet again? Your place is here, with me, with your people. I can’t understand why you persist in thinking about these people who aren’t even your real family. Maria will be joining them soon.” She smiled an evil kind of smile, and it made me sick to my stomach.

“I am Maria,” I said. “I’m human with a human family. I’m leaving.”

Ronan took hold of my shoulder again, and this time I allowed it. “Why would the tree want you to heal it if you weren’t one of us?”

Damn that tree. And damn if I didn’t feel guilty now. I glanced at Ronan, wishing he hadn’t said that. “I don’t know.”

“I know,” Mother said. “Because you are one of us. And you are the one to …

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Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate VI

Once wild magic shattered human civilization. Mage-built cities collapsed, spell-sped galleons sank, airships fell from the skies. Magic-born chimerae turned on their creators, and then their neighbors. The peoples of Awrhee fell into barbarism.

But that was generations ago. Humanity has scraped together kingdoms again, and learned to live without magic. Those who practice spellcraft are eyed with suspicion, as are the old ways, and the old places.

Some, however, seek treasure in the ruins of what was. Knowledge, gold, power—it’s out there. Treasure untold for anyone clever enough to find it, bold enough to take it, fast enough to get away with it.

It’s out there, in the Spell-Wracked Lands.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

 

Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate VI
A Serial Story by KD Sarge

 

“You said you would come alone,” the boy blurted when Flame stepped out of the shadows in the correct alley. Flame rolled her eyes.

“My chaperone. He annoys me, but I’ll vouch that he’ll treat everyone else well.”

“The mistress is ready for surprises,” the boy warned, eyeing the ranger. “And she is never questioned when bodies turn up in the lake.”

Ryahled rested a hand on his sword. Flame shot him a glare. “I will vouch for him,” she repeated. “And further vow that if he starts anything I will kill him myself.”

The boy snorted and turned away. “Come, then. Mistress Pwyllydwen …

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