Excerpt: Mirror Sacrifice. Chapter 1. Part 1
Mirror Sacrifice, Book 2 in the Ardere Series, will be available for purchase on Amazon in February.
Sierra stared at the empty seat next to her. Gavin had left the compartment as soon as Heathrow Express spurred into motion. He’d said he had to make some calls, but she wondered if he was avoiding her. Their journey from Savannah to London had started out promising. Finally admitting they had feelings for each other, they kissed on the airplane and toasted with champagne. And then Cooper had showed up, and Gavin had become frosty.
Eager to hide her disappointment from Cooper, Sierra turned to the window and focused on the landscape rushing past the train.
The flat, green fields were so unlike her native, hilly Vermont. As for the gray sky and the drizzle of rain, it made her already miss Savannah, the southern Georgian city she had called home for the last month.
“Dragoons—excellent fighters but rotten communicators,” Cooper said, breaking the silence.
She snorted in response, considering Cooper’s theory. How much of Gavin’s demeanor and difficulty to communicate was due to him being a Dragoon? With their powers being primarily physical, Dragoons weren’t exactly known to be the gushy type.
“Personally, I enjoy communication. Perhaps I should apply for a teaching position at Langcombe Academy,” Cooper mused.
Sierra’s ears perked up. Langcombe Academy was the most prestigious supernatural school in Europe. Was that where she would receive her training? Despite her powers awakening a month ago, she hadn’t had any formal training, due to her Gran’s distrust of the regency. Killed by an Umbra, Gran was gone now, and Sierra needed to learn how to control her powers and how to stay safe from the Culpatus, a group intent on kidnapping her and using her Fluidus abilities.
“Are you excited to meet the elite?” Cooper leaned back and propped his feet up on the seat opposite him. His dark brown, layered hair looked as if it hadn’t seen a comb in days, and his cerulean, buttoned shirt was crumpled from the journey. He didn’t seem to notice or care, his lake-blue eyes at ease. As far as Sierra could tell, no situation made him uncomfortable. He was the most optimistic and relaxed person she had ever met. It made her wonder if all Blurs were like that. If so, was their free-spirited personality connected to their ability to teleport and disintegrate into air or water? If they could escape physical peril, did this enable them to escape psychological stress?
“I’m nervous,” she admitted.
Was he for real? Up until the day of her eighteenth birthday, she’d been clueless to the existence of supernaturals, much less that she was one of them. And now she was going to the British Ardere headquarters to meet the regent, Lady Lorna Windsor, and her court, the elite. On top of that, just when Sierra thought she and Gavin were finally on the same page, he had clammed up. Was it because he was second-guessing the decision to pursue a relationship with her? Or did it have to do with Cooper? Perhaps Gavin was merely not ready to take their relationship public, and that’s why he was giving her the cold shoulder. She sighed. Noticing Cooper’s expectant look, she realized she hadn’t answered his question. What had he asked again? Right, why she was nervous. “It’s my first time abroad.” She debated elaborating further, but then decided to leave it at that. Until today, she had only seen Cooper a handful of times, so there was no need to spill her guts to him.
“I apologize if me accompanying you and Gavin last-minute on your journey… complicated things.” Sincerity replaced the impish expression Cooper tended to wear by default.
“It’s not your fault. You were sent by Lorna, right?” He nodded, and she smiled. As much as she wanted to, she couldn’t blame Cooper for Gavin shutting down. She could understand Gavin’s unwillingness to show PDA, but Cooper’s presence was no reason to barely utter a word in the last twelve hours.
“We’re almost here. Lorna is expecting us so there won’t be time for sightseeing, but I’ll try to point out as many landmarks as I can on our cab ride.” Cooper lifted Sierra’s suitcase from the overhead shelf and put it gently on the ground.
“Thank you,” Sierra said, surprised by how quickly the countryside had given way to high-density architecture. Red and brown brick residential buildings stood next to corner shops and pubs on London’s busy streets, which swarmed with people. Sierra took a deep breath, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. How she wished Gran was here, or Jillian, the friend she had made in Savannah. Both women were Guardians and always instinctively knew the right thing to say to calm Sierra. But Gran was dead, and it was still nighttime in Savannah, meaning Jillian was fast asleep. Sierra was on her own in navigating the British Ardere headquarters. She longed for the days when she didn’t know she was a rare supernatural and her biggest concerns were curfews and high-school grades.