Thursday, May 24, 2012

Madly & the Jackal - Cover & Excerpt!!

I have a beautiful little treat for you today!!  We are anxiously awaiting the 3rd book in the Madly series by M. Leighton - Madly and the Jackal.  You may have seen the gorgeous cover already but here it is for your viewing pleasure...
How deep does love run?  Deeper than the ocean?  Deeper than memory?  Deeper than magic?

Following their plan to save Atlas, Madly and Jackson return the spirit of Wolfhardt to his prison beneath the sea.  But even the best laid plans couldn’t account for the surprises they find.  This time, Lore aren’t their only challenges. 
Madly is special in ways no one could have guessed and dark forces seek to control her.  They want her power, but first they must weaken her.  They need her beaten.  Vulnerable.  Near death.  And alone.  But that task isn’t an easy one with Jackson at her side.  The strongest of their kind, the only way to separate Jackson from Madly is to destroy his love for her, to erase it from his mind.  And his heart. 
Is it possible to steal Jackson’s love from Madly?  Or is their love the only truly unbreakable thing?

And now, here's an excerpt from Madly and the Jackal...

I tried to smile brightly, but felt it falter.  I reminded myself that if there was anyone who could fix it, it was Jackson.  I was fairly certain there was little he couldn’t do if he set his mind to it.
Clinging to that knowledge like a lifeline, Jackson and I stepped out of the cave and into the vastness of the ocean.  Within a fraction of a second, our tail fins had reformed and we were speeding through the water.  Jackson kept me close to his body as we moved, whether for my comfort or my safety I wasn’t sure.  Either way, I appreciated it.
We swam for quite a distance before I began to feel oriented, recognizing several landmarks as we passed.  I wondered about the magic used to keep the cave entrance and canyon cloaked.  I’d never encountered magic like that before, magic that could be concealed from my bracelet, from my senses.  I concluded that it had to be ancient magic, put in place by the older generations, possibly even someone from the High Council.
 When Jackson stopped suddenly, all thoughts of that curious magic left my mind, replaced in an instant by the task at hand and the inherent peril of it.
“What’s the matter?” I asked in a hushed voice.
Jackson didn’t respond right away.  His sharp blue eyes scanned the waters around us like an eagle scans the sky.  I looked out, trying to see what he saw, hear what he heard, feel what he felt.  Although nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me, I knew Jackson was sensing something.  His tension tickled my nerves from head to toe as if he were strumming them like guitar strings.
“Madly, don’t ask questions.  Swim that way,” he said, pointing off to our right.  “Don’t stop.  Don’t look back.  Don’t worry about me.  I’ll find you.  Just swim.  Now!”
Grabbing me around the waist, Jackson gave me a push for a head start before he turned and darted off like a bullet, cutting through the water in the other direction.
Confused and a little scared, I did as he instructed.  I ignored the thought that there was only one portal in the shield and that it did not lay in this direction.  I ignored the thought that the further Jackson was from me, the harder it would be to maintain his invisibility.  I ignored the thought that I wouldn’t know when to summon the whale or if I still needed to.  I ignored all my screaming instincts and did only what Jackson asked. 
So I swam.
Straining with all my power to keep Jackson’s appearance concealed, I reached out for any whale in the vicinity, thinking absently that I believed I could feel one.  Without taking away from Jackson, I let my own visibility shine through just enough that I could confuse the whale and draw it closer then I put my appearance back under wraps.  It was all I could do, the best I could hope for. 
When the alarms sounded, I wasn’t sure if I had triggered them or if the whale had stumbled into them.  I felt the disorienting, debilitating effects of them instantly.  I managed to keep enough of my wits about me to pray that Jackson was safe and that he would get away.  I wasn’t sure whether it was a good sign or not when the alarms were silenced less than a minute later.  I recovered quickly, but it was with great unease that I resumed my swim.  How could I get out when the portal lay in the other direction?  What if I got trapped?  What if…
My thoughts swam faster than I did as I focused on my trust of Jackson.  It wasn’t until I began passing the familiar landscape of the waters outside Slumber that I slowed.  How had I escaped the shield?  Was there another portal? 
I had so many questions, but at that moment, none of them mattered.  My worries were tightly focused on one thing, one person, as I scanned the shadows of the deep­—looking, listening, feeling.  Jackson was nowhere.  I couldn’t sense him at all. 
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I started to swim back toward Atlas when the memory of Jackson’s voice stopped me.  It rang clearly in my head, as if I were hearing him say the words again, right at my side. 
Don’t look back…I’ll find you.
With an unbearable emptiness burning in my chest, I turned from Atlas and made my way toward shore.  Without Jackson.

A huge Thanks to M. Leighton  for letting me share this!  

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