Exclusive Prologue & Giveaway: SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN by Kelly Gay

June 20, 2012 Exclusive Content, Giveaways 40

In just over a month, the next book in one of my favorite urban fantasy series is hitting shelves: SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN (Charlie Madigan #4) by Kelly Gay (July 31, 2012 from Pocket Books). I was thrilled when Kelly contacted me about posting an exclusive prologue to the book. Read on and get hooked then enter the giveaway to win a copy!

Art by Chris McGrath

Hello! I’m very excited to share the prologue to the fourth Charlie Madigan novel, SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN here at All Things Urban Fantasy. What makes this book extra special to me? Some of it is written in Hank’s point of view! This is a first for the series. It was so much fun to get inside the siren’s head for a while, see what’s been happening to him after events in the last book, how he feels about Charlie, and the lengths he’ll go to make things right.

For those of you who haven’t read the third book, THE HOUR OF DUST & ASHES . . . well, something happens to him at the end of the book that leads to the prologue below. If you don’t like spoilers, then I’d advise not reading. If you already know the score, then have at it.

I hope you enjoy. And if so, mark your calendars for July 31st! 

Exclusive prologue to SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN

Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan #4)

by

Kelly Gay

Prologue
THE SIREN CITY OF FIALLAN

“Again.”

His muscles tensed, going rock hard as the whip sliced through the air with a long, brutal sigh. The glowing barb flashed over the walls of the chamber and struck his left shoulder blade, sinking in deep and then ripping flesh as its power burned like acid through the wound.

A shocked gasp lodged in his throat. The pain strung his body taut, frozen, as though time itself had paused to acknowledge the vicious blow.

In a blink, time moved on and the barb withdrew, catching and slicing the flesh over his hip as his breath returned in a great, shaky rush. His head fell forward, hanging low between his shoulders and pulling down painfully on his arms.

Shackles held his wrists high above his head—so high only the balls of his bare feet touched the cold stone floor.

“A lash for every year you denied us.”

The voice was so beautiful and pure, so powerful and deep, like nothing he’d ever heard from a siren before.

The initial strike of the whip had clouded his vision with pain, but his sight cleared and he saw them; the three witches who held sway over the king and the entire city of Fiallan.

The Circe.

All three were similar in height and looks except for the color of their eyes. Some said they were sisters, some said triplets, but there was no one left alive who knew for sure. Their regal bearing and siren looks were deceptive, though. They clung greedily to their power with ancient, iron fists, still denying the natural deaths that should have taken them eons ago.

“Two hundred fourteen in all,” the one on the right spoke, green eyes lighting in earnestness.

He growled at them, adrenaline fueling his wrath and dulling his pain for a brief moment. The arcane barb on the end of the whip would impede his natural ability to heal, to knit his wounds back together. That many strokes might kill him. The old bitches were ensuring he would suffer before he died.

“But sisters . . .” the one on the left said excitedly. “He has denied each of us.”

Oh shit.

He wrapped his hands around the chain above him, cursing his inability to attack, to summon his power, to call upon his voice. The helplessness burned through him as harsh and bitter as the barb that had opened his flesh.

“Ah, yes.”

“True. Very true.”

“Two hundred fourteen leashes for each of us, then.”

Rage urged him to fight, to kill. And yet he could do nothing. He struggled and tried to speak, to curse them, to show his complete and utter hatred, but he could not. Nothing came. His words were hindered by the Circe’s magic, so he growled between ragged breaths, promising them with his eyes that they’d pay.

Oh, they’d pay. Even if he had to come back from the dead, he’d see them pay for every Malakim they’d destroyed, every life they stole. This was not finished.

“Stop when he loses consciousness,” the Circe told the whip master. “And continue your count when he wakes. He must feel every lash.”

The middle one stepped closer, her head only coming to the height of his heart. She lifted her chin. “Do not waste your time praying for death. You will not die, Malakim. Every time your body gives up and your soul prepares to leave, it will be forced to endure until the final lash is struck.”

