Adriana Catalano’s own guts hate her—or at least it feels that way. Ever since she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory illness of the digestive tract, she’s done her best to keep herself healthy. Unfortunately, that hasn’t saved her from the embarrassment of trying to figure out how to explain to a date why having dinner with him results in her spending thirty minutes in the ladies’ room.
When the tempting and mysterious Declan Maguire starts coming in to the library where Adriana works, crushing on him seems like a safe indulgence. He has a girlfriend, so there’s no need for her to deal with the messy reality of an actual relationship. Plus, how can she possibly resist him? He’s everything she could ever want in a guy: ruggedly handsome, kind, funny, charming, and almost as avid a bookworm as she is.
By the time Adriana finds out that Declan is, in fact, available, she’s deep under his spell. But is asking him out a good idea? Casual dating isn’t her style, so is it fair to ask him to take on the lifelong responsibility of dealing with her illness?
To make matters even more complicated, her condition isn’t the only challenge they have to overcome. For months Declan hasn’t looked well either, and the closer he and Adriana get, the more he seems to hold himself back. Is their relationship strong enough to survive the obstacles life throws in their path, or will their problems tear them apart?
Nicole has progressed from scribbling in notebooks to banging on keyboards, but she’s never managed to stop daydreaming at inappropriate moments.
When not answering the demands of her characters, Nicole can often be found curled up with a good book or spending far too many hours acting the hero in whatever video game is her obsession of the moment.
One of Nicole’s other great passions is travel. She loves being married to a native Belgian, both because she likes the idea of being “The American” and because it gives her plenty of excuses to visit Europe—that wondrous land of coffee, chocolate, pastry—as often as possible.
Michigan born and raised, Nicole lives there with her honorary Michigander/Belgian husband and her two children.
You can find more information about Nicole’s books at her website: http://www.nciacchella.com
Two years ago, Jaris Harron fled a revelation too monstrous to face. Eager to escape his old life, he joined The Taskmasters, a small mercenary company operating in a remote region, and the secretive crew has proven an ideal fit. He’s made peace with his decision to reject all human connections rather than risk involving anyone in his dangerous past—or so he thinks, until Livienne Darby joins the crew.
Desperate to get away from the memory of her beloved mother, Liv ran. After months spent wandering, she hopes the mercenary life will offer her some stability, allowing her to earn a living while also providing her with the solitude she craves. Her plans to keep her distance from the others go awry when a crew member is injured, leaving Jaris without a training partner, a position Liv reluctantly agrees to fill.
Despite their best efforts, neither can deny their attraction to the other, but Jaris doesn’t want to risk endangering Liv by exposing her to his past, and his refusal to share details about his background fuels her concern that being with him is a mistake.
When circumstances force Jaris to reveal the truth, Liv finds herself questioning who she is. Can she turn her back on him and his secret, returning to a normal life, or can she find the courage within herself to join him, and, together, fight for the future of their realm?
Two institutions once held Astoran’s Adepts in check: the now-defunct throne and the cloister of the Seventh Sisters. Upheaval threatens to engulf the realm and topple its last remaining bastion as Eraly races to gather allies before confronting cloister leadership about their role in the massacre. But even as she acknowledges that they must be held to account, she fears that her actions will tear the Seventh Sisters apart, destroying the very institution she’s desperate to preserve.
Meanwhile, the Guardians of the Flame are amassing to strike against the conspirators, and as eager as he is to see justice done, Nevin cannot escape his dread at the prospect of Vonessa exposing her secret. She worries about the potential for violence too, but she’s far more afraid of what will follow in the reckoning’s wake. Can she become the leader Astoran needs?
Every other Guardian has a personal agenda to grapple with as well: Aderyn will at last face her brother’s murderer, Xaran will confront his House’s betrayal of the realm, Cianne will help capture her traitorous father, Kila will discover the fates of his fellow Enforcers, and Amir will take part in the upcoming battle to crush the nobility’s hold over the capital.
Yet they all grapple with the same essential question: what will the consequences of their actions be? Will the Astoran that rises from the ashes be better than the sundered realm the conspiracy created?
Eraly’s trust in the Seventh Sisters is beginning to waver. Despite abundant proof that Astoran’s stability is deteriorating, the cloister’s leaders have resolved to adhere to their strict policy of non-interference. Eraly isn’t alone in her frustration, but before she can enact her plan to try to make the leaders see reason, she’s sent back into the field with instructions to infiltrate the nobility of Vyramas. Her covert mission: collect evidence the cloister leaders will be unable to disregard.
An Obscurist, Amir Sharaff was born to deceive. His House has long provided the nobility with reliable and trustworthy spies, and the ambitious Amir’s star is on the rise. What both his House and his noble patron don’t know is he’s also a double agent, gathering proof of the parts the nobles played in the royal massacre. When one of the nobles hints that there may be more to the death of Amir’s noble patron’s son than meets the eye, he can’t ignore the implications, even if they’re meant only to mislead him.
It’s the very opportunity Eraly needs. Amir has connections she lacks, and she possesses multiple skills that will make it easier to uncover the information he needs. Unwilling to fully place his trust in her, Amir nevertheless agrees to an uneasy alliance. What they find shakes the foundation of everything they hold true and sets them on a course that could irrevocably alter the realm.