Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Book Schedule and Release Dates

Happy New Years Eve! I hope 2014 has treated you all wonderfully, and I hope that 2015 brings you even more joy, beautiful mistakes, and laughter. So, I’m going to try to type this post without too many exclamations, but I just got a French Press for Christmas (which is a bitch to use, but the coffee it brews  is delicious *swoon* I haven’t been living up until now).

So, I’m sure some of you want to throttle me with my lack of updates. The truth is (1) there hasn’t been much news for months, and now everything is all coming together at the same time. Yippee! … Not. For someone like me—someone who is definitely not a detail person—it’s my own fun little nightmare. But, I’m so, so, so excited to finally share with you the novels I’ve been working on!

Oh, and (2), I’m scatterbrained. So scatterbrained, in fact, that I almost published this post without this paragraph because I forgot about it halfway through. *Sigh* I hate it when I’m that good at proving my point. But, the thing is, I often erroneously assume you all know what I know concerning the books because hey, I posted/tweeted/commented/thought (heh) about it once. Win! (… Again, not.)

Anyway, below are some of the books slated for release at the beginning of 2015. I’m including the book description of each since I’m usually horrible at this, but apologies if this is going to be the fiftieth time you’ve read the back flap (<—autocorrected to “backslap” … proof that my computer really is the sadistic S.O.B. I’d always assumed it was).

M’kay, here goes:

The Queen of All that Dies
Releases January 15, 2015
NA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic

In the future, the world is at war. 

For the last decade, King Lazuli of the Eastern Empire has systematically taken over the world. No one knows much about him other than a series of impossible facts: he cannot die, he has not aged since the conflict began, and he wants to rule the world. 

All Serenity Freeman has known is bloodshed. War has taken away her mother, her home, her safety. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations, the last autonomous region of the globe, she is responsible for forging alliances where she can. 

Surrender is on the horizon. The king can taste it; Serenity feels it deep within her bones. There is no other option. Now the two must come face to face. For Serenity, that means confronting the man who’s taken everything from her. For the king, it means meeting the one woman he can’t conquer. But when they meet, something happens. Cruelty finds redemption. 

Only in war, everything comes with a price. Especially love.

Pre-Order The Queen of All that Dies Here


The Vanishing Girl
Re-releases January 27, 2015
NA Science Fiction/Fantasy

Every night after Ember Pierce falls asleep, she disappears. She can teleport anywhere in the world—London, Paris, her crush’s bedroom—wherever her dreams lead her. Ten minutes is all she gets, and once time’s up, she returns to her bed. It's a secret she’s successfully kept for the last five years. But now someone knows.

A week after her eighteenth birthday, when frustratingly handsome Caden Hawthorne captures her, delivers her to the government, and then disappears before her eyes, Ember realizes two things: One, she is not alone. And two, people like her—teleporters—are being used as weapons.

Dragged off to a remote facility where others like her live, Ember’s forced to pair up with her former captor, Caden, to learn how to survive inside until she can escape. Only Caden’s making escape seem less and less appealing.

But even as Ember falls for the boy who got her into this mess, she knows that she is running out of time. Because the government has plans for those like her, and those plans might just cost Ember her life.

Order The Vanishing Girl Here


The Forsaken
Releases March 15, 2015*
YA/NA Paranormal

Since her Awakening, seventeen-year-old Gabrielle Fiori has known the devil wants her as his own, and that when she dies, he’ll finally lay his claim. Evading death should be easy. But when a prophecy linking her to the lord of the underworld is leaked, supernaturals—both good and bad—come together for one purpose: to kill her, the girl they believe is the anti-Christ. 

Andre de Leon, Gabrielle’s soulmate and the king of vampires, will do anything to save her from a fate that’s been predestined for thousands of years. Even if that means killing. Even if that means dying. 

But Gabrielle harbors a secret: death is only a matter of time. The magic that flows through her veins, changing her from human to vampire, is slowly killing her. Her heart is slowing, her lungs strain for breath, her body sickens. The world has forsaken her, and unless fate can save her, she’ll be damned to hell and the devil that waits for her. 

And this time, it’ll be for good.

*I’ve had to push back the release date of The Forsaken due to a number of issues. For one, publishing contracts can be nasty little buggers, and the one I signed required that I prioritize writing other books when I had been slated to begin The Forsaken. And two, I had two family emergencies that forced me to take off a significant chunk of time. Boo! :( Add into the mix the holidays, and well *sigh* the release date had to be pushed back. This is, however, the novel that I’m dedicated 100% of my time to, so it will get finished fast. I’ll post more information on this in the near future.

