|Posted on May 12, 2017 at 9:15 AM|
About the Book
Title: Blood Moon
Author: Nancy Gray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Mercy finds herself on a ship bound for the Ashen capital with her companions. But things don't go smoothly there after Mercy, Mirilee, and Erebus decide to sneak ashore to take part in a festival. They get more than they counted on when they witness a public execution of Sylvan Islanders and Mercy is captured after being mistaken for a Sylvan spy!
Dark and sinister secrets are revealed on their perilous journey. Erebus is forced to confront his inner demon, while Mercy discovers a demon of her own. In the midst of it all, Mirilee has a dark vision of the war they are trying to prevent.
What will become of Mercy and her friends?
Nancy Gray lives in West Columbia, SC, with her husband, two daughters, and two crazy cats. She attended college at the University of South Carolina and attained a BA in Media Arts with a cognate in English. Her original career was as a graphic designer but writing is her calling. Her favorite genres to write are horror, fantasy (particularly young adult), steampunk, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and occasionally light science fiction (space opera). Many of her short stories and novels also blur the lines of genre fiction. Nancy is an avid reader and also enjoys drawing, video games, and table top role playing games. She also enjoys anime and manga.
“I know, decisions, decisions. How should we start, with a lie or with the truth? I know my physiology. You’re not from the Sylvan Islands. But, what are you going to tell me?”
“I’m not from the Sylvan Islands. I’m one of the Forest Tribe.”
He smiled very slightly. “Ah, so we start with the truth. I can already tell you’re going to be a very fascinating subject. Now, why were you in Crevane?”
“I’m an escaped slave. I took an Ashen lover in Concord, and he convinced me to come to the capital with him. He sold me into slavery and told my masters that I was one of the Sylvan people.”
The doctor sighed and said, “And now a lie.”
“I wasn’t lying.”
The doctor acted like she hadn’t spoken. “You see, the body is an amazing thing. Eyes dilate, people sweat, they avoid eye contact, and everyone has a unique ‘tell’ for when they’re lying. You just have to know what to look for, but what to do about it? That also depends on the individual.”
He put the scalpel down and began to look over his tray of tools. There were several types of knives and scalpels, a hammer, and some tools that she couldn’t place at all. He glanced at Mercy and then at the row of tools in front of him, and finally picked up the hammer. He grabbed her left hand and slammed the hammer down on the nail of her little finger. Mercy shrieked in pain, unable to hold the sound back in her shock and immense pain.
“Now, that was for lying. Are you going to lie to me again?”
Mercy swallowed hard but didn’t say anything.
“You’re very bright. If you said no, I would have to do that to another finger. It’s in everyone’s nature to lie if they think that they have good reasons. You didn’t want to tell me that you were of the Forest Tribe, so I have to assume you’re a spy for them. Are you a spy?”
Mercy said confidently, “No.”
He frowned. “Hmmm…interesting. Then I’ll ask again. What were you doing here?”
The doctor exchanged his hammer for a scalpel and held it just above Mercy’s right eye. Mercy felt herself beginning to sweat and found that she couldn’t pull her eyes away from the sharp object. He didn’t have to tell her what he was going to do if she lied to him this time, but she also knew if she told the truth it would mean he would hunt down her friends. Then they would be the next ones strapped down to the table.
“I’m waiting. For every minute I wait, the scalpel gets closer.”
He took a strange-looking golden device from his pocket. It clicked in a rhythmic way, and he stared at it intently, moving the scalpel closer and closer.
Mercy shivered and closed her eyes.
“Don’t make me pry your eyelids open. I have tools to do that too. Tick-tock.”
Erebus flinched at her expression as though he suddenly realized who she was. “Please, don’t look at me like this. I’m so thirsty. That whale carcass outside smelled so strong, and I came down here for a drink only to find this.” He continued in a terrified whisper, “There’s no blood. We’re weeks away from a port, and there’s no blood left here!”
“Don’t panic. We can provide blood for you. In the desert, Merilee and I gave you blood. And even if you don’t like them much, I’m sure that Beryl, Pyron, and Kylas would donate some blood for you too.”
He began to pace like a caged animal.
