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174 pages

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There is a storm brewing in the Realm.

It has been three months since Averie and the Rebellion took back the castle. Three months of silence, three months of rebuilding and continued prosperity, but all good things must come to an end.

On the night of the Star Ball, Marcus makes his appearance on the steps of the castle and he’s ready to talk. While Averie is ready to toss him into the dungeon to be forgotten, Marcus steps forward with the deal of a lifetime: spare his life and he will share three of his ultimate secrets, including the identity of The Shadow.

Her mother always told her that if something seemed too good to be true, that’s because often it was, but when you are offered the answer to the ultimate questions, what would else can you do?



Publié par
Date de parution 15 juin 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781644503966
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Table o f Contents
C hapter One
C hapter Two
Cha pter Three
Ch apter Four
Ch apter Five
C hapter Six
Cha pter Seven
Cha pter Eight
Ch apter Nine
C hapter Ten
Chap ter Eleven
Chap ter Twelve
Chapte r Thirteen
Chapte r Fourteen
Chapt er Fifteen
Chapt er Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapte r Eighteen
Chapte r Nineteen
Chap ter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Tw enty-Three
Chapter T wenty-Four
Chapter T wenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Tw enty-Seven
Chapter Tw enty-Eight
Chapter T wenty-Nine
Chap ter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Th irty-Three
Chapter T hirty-Four
Chapter T hirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Th irty-Seven
Chapter Th irty-Eight
About the Author
C.R. Rice
Mo re to Come
The Re alm Series

Ba rgaining
Copyright © 2021 C.R. Rice. All rights r eserved.

4 Horsemen Publicatio ns, Inc.
1497 Main St. S uite 169
Dunedin, FL 34698
All rights to the work within are reserved to the author and publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 International Copyright Act, without prior written permission except in brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Please contact either the Publisher or Author to gain per mission.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used ficti tiously.
Library of Congress Control Number: 20 21935822
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-644 50-396-6
Print ISBN: 978-1-644 50-184-9

To Nana and Pappy, for your love, support and help with Zayn as I worked to finished this one. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.


A single piece of paper drifted through the torrent storm. Castaway in a moment of vicious anger. Its smooth textured surface crumpled in a clenched fist while its holder gritted its teeth in fury. The ink smudged and ran as rain pelted it with heavy drops, weighing it to the ground. Still, the wind pushed it forward, dirtying it among the mud and the muck until a stubborn tree caught it at its base.
Your move.

C hapter One

“A verie…” She was trapped in a world of darkness. Faceless bodies stood before her, taunting her, begging her to remember. Shaded voices echoed out for her to save them. Averie spun in a circle, her heart raging against her chest as the faceless blurred together. She shoved through the crowd, diving into the darkness, her breath harsh in the still air. Looking back, the faceless hadn’t moved, but neithe r had she.
Tears clouded her vision as she pushed herself harder. I need to get away. Whatever this place was, whatever was happening, she wanted no p art of it.
“Averie, you have to come ba ck to me.”
She stopped, a frown pulling her brow as she looked around. The faceless dissipated, leaving a single man standing with his back to her. Averie’s hand shook as she lifted it and placed it on his shoulder. Warmth filled her body at the single touch, the fear and uncertainty draining away, replaced by an envelopment of safety . “Hello?”
She pulled slightly at his shoulder, turning him to face her. His light brown hair was tossed lazily about, his beard long and scruffy. Crystal blue eyes stared out, while the rest of his face blurred and twisted like clay.