Add The Forsaken on Goodreads


The Decaying Empire
Releases April 21, 2015
NA Science Fiction/Fantasy

When eighteen-year-old teleporter Ember Pierce wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, she remembers only the basics: she’s been trained by the government as a spy, she’s sent on dangerous missions, and her last assignment—the one that landed her in the hospital—was a setup.

Caden Hawthorne has spent the past ten months of his life grieving Ember’s death. So when she shows up in his room like an apparition, he can’t believe his eyes. But this Ember is different. Her hair is longer, her skin is paler, her gaze is haunted. She tells him what he’s already begun to suspect: someone he trusted betrayed her.

Now, uncertain who is friend and who is foe, Ember and Caden face the toughest mission of their lives—to stay together and survive, as they run from danger toward an unknown future.

Pre-Order The Decaying Empire Here


If any of you have questions or just want to say hey, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message at [at] Oh, and make sure to check back here and on my FB page over the next month, as I’ll be posting more news, snippets from upcoming books, and announcing giveaways like this one on Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Queen of All that Dies by Laura Thalassa

The Queen of All that Dies

by Laura Thalassa

Giveaway ends January 15, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

In addition to this, I’m raffling off an advanced, signed copy of The Queen of All that Dies for those of you who pre-order the novel! Once I hit 100 pre-orders, I’ll begin the giveaway!

See you all on the other side of the new year!

Hugs and happy reading,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Exciting News on The Queen of All that Dies

For the last several months I’ve kept fairly quiet on The Queen of All that Dies. I finally have news for you! The Queen of All that Dies will be released January 15, 2015. If you requested an ARC copy of The Queen of All that Dies, then make sure to check your inboxes!

For those of you who don’t know about my latest book, The Queen of All that Dies is a new adult dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel that takes place in the not-too-distant future. It’s the first of two books—possibly three depending on whether Serenity Freeman is satisfied with my storytelling. :)

The Queen of All that Dies is now available for pre-order on Amazon, and you can click here to check it out!

This is where my news gets extra fun. For authors, pre-orders are important because they help us gain visibility. So, to show my gratitude to all of you who pre-order The Queen of All that Dies, I’m going to be giving away several signed print copies of The Queen of All that Dies.

The first giveaway will occur once 100 people have pre-ordered The Queen of All that Dies. As soon as that happens, I’ll announce the giveaway on my blog as well as on my Facebook page. All you’ll be required to do is to email/message me the confirmation number on your receipt, and you’ll be entered. Depending on how many people pre-order a copy of The Queen of All That Dies, I’ll be hosting several of these, and so long as you’ve pre-ordered the novel, you’re eligible to join each and every one. (Insider information: in the past not many people join these raffles of mine, so your chances of winning a copy are pretty decent!)

Sneak Peeks
In addition to giving away signed print copies of The Queen of All that Dies, I’ll be releasing never seen before snippets of the book to my mailing list. If you are interested in reading these snippets, make sure to sign up for my newsletter in the top right-hand corner. I’ll release the first one at the same time that I announce the first giveaway!

Goodreads Giveaway
In addition to all of the above, I’m giving away a signed copy of The Queen of All that Dies on Goodreads starting Monday, so make sure to check that out as well!

Hugs and happy reading,

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Forsaken Description and Cover Reveal

For the last several months I’ve been busy finishing up The Decaying Empire, and The Queen of All that Dies, both which are currenty with my publisher. Finally, finally, I’ve been able to get to work on the fourth book in The Unearthly series, The Forsaken. For those of you who’ve patiently waited for news on The Forsaken, it’s finally here!

Coming February 2015

Since her Awakening, seventeen-year-old Gabrielle Fiori has known the devil wants her as his own, and that when she dies, he’ll finally lay his claim. Evading death should be easy. But when a prophecy linking her to the lord of the underworld is leaked, supernaturals—both good and bad—come together for one purpose: to kill her, the girl they believe is the anti-Christ.

Andre de Leon, Gabrielle’s soulmate and the king of vampires, will do anything to save her from a fate that’s been predestined for thousands of years. Even if that means killing. Even if that means dying.

But Gabrielle harbors a secret: death is only a matter of time. The magic that flows through her veins, changing her from human to vampire, is slowly killing her. Her heart is slowing, her lungs strain for breath, her body sickens. The world has forsaken her, and unless fate can save her, she’ll be damned to hell and the devil that waits for her.

