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Daughter of Rage and Beauty (Berserker Academy Book 1) by Amy Pennza released on November 4 in the Urban Fantasy Romance genre.
The sagas claim you can’t fight fate. I’m determined to prove them wrong. They say your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life. Clearly, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Because right now, my life is in shambles. As the daughter of one of the most powerful berserkers in the world, I should be taking my place among the noble guild of berserker assassins. By now, I should have mastered my emotions and conquered my rage—all the better to use it as a weapon when called upon to kill.
But I’m not just Harald Berregaard’s daughter. My mother was a nymph, which makes me a magical mutt. When I was born, my father thought I might possess the best traits from both races.
He was wrong.
Now he’s shipping me off to the Berserker Academy, where the unofficial motto is “graduate or die.”
With the stakes this high, I can’t afford to get distracted. Too bad the academy’s headmaster keeps showing up at the most inconvenient moments, reminding me how much I suck at magic. And fighting. And basic conversation.
It doesn’t matter that he does it with a smile. Or that his eyes fire silver when he’s amused . . . or aroused. Hauk Sigridsson has his own problems. He’s not going to be one of mine.
On the other hand, he’s offered me a way to accelerate my studies and make it out of the academy alive. I just have to help him steal a priceless rock and defeat one of the most powerful immortals to have ever lived.
No big deal.
I’m in way over my head, but I’m determined to survive. They say you can’t fight fate. I’m going to show fate exactly what I’m made of.
My face was hot.
I squinted. Wait, no, I didn’t.
Because my eyes were closed. Opening them seemed like a lot of work, so I let them stay shut.
Except my face was really hot. Not my whole face, just the left side.
Which was kind of weird.
And something smelled amazing. My stomach rumbled.
Shit. I was probably going to have to open my eyes. How else was I going to find the source of the amazing smell?
There was a faint shuffling sound, like a person walking across a stone floor. That’s what it sounded like when someone crossed the floor at Bjørneskalle.
Oh no. Was I back at the castle? Because I was supposed to be somewhere else . . . In my mind, I reached for the place, but it remained just out of reach. Frustration swept me.
The shuffling happened again, closer this time.
No, not closer. Louder. Because my hearing was returning.
Slowly, my senses cleared, my consciousness going from a dreamlike state to full awareness. I opened my eyes and gazed at a . . . stone ceiling?
I sat up—
—and the blanket covering me fell to my waist, exposing my breasts.
I gasped and snatched it back up, pressing it to my throat. My heart pounded. After a second, I pulled the blanket away and peered down my body.
Yep. I was bare-ass naked.
I slammed the blanket back to my chest.
Hauk stood on the other side of a roaring fire, a plate of food in his hands. Behind him, rough stone walls revealed we were in some kind of cave. He’d removed his coat and boots, wearing just his body-hugging long underwear. The material clung to his chest and thighs, revealing the muscle beneath. His hair was tied high on his head, the topknot damp and darker than usual.
He started toward me. “You okay?”
He stopped, alarm on his face.
“What happened to my clothes?”
His features relaxed. “Oh. They’re drying.” He jerked his head toward a spot past the fire. “It should only take another hour or so.”
I followed his gesture. Sure enough, my gear was spread over a flat expanse of rock—everything from my jacket to my socks and the black thong I’d pulled from my duffel that morning. My cheeks heated, the right side of my face now just as hot as the left.
Hauk rounded the fire, his expression one of someone approaching a wounded animal in the wild. His feet were bare—and, naturally, his toes were elegant and well-formed. Because he couldn’t have just one ugly feature. Of course not. That would have meant there was justice in the universe.
He crouched at my side and lowered the plate to the ground. “You should eat. We burned a ton of calories today.”
Understanding lit his gaze. “You got hypothermia. It’s my fault. I should have layered you up with more gear. I think your dryad blood might have had something to do with it. You crave light and warmth.”
Annoyance buzzed in my mind. Since when was he an expert on dryads? “I grew up in Norway. It’s hardly known for its abundance of light and warmth.”
He frowned. “I just meant the extreme cold might affect you more. And this is no ordinary cold. Didn’t you feel it?”
“I felt really freaking cold, yeah.”
“No, it was more than that. The storm out there is beyond anything natural. Radegast must have bespelled this whole area.”
Great. I pressed a flat palm against my chest, holding the blanket there. “Why couldn’t we just portal straight to his fortress? We have the coordinates.”
Hauk shook his head. “He’s set traps everywhere. That’s one of the things I learned when I researched him.” He looked around the cave. “I got us as close as I could without alerting him. We’ll have a bit of a walk in the morning, but it shouldn’t be anything like today.”
“You plan to sleep here tonight?”
He looked at me. “Well, yeah. Unless you want to try breaching his fortress in the dark. Besides, you need to rest.” He gulped. “You scared me, Elin. For a while there, I wasn’t sure I could feel your heart beating. Your skin was like ice when I brought you in here.”
He would know, considering he’d stripped me naked. Had he looked at me? Done a little assessing of my chances of seducing Radegast?
About the Author
Amy Pennza has been a lawyer, a soldier, and a copywriter. She’s worn combat boots and high heels in the same 24-hour period–and she definitely prefers flip flops. Actually, she prefers going barefoot while writing steamy romances about strong women and alpha men with hearts of gold. After years in Tornado Alley, she now makes her home in the Great Lakes region with her husband, kids, and more baskets than any one person should own. (You can never have enough.)
Keep up with new releases, news, and giveaways by visiting www.amypennza.com
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