About This Book
“A dark fantasy gem with a sparkling delivery” (Kirkus) about frightened monsters, stolen time, and one seriously underestimated damsel: Half-Shell Prophecies, by bestseller Ruthanne Reid.
Katie ran from the magical world years ago. She never planned on being dragged back in by a prophesying clamshell….
Katie ran from the magical world years ago. She never planned on being dragged back in by a prophesying clamshell.
The seers believe she alone can prevent an apocalypse of ruined time and broken worlds. Bran the Crow King believes she can save him from his cannibalistic grandfather.
Katie believes they’re all nuts.
One thing is for certain: she’s not waiting around for help. Operation Katie Saves her Own Damn Self is officially on.
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Excerpt from Chapter One
This kind of pub is always gloomy, you know? It’s like the owners are inviting chicanery. Might as well hang a sign on the door that says Dark Deeds Welcomed Here.
Whatever. I won’t be here long. Bran is easy to spot thanks to the light in his hands.
I have to admit it: he’s striking. He leans over his rough wooden table with the perfect amount of poise and slumping, somehow combining strong shoulders and ill motive just enough that no one bothers him. Of course, they could also be leaving him alone because of the light leaking through his fingers.
Maybe I’d better start at the beginning? Yeah. A little less exciting, but it’ll make a lot more sense.
My name is Katie Lin, and two months ago, I adopted a baby dragon.
Well. Technically, the dragon adopted me. Also technically, the dragon is now with my uncle, who’s keeping it because also-also-technically, the baby is really the fulfillment of a prophecy about the Starling child and might be able to lead the Red and Black dragon clans closer to peace.
It sounds grand, doesn’t it? Epic adventure of a lifetime?
Maybe for someone who didn’t grow up in a magical household. I stepped out of that life a long time ago, and I ran all the way to America to prove it.
My uncle knows where I am. The rest of my family doesn’t, and I intend to keep it that way.
I had a sweet little setup in the woods of New Hampshire: a pretty little one-bedroom rental, a decent job translating and digitizing paperwork at a venerable old legal practice in Portsmouth, and no ties to anyone around me.
I mostly live without magic too. It’s nice. Nicer than you think.
Do you have any idea how unpredictable life gets when everyone has magic? The Ever-Dying—purebred, nonmagical humans—read books and think magic would be so neat. Well, it’s not neat. It’s frogs in your underwear drawer because your brother is twelve. It’s suitors who only want you for your ancestral uterus and assume waking you at midnight with a sky full of rainbows and singing trees is the way to prove they deserve to have it.
It’s going to school with others of your kind, and when they’re told your last name is Lin, losing any chance of making friends because nobody wants to mess with that branch. And I do mean Branch.
See, my family is of the Kin. Kin—the only kind of “human” who can do magic—which simply means some nonhuman thing diddled our ancestors, giving us the gene. There are a lot of Kin out there, too, but only nine family names ended up symbolized by the infamous Branch of the Kin.
Look, see it there in the Wheel?
No? Look closer.
Behold the Branch of the Kin—which is symbolic because we branch off from the magic users, get it? My family, the Lins, are the pointy leaf right at the top.
Yeah, you bet your patootie it’s condescending, but we didn’t get a say. Yet another reason I wanted out.
Anyway. I nearly got my wish. Sure, a baby dragon showed up on my doorstep, but I delivered him to safety and got back home with only a mild crush on the Fey who helped me (a victory, I assure you—Fey are really pretty, and he was nicer than most).
Back to work. Back to ordinary dentists and taxes and nobody caring that my last name is Lin. Back to awesome neighbors who helped me shovel snow (or sent their kids to do it, which is the same thing), and awesome cider and beautiful trees and square American accents and nobody making live snakes spring out of their fingernails or walking around waving big iron wands like swords.
It all went south the day Bran the Crow King showed up at my door.
I was on my way to work. Real work, a real job—which required me to be there on time, which meant leaving ass-early in the morning due to icy roads and thirty-five-miles-per-hour speed limits because New Hampshire.
Despite the cold weather, I was spiffed up in stockings and heels, a cute little trumpet skirt with matching jacket, and a pearl-button blouse (old employer syndrome has its quirks), when I opened my front door to find it occupied.
The Crow King. Bran to his friends, of whom I was not one. The last time we met, he’d kidnapped my uncle and trapped him in a roc’s head for no reason.
He’s Shadow’s Breath—one of the People of the Darkness—and his real form is huge, red, and strangely cracked like old earth. He has big black horns and big blue eyes and a dark aura so strong it’s a physical force. But of course, he wouldn’t show up like that.
The form he took was drop-dead handsome in a Hollywood pirate-rogue way. His rumpled black hair was just soft enough to emphasize his sparkling blue eyes and nut-cracking-sharp jawline. Last time I saw him, he’d worn a plain white t-shirt and jeans. Today—on my porch, uninvited—he’d added a black buckle-and-button wool number that probably cost more than my car, manly boots a Japanese rocker would be proud to wear, and a smile.
“Kate!” he said.
I slammed the door.
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