I’m excited; in less than a week’s time, To Kill A Curse will arrive. Having worked on this series for almost a decade, it finally comes to its conclusion when the fifth and final instalment publishes on October 15th. If you’re yet to read any of the books, Inside Evil (book one) is currently FREE across all platforms. You can find it at Amazon US and UK as well as other outlets (see links in sidebar; right). The Tower of Souls is also on offer for just $2.99 (again, see links in sidebar) so you can get the first two books for under $3.
If you’d like a heads-up when To Kill A Curse debuts, hop onto the newsletter. Alternatively, just keep your eyes peeled.
Roberta’s had a year of hell. From fighting a deadly curse, to discovering a parallel realm hiding in the shadows of her own world, she’s narrowly missed death on many occasions. As both friends and foe have fallen, she’s miraculously survived. Though, with giant wolves, doppelgängers and her greatest nemesis’s minions around every corner, she’s not sure how. Now, torn from her loved ones and trying to survive in an alien land, she’s tasked with her most difficult challenge to date; destroy an ancient evil and save two worlds whilst she’s at it.
In the world of Gathin, Roberta’s had to rely on those once considered the enemy, and their relationships are strained even further in her last attempt to find vengeance for those she’s lost. Meanwhile, with Susan and Sam battling to protect Ridgewood from it’s greatest ever threat, the burden to survive and conquer until the bitter end is once again placed upon Roberta’s shoulders.
First Chapter Preview:
To kill the enemy meant taking on herself. That was the constant and perplexing thought in Roberta’s mind. Many would think having insight into their foes was an advantage, but this time, every idea Roberta had was very likely also in the mind of the woman she sought to kill.
The Queen of the North Realms, the doppelgänger she had fought so hard to stop, had won. She’d crossed from Gathin to Earth. She’d restored the balance of nature; one Roberta living in each plane of existence. There was certainly no way to go home now. Though, as Roberta looked around her surroundings, she realised Hilltree, not Ridgewood, felt more like home than home itself.
Scooping the trailing white dress from the floor, Roberta reached out for Emily’s hand, before using the small metal step to enter the carriage. The dress was new. Actually, it was strung together from a collection of second-hand garments that Franca had begged and bargained for. But to Roberta, this second dress was a work of art. The original long and flowing gown in which she had expected to hide in clear sight, was sodden with the blood of many.
Roberta glanced across the large horse-drawn carriage to where Franca still fiddled with her daughter Emily’s dress. The crimson life force of the woman’s son, Crieg, had been so etched into the skirt and bodice of that beautiful dress there was no saving it. His body, and the others, still laid at the scene, too frightened were any of those around her to climb the great staircase and give the dead the burials they deserved. Everything was rather stark. This had never happened before. No army had ever marched between worlds. Most of those in Gathin still had no idea what had happened. But Roberta knew and she couldn’t even imagine what might happen next.
“Are we about ready?”
Roberta looked up as the doorway was momentarily filled and the carriage was cast into darkness. Soon after, bright sunlight penetrated once again as Sesane stepped into the coach and saw that Franca was still primping Emily’s outfit.
“We really must go,” she said gently, putting her one undamaged arm upon the woman’s shoulder. “If it’s too much….if you’d prefer she stayed?”
“No. She must go, she must do what small gestures of help we can offer,” Franca replied as she pushed hair from her daughter’s forehead and placed a small kiss on the teenager’s exposed skin. “Crieg did what he thought best, and she killed him for it. That’s not our way,” she continued as she finally left Emily’s side and looked to Sesane’s scarred face. “Our children will not die for nothing”.
They hugged briefly, before Franca stepped out of the carriage without a word or glance towards where Roberta shrank into the uncomfortable silence. She closed the door with a slam, and her footsteps were heard on the gravel roadside.
“Where’s Laslay?” Roberta asked, noting the three women had not yet been joined by the Ammokra Acolyte.
“He’s to join us later,” Sesane replied as she considered sitting next to Roberta, saw that the ornate dress covered far too much of the bench, and took a seat next to Emily instead. “He is making a last foray into the tower.”
“It isn’t safe,” Roberta said as her jaw dropped. The Queen may have crossed, but many of her followers remained. “He shouldn’t have gone without us.”