And this time, it’ll be for good.


If you enjoyed the description, click here to mosey on over to Goodreads and add this to your “To Read” list! If you want to receive an email on the day this comes out, make sure to sign up for my email list (located in the top righthand corner!).  

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Decaying Empire is up for Pre-Order!

Hey dudes and dudettes (but mostly dudettes … probably … *eyes screen warily*),

News, news, news—I finally have news for you! M’kay, so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything of importance on here, but I have been working like a mad woman in the meantime, and now I get to finally share all my little projects with you!

1) The Queen of All that Dies is done.* Note the asterisk. Right now it’s in the hands of some awesome author friends of mine who are going to read and edit it, and when I get it back, I’m guessing it will be tore up from the floor up. Which means some rewrites (but quick ones!). Then I have to send it off to my editor, and she’ll read it and get back to me, which could take up to a month. But, things should actually happen much quicker than they sound. And once they do, I can discuss the release date and send out the ARC copies!

2) The Decaying Empire is up for pre-order! You can grab it here. It’s coming out April 21, 2015! (You can’t see me but I’m doing a happy dance!) I can’t WAIT to share

3) Right now I’m working on a super secret project that I can’t say anything about—other than it’s new adult—and then I’m moving onto The Forsaken!

4) I’m going to try to update my website in the next week or so with more fun stuff, more accurate release dates, and all that jazz.

Hugs and happy reading!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Forsaken (The Unearthly Series) Character Interview

So, I’ve been pretty awful about updating my blog lately, but that is not because I haven’t been up to mischief! I’ve finished The Decaying Empire and sent that off to my publishers, I’m wrapping up writing The Queen of All that Dies, and I’ve started working on The Forsaken.

In honor of the next book in The Unearthly series, I did a character interview with My Crazy Corner, a blog hosted by Apryl Baker, the best selling author of The Ghost Files series, The Coven series, and The Bloodlines series. If you need a good Gabrielle and Andre fix, or you want to read more of Oliver, make sure to check it out here!

Some of you have been eager to learn about when my next books are coming out, so here it is:

~The Forsaken: January 31, 2015

~The Queen of All that Dies: November/December 2014, unless my publisher picks it up (If this is the case, then it will likely come out some time in 2015)

~The Decaying Empire: No release date yet, but again, my guess would be sometime in 2015

~Unnamed Adult Paranormal Romance Novel: 2015

And there it is! I’ll be posting more information as it comes. Until then, have a happy Halloween!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Vlog Post: A Little Q&A

Today, rather than writing out a post, I decided to say hello to you all in person and answer some of your questions. So, without further ado, here’s my first vlog:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Upcoming Book Schedule and Author Q&A

I thought I’d give you all an update on where I am with my books at the moment. The Vanishing Girl is now in the process of getting revamped and it has a re-release date for the beginning of 2015. The bad news? This means that The Decaying Empire won’t be coming out until sometime after that. I know, it’s a super big bummer, but, on the flip side, it ultimately means a better book!

I will have this book done and in my publisher’s hands by the middle of September, which means that I’ll officially resume work on The Queen of All that Dies then as well! Once that’s finished, I’ll be sending the copies out the ARC copies and beginning work on The Forsaken. I’ll also be working on a super-secret mystery project during that time, so expect several books this fall and winter!

Lastly, I’m considering doing a vlog—is that what you call it? (Can you tell I’m a technophobe?) :) I figured I’d post a video and answer all those questions you’ve just been dying to ask me. Hehehe! I know you’re rolling your eyes! But in all seriousness, I’d love to do a mini Q&A video and answer some of your questions regarding my series, my 2015 schedule, how to get your hands on ARC copies of my books, other projects in the works, and all that good stuff!

So, if there is anything you want to get a straight answer on, ask your question here on the Goodreads author Q&A. I’ll answer them on the vlog post, and I’ll write in the answers on Goodreads the same day I post the video!

Hugs and happy reading!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Updates and a Teaser!

It’s official: I signed the contract for a two book deal for The Vanishing Girl and its sequel with Skyscape, Amazon’s young adult imprint! (There will also be a third book in the series.) This means that The Vanishing Girl and its sequel will be available in multiple formats, and you’ll actually be able to pick up a copy in a brick-and-mortar bookstore! Yippee!

The downside is that my current projects will be stalled for slightly longer than I planned. However, nothing about my work routine has changed. I’m still writing away eight hours a day, five days a week, so this changes nothing about the amount of material I’m producing. :) 

I will undoubtably have more updates for you all as I move further along in the process. Until then I have another teaser for you—and this one is on behalf of Marie, who asked about the adult paranormal romance I’m still working on. It’s release date is to be determined, but it should be out sometime next year.

