Bride of the Harvest Wolf

Be careful what you wish for,
Because magic is always two parts wondrous, one part cruel.

As part of an ancient accord, the inhabitants of the unusual alpine town of Zurent must offer up one girl every fourteen cycles to the Harvest Wolf to be his bride…or his dinner.

Shapeshifter deities, magic, and mythology collide in this imaginative nine-part coming of age fantasy romance series!

Bride of the Harvest Wolf

=>>>>——— Episode One ———<<<<=

Reckless wild-child Sienna Kendrick has longed for one thing since she was fourteen—the attention of Thomas Zurent, the dashingly handsome son of the town’s wealthiest founding family. And on the night of the New Grand Cycle festival when this plucky weaver’s daughter turns seventeen she gets exactly what she desires. But is Thomas’ attention truly what Sienna wants? Or is she concealing a yearning within her heart for something darker—something taboo—something forbidden?

The hour has come, the clock has struck fourteen, and per ancient accord, the thirty-sixth bride of the Harvest Wolf is about to be selected. But will she be his beloved…or his dinner?

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Bride of the Harvest Wolf

=>>>>——— Episode Two ———<<<<=

The Spirit Guardians have just granted reckless wild-child Sienna Kendrick the secret desire of her heart—an adventure outside the town walls of Zurent. There’s just one catch; they’ve also selected her as the thirty-sixth bride of the Harvest Wolf. A role some regard as an honor, and others a death sentence. Now this plucky hunter’s daughter will have to undertake a journey into the woods, where nightmares she has spent cycles trying to forget prowl the dark shadows.

The selection has been made, the journey through the woods has begun, but will Sienna even make it to the Palace of Eternal Autumn alive?

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Digital $2.99 | Print $8.99

Bride of the Harvest Wolf

=>>>>——— Episode Three ———<<<<=

The selection has been made, the journey has proved perilous, but does Sienna still have a chance of making it to the Palace of Eternal Autumn alive?

Coming Soon!
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Read the Series Prologue

PROLOGUE

Airday, the 2nd of Liskastra, 91st Cycle of the Fox

1272 Cycles Since the Departure of Night

Zet — The Human Homeworld

KESSEL

THE BLADE SLIDES THROUGH ME with a searing burn. A burn that no mortal blade has any right to have.

My eyes flash open as I jerk away from its touch. And then I am falling. I hit the floor hard in a tangled mess of cloth. I fight my way free from the fabric only to tumble back down to the floor. My legs as wobbly and useless as a reindeer calf’s. My limbs feeling as though they have slept for a hundred cycles. My head spinning at a sickening rate. My vision blurring and refocusing in a way that tells me I have most likely been poisoned.

I squeeze my eyes shut, but the spinning in my head continues on unhindered. My fingers slide down my cheek to my chest, but no warm fur greets my fingers. My eyes flash open again, the shock making me forget that I cannot stand. I crash back to the floor, so hard it knocks the air from my lungs in a painful rush.

Where is my pelt? Why do I not have—?

Clarity rings through my head like broken glass. The matchbonding. The elixir. The Joining room. I am in the Spirit Temple!

“Jessa!” I call out frantically, my tongue the only part of me that seems to have escaped the cold numbness spreading through my body like ice water. Where is Jessa?!

A figure rises slowly from the circular moon bed in the center of the fourteen-sided Joining room in the Spirit Temple complex. The sensual curves of a female form silhouetted against the moonlight. A shape I know as well as my own.

“Jessa…” The rest of the words turn to air as I notice the blade gripped in her left hand.

“Monster, what have you done with my kaera en? What have you done with my Kessel?” Jessa asks the darkness, a primal edge to her words that warps her voice into something foreign. My heart slows and my wolf ears lay flat as I stare up at her wide-eyed. It takes me a moment longer than it should to realize she is addressing me.

“Jessa, what on Lunaris? It is me, it is your Kessel.” I reach out toward her, but her knife flashes between us like a viper strike. And even in this dim light my wolf eyes do not miss a thing.

Obsidian. Black Death. The only thing on Zet capable of killing a Spirit Guardian. Of killing me.

