Till Death and Beyond is a sizzling tale of two souls bound by destiny in a cruel plot to separate them forever…
A COLD BEAUTY WHO KNOWS DEATH INTIMATELY...
Amira is the strongest witch on the face of the earth, with psychic abilities no others possess. And yet, she is but a slave to the whims of the gods. Forced to be born anew every time she fails in fulfilling an ancient prophecy, Amira is desperate to break the vicious cycle.
A TORMENTED WARRIOR WHO HAS LOST EVERYTHING...
Plagued by the memories and guilt over his family’s demise, Raven lives for the sole reason of restoring his younger brother. And kidnapping a witch is only the beginning—for he intends to right the wrongs of his past by any means necessary.
A DESTINY TO CHANGE THE WORLD...
While the gods might have planned for her to be captured, surrender is not something that comes easy to Amira. Yet one glance into her captor’s eyes, and she is swept away by emotions long ago denied to her. She decides to play along. For a while.
Despite the hatred Raven harbors for their kind, he is intrigued by the witch. One taste of her lips, and she becomes his obsession. Soon, he discovers that fighting against the passion they ignite in one another is futile. But as they strip each other’s secrets, a powerful force threatens to destroy them both.
For in this game of gods nothing is simple—the whole universe seems to conspire against them. And no matter how fiercely they fight, or what they are willing to endure to save each other ... the path they travel is paved with loss.
Will they survive the ultimate test, if even their determination—to fight till death—might not be enough?
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Read on for an excerpt from Till Death and Beyond and a couple interview with Amira and Raven!
When the day was night and the night was day, a witch was born in a raging thunder storm.
The earth trembled and shook, welcoming its destined fate … hundreds of witches sang—salvation finally in their grasp.
The prophecy once foretold was alive in a form of true beauty, with only death on her mind.
The witch was supposed to be feared and worshipped, all living creatures to tremble at the sight of her—all men to fall on their knees by the will of her…
“She’s the sweetest little thing in the world,” Deron admitted to himself as he watched his nine-year-old daughter run through the garden calling, “Mummy … Mummy.”
Despite the darkness of her curls, they radiated light as they bounced up and down. Sunshine played on her face and her lips curved into a glowing smile. Mischief sparkled in her deep light-blue eyes, giving a glimpse of his daughter’s true nature. Her expression turned even brighter as she stretched out her hands and proudly revealed an exotic purple flower.
“Amira, sweetie, where did you get that?” His wife examined the blossom in the child’s small palm and narrowed her eyes.
Instantly Deron knew the answer—she hadn’t found it. Once again their daughter was playing with magic, doing tricks even his beloved Eliana couldn’t—a witch strong and talented, who had practiced her art for many years.
Amira’s smile widened, but not a sound of explanation flew out. They both knew the look only too well. The little tinker was up to something.
“It doesn’t belong here. Why don’t you take it back?” Eliana suggested.
Surprisingly, the little one obeyed.
“I am scared, Deron,” his wife confessed, the fear for their daughter’s safety etched in the lines of her delicate face. Worry and concern casting a shadow over her beautiful eyes.
He took her into his arms, trying to stay strong for her, to comfort her as best as he could. The truth was, he knew those fears all too well.
A few years ago, the Order of Venlordia had renewed their witch hunts. No longer were the friars satisfied with sermons, it seemed. No longer were they leading people to salvation with the help of prayers and faith. They had raised a sword in the name of a sacred cause—to eradicate the evil.
It was a ludicrous lie the Venlordians spread to justify their actions. Every few hundred years or so, they raised impious war against witches, be they good or evil. They didn’t differentiate. Worse still, thousands of innocents suffered at their hands. And now the bloodshed was commencing all over again.
“You are safe here, you both are,” Deron tried to reassure his wife. If he was certain of anything, it was this place; and the people of Trinton, who would protect their daughter no matter what. He relied on them, just as they relied on him and his family.
They all contributed. All did their share in keeping the town clean and free of marauding witch-hunters and the self-imposed law of the Venlordians. Something he wished he could relieve his whole country of.
Unfortunately their organization ran deep, deeper than any of them thought. Even his brother-in-law, the king himself, began to squirm uneasily in his throne. No wonder Eliana was afraid.
“Mummy, mummy.” Amira’s tearful voice shook Deron.
“What is it, sweetie?” her parents asked, almost in unison.
“Please, help her,” she begged, “help her…”
Eliana immediately scanned the area looking for the “her” her daughter was so worried about—only there was no one around. Still, Amira kept crying. Pearls of pain were rushing down her pale cheeks. Her lips trembled. Hands shook.
Eliana cupped her daughter’s jaw, searching for an answer—pain was all she could sense, but she couldn’t fathom the origin of it. There was no wound to be seen, only cries of agony no child should suffer.
The shaking came next. Amira’s small, limp body quivered in her father’s arms and fresh sobs broke from within her, consuming her with the ferocity of a flood, with each wave taking her even deeper. For a second there, it seemed as if their daughter was about to choke, but then a line around her mouth thinned and a sound, strangled and foreign, escaped her parted lips.
