Welcome to the inaugural edition of Fiction Fest, Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, style! We recently changed the series’ name from Fiction Focus to better convey how excited we are about our fiction titles.
With a new name comes a new month and a new set of authors and books to showcase.
Today’s spotlight lands on Steve Westover’s “Return of the Mystic Gray,” which is due in book stores on April 9, 2013, and is available right now for pre-order on BooksAndThings.com, Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.
“Mystic Gray” is the sequel to Westover’s “Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island,” which is also available from the same retailers.
Without further ado, here is your free peek at “Return of the Mystic Gray.”
Allie sobbed but she didn’t have any more tears. Her eyes had dried out hours ago, sometime between the inferno that engulfed her home and the first rays of desert daylight. Huddled in a large concrete tube near a spillway at the edge of town, she sat with her knees held tight to her chest. Winter nights get cold””even in Vegas. Rubbing the goose bumps on her arms, she shivered as she replayed the night’s fiery events in her mind. She didn’t mean to do it. She didn’t even understand how she had. The flames had erupted from her mouth without warning. No. That can’t be true. Something had to cause it.
Closing her eyes, Allie concentrated on each moment leading up to the fire. She had just changed into her pajamas and had thrown her clothes on the floor next to her bed. Then what? She thought harder. Next, she had stepped toward her dresser and then felt a stab at the center of her bare foot. Looking into the mirror, her jaw clenched as she tried holding back the profanity but it felt like a rusty nail had been driven through her foot. She looked at the floor and saw the keys she had stepped on. The pain shot through her foot and up her leg. Her eyes bulged and then she opened her mouth to let out a pained scream . . . but then it happened.
Instead of sound, flames shot from her mouth. The blaze rolled along the wall and then up the ceiling until it consumed the entire room. Allie wiped her eyes and shook her head at the memory. “Pure craziness,” she muttered.
Holding her legs tighter, Allie thought about Ethan and Jordan, Brady and . . . her head shook again. “Jacob,” she whispered. Her thoughts seemed random and as hard as her mind strained, she couldn’t trace the connection between the fire at her home and her friends from Crater Lake. Why would she think of them now? Then she thought of the flute and was instantly awash with images of a campfire on the shore of Crater Lake and memories of her battle on Wizard Island blasting zombies with fire and ice. She loved the powers of that flute. She had missed it . . . until now.