Title: Sacrificial Mage (Blood Magic Series Book 2)
Author: Rebecca Jaycox
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Aelurus Publishing
When all the options are bad, change the rules of the game.
Safe from the Dark Mage, Reggie's top priority is freeing her father. Surely, that will turn the tide in favor of the Resistance. But that's much harder than she expected. And she has to hurry—Andrius will stop at nothing to break through the protective magic keeping her safe.
Complicating things is the Black Queen, a strange girl invading Reggie's dreams. She's begging Reggie to rescue her. But saving her will involve leaving the relative safety of the forest. And if that's not dangerous enough, it could all be another of Andrius's carefully laid traps.
To make matters worse, the Dark Mage has kidnapped Reggie's mother and best friend and holds them hostage. A prisoner swap would put Reggie in Andrius's hands and make him more powerful than ever. But Reggie has to try something—leaving those she loves to torture isn't an option.
She has allies, though. Powerful allies. Together, they can plan a daring rescue mission, one that saves everyone, something Andrius doesn't expect.
But plans can go astray.
Reggie has escaped the Dark Mage once, but his scheming goes deeper than she ever thought possible. And he holds all the cards. Saving her father, rescuing her mother, best friend, and the Black Queen? That all might just be too much—even with help. Can she outsmart Andrius one more time, or will her luck finally run out?
“John, you’re not eating. Is the wild boar not to your liking?”
The polite voice coiled around him like a snake before it squeezed. John glanced up from his plate and met the cold, gray eyes of Andrius Drake, fear shivering through him. He immediately stabbed his fork into the meat wishing it were Andrius’ heart. Spices flavored the succulent boar, but it tasted like ashes in John’s mouth. He quickly swallowed and nodded at the dark mage.
“It’s delicious,” he mumbled, lowering his eyes. He felt the iciness of Andrius’ stare sweep over his face. Sneaking a quick glance out of the corner of his eye, he saw Reggie’s mother, Arlene, tense, her spine ramrod straight. The utter stillness of the dining room pounded against his eardrums.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I would hate to think you felt I wasn’t properly caring for you,” Andrius said, sipping the amber liquid in his crystal goblet.
John choked back the words rising in his throat. Hatred pulsed inside him. He shook his head, not trusting himself to speak.
“We don’t feel that way at all,” Arlene interjected, and John looked at her gratefully. She pasted a sickly smile on her face; the expression made her resemble a possessed doll.
Andrius leaned back in his chair, swirling the liquid in his goblet. The soft sloshing seemed vulgar in the silent room. He studied Arlene, who was carefully watching a point over the dark mage’s shoulder. John took another bite of his food, observing them both beneath his lashes.
“You’re not drinking,” Andrius said, sipping from his glass.
John stiffened, his hand clenching his knife. He turned to Arlene, who had frozen in her seat. She reached out a shaking hand and took a drink from her water goblet.
“There,” she whispered, setting the goblet back on the table.
Andrius smiled at her, a gentle smile that made John’s stomach churn. “Water isn’t what you want. Drink the brandy, Arlene. It will help you forget, about Reggie, about John, about me. Escape for a little while. You’ve been so brave; don’t you think you deserve a drink?” Leaning over the table, he nudged the amber-filled glass closer to her.
Arlene jerked back as if the glass were a scorpion preparing to strike. “No, no. I can’t—I—no.”
“No?” Andrius questioned, arching one eyebrow.
Arlene panted, staring at the glass. “No, thank you,” she corrected.
“Why not take it? Life would be so much easier. You’ll feel wonderfully warm, yes? Maybe you can pretend this nightmare never happened, that you haven’t failed your daughter so abysmally. Drink it. Keep drinking until you fall into that oblivion I know you want so desperately to get back to.”
Arlene’s ragged breath grated against John’s skin. She hadn’t taken her eyes away from the brandy resting mere inches from her trembling hand. Slowly, her fingers crept toward the stem. John watched her, feeling helpless. He had failed Reggie again.
Buy Links (including Goodreads)
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/sacrificial-mage/id1531474008?uo=4&mt=11&at=11lDL&ct=GR02P107830GB-T6clTbjJT0qD_8fh6c9k5g
I’m one of the authors participating in the Spooky Halloween Bookish Giveaway and you can win an e-copy of Secret Mage (The Blood Magic Series Book 1) by Rebecca Jaycox.
Runs October 1 - 31 and is open internationally for most prizes.
Winners will be drawn on November 2, 2020.
Rebecca Jaycox grew up in the tiny town of Berryman, which borders the Mark Twain National Forest and the Courtois River about 70 miles south of St. Louis. The beautiful landscape fed her imagination, and she began writing stories at age 10 and never stopped. Always seeking adventure, Rebecca moved to France after she graduated college with a journalism degree to teach English at a French high school. Bitten by the travel bug, she has recently visited Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, and finally made it to her bucket-list destination of Istanbul last summer. Rebecca now lives in New York City with her husband, Gregory. She enjoys reading and writing fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction.
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