ECHOES FROM THE VEIL
by Colleen Halverson
Publication Date: February 24, 2020
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Amara, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Aisling Elizabeth Tanner is now the leader of the Faerie rebellion. Facing the end of the world, she will have to find the strength to lead the Fae to victory against the threat they face, or risk losing everything, including Finn, whom she’s come to love more than life.
Warrior Finn O’Connell wants nothing more than to fight by Elizabeth’s side. But an ancient Celtic goddess threatens to take charge of his soul, and he will have to wage a war within himself to save the rebellion from disintegrating into chaos.
Betrayal leads them into the Fae Underworld, where Finn discovers his greatest sacrifice might be letting Elizabeth go—forever.
“Nice hit,” a low voice whispered in my ear.
Startled, I whirled and swung wildly, but Finn deflected the blow with an annoyed glare.
“Don’t be so jumpy,” he growled, then pivoted and sliced into an approaching Fir Bolg. Its black eyes widened and its mouth opened in an empty scream before Finn pushed him off his blade with a savage kick. “Remember, half the battle is staying calm.”
My heart thundered, but this time not from fear. “Do you think you can save the mansplaining for later?”
With a savage thrust, Finn cut through another Fir Bolg soldier. “That’s not even a real word!”
“And now you’re mansplaining the mansplaining?” I swept the feet of my attacker, and the Fae enemy landed on his ass with a hard thud.
The Fir Bolg raised a pistol, and before I could move out of the way, Grainne’s sword came down on his hand. He screamed, staring at his stump of an arm. She finished him with a whirl of steel, and blood spurted across her face. She whirled at me, her green eyes flashing fire.
“Will the two of you shut up?” she cried. “Elizabeth, get us out of here before—”
A high whine rang through the air, and a surge of bullets cut across the path. Throwing out my aisling energy, I grabbed Grainne and Finn and teleported us safely back on the ridge.
Refusing to give Finn a pass, I grabbed his flexed arm, forcing him to look down at me. My breath hitched in my throat as I took in his perfect face—his stormy eyes, his firm jaw, the dark hair grazing his cheek. Even now, in the midst of battle, my lower abdomen fluttered, and I longed to kiss his full lips, take him to some secret place and make love to him senseless. Maybe talk some damn sense into him, and then do…other things.
I cleared my throat. “Mansplaining is when—”
He lifted his hand. “I know what it is. You’ve only explained it to me a hundred times this past week.”
Grainne groaned, throwing her arm over her eyes.
I opened my mouth to scream obscenities at Finn, but a chorus of howls and snarls echoed through the trees. A pack of wolves barreled onto the path, teeth bared and growling. They pounced as one, their canines sinking into the Fir Bolgs before they could turn around and aim. It had been an uphill battle making alliances with the shape-shifting werewolves, called púcas in the Faerie realm, but it had been worth it. The fierce wolves added a kamikaze element that bought us time for more intricate maneuvers.
A horse screamed and the second wagon lurched forward around the broken one, one of its wheels tearing clean off as it slammed against a giant oak. It thundered down the path at breakneck speed.
“Shit,” I hissed. So much for intricate maneuvers.
I pointed to the first wagon. “Clear out the guard! Find out what’s in there!”
Grainne nodded, racing back down the hill, leaves swirling behind her.
Grasping tight onto my spear and closing my eyes, I made to transport out of there, but a strong hand clamped down on my shoulder.
“What are you doing?” Finn demanded.
“Getting calm,” I said, which was exactly what I needed to do before teleporting myself out from the ridge. Finn’s roar echoed behind me, but in the blink of an eye, I landed right smack on top of the runaway wagon. My nails dug tight to the canvas flapping in the wind as it tilted sideways around a sharp turn. I barely had time to register the guttural cry above me before rolling to the side, bullets tearing through the material not a foot away from where my head had been. A Fir Bolg hovered over me, reloading, his black eyes glittering.
ABOUT COLLEEN HALVERSON
As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshmen. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She also writes as C.B. Halverson.