To unearth the truth, she must embrace the legend within.
Tempest (The Veil Chronicles, #1) by C.J. Campbell
Publication date: August 31st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
For eighteen-year-old Lexi, freedom is a luxury. She’s spent her life evading capture for a genetic gift that feels more like a curse. Her bulletproof immunity and monstrous disfigurement is of great interest to a secret organization, but they aren’t the only ones. A cryptic tip alerts Lexi that something else hunts her–something darker.
Desperate to enjoy her life before it’s too late, Lexi leaves the protective cocoon her parents created for her and signs up for art classes at her local college. There she meets Conner, who is confined to a wheelchair, and they become friends who are willing to share each other’s secrets. But a chance encounter with Connor’s foster brother Killian changes everything.
Killian shares the same mysterious secret within his blood as Lexi. Their fateful meeting sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic events that exposes the terrifying truth–Lexi is a celestial queen of a bygone race. Connor is their last royal heir, and Killian is a half-breed abomination hated for his very existence. With Connor kidnapped by an ancient god determined to rid the world of the stain of humanity, Lexi and Killian find themselves under the protection of the secretive Order of Kings.
Lexi believes she’s been thrown into a world of myths and legends, but things are not as they seem. Lexi becomes convinced the Order is keeping dangerous secrets that threaten not just her but all of mankind.
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‘Burning Heart’ – Chapter 17. Tempest: The Veil Chronicles, Book 1. By CJ. Campbell
I don’t wait to see the true extent of the damage. I’m too much of a coward for that. Instead, I take the stairs and flee the scene of my crime.
Terrified of the wrath brewing inside me, I run like the wind, streaking through the hallways like a watery shadow. The castle’s many servants cower as I blow past, the horror etched on their pale faces plain to see. Only a monster causes those reactions. Maybe I deserve to be locked up, chained to iron, and kept in a tower.
Skidding to a halt by the double doors to my suite, I throw them back and retreat inside. I try to ignore the terrified voices echoing in the hallways. I cover my ears and claw at my hair. I do everything, but the terror never quells. Not in me and not in them.
A shrill squawk from behind startles me. I spin to find Kes beating her golden wings at me, talons exposed. One look at the alarm in her eyes, and I scream in frustration. She has to leave. She’s not safe.
Without thought, I raise a hand and catch her about her breast. The strike sends her flailing across the room. She crashes through the doors in a plume of feathers and terrified twittering.
The glass windows shudder with each of my ragged breaths. Consumed by the rage in me, I can only watch, unable to breathe, unable to think, unable to stop it.
Another growling exhale brings on the sickening sound of glass cracking. I let out a terrified cry, then cover my ears.
The windows shatter before I can fully protect my head. A few shards scratch the skin of my cheek. The wind circulates through the now broken windows, but it doesn’t matter how much I gulp down the air, I still can’t breathe.
Wind howls, furniture scatters, things smash against the walls, but all I can do is hold desperately to the barest shred of my sanity . . . to my humanity . . . if I even have any of that left. It’s just as much an illusion as everything else in this twisted story.
“Is this what you want? Is this what I am?” I scream into the chaos, unsure whom I actually address. “Make it stop! Please, make it stop.”
But it doesn’t stop, and I can’t figure out how to make it. They’ll have to take me out, like a crazed animal. But maybe I deserve that.
That voice. It means something.
Arms wrap around me, one secure around my waist, the other across my chest. A solid and unmovable force melds against my spine. It holds against me. It gives me form, and suddenly, I’m not spinning out of control in a dark abyss.
“It’s okay, Lexi.” The voice, soothing, masculine, trickles through the roar in my ears. The command authoritative but not controlling. I listen like my life depends on it. Truthfully, it probably does.
“I’ve got you. Don’t be afraid. You’ve got this, sweetheart.”
I want to shout his name, but I still can’t find my breath. I’m choking on the pain, but he holds me tighter still.
He gives me a firm shake. “Breathe, Lexi, just breathe.” His lips scrape at my ear, his breath hot on my neck. His stubble grazes my cheek. His lengths of hair tickle me.
I trust all those little things.
He is real. He won’t let me go.
Killian’s palm spreads across my chest, the gentle force pushing me against his so I feel his steady breath. It rises and falls, unfazed and entirely unlike the erratic pattern of my own. I breathe in deep, matching the pressure of his hand on my chest, and like magic, my lungs open and fill with calming air.
I focus on nothing but the steady rise and fall of Killian’s chest. The perfectly rooted sound of his beating heart creating a calm rhythm that makes everything slow down.
“It’s okay,” he keeps promising me, a tinge of exhaustion in his voice. “I’m right here. I’ve got you. You’re safe.”
“Don’t let me go.”
I find I’m trembling when the initial surge of energy ebbs away. It leaves me as weak and listless as the tiny droplets of rain that seep tiredly from the window ledges. It’s rather unnerving how powerful water can be in one moment and how utterly still and ineffectual in the next.