“It is safer for him, than you or I, I assure you. And as long as she took her acolyte henchmen with her, Laslay will not be in harm’s way.”
Beneath her, the carriage wobbled into life and the four great horses that stood outside, their reigns harnessed into the large vehicle, began to snort and stamp their feet. Within a moment, the sound of gravel churning under the wheels began, and the entire vessel began to jerk as it finally moved off.
“I don’t even know why we’re going anymore,” Roberta said softly. “She got through. She won.”
“After everything we’ve been through, you go and say something like that,” Sesane replied sharply, turning her head back from the small window. “No. There is much to be done. She may have crossed through the veils of our worlds, yes, but she has not won. The Ammokra is yet to be destroyed. Her new weapon is yet to be vanquished back to hell.”
“We don’t even know what her weapon is.”
“It will be an Ammokra, of sorts. Let us not forget that it was you who discovered its being, you who found that she was building it from the souls of the original acolyte descendants.”
“And Maerthi paid the price,” Roberta said as she once again thought of the slaughter at the top of the staircase.
“Exactly,” Sesane responded sharply. “But there are souls you can still save, Roberta. You have opened my eyes. You have walked in the Gods’ Realm. There is none but you who can save the souls of those in Ridgewood. If you wish to protect your Gatekeeper and the thousands of lives she’ll use to fuel her curse, then you must find extra strength. This weapon, this curse; she brought it into being by sacrificing the lives of anyone remotely descended from the original six priests. Laslay believes those on Earth who share a similar bloodline will also be sought out to bolster the weapon’s power.”
“So Martha? Martha and every other poor, oblivious relative is in danger?”
“It is likely that they will be the first to fall, yes.”
The carriage fell silent, and Roberta looked through the small window to see scrubby wasteland rolling by. The sun was beating down heavily upon the steep and craggy hills. Their journey had been somewhat delayed by her jaunt into the forest. She’d raced to the precipice only to watch as the Queen strolled out of Gathin as if she’d never been there in the first place. The dress had been ruined, and the small group had needed to call in as many favours as possible to create a new ensemble. The carriage and horses that Crieg had originally organised had also vanished. Despite his age, he’d been well connected. With news of his and the other deaths flooding across Hilltree like a bad disease, they’d been hard pressed to find anyone who’d actually talk. The Queen was gone; that was the word on the hushed streets. She and her army had left Gathin. They’d marched into Earth, tearing through the very fabric that held the world together. But even with Roberta’s doppelgänger gone, there was fear, as if the scars left by her occupation wouldn’t ever heal. Some didn’t believe she was gone, and whispered that their Queen was simply deep in the catacombs of the tower forging some new evil. Others, though brazen enough to joke and laugh that they were free of oppression, still kept to the outskirts of town, not wanting to near the Central Circle’s gates lest a hidden wolf jumped forwards and sank its canines deep into their flesh. Gathin was not at all what Roberta had originally thought it to be; a realm of evil plotting against all those on Earth. Perhaps it had been Barry’s influence that had swayed her first impressions. Perhaps it had been the fact she’d been fighting for her life.
After several days of hiding in Franca’s shop, not that they’d been bothered remotely – for every resident was far too caught in the Queen’s web to pay the slightest attention to a bakery on the periphery of town – Roberta had been forced to wander back across the stone line and seek help in Ruinne. Her second visit was far from eventful. Laslay and Sesane had stood anxiously beside one another as Roberta was ushered across, warning her to stay safe, urging her not to die and allow her soul to be sucked into the stones and left in eternal limbo. However, given that, on her last excursion into the Northern Wilds, she’d almost been discovered by Luguolo, the knowledge he and the Queen were gone made her journey far more enjoyable. She had a huge bag of pastries and bread for trade, and she’d made her way to the remote and crumbling town by nightfall. Once again, she’d pulled her hair over her face to camouflage herself amongst the sickeningly thin and unwashed masses, made her way to Mrs Raveburn’s inn, and spent the night on a lumpy mattress after being fed vast quantities of vegetable soup with unpalatable slimy bits.
“Surprised you ain’t dead. Didnee think I’d be seeing you again,” the innkeeper had sighed as Roberta stepped down into the kitchen the following morning. “Still, y’er her copy, I s’pose. Got some iron guts about y’er. Now, I’m guessing y’er wantin’ some help.”