For fans of Urban Fantasy, I’ve got a treat for you today: an exclusive sneak peek at The Gifted Dead by Jenna Black as well as a chance to win!
Politics and magic make dangerous bedfellows.
Deep within the Order, the seeds of corruption have taken root. While younger generations of the Gifted have embraced modern democratic values, a secret society of old-guard zealots seek a return to the past, when only European men of distinguished bloodlines held power.
Now, three venerable European families and a maverick American each plot to seize control of the Order and shape it to their will. A cutthroat game of political intrigue will decide the winner; and the stakes couldn't be higher, for ruling the Order carries with it the power to grant—or deny—an afterlife.
What begins as a battle of wills could turn into an all-out war. And magic could prove deadlier than any missile.
Unique and Catchy Scene from The Gifted Dead!
Lynda Powell shut the bedroom door in her son’s face, turning the deadbolt despite Patrick’s Gift. If he wanted in, the lock would open for him, but at least she’d made her wishes clear.
“Mother, don’t be like this,” he said in the overly patient voice he’d been using with her ever since his father, her beloved Harry, had died.
Had it been only two months ago? The seemingly endless cycle of appeals had made it seem so much longer. Now word had come from the Abbey in Saint-Malo that her final appeal had been denied. The Patriarch had refused to hear her case, even though she and Patrick had flown all the way to France on limited funds, Patrick protesting the whole time, of course.
“Go away,” Lynda said. “Run off and toady up to your new friend on the afternoon your father’s soul is being destroyed. I don’t care anymore.”
They’d kept Harry’s body on ice throughout the appeals process, but by the time Lynda and Patrick returned home to Chicago, the Parish Board would have heard the verdict and gone ahead with the cremation. Despite his years of service to the Order, despite the Gifts he’d received, Gifts that were a sure sign of the Anima’s favor, Harry was not to be consecrated because the selfish, stubborn, bigoted old relics who ran things couldn’t get over a simple little youthful indiscretion. He’d gotten an unGifted girl pregnant when they were both college students, and he had the audacity to acknowledge the child was his. You’d have thought he’d had sex with a gorilla from the level of censure he’d received from the Order.
“How would it help Dad if I stayed at the hotel all day and brooded?” Patrick asked with impatience. “I have a chance to personally meet with an Elder who might—”
“Stop it!” she shrieked, covering her ears with her hands. How could she and Harry have raised a son who was so self-centered? Who wouldn’t take an afternoon to mourn the loss of his father’s soul? How could he go out and curry favor with one of the sanctimonious old men who’d denied their appeal?
Of course, Patrick had never agreed with her decision to appeal in the first place. He said Harry had known what he was doing when he refused to turn his back on his daughter, Katie. Although the Doctrine was a living, changeable document that was frequently updated by the Patriarch and the Council of Elders, the injunction against sexual relations with the unGifted had remained unchanged over the centuries. By acknowledging his half-breed daughter, Harry had made it impossible for the Order to overlook his transgression. While it was true Harry had made a conscious choice to do what he considered right while fully understanding the risks, Lynda suspected Patrick’s objections had less to do with respecting Harry’s choice and more to do with a desire not to negatively impact his own career by “making waves.”
“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this,” Patrick said, and she imagined him throwing up his hands in exasperation.
As she didn’t want to talk to him right now anyway, his condescension didn’t bother her much. When he slammed out of the hotel room, she let out a breath of relief. Angry though she was at him for his insistence on carrying on with his damned meeting as if nothing had happened, she was glad he was gone. She needed a good long time alone so she could get a head start on her trip to Saint-Malo. If he knew what she was up to, he’d no doubt try to stop her.
A strange sense of calm came over her as she opened the dresser drawer and fished around in the pile of underthings for the gun she’d brought with her from home. Everything could have gone horribly wrong before this trip had even started if she’d been caught going through airport security with it in her pocket. Unsure whether her Gift would work on people who weren’t within her field of view, she’d refused to go through the scanner despite her distaste for the invasive manual search. The metal detector had gone off when she’d stepped through, but no one, not even Patrick, had noticed. The TSA agent who was groping Lynda froze when she touched the gun, then frowned and seemed to forget what she was doing when Lynda’s Gift hit her. She let Lynda pass without even finishing the pat down.
Lynda had made it safely to Paris without anyone knowing she was armed. Now, the worst had happened, exactly as she’d expected. Her final appeal had been denied, and Harry’s soul would be destroyed. But the appeal hadn’t been the true purpose of her trip anyway. No, she was here because her spirit guide, Fiona, had set her a Quest, one that filled her with purpose and reminded her that the Anima worked in mysterious ways. That the appeal had been denied was merely a final boost of motivation so Lynda wouldn’t lose her nerve. Patrick’s selfishness didn’t hurt, either. Otherwise, she might have felt guilty for the damage she would do to his ambitions whether she succeeded or failed. Let him rub elbows with his friend the Elder today; tomorrow, not even a member of their local Parish Board would admit knowing him, much less be seen talking to him.
Tucking the gun neatly in her purse, Lynda headed down to the lobby to arrange transportation to Saint-Malo, where her destiny awaited.
About the Author
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she’s an “experience junkie.” She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like eighty percent of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life’s work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She is now a full-time author of fantasy, young adult, and romance novels.
This post is part of the Gifted Dead blog tour.
Monday, September 15th The Book Swarm
Tuesday, September 16th Jessabella Reads
Wednesday, September 17th Romancing the Dark Side
Thursday, September 18th Literary Escapism
Friday, September 19th Bookish
Jenna is generously offering up 10 eCopies of THE GIFTED DEAD as well as one grand prize package including a $100 gift card from either Amazon, iTunes or B&N!
- Open internationally
- Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter