Ophelia's been successful at hiding her true identity, until the mark of the serpent appears on her neck—a death sentence, should it be seen by anyone in her town. Hiding the mark might save her from falling victim to the witch hunts of her era, but the scorching sensation it carries can’t be ignored.
When the mysterious Ethan is sent to collect her for a life of something more, she learns concealing the mark is the least of her concerns. She’s destined to do a new task—to join a dark, supernatural world and protect the future of people she may never meet.
What she doesn’t know—what she learns too late—is that her initiation won’t be complete until she kills the man who’s captured her heart.
Review:I meant to review this a long time ago and seemed to missed it. This is a short novella that takes us into he history of one of the side character fro The Forever Girl. We get to see how Ophelia came to be a part of the court in Damascus. This story is full of chills and heartache. It will keep you on the edge of your seat to find out if Ophelia will make the ultimate sacrifice. I love the different connections between the characters in the world of The Forever Girl Series.
Her Sweetest Downfall isn't a must read to understand the series, but it's a must read because the story is that amazing.
Night crept over Damascus. After treating the rapidly warming serpent mark with more Cruor blood, Ophelia spun toward the open door. Ethan sat between the frame, his strong shoulders resting back, his face turned to the field where a small red fox burrowed in the dirt. The night breeze wisped through his hair. She set the blankets on the end of the bed and walked over.
“Is it far?” she asked.
“No.” He cleared his throat but didn’t look up at her. “Sorry. For a human, it’s very far, but it won’t be for us.”
Ophelia bunched her fingers together in front of her stomach. “Same as we got ‘ere then?”
She stepped around, outside, and kneeled in the grass across from him, resting her hands in her lap. “Ethan, if something is wrong . . . ”
“I’d tell you,” he replied, lifting his gaze from a long piece of grass he’d been slipping between his fingers. Moonlight paled his tan complexion and darkened the shade of his jaw, making him appear more defeated than he had hours ago. “The Cruor I mentioned earlier is in the Americas. She’s not expecting us.”
“But I thought—”
“Please trust me.” He stood and dusted off his pants, then leaned his shoulder against the doorjamb.
She tried for a smile and busied herself attempting to prop up a wildflower that was wilting among the yellow grass.
When she looked up, Ethan’s expression was gentle. His gaze moved from the small flower to her eyes. There was a brief moment where she wondered if he, like Lady Karina, found her bright, ice-blue eyes alarming. But his express was soft, and her fears quickly melted. He walked behind her, crouched down, and covered her hand with his, his fingertips touching the flower. It revived before her very eyes, and Ophelia leaned her head against Ethan’s shoulder as she stared at the flower in awe.
“Beautiful,” she whispered, wishing she had been destined to be one of the Ankou—to be one of the elementals who revived life and put an end to evil, rather than bring death.
She told him as much.
He sat back, and she turned around to face him. He was standing now, holding his hand out to her.
“Come with me,” he said.
He took her hand and they fell through darkness just as they had when he’d taken her to the cabin. When she could see again, her stomach suddenly jolted. She hunched forward, heaving, but this time she did not vomit. She held her midsection until the feeling passed, then dried the moisture from her eyes.
Ethan smoothed his hand across her shoulder blades. “Traveling will get easier with time. By your third or fourth time you shouldn’t feel anything.”
“Why does this keep happening?” she demanded. She could hardly think straight.
“When we travel this way, we are in the in-between. You are suspended from such things as time and space and then thrust immediately back into it. Your system is forced to catch up instantly on arrival. If not for the magic the Ankou are granted, it could kill you.”
Ophelia sighed, nodding. “Where are we?”
Ethan turned her toward a small house and pressed his fingers to his lips.
He led her along the outer walls of the house until they reached a window. Inside, a man and a woman held each other, crying. Ophelia peered around the room, trying to make sense of what she was searching for. She found her answer on the floor. A young man sat, collapsed to his knees, covered in blood.
“What ‘appened?” Ophelia whispered.
“The young man just watched his comrades kill his sister.” Ethan’s voice was tight and his tone clipped. “He was unable to act to save her. He’s returned home to tell their parents.”
Ophelia backed away, shaking her head. When Ethan approached, she pounded her fist against his chest. “Why would ye show me such a thing?”
Ethan didn’t move, even as Ophelia tried once again to push him away. “The young girl who lost her life was a dual-breed. She was only killed because of what she is, and for no greater reason. This . . . this is what we’re fighting for. It is not that I want you in harm’s way, or that I wish for you to become a creature you detest. If I could do this for you, protect you from your calling, I would. But I cannot let my feelings for you sway our responsibility. I am confident you are capable, that you can do this to save the innocents in this world.”
Though Ophelia tried, she could not summon a response. She covered her mouth with hand, her entire body trembling. Could she live with herself, knowing all this, if she didn’t try to help?
About Rebecca:Rebecca Hamilton is a bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author who also dabbles in Horror and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren't for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA and has been published internationally, in three languages. You can follow her on twitter @InkMuse
To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit the website below.
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