The second one stepped up to join her sister. “And once it has, perhaps then we will grant you leave to meet your family in the afterlife.”

The third joined in. “Welcome home, Niérian, strongest of the Malakim sirens. Welcome home, traitor. With you the great house of Elekti-Kairos comes to an end.”

They watched him, eyes wide and eager and . . . waiting.

Waiting until he understood, until he realized the implications of their words. Cold crept over his skin. The last of his family? That could not be true. When he’d left, his family was large, joined of the two great Malakim houses of Elekti and Kairos through marriage. It had been filled with sons and daughters, nieces and nephews . . .

The Circe smiled in eerie tandem as the truth hit him harder than any barb they could ever wield.

“And now you understand the depth of your betrayal.”

“Someone had to pay, after all.”

“All gone. Every last one, but you.”

They left him then.

A scream of despair, bleak and cold, pushed on his chest, but he was unable to release it. Unable to do a goddamned thing. His pulse came rapid and erratic. Only a wounded, angry groan issued from his throat, finding its way past gritted teeth and out through lips wet from tears.

They were gone. All of them. Wiped out.

Because he had dishonored them.

Because he had escaped from the tower where he had gone willingly and proudly as a child, where his power had helped feed the four rings of protection that strengthened the inner wall around Fiallan.

Being a Malakim, a guardian, was a thousand-year-old tradition and the highest honor one could receive in Fiallan.

But it was all a lie. A horrible, horrible lie.

The Malakim never asked to stay in the towers after their seven years of service was done. There was never any choice, never an escape or a survivor who could tell the truth about the Circe’s towers.

Until him.

He’d found a way to disconnect himself from the grid—as he called it. He alone knew the truth. Once he escaped, his ring fell, alerting the Circe and the king. They fought in the tower and, somehow, he’d managed to throw the king into the grid, a move that eventually cost the king his life.

Then he’d fled. Branded a traitor and murderer, the first ever in a long line of guardians to dishonor his family.

He had no knowledge of how to care for himself, how to eat, what to eat; the basics were unknown to him, as the grid had taken care of him in the way that power does.

For two hundred years, he lived in the sidhé forests of Gorsedd, learning, growing in strength, and finally leaving to make his own way, always training, learning, and preparing to one day return and liberate the Malakim once and for all.

Only that day had come sooner than he’d planned . . .

He never imagined his family would pay for his desertion; that an entire lineage would end with him. While he was learning and growing and, eventually, thriving in another world under a new name, they were dying.

Christ. They were all dead.

The lash whispered through the air once again and this time when it hit, he accepted the excruciating pain as his due.

Kelly Gay writes the critically acclaimed ‘Charlie Madigan’ urban fantasy series. Her work has been nominated for a double RITA, an ARRA, a Goodreads Choice Award, and landed on SIBA’s Long List Book Award Finalists. Kelly is also a recipient of North Carolina Arts Council’s fellowship grant in Literature. She is published in Young Adult fiction as Kelly Keaton.

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Giveaway

Giveaway provided by Pocket Books
One copy of SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN by Kelly Gay

Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan #4)

   

Available on July 31, 2012 from Pocket Books

Description:

The electrifying sequel to the acclaimed urban fantasies The Better Part of DarknessThe Darkest Edge of Dawn, and The Hour of Dust and Ashes!

After filling out mountains of paperwork, Detective Charlie Madigan sets out for a death-defying trip into heavenly Elysia to rescue her partner Hank and bring the siren home. Of course, she doesn’t expect to leave behind an all out siren revolution or return home to find that jinn crime boss, Grigori Tennin, has begun a massive search for the divine being, Ahkneri. Tennin’s tactics set off a chain reaction that puts Charlie in the crosshairs of the shadowy creature known as Death and awakens Ahkneri from her long sleep. And when Vengeance rises, Atlanta will never be the same.