Rhapsodic Teaser #3

“I have to say, sleep does not become you.”
I roll over in bed and rub my eyes. When I pull my hand away, I see the Bargainer standing off to the side of the bed, his arms folded and his head cocked. He’s studying me like I’m an exotic bird, which technically, I am.
“What are you doing here?” I ask, still groggy from sleep.
“In case you’ve missed it, the day is done. I’m here to collect more of my payment.” The way he says payment sends shivers up my arms. Behind him, the moon shines brightly into the room, fuller than it was yesterday.
I groan. I slept the entire day away. I reach over to my nightstand where my cell phone rests and check my messages. I have several, but none of them are from Eli. I frown and set the phone aside.
“No calls from lover boy?” the Bargainer asks. When I look at him, his eyes are sad. As if he cares.
“How did you know …” I let my voice fall away before I can finish.
The Bargainer’s eyes thin as a sly smile spreads across his face. His sadness evaporates as quickly as it came. “You’ve forgotten much about me already,” he looks pleased about this, “which means I’m going to have to remind you.”
He snaps his fingers and the blankets that cover me slide off.
“Des, what are you—?”
He tsks, interrupting me. “Your pajamas don’t become you either, cherub. I was hoping those would improve with age as well.”
I stifle a yawn and push myself off the bed. “Just … shut up,” I mumble, padding past him. Where yesterday, his presence filled me with old pain, tonight all I feel is annoyance.
I make my way to the bathroom, discreetly wiping away a bit of drool from my mouth. One would think a siren slept with more dignity than I did.
The Bargainer follows me to my bathroom, enjoying just how much he’s ruining my evening. “You’re going to have to bargain for my silence, if that’s what you want.”
In response I slam my door shut in his face. Probably not the wisest way to deal with the king of the night, but right now I don’t really care too much.
I take two steps away from the bathroom door, and it blasts open behind me. I spin around and stare at the Bargainer who stands on the other side of the doorway, his body filling up the space. My door hangs off its hinges at a funny angle.
“I wasn’t finished,” he says calmly. His eyes glint as they watch me; he’s beautiful and terrible to behold.
“You owe me a new door,” I respond.
He chuckles, and it’s full of dark promise. “Why don’t we work on paying off your current debts before you talk about what I owe you?”
I glare at him, because he has me. “What was so important that you had to blow off my door to tell me?” I ask.
A watch forms over his wrist and he taps the face of it. “Time, Calli, time. I have some important appointments to keep. You need to be ready in twenty minutes.”
“Fine.” I walk over to my shower and turn on the facet. This would have to be a fast shower.
When I turn back around, the Bargainer has made himself comfortable on my bathroom’s tile countertop. He leans against the wall next to the mirror, one of his legs stretched out in front of him, his other leg bent at the knee.
“Get out,” I say.
He gives me a lazy smile. “No.”
“I’m not kidding.”
One of his eyebrows quirks up. “Nor am I.”
I run a hand through my hair. “I’m not getting naked in front of you.”
“That’s fine with me,” he says. “Shower with your clothes on.”
Oh, because that’s reasonable. “If you’re not going to leave the room, then I’ll go somewhere else.”
“The faucet in your guest bathroom doesn’t work,” he says, calling my bluff. My eyes widen before I remember that it’s his business to know secrets.
He’s not leaving and I’ve run out of options. “Fine,” I say, taking off my T-shirt. “Enjoy the peep show—that’s all you’ll be getting from me.”
His laughter skitters up my arm. “Don’t delude yourself, cherub. You have a wrist full of debt and I have many, many demands.”

Hugs and happy reading,

Friday, August 1, 2014

Author Recommendation - Timeloopers: A Strange Machine

So, I rarely do this, but today I’m going to unashamedly gush about a must-read book: A Strange Machine (Timeloopers #1). To give you a very general description of the book, it’s about six prep school seniors, time travel, and reckless behavior. It’s like Gossip Girl meets Back to the Future (only the time travel here is hours or days, not years or decades).

So, part of the reason this is so special is that my amazingly talented fiancé, author Dan Rix, wrote it. But, and more importantly, it is an amazing effing book. Like seriously, ah-may-zing. I had a massive book hangover after I read it, which is rare for me. Below are a list of reasons why you’ve got to pick this book up for a summer read!