The sound shook Eliana so deeply, she gasped, trying to take a breath into her frozen lungs. Tears filled her eyes. She heard grief and she heard terror coming out of her daughter’s throat—in someone else’s voice.
“What’s happening?” Deron demanded, carrying their girl inside, straight to her soft little bed.
“I don’t know.” Eliana blinked the fog from her eyes, only to see Amira convulsing with pain. “I don’t know.” A feeling of uselessness overwhelmed her. She was supposed to know these things, be able to make them go away, but the fact was she knew nothing about what was happening, and even less about what she should do.
A potion! She needed to make a potion, Eliana murmured under her breath, prepared to rush back to her room for the herbs. She wiped her tears with trembling fingers, pivoted, and almost smashed into Giles.
The elderly man gently righted her, and without so much as a word put something in her hands. Eliana looked at his offering for a moment, not comprehending what she was holding. Then she exhaled.
“Thank you.” She hugged the butler fiercely, grateful beyond words. If only she knew what to use—Eliana’s next thought made her hands tremble even more fiercely.
She didn’t see Giles’s concerned expression anymore, or any of the pale faces standing behind the man. Eliana focused her attention on Amira—a thrashing and moaning girl, whose hands fought an invisible foe.
Her daughter’s face was twisted with pain, her eyes red from crying. She kept pleading for help for someone, but whoever it was lived in Amira’s dreams alone. Or nightmares, Eliana thought, picking a catnip plant from the vast collection of herbs she kept. She hesitated to choose a second herb, glanced at her husband’s expectant gaze, and swallowed a new lump of trepidation. What if she chose the wrong one? What if she harmed her little angel? Eliana had never felt so lost before. Utterly unable to identify the cause of such terrible pain.
“You can do it,” Deron whispered, his belief in her giving her strength.
Eliana nodded, mixed the herbs and began the chant. She forced her daughter to consume the potion, all the while desperately praying for a miracle. A prayer that was joined by a dozen more people as the entire mansion kept vigil on their little lady’s sleep.
All the servants gathered in the hall, waiting. Some of them sat quietly. Some paced with their heads bowed, hands clenched in fists. Others simply watched the closed doors. But all of them hoped to hear those doors opening. Hoped to see black curls bouncing, and that sweet face laughing.
Sadly, none of that happened.
When Amira finally came out of her room she was just a shadow of the sweet girl they all knew and loved.
1. How did you meet?
Amira: He introduced himself by pressing a sword to my throat. Nothing says “hi” like a sharp blade apparently.
Raven: Hey! I thought we got past that.
Amira: Well, you are not tied to a wooden stake, so I think it’s safe to say we have.
2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
Raven: Her eyes. When our gazes met, it felt like she could see right into my soul.
Amira: I can’t say I didn’t try. I needed to know what I was up against. And that was the first thing that got my attention – I couldn’t read him.
3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
Amira: No. My life wasn’t my own. Death was always breathing down my neck. So there wasn’t the slightest possibility for that happening. No matter how much I sometimes wished for a normal life, I didn’t think I was even capable of loving someone.
Raven: Definitely not. She was a witch, and being a mindless slave was not on my agenda. It’s not wise to tangle with witches, you see. Good thing she’s stubborn and made me realize that it’s not what you are, but what you make of yourself that truly matters.
4. What do you like best about the other person?
Raven: She has a kind and loving heart.
Amira: He sees the real me.
5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
Raven: Saving the innocent.
Amira: And killing the monsters in the process.
6. How has the other person changed you?
Amira: He taught me how to smile.
Raven: She helped me defeat my demons.
7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?
Raven: She is rash. Acts without thinking. Half of the things I ended up having to save her from were because she just goes with the flow.
Amira: Well excuse me for trying to live while I still had breath in my lungs. I never had the luxury of taking time to think things through. It was always now, or never. If I didn’t seize the opportunity, I was left with regrets.
8. What do the two of you have in common?
Amira: We both know loss, and are not afraid of dirtying our hands when it is necessary.
Raven: I second that.
9. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner's family?
Raven: My family is dead, except for my brother. But I know they would love her if they were here today.
Amira: Since I have a lot of overprotective males in my family, Raven didn’t have the easiest time at first, but they came around.
Raven: And by coming around she means they no longer try to shoot me.
10. What role does magic play in your relationship?
Amira: Huge. We are connected by magic.
Raven: Throwing energy balls is her thing. I, myself, like swords better, but we do have an almost psychic connection because of magic. We can talk telepathically with each other, for example.
Amira: And it does come in handy if you need to unbutton the shirt when your hands are occupied. Just saying…
11. What are your plans for the future?
Raven: Try to enjoy life as much as possible, because our fighting days are nowhere near over.
12. "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" How is this true for the two of you?
Amira: Together we are stronger, that goes without saying, but it’s more than that. He grounds me when I’m in danger of drifting away (if I use too much magic). With Raven I finally live, not just go through motions.
Raven: We see a lot of suffering. Torture. People being burned alive. Carrying it is hard. We need each other not just to survive, but to stay sane.
Amira: And to remind each other that we can’t save everyone. No matter how much we might want to.