I cannot make sense of the scene in front of me. Of my astra pari, my wife, my Jessa, standing over me with the only thing she knows can truly harm me.

“Will you not answer, Monster? Will you not answer for your crimes?” She lunges at me with the obsidian blade and I try to dodge backward. But my hand slips on the tangled mess of cloth and I fall, slamming my head into the wooden floor.

I blink away the dancing stars in time to see the blade arcing toward me again. I dive away from her, the movement feeling like I am treading through deep mud. And that is when I know for certain that I have been poisoned. That someone at the matchbonding feast has fed me the flesh and the blood of something that once drew breath. Something that I, a Spirit Guardian, should never consume.

I put my hand to the floor to push myself into a better position, and pull it back just as quickly, because it burns like nothing I have ever felt before. Cradling my hand, I look down at the floor. But there is no fire here, no hot coals that could have caused this pain. And that is when I notice the carvings on the floor. The ones that are etched deep into the cedar wood in a circle that emerges and then disappears under the edge of the rug that covers the floor beneath the moon bed. The ones that spell out my name, my true name in the Tongue of the Stars. A name that only one other can claim possession of.

Jessa.

The human girl moves around me and the carved rune circle like a predatory animal, and panic begins to prickle across my skin like icy darts. This cannot be Jessa. I have never seen her move like this—never seen such unfathomable loathing cloaking her gentinia-blue eyes. Still brilliant even in this darkness, her harvest-red hair turned black in the dim light. And the fear begins to solidify in the pit of my stomach. Something has gone so very, very wrong.

I swallow hard, and part my lips to speak. But her eyes dart away from me to a side of the Joining room, and then another. She cocks her head to one side as if listening to something, the gesture more raven than girl.

“Stop this,” she barks out suddenly. “Stop, I do not want to hear this. Stop!” she jerks away from the walls, flinching as if someone has thrown something at her. Her head curled into her chest, her forearms shielding her from something.

My wolf ears raise up slowly and swivel around, but still I hear nothing other than the sluggish beating of my own heart. I swallow hard and chance a look away from Jessa. It is only for a second, but it is a second too long.

Jessa drops down onto me, knocking me to the floor with more physical power than she should possess. Her naked body straddling my own, a bitter mockery of the night’s earlier activities. Of when we joined together before the Stars, completing the ritual that would bind our souls together as a matched pair.

I stare up at her, more startled than I have been in my whole life, my cinnamon-colored tail bristling. And she stares back at me with cold eyes that seem darker than they should be. The obsidian blade held over my chest like a raven’s beak. Black as the night and seeking to feast upon my death.

I move to knock the blade from her hands, but my body stays still as stone. As if it is no longer under my command. And the realization that I am helpless cracks through me like a lightning strike.

“Captor of my heart, thief of my virtue, I bind, and entwine my fate with thine,” Jessa chants, the sound more growl than words. Like no sound I have ever heard pass through her lips. Lips which my own had spent long moments pressed against only a few short hours ago.

“Jessa, what are you doing?” I finally manage to say.

She does not respond—does not even acknowledge my words. It is as if I am veiled from her, as if my words fall on deaf ears.

“Match to my soul, to which I am bound, Kessel Forfare Astranya—” Jessa continues on in the same strange voice that is unlike hers. And her words finally start to filter past my shock, but it is much, much too late.

“Jessa, no!”

“I bind you and yours to this land for all time!” she commands as she thrusts the blade into me.

There is the briefest of moments where I feel nothing. A numbness that shakes me to my core. And then there is a burning down the center of my chest like nothing I have ever felt before. A pain so sharp it makes everything else feel like a loving embrace in comparison. As if my skin has really been consumed by flames this time. I open my mouth and an inhuman sound pours forth, so much more terrible than any wolf could ever produce. Half seething rage, half soul-shattering heartbreak.

And then there is nothing.

Simply nothing.

And the last thing that flits through my mind before I become one with the Obsidian Void is, Jessa, why have you betrayed me?

Bride of the Harvest Wolf copyright © 2015 by Alicia Kat Vancil. All rights reserved.