Read an excerpt|Review coming soon

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40 Responses to “Exclusive Prologue & Giveaway: SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN by Kelly Gay”

  1. Shonda

    Elysia sounds like Hell, if the Circe are holding Hank as Malakim. I might rather be in hot Charbydon with a swimming pool of course. (Hank as the pool-boy.) I am so ready for this book. My question is how many books will there be in this series?

  2. ForeverReading1

    Naturally Elysium, I can’t wait to read the book.

  3. Rebe

    I’m thinking Elysium, but if there IS a pool in Charbydon like Shonda suggested, I’d vote for Charbydon!

  4. Jasmine

    I’d like to visit Elysium! So excited to read this book! Agh, July 31 seems so far away!

  5. Saura

    I can’t wait for the next book! I am rereading the first 3 right now to get my fix in until it comes out.

  6. Melissa

    If I have to choose, Elysium, but really I want to visit both Elysium and Charbydon.

    Gah! You’re killing me with this excerpt! Poor Hank. I can’t wait to read the whole book.

  7. rissatoo

    Hmmm… which one is the correct answer to “the world where there are a lot more Charlie books to be released”? :) I’m late-ish to the party (reading the series), and I am really enjoying them, so I want to be sure I’m where I’ve got more to look forward to! :)

    Other than that, I think Elysium might have a slight edge on Charbydon (pool w/ Hank, notwithstanding). ;)

  8. Shonda

    What worries me is all you see is good things and everyone looks happy and harps and birds singing, BUT what is in the deep dark areas of ELYSIA? Maybe I have seen to many movies to know behind the really pretty is a real UGLY. So I rather go where you know it is ugly. That is why I chose Charbydon. (Yes I have seen too many scary movies)

  9. Amy Harksell

    It doesn’t sound like Elysia is very heavenly for poor Hank! I don’t like hot, humid, dirty, smelly places so I think I would avoid Charbydon! 41 days and counting…

  10. Barbara Elness

    I’d definitely want to visit Heaven-like Elysia. I don’t want to go to hell, it sounds really nasty there and the people are not so nice either. I love this series and I’m looking forward to reading Shadows Before the Sun.

  11. Maureen F

    Charybdon doesn’t sound enjoyable at all so that leaves Elysia.

  12. Kat

    I’m with Melissa – Where ever Hank is, I’m there with bells on! OH MY! Not fallen this hard for a hero since Curran. Thank you Kelly for this great series!
    July 31st is soooooo far away! Going to have wonderful dreams…..

  13. Throuthehaze

    I’m so excited for this book!!!! I don’t handle heat well so I guess by default I would choose to visit Elysia :)

  14. Bethany C.

    I think they’d both find a way to trick me into not being able to leave or something…I choose neither! (Love to read about them, though.)

  15. kitkat9000

    I’d choose Charbydon because I prefer my enemies and danger to be faced coming at me rather than up on me from behind.
    Love the series and have been looking forward to this book ever since I finished book three. I’m hoping that when Charlie rescues Hank that he gets to kill the Circe. Or at least gets to watch them die.
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy pre-release!

  16. Ron Pratt

    Elysia sounds like a great vacation spot, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

  17. Emily

    OMG
    I cannot wait for this book!
    I think I would visit Hell-like Charbydon. It almost seems like things would be more in order there – brutal – but at least predictable.

  18. Diana Hereford (Not So Closet Geeks)

    I have no idea the new book is in Hank’s POV! Now I’m more excited than ever.

  19. Justine

    Gah! I’m not caught up on this series. So . . . I can’t decide if I’d like to visit Elysia or Charbydon.

  20. Malika

    Probably Elysia, as I can imagine that the climate there would be much more agreeable. But I think I would also like to visit Charbydon, just so that I could see both parallel worlds.

  21. Maggie

    I would like Elysia but I don’t know if I would want to live there with the Circe running things. But would like to be with Hank, he’s HOT!!!!