“I’m not letting go, Lexi. I never stopped.” He swears it, but I feel myself slide through his grasp.
Instead of letting me collapse to the ground in my exhaustion, he keeps his promise. We both fall together, or more so, he guides me to the ground, pillowing my landing. I’m a dead weight in his arms, and he gradually gives way, carefully keeping my head protected on his forearm as I lie pinned beneath him.
The two of us breathe deeply, our foreheads touching. His beautiful green eyes shine with vibrancy through the darkness of this terrible place, and I register he must’ve expended some power of his own to curtail the chaos of mine. I reach up my fingertips to touch his cheek.
“You didn’t let go,” I say, my voice all horrible and husky.
“Neither did you,” he says, his voice something above a breathless whisper.
‘Into the Deept’ – Chapter 26. Tempest: The Veil Chronicles, Book 1. By CJ. Campbell
A thrill of excitement runs up my spine. With itching fingers, I reach for Sebastian’s smooth neck.
An awakening, feral instinct guides me, with the greatest of ease, onto Sebastian’s back. The powerful water energy courses between us, mingling with jittery excitement. Wildness surges through my veins as my kelpie turns to face the open water. I inhale the wet air, and my lungs burn with an all-consuming need. I need to be as free as the water beneath me. I must be free of this restrictive skin.
I need to be free.
The glorious sound of crashing waves and the water’s gurgling swirl drowns Killian’s warning.
I don’t listen.
I won’t listen.
Sebastian launches against the rolling waves. I marvel at how the water crashes against us, how each pound is like being shocked with paddles. Someone is calling for me, trying to pull me back to land, back to restriction and dulled senses. I happily ignore them.
The kelpie launches into a strange gait, swimming, no more ground beneath his feet. With the next wave, my comrade releases a high-pitched keen and crashes into the sea foam.
We dive into the water, like a rock shattering glass, and we separate. My fingers slip from Sebastian’s silken skin. Thousands of tiny, shimmering bubbles rise between us. Their heavenly glow chases the darkness from the murky water until it gleams, clear and unpolluted. My eyes follow the source of the glow to my arm, where light bursts from my veins. The bubbles are my flesh, consumed by my own light.
I gasp, but I have no voice, and breathing water causes me no pain. I should be frightened, but I feel only relief. Like I’ve been holding my breath for a long time, and now I can breathe.
With one more churn of the waves above my head, I close my fleshly eyes and let the current roll me away.
It’s like letting go of heavy weights I didn’t realize I was carrying. One moment I am a solid thing with limbs and skin holding me in, and the next there’s only my mind, or at least the sensation of awareness. Instead of disappearing, as I thought I would, I find I am the water, the very essence of it. I feel strong, unhindered. Neither blind nor deaf. The earth grumbles below, echoing through me. I hear the air above, how it tickles and dances over my surface. I hear the longing call of the land, its distant voice the only thing enough to remind me of what I left behind.
The whole expanse of water is my vision, the dark depths and the wavering light of the shallows. I see the animals hiding in the coral, seaweed, and rocks. I sense their cold blood and how their lives are tied to the water’s energy. My energy.
For a time—uncountable, because I don’t have need to measure it—I simply exist, stretching and filling up the whole of the lough. Finding mouths of rivers that feed into it, and where it joins the ocean. I could continue to follow the currents, travel farther, go beyond just this little place, but as my essence touches the very bottom of the lough and roams over the surface, I become aware of something new. Not earth, or rock, or anything natural. It’s crystal. Strange crystal; not an element of this world.
A wide basin of crystal stretches for miles under the surface of the lough. Intrigue draws me deeper. I reach into the gloom, my free form dancing over the jagged, crystalline basin. Like a fogged mirror. I settle over its blinding surface, searching for a reflection, only to catch a glimpse of a fish swimming on the other side.
This is no mirror. It’s a window to another world.
My world? The matrix between us and them?
A doorway to the Veiled Lands?
The waters beyond that crystal basin sing to me like a siren call. I want to flee into that place, into that powerful current. I test the surface, searching for a crack or chink in its armor to slip through, but there is none.
The key. . . I need that key.
Clare is a successful and highly popular author of award winning Fanfiction, with thousands of online fans and over 2 million reads on her Lord of the Rings Fanfic epic. Clare has also won several writing awards within the Fantasy, Inspirational, and Short Story genres. Her story Refuge was a top prize winner and as a direct result published in Faith & Freedom anthology by EA books. She has recently been shortlisted for Writer of the Year 2019.
As well as writing, Clare is an experienced Occupational Therapist, with a passion for enabling people. She has contributed articles for online organizations aimed at highlighting disability as a positive influence in modern literature. Her love of storytelling, merged with her positive messages inspires her to create meaningful narratives that represent diversity, and promote unity.
You can learn more about Clare by visiting www.CJCampbellOfficial.com
Author links:Facebook ~ Website ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~
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