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Bullied and lonely, beithir shifter Amber is not having the best of times at Ben Vair, a college for supernatural teenagers. Until Izban arrives, a mage who is much more than he seems… and his blue hair is rather sexy, too.
But when she agrees to help him on his quest, she gets more than she bargained for.
Which may not be such a bad thing.
A Seven Wardens spin-off taking place at the same time as From the Deeps. It can be read as a standalone novella.
In the previous book we learned of the Seven Wardens and Macey has found herself in love with three men, all are Wardens. Cam is Wind, Flint is Fire, Jared is Earth and Macey they assume is Water. From the poem we also know Lightening is imprisoned and Ice is searching for her. They’ve found Ice but before we continue, this book tells us all about Lightening and Ice.
Amber is Lightening and a Beithir, her kind don’t usually come into power until they turn twenty or so, and she is only eighteen. In her human form she has a tail, one she keeps hidden under large shirts. Since finding out she can regrow the tail a group of shifter females have made her life difficult by tearing it off.
Izban is Ice and a Mage, he is on a quest of sorts for his grandfather. In order to have access to where a couple of these artifacts are hidden, he poses as a substitute teacher. He learns some interesting things about the students and the school, but knows he can’t do anything about the injustices he sees.
It’s as he is searching for the second item on his list he runs into Amber, this is a favorite scene.
“You don’t need to be afraid of me,” Izban whispered, nearing Amber. She slithered backwards a little. When he continued to follow her, she bared her fangs, glistening with venom. That made him stop in his tracks.
“Okay, you don’t have to bite, I’m backing off, see?” And indeed, he walked back a step or two. Satisfied, she closed her maw. It was good to see a bit of fear from people occasionally. Far too many underestimated her. Just because she didn’t bite the girls who ripped off her tail didn’t mean she was completely defenceless. But she had principals. And she valued her freedom. Killing people was not going to be in her future, venomous teeth or not.
She’d never tried how poisonous her bite really was, but her parents had taught her that most grown beithirs were easily able to kill a human with their bite. Or even a supernatural.
“I need to look around for something, would you mind leaving me to it?”
He looked almost desperate. She had to laugh – inside, of course, snakes didn’t laugh.
She shook her head in a wide gesture, obvious enough so he couldn’t miss it.
He huffed. “I don’t have time to do this tomorrow. If you don’t leave, will you at least promise not to tell anyone I was here?”
She cocked her head. That was a big kind of promise. Usually, she’d set terms, like being able to tell someone if it was endangering him, her or others. But she couldn’t speak, damn it.
Maybe she should partially shift. It would mean she could actually talk, and she wouldn’t be left totally naked. Kind of. She could leave it so her scales mostly covered her, though technically they were just a part of her skin. Which made her naked again in her book, though she could understand why a lot of people would disagree. She did feel less exposed when she was wearing them after all.
The blue-haired man looked at her intently, worry etched on his face. Now that was interesting. He didn’t have anything to be worried about as far as she knew. But it did raise questions about what he was doing down here in the first place.
And what he was looking for.
Curiosity got the better of her, and Amber began the transformation into her half shifted form. Her face and hair returned to normal. Her body shrunk dramatically, and the grey-green scales retracted until they were covering all of her skin up past her breasts. At least she was decent.
Blue-hair’s eyes widened as he took her in. “You can half-shift?” he asked.
Odd question. She’d have many more if she were him.
“But not your tail?”
She scowled at him. But really, how was he to know her tail had been removed. She’d long since given up telling any of Ben Vair’s staff when she lost it. They just didn’t care.
“My tail and I had an unfortunate separation,” she replied.
His gaze travelled the length of her body, making her particularly self-conscious. No non-beithir had ever seen her like this, and it was an unusual situation to find herself in.
“Tamsin,” she replied stiffly, holding her head up high. She wasn’t going to let anyone see how much she hated being without a tail.
“The annoying wolf shifter girl?” he asked.
“Yes. Are you sure you’re a teacher?”
He certainly wasn’t acting like it, and she wasn’t sure she liked it.
“Yes, yes, whatever.”
Amber frowned at him. “What are you looking for?” she asked as he glanced around the lab again.
“I can’t tell you that.” His response was instant, and pretty definite. Then again…
“What if I agreed not to tell anyone you were down here. Or that you were looking for something. Or that you’re clearly not a teacher?” She squared of against him, and his features took on a concerned look. Good. She was getting to him then.
Blue-hair smiled slightly. “You swear it?
“On the stub of my tail.”
“I’m looking for a ruby infused with baobhan sìth saliva.” He sighed, and pushed a hand over his face, leaving his blue hair in slight disarray. She almost reached out and smoothed it down. Almost.
“And you think you’ll find it in here?” She could almost laugh. He was in completely the wrong part of the underground rooms to find anything like that.
“At least you think it exists,” he pointed out.
“Of course it exists. Otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for it. But why in the clouds would you want one of those?” She didn’t even know what one did. Probably something icky if there was a incubus involved. Not that incubi themselves were icky creatures. Nor was sex with one, but there were a lot of ill uses to their magic according to rumour, and she dreaded to think what some of those could be.
“I wish I knew.” He looked away and shuffled his feet, so she dropped it. Despite really wanting to know, she didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. She had a feeling he knew a lot of interesting things. And she wanted to learn them all if she could. And more.
After Ben Vair, she’d been planning on journeying all over the world, and discovering creatures like her but by other names. She was sure there were some after all.
“You’re looking in the wrong place.”
“You’re not going to find a ruby in what is effectively a biology lab.”
“How do you even know what biology is,” he muttered, quite possibly not meaning for her to hear.
Amber hissed, the sound coming across more menacing due to her half-shifted form. “I’m a mythical being, not an idiot. Try and remember that.”
He gulped, and nodded. “Sorry, lead on, please.” She relaxed a little. It wasn’t his fault he was so ill informed. But if she ever met the people who’d raised him…well they were going to get a piece of her mind.
Greenwood, Laura. Seven Wardens Omnibus: Books 1-4 (Seven Wardens Collections) (pp. 213-216). Peryton Press. Kindle Edition.
It’s Amber who introduces him to a ghost residing in the basements of the school. She’s the one who tells him what the items on his list are for. It’s at that moment Izbar knows he can’t complete his task or return home.
Fast-paced, adventurous, flirty and snarky, you won’t be able to put this book down.
5 Contented Purrs for Skye and Laura!
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Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.
She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.
When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.
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Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, trying to resist French Macaroons, and watching the Pitch Perfect trilogy for the hundredth time (at least!)