“But if I don’t get some soon, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I feel like I’m losing control. There’s something unnatural about that carcass, Mercy. Someone did something to it. It smells like it’s bleeding human blood.”
Mercy shivered. “Then you should take some blood from me. Since we’re still under the pact, you can’t take too much.”
“But what if I do? I’ve never fed from you when I was this thirsty.”
“I trust you.”
Erebus looked horrified. “Don’t, not right now. There’s something I didn’t tell you. The thing that Kylas saw in my shadow, it’s like the alternate version of me. I feel like I’m fighting to control it right now. I’m afraid if I lose to it then I won’t be able to come back.”
Mercy unbuttoned the top of her shirt and exposed most of her neck. “Then don’t. Take some blood from me.”
Erebus made an agonized sound and buried his face in his hands. When he looked up again, his eyes were no longer violet. They were the strange red color she thought she saw when she walked in. The expression on his face was a cruel grin, and it made her instinctively want to run screaming out of the room. He ran his tongue along his fangs, and when he spoke it sounded as though another voice was superimposed over his own.
“Well, if you insist.”
Mercy tried to run, but he moved so quickly that she barely even saw the motion at all. In an instant, he knocked her roughly to the floor and bit down hard on her neck. She had never felt so much of his venom. It made everything seem cloudy and surreal, like drinking too much blackberry wine at a celebration. The little light from the oil lamps lining the walls was misty. There were haloes surrounding the light like stars seen through tear-stained eyes. Mercy’s emotions were flowing in a spectrum of euphoria and terror as she felt him sucking up mouthful after mouthful of her blood. She tried to fight him off, but eventually she found herself not wanting him to stop.
Questions flooded the logical part of her mind as she felt her body becoming weaker and weaker. “Is this really how I die? Killed by the person that I love most? What will he do when he realizes he’s killed me? What will the others do to him?”
Mercy reached for her silver knives. They had not been there a moment ago, but appeared as if summoned by her will. She ran the sharp edge against her hand, making the creature within the cave drool with desire. He strained harder against the chains, almost in frenzy. She waited patiently for him to settle down, like a spider waiting for a struggling fly to wear out before descending the web for its meal. She felt Erebus grabbing her by the shoulders, trying to pull her away and begging her to stop; but Mercy knew this place was in her mind, and she was the one in control.
“I’m blood bound to Erebus until we find the source of the rain. I know that you were involved in that as well. You’re a part of him, and you aren’t bound to me, at least not yet.”
The creature cackled its high-pitched laughter again. “You want to make a bargain with me, little girl?”
“Yes. First, I want you to swear that you won’t hurt or kill me or any of my friends, since that was the first thing that you tried to do the moment that you gained control.”
Erebus moaned and gripped her shoulders tighter. “Mercy, this is not a good idea!”
“Second, you’re to lay dormant again after Erebus gets enough blood to satiate his thirst – not your thirst, but his.”
Erebus’ demon just regarded her with a silent smile.
“And third, you owe me a favor to repay me for the blood I’ve lost to you. This pact will last until I claim my favor.”
It laughed. “You are a clever one. I’ll give you that, but now for my terms of the agreement. First, you will not harm me or my host, should he lose control again.”
“Second, you’ll drink a few drops of my blood before you leave here.”
Erebus shouted, “NO! You won’t feed Mercy any of your tainted blood!”
It acted as though Erebus hadn’t spoken. “And finally, when the time comes for your favor it can’t be anything that requires me to dissipate, merge with Erebus, or any nonsense like that.”
“What will happen if I drink the blood?”
The creature smirked. “It will bind you to me and my host. You’ll be more attuned to him, more connected. You’ll even be able to tap into his power. The more of my blood that you drink, the more power you’ll gain. I’ll let you choose how much. It’ll be enough for you to have a taste of what it means to be a Weaver of Shadows.”
“It’ll taint you, Mercy. It’ll start to change you. Please listen to me! You don’t want to do this!”
“Only one drop.”
The creature grinned, cut its palm with the claw of its other hand, and reached out to shake. “We have an agreement, and may the powers that be strike the one down that breaks this vow.”
Categories: Book Excerpt