“Averie?” a soothing voice called. A warm hand drifted down the side of her face.
“It is time to wake up.”
She groaned in di sapproval.
A rumbling laugh at her side brought a smile to her face as she rolled over and opened one eye to peek. A rich, keen, spring-grass gaze stared down intently at her. Averie frowned and lifted a hand to run her fingers over the shaved sides of his head. “Feliks? What happened? Why did you cut y our hair?”
The man shook his head, his lips turning in to kiss her palm before he tossed the blanket from her body. “Needed a change. Come now, breakfast is gett ing cold.”
Averie looked up into the expansive clear canopy and smiled. It’s so peaceful here. True paradise. The days were filled with warmth and sunshine and the wind always blew a soft, cooling breeze, while the aura was eternally blissful. She watched as several clouds lazily drifted across the pale, blue sky, dancing and twirling into each other while the wind pushed and pulled at the trees, the soft rustling nearly lulling her back to sleep.
She released a heavy breath, her desire to sleep quickly eclipsed by the grumbling in her stomach. Heaving herself from the heavenly bed, she padded down the shor t hallway.
Averie smiled as her fingers brushed the crystal walls. The strange sensation of seeing the forest around her, while being cozily inside was fantastical. Purple birds soared high above, their large bodies creating giant shadows as they flew closer and closer to the sun. A vast aquamarine lake glittered under the sun’s morning light, its beckoning calm immediately captured her gaze and brought her feet to a stop.
“Averie…” a voi ce called.
Averie tore her gaze from the lake, her eyes scanning the surround ing trees.
“Are you okay?”
Averie let out a squeal as the question broke her concentration. “Feliks,” she breathed, her hand clutching her chest. “You s cared me.”
“Are you okay?” he repeated.
Averie blinked several times, her shaking hand drifting up to her steadily throbbing head. “I-I think so. Did you h ear that?”
Feliks looked around with a frown. “H ear what?”
Averie shook her head, forcing a smile. “Nothing. Come on, l et’s eat.”
Feliks caught her wrist as she tried to amble past. “Are you sure you ’re okay?”
“O f course.”
“Is the pain getti ng worse?”
Averie hesitate d. “Pain?”
It was Feliks’ turn to frown as he looked down into her emerald eyes. “Averie, you do remember why you are here, d on’t you?”
Her silence spoke louder than any wo rds could.
“You overspent yourself. Your body is still recovering, but your mind needed an escape. So you woke up here.”
Slowly, memories flashed before her eyes…

“Shit, Fox,” Thane breathed, rushing toward her stumb ling body.
Averie blinked several times before she looked down to find Marcus’s twin swords spreading an inky blackness into her body. Her stomach twisting as nausea consumed her. “Get them out,” she breathed. The black spider-like veins stretched from the wounds, spreading a sickening darkness into her.
Thane shook his head. “I don’t think that’s a g ood idea.”
“Get them out!” she shrieked.
Thane looked to Callen for help.
“Averie, I think Thane is right,” Callen said. “I do not think we should take them out.”
Adrenaline kicked in, surging through Averie’s veins as she tore the blackened blades from her body with a painful groan, and sent them clattering to t he floor….
She moved to the center of the city square and closed her eyes, her palms parallel with the ground as she took a deep breath lifting her blood-streaked face skyward. Slowly, her hands lifted, as if she was trying to suppress a rising tide, her body quivering from t he effort.
Thane and Silas looked on in curiosity, while Callen made a move forward as the ground began to rumble.
They watched in stunned silence as the world around them shifted from its torn, broken state. Rocks rose, and the earth shifted, healing over its wounds. Glass, from the high windows and balcony doors, snapped together like puzzle pieces. The stairs let out a pop as the slabs righted themselves and locked back into place. A fresh, vagrant air whirled between their feet, pulling the stench of death, blood, and war from their kingdom, sending it into oblivion and losing itsel f in time.
The fallen disappeared in wisps of smoke, reappearing in gardens below, cleaned and ready for the burial sendoff. The fallen enemy carcasses vanished, a large billow of smoke appearing in the distance.
Callen cursed under his breath as they climbed the stairs and slipped into a small hallway. “How much did you use?”
Averie made a noise that he assumed was a scoff. “How much did it l ook like?”
“Too much,” h e grunted.
She nodded, her head slumping forward as her eyes rolled back. “Yep, that’s my g uess too.”
Averie closed her eyes, her throat tightening at the sickening memories. “Right. I fought wit h Marcus.”
Feliks nodded his head, giving a small smile. “That ’s right.”
Averie looked up, searching his vibrant eyes. “I’m not really he re, am I?”
Feliks shrugged, his large wings rustling behind him. “Depends on your definition of here. Everything is relative.” He trailed a finger down the side of her face. “You can feel thi s, right?”
Aver ie nodded.
“And you are hungr y, right?”
Averie’s stomach growled in agreement. “I woul d say so.”
Feliks ran a hand through his shortened locks, his eyes darting to the side, clearly wanting to say something that was yet unsaid. Instead, he shook his head and held out his hand. “L et’s ea

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