What Hunts Inside the Shadows, an all-new epic dark fantasy romance and second book in the Of Flesh and Bone Series from USA Today bestselling author Adelaide Forrest writing as Harper L. Woods is available now!
Once, I fell in love with a man who deceived me.
For weeks, he stood by my side, twisting his words into pretty half-truths. He enraptured me with his smooth temptation, leaving no corner of my being untouched. He consumed my mind and my body, then finally claimed my heart for himself. But Caelum’s true identity is terrifying enough to bring me to my knees.
Then, I discovered the truth of who he is.
Caldris is whispered in the Nothrek wind. The legend we only speak of with hushed words, in shuttered rooms, for fear of drawing his wrath once again. His intentions are a mystery, his desires impure, and he seeks to shackle me to his side for all eternity. With the Wild Hunt as our guard, he points us back to where it all began: the village of Mistfell and the boundary where the Veil once shimmered in the wind.
Now, another secret crouches, poised to change everything.
The Mist Guard have been sworn to keep us from crossing into Alfheimr, and from treading Faerie soil, even if innocents must pay with their lives. They have orders to resurrect Mistfell’s shimmering barrier, but, once again, there’s a greater cost than what has been revealed. Once, the people of Northrek blamed me when the Veil fell.
Soon, they’ll want me to pay the price the magic requires.
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The village of Black Water was burning.
The first riders of the Wild Hunt reached the bridge, their horses galloping over it as they went toward the flames. Riders jumped from their horses, submerging any container they could grasp to gather water to douse the flames.
At my spine, Caldris summoned the cold of a winter storm, filling the air with snow as we rode into the fray. I jumped down from Azra as we crossed, ignoring Caldris’s sharp curse as I slipped through his grasp and landed upon the wooden bridge. I rolled forward, absorbing the shock as I looked around.
The red stain of blood covered the bridge, turning the sun-bleached wood a deep wine. I barely restrained my nausea as I glanced over the edge of the bridge to the jagged stone teeth that curved to the sky. There were bodies impaled there and left to bleed into the black river below, hanging limply with eyes facing up, toward the indifferent stars.
Holt made his way to the hut at the center of the flames, the one where almost nothing remained, as I looked among the bodies to see if I could find any survivors. Caldris called my name, compelling me to turn to face him suddenly as he rode back toward me with a thunderous expression. The punishment he’d threatened waited for me, but I walked toward the edge of the bridge.
Away from the flames, away from the worst of the carnage, somehow, the figure in front of me drowned everything else out. I walked slowly toward him, moving as if in a dream as those around me dashed back and forth and tried to douse the flames that threatened to bring about the end of Black Water.
Vaguely, as if underwater, I heard Caldris calling my name. His voice distorted with the rushing in my ears, with the pure ice flooding my veins. The mark on my neck seemed to freeze altogether, silent, as if it could not bear the torrent of emotions inside of me.
It came alive just as suddenly, darkness bleeding out from my body. The stars twinkled once before the heavens darkened as if clouds covered the moon and stars and plunged us into a void where there was absolutely nothing.
Where darkness was our only friend—the only ally to bring about the end of all suffering. The end of pain.
Cool wind touched my skin, kissing against me as my rage surrounded me. As wrath filled me and threatened to consume me, to mold me into something I had never been before.
“Estrella, calm yourself,” Caldris whispered, stepping in front of me. His gaze snagged on the boy’s body before lifting to my face, the contact of his shocking blue eyes pulling me back slightly from the void.
The fires glimmered around me, burning out and plunging us into total darkness, blanketing the world with the nothingness that claimed me.
He stared down at me intently, something searching in his gaze as he raised a hand to my cheek. The stars glimmered once more, casting their light down on Black Water as smoke rose to the sky from the houses where the fires had blazed.
The flames were gone, extinguished as if they’d winked into thin air.
Caldris’s confused stare held mine, the first sign that he was just as baffled as I was by me and what I’d become for a few moments. “What are you, Little One?”
Adelaide Forrest is a USA Today & Amazon Top 40 Bestselling author of dark and gritty romance, such as the Bellandi Crime Syndicate and Beauty in Lies series. Adelaide fell in love with books at a young age and quickly discovered her love for writing soon after. She wrote short stories and then delved into full-length fiction at ten-years-old. Since then, she’s created over 350 book ideas and hoarded them over the years.
When she isn’t writing, she can be found spending time with her two young children, dog, and cat. She enjoys traveling, chocolate, chai tea, and most importantly, being with her family.
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