Monday, June 22, 2015
The Twiceborn Queen (Book 2 of The Proving) by Marina Finlayson
Release date: June 11, 2015
Subgenre: Urban fnatasy
Kate O’Connor’s had a rough week. Thrown into the middle of a war of succession between the daughters of the dragon queen, her introduction to the hidden world of the shifters almost proved fatal. Now, because of Kate and her new powers, that hidden realm has been revealed to the world, which hasn’t exactly won Kate any popularity contests.
Still, it’s not all bad news. After all, it’s not every day someone you love comes back from the dead. Throw in a hot new boyfriend, and suddenly Kate’s got a lot to live for—which is bad timing, because now the queen’s set a bounty on her head and every shifter in Sydney is trying to collect it.
Kate may have defeated a dragon already, but there are plenty more where that one came from. As her enemies close in and the body count mounts, Kate begins a desperate search for allies. The deadly game of the proving continues. If Kate is to save the people she loves, failure is not an option. The rules are simple: win or die.
They say hindsight is 20:20 vision, but still I can’t help that niggling feeling, the one that whispers that I should have known. Mothers are supposed to have ESP, right? Or at least eyes in the backs of their heads. There must have been some sign that things weren’t right, some little clue to tip me off, if only I’d been paying more attention. But I was still high on happiness, my world one giant bubble of joy, and the only thing I was paying much attention to was how good my son’s hot little head felt nestled under my chin.
I was so happy I’d forgotten bubbles always burst.
The chief reason for my happiness sat on my lap, his attention riveted by the small TV that hung from the ceiling. His sweaty curls tickled my chin as we squished together into the visitor chair by the side of the bed. Like hospital rooms everywhere, this one was cramped and smelled of disinfectant and sick people.
The window showed a grey day outside, with a light summer rain falling. Other wings of the hospital stretched off to the left and right, with the multi-storey car park hulking in all its concrete glory in the distance. Not a view to lift anyone’s spirits, but mine were in no need of lifting.
I hugged Lachie a little tighter and he wriggled in protest—though he didn’t take his eyes off the TV. Typical. Screens of any sort have a magnetic attraction for ten-year-old boys. After seven months of believing him dead, I had my boy back. I’d been to his funeral, spent months in a hell no mother should ever have to go through, all courtesy of his father’s scheming—and now, here he was, alive after all. Talk about a miracle. The parting of the Red Sea had nothing on it. Not even the thought of my ex and the pain he’d caused me could dent my bright new happiness.
The other reason for my smiles lay in the hospital bed asleep, looking like a Greek god with his curly dark hair and chiselled jaw. I shifted one hand to cover his big one where it rested on the crisp white sheet. Ben had suffered nearly as much from Jason’s scheming as I had, knowing that Lachie was alive but unable to tell me. Jason had promised to kill Ben’s own nieces if he gave me even a hint that I was grieving for nothing.
Dragons. Such a class act.
“Hey, look, Mum!” Lachie’s bony little elbow nudged me. “It’s you again.”
The TV replayed the footage from New Year’s Eve. Like half the population of the planet, I’d seen this footage at least a dozen times in the last few days, but I watched again, fascinated by the sinuous curves of dragon necks and tails, the power of those golden wings as the two fantastic creatures swooped and soared over Sydney Harbour in their deadly battle.
Seeing yourself like that was strange—especially when you hadn’t even known dragons existed a week ago.
And now I was one.