1. An Academy full of smart and/or rich kids. Never can you have too much of this in my opinion.

2. Time travel. Wait, wait, wait, before you scamper away—because ew, time travel, really?—you should know that this might actually be the only time travel book I’ve ever gotten into. You know that inherent paradox where if you change the past, the future is altered, thereby making journeying into the past unnecessary (which would then recreate the problem, etc., etc.)? Totally answered and believably so! Also, it enhances the plot, but it doesn’t take over the plot.

3. Teenagers behaving badly. Drinking, partying, relationship issues—it is the smorgasbord of the angsty teen life. And I swear, when you read it, you feel like you’re in high school.

4. Amazing characters. Like seriously, amazing characters. You won’t like them all—which honestly is part of the fun. My favorite? Iris. The one that made me fan myself? Dante. The one I wanted to shake? Sam. You get to be in all their heads, and ugh—so good. I’m fan-girling. I need to stop. But I can’t.

Okay, stopping.

If you’re a fan of The Vanishing Girl, this is a must read! To check out A Strange Machine (Timeloopers #1) on Amazon, click here.

Here’s the book’s description:

When Seattle’s most elite private school becomes the controversial recipient of a prototype supercomputer, senior class prankster and genius computer whizz Cory Holland is determined to hack it . . . that is, if he can find the time between crashing parties and making out with his archenemy’s superhot ex, Samantha.

But Cory soon realizes the spooky coffin-sized machine humming away in his school’s basement isn’t a computer at all. Inside the machine, time appears to cycle in endless loops. Food molds in seconds. Cell phones drain in minutes. Most startlingly, it appears possible to step inside at the end of the loop . . . and step out into the past.

But when the machine delivers a cryptic warning that Samantha died in a car crash, his memories of her instantly begin to vanish—leaving only lingering moments of déjà vu. Someone’s been screwing with the past. Now he must do the unthinkable: alter the timeloop to save the life of the girl he loves, only to forget everything about her.


Click here to check it out on Amazon!

Hugs and happy reading!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Vanishing Girl Sale and Other News

Here are some quick updates for all you lovely readers! 

For the next seven days, The Vanishing Girl will be on sale for $0.99, so if you like teleportation, romance, and action, then click here to snag your copy!

Secondly, if you enjoyed The Unearthy, The Coveted, and/or The Cursed, please be sure to vote on it here for UtopYA’s 2015 Award Eligible Books on Goodreads! To all of those readers who’ve already voted on it—a super huge, heartfelt thank you! Oliver is popping his hip and telling me that it’s about damn time he was recognized for being awesome. (He doesn’t know this isn’t about him.) 

You’ll be hearing from me again tomorrow, so make sure to check in again! 

Hugs and much love!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Man in the Suit

Ah! I have a fun post today! So, all of you have particular ideas of what different characters look like in the stories you read. Well, for all my books, I have my own idea for what each character looks like. Most don’t have a corresponding celebrity that looks like them, but I just found one that looks dead on like the man in the suit.

I recently saw The Picture of Dorian Gray (2009), and Ben Barnes, the actor who plays Dorian Gray, was the closest rendering I’ve seen so far to the man in the suit.

Here’s the movie trailer, so you can get an idea yourself:

Hugs and happy reading,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Queen of All that Dies Teaser #3 and Updates

So, some exciting things are happening in my world right now that will affect my release schedule. I am currently in talks with a publisher about The Vanishing Girl series. Because of this, I’ve had to prioritize working on The Decaying Empire (and this name could potentially change).

What does this mean? Well, unfortunately, it means that it could push back the release date of The Queen of All that Dies. However, what it does mean is that The Vanishing Girl series could be more widely distributed—more ebook formats (yippee to those of you who have non-Kindle e-readers), audiobooks, perhaps foreign language editions, and print books that will be available in certain bookstores across the country.

This is all still up in the air, so I’ll keep all of you wonderful readers posted on what happens. To all those readers who have contacted me to read an advanced review copy of The Queen of All that Dies—this will mean that your copies will arrive later than I initially expected. However, I still have you all listed, and I’ll keep you posted on future updates.

If you have not signed up to read an advanced copy of The Queen of all that Dies, and you’re interested in getting to read and review an early copy, please email me at Absolutely anyone can do this, and you get a free pre-released copy of The Queen of All that Dies. All you have to do is read the book and post a review when the book hits shelves. So again, if you’re interested, please email me at

For those of you bummed by this news, I thought I’d pair it with another teaser from The Queen of all that Dies to sate your appetite.

