Today is my stop during the blog hop for Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove. There’s a character interview with Spring, one of the side characters in Before the Storm. And a continued excerpt. You can view the whole tour schedule here.
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift–she can kill with the fury of the storm.
She should have known that kind of power wouldn’t go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She’s a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle’s closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.
But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.
You can add Before the Storm to your to-read list on Goodreads
Character interview with Spring
Good morning, everyone! Thanks so much for allowing me to stop in today and share Before the Storm, my new Urban Fantasy release! I cornered Spring, someone Halle regards highly, and asked her to shed some light on the goings on. Here’s what she had to say:
Claire: You’re on Halle’s list of favorite people—what did you think of her when you first met her, and what do you think now?
Spring: (grins) She’s a spitfire – I thought that then, and I think it now. She’s just what we need around here to shake things up a little bit. But she’s impulsive, and as you’ve seen, that will get her into trouble. If she can’t curb that, we’re all in danger. I mean, really, who sets out to capture a lich? We all know it’s impossible. Still, you have to admire her determination and courage.
Claire: What’s your impression of Kale?
Spring: Of Kale? Must you really ask? The entire camarilla adores him. He’s strong, and loyal, and a role model of a warrior. To be truthful, however, my faith in him has waned. He has a role he must assume, that of leading the same people who adore him. It’s time for him to accept that responsibility and stop trying to run from it.
Claire: Speaking of roles—what’s yours?
Spring: Advisor, recorder of histories, and well, the rest I shouldn’t say. (She winks.) Halle might think less of me.
Claire: I see. Speaking of Halle. What impact do you thin she’ll have on the Tolvenar? Do you support her?
Spring: (her expression sobers) I support her so long as her actions do not put us in more danger. She will either lead us to greatness or deliver us to our deaths. One of those outcomes is guaranteed—there can be no other possibility.
Claire: That almost gives me the chills. So tell me about your twin, Leaf. He was on Halle’s list as well.
Spring: Leaf? (laughing) He is an eternal trickster who can’t be serious to save his life. Even when he’s surrounded by danger, he’s like a perpetual child on a playground. His heart is good though. And we counter each other well.
Claire: Two halves of the same whole?
Spring: Indeed! We are twins, who’ve been stuck with each other for centuries. You can’t expect less.
Claire: (frowning) Just…how old are you anyway?
Spring: Oh, Claire, haven’t you heard? You never ask a lady her age. (Her features wrinkle with mischief.) Ask Leaf if you really want to know.
Claire: I’ll have to hunt him down. Changing gears – Who is this Rafini person Gerard mentioned?
Spring: Rafini? Why don’t you know—he was the last windwalker. The chosen vessel to carry the power of the ancient dragons. He’s dead now. Consumed by the same power he carried.
Claire: Hm. Are there any more like him?
Spring: No, and you should be glad of it. The Yaksini would turn the world into chaos trying to hunt one down.
Claire: Interesting. Well, thank you for spending some time with me. I should go now, I’ve another appointment to make.
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Spring a little better. Though it occurs to me she’s either a phenomenal liar or Halle’s kept her deliberately in the dark. Makes me wonder if Spring is an ally or not. If you’d like to know the answer, Before the Storm is available for a short while at only .99 cents. I’d love it if you’d check it out!
And there is a progressive excerpt going on during this blog hop. You can read the part before this at Got Fiction!
Chapter One Continued
Breaking into a jog, I headed for deeper tree cover and the corner of the wall. If Faye had exited out the back gate, she wouldn’t be able to see me in the thick umbrella of woods surrounding our uncle’s property, but I could see her. I could see she was safe. At least for now.
“Damn it,” Kale muttered. His heavier footfalls joined mine, tromping through the woods.
The crunching leaves and snapping twigs didn’t concern me. These woods were a common hangout for Appelgate’s bored teens. Not to mention the pond at the top of the slight hill drew wildlife like a prehistoric tar pit. Any number of creatures could be crashing through the brush as Kale and I were.
The fact he followed, however, disturbed me greatly. If he was part of Allen’s security, he’d drag me inside that house and expose me to Faye. Then my aunt and I would both be expected to explain why I wasn’t really dead.
More than anything though, I needed to see for myself that Faye was okay. Out here at a distance, where if she weren’t, nothing bad would inadvertently happen to her. Out here where if he’d made her bleed, Faye couldn’t ever discover her big sister’s dark side.
I stumbled around a gnarled tree trunk and skidded down a rocky incline. Quiet sobs drifted through the air, twisting my heart. If I had known Faye would meet this fate, I never would have abandoned her to my extended family. But then…Uncle Allen had been nothing but kind in the years before…before I did what I did. It was like he changed the night the tornado ripped through Applegate, Oklahoma, destroying his brother. More so than how grief typically altered people’s lives.
“Halle!” Kale called in a hushed whisper. “Stop.”
Like hell. I doubled my pace.
He matched my ground-covering strides.
Ignoring Kale as best as I could, I ducked under a low-hanging elm branch and dodged a crooked sapling. Long mahogany hair peeked through a grove of thorn bushes. Faye sat within that protective circle, her arms folded on her bent knees, her shoulders heaving as she tried to stifle her sobs.
Something caught her attention, and she jerked her head up, scanning the trees that kept me hidden. I stopped before movement could draw her full focus, but not in time to spare myself from witnessing the blood that seeped from her split lower lip.
White-hot fury arced through me. In a heartbeat’s passing, the starlit sky vibrated with the low rumble of thunder.
Read more on 4/25 at Literal Addiction!
About the author:
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, award-winning author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy–a must-read for speculative fiction fans. She also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance author Sophia Garrett.
In her non-writing time, she’s runs Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.
There are several other opportunities over the next two weeks to win more prizes. To see the other release-gala events, check out the Before The Storm Tour Schedule!