The Queen of All that Dies Teaser #3

Marco twists the handle and ushers me inside. The king’s back is to me and he’s staring at the walls of the room.
I suck in a breath of air. The walls are covered with maps of every nation on earth. Strings crisscross the images, connecting one section of land to another. I can see creases on the surface of these maps, suggesting that they were unfolded recently. My best guess is that the king takes these maps wherever he goes.
Pins hold the strings down, and beneath a few of these pins are images. Most are of people whose faces have been crossed out; only a precious few have not been. My earlier nausea rises.
“Feeling better, Serenity?”
“Fuck off.”
The king turns to face me, his expression unreadable. “You’re not wearing my gift.”
“You can’t bribe me into liking you.”
The king’s eyes flick to Marco. “You can go.”
Behind me Marco’s footfalls fade, and a moment later the door clicks shut. There’s no one else in this room but the two of us. No guards, no servants. Like the pool last night, it’s just the two of us.
“I can’t have you clouding my judgment during negotiations,” he says.
My hands fist. “Right. Because how awful would it be to compromise for once in your life?”
“I haven’t spent the last fifteen years waging war to finally compromise.”
“No,” I agree, “you haven’t.”
The king glances away from me at the maps that line the walls. “I’m not an idiot,” he says, not looking at me.
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“I know the WUN sent you here to seduce me.”
My body goes rigid. I have no idea why his confession shocks me; it doesn’t take a scientist to put two and two together.
He laughs, the sound hollow. “The problem is, it worked.” His eyes move over me, and something in them softens for a moment before he shutters the expression.
“Uh huh.”
“You find that hard to believe?” he asks. His lips quirk into a smirk. I’d say that he was mocking me, except his eyes are too serious.
I fold my arms over my chest. Of course I do. “Why are you telling me this?” I ask.
“To warn you.”
“Warn me about what?”
“I get what I want. Always.”
“You keep telling me that, yet I haven’t seen any proof.”
“You want proof?” he says. His eyes are calculating, and the smile dancing on his lips is sly. He’s no longer the man I talked to yesterday; he’s the man who’s been taking over the world for the last two decades.
I take a step back. I shouldn’t have spoken just now; my words were careless, and around the king, careless words could mean the difference between life and death.
I shake my head and close my eyes. “No, I don’t want proof. I just want this to end.” I open my eyes. “I don’t want to see any more crossed out faces on those maps of yours.” I jut my chin to the wall behind him. “I don’t want to be hungry all the time. I don’t want to see the hollow-eyed looks of the people I live alongside.”
“I can give you that,” he says, tucking a piece of hair behind my ear. I flinch at his touch.
“Of course you can—but you won’t.”
“That’s because no one’s offered me the correct price yet.” He says it like this is a simple matter of haggling.
I throw my arms up. “You can’t expect the WUN to willingly cripple our future economy for you.”
The king steps in extra close. “That’s not the price I was referring to.” His eyes move over me.
And now I get it. I take a step back, then another. I furrow my eyebrows; I think I’m going to be sick. “No.”
“Why not?”
“Even if I believed you felt that was a legitimate trade—which we both know it isn’t—no.”
“You could end this all now, and you refuse to agree to it?”
“You’re asking me to make a deal with the devil.”
“You and I both know you already signed your soul away a long time ago, Serenity.”
“Because of you and your stupid war. I already told you last night, you don’t get to have me.”
The king gazes intensely at me. “I’m not just talking about sex,” he says.
But sex would be included in the arrangement. “I’d rather die than do anything with you.”
“If it’s death you wish, we can arrange that.”
The king reaches out to touch my arm, and I slap his hand away. “Don’t. Touch. Me.” I’m shaking; this was never supposed to happen. I’m getting played by the king, and I don’t know how to get myself out of this situation.
King Lazuli sticks his hands in his pockets and leans in conspiratorially. “You know the thing about strategy? It takes knowing when to act and when to be patient.”
I take a good long look at him. King Lazuli’s been waging this war for over fifteen years, yet he looks to be in his twenties. I’ve seen footage of him shot, blown-up, and stabbed, yet he hasn’t died. He’s unnatural in more ways than one.
“If you try to force me into this plan of yours, I will find out your secrets,” I say, “and once I do, I will kill you.” I stare at him for a long moment so that he can see the vehemence behind my words. And then I turn and walk away from the king and the sick tapestry that hangs along the walls of the room.
I’m almost to the door when he speaks. “I plan on making you love me before that happens.”

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