Birthright – Sneak Peek

If you read Guardians, check out this sneak peek of the entire first chapter of Birthright! The first and second book of the Touched by Light series are ramping up to the finale of Riley and Rey’s story. Don’t miss out on the conclusion to their story in the world of Light and darkness. Grab your copy today!

Chapter 1

Riley

“Really, Aunt Lara. I’m fine,” Riley tried to assure her for the fiftieth time today.

Her Aunt had surprised her one afternoon while she was studying in her dorm room and had another episode. From the moment her makeshift parent had found her in the midst of the darkness, she had been treating her like a child, monitoring her every move.

For over a week now, the only solace Riley found was in her freshman classes at Bradford University, but that wasn’t without a fight. The first round of arguments came about after her Aunt tried to escort her to class. The second broke out when she had actually tried to sit at a desk right next to her! It was mortifying! Riley was finally able to convince her Aunt during the third round that her episodes had never occurred during class, but the war was far from over.

“You should get back home to Alexandria. I think it’s under control now.”

Aunt Lara smiled sweetly as she put another load of laundry away. “It’s under control because I’m here, lamb. If I leave, I would guarantee that you would have another episode because you aren’t taking very good care of yourself. Too much stress, too much to manage!”

Riley sighed at the use of her nickname. The endearment used to fill her with tranquility, but now, it only made what her Aunt was saying seem that much more condescending. Her life may have been riddled with the seizure like episodes during her grade school years, but it had never impacted her life in such a way that she couldn’t function. Not have friends or relationships, sure, but her grades, education, hygiene, and nutrition never suffered.

As her Aunt stacked another pile of clothes in the armoire, Riley shook her head. She and her reassigned roommate Elisha were going to have clean clothes for the rest of the term.

“I’ll do better now. I just overwhelmed myself with the whole experience the first few months, but I promise I’ll take it easier. I’ll even create a schedule to better manage my time.”

“Give it another week or so, and we’ll talk about it then,” Aunt Lara said offhandedly. “Until then-”

“Another week or so?” Riley exasperated. “What are you going to do here for that long?”

“Take care of you, of course. It’s what I’ve done for almost nineteen years now,” Aunt Lara responded, offended.

Riley tried to keep her cool. If she lost her temper, she would only be making her Aunt’s point.

“Aunt Lara, that’s not going to work.”

“What isn’t?” Her Aunt was playing innocent, but Riley could see right through it.

“You can’t stay here for ‘another week or so’.”

Her Aunt seemed perturbed. “Then you’re coming home with me.”

Riley felt the broken record skip back to the beginning again. “No, I’m not. I’m staying here, and you’re going home.”

“Riley, this isn’t good for you,” her Aunt started the spiel again, but Riley held up her hand, stopping her.

“Before you say anything else, I need you to understand that I am trying to build a life here. A life different from the one I had in Alexandria that consists of more than being cooped up in our house without anyone to talk to besides you, and I mean that as lovingly as I can. You have taken such great care of me my entire life, and I thank you, but I want to be able to experience life on my own, and I can do that here.

“This is where I am going to make a life for myself, but I can’t do that if you are literally standing right next to me every moment of every day. I understand your concerns about my episodes, but how else can I learn to manage them if you won’t let me be on my own? How else can I figure out my triggers, or how to stop them all together if you are consistently with me?

“I can do this, Aunt Lara. These first few months contradict that, but I promise you I can because I want this. I want this to work, so it will, but you have to go home.”

Riley could see the wheels turning in her Aunt’s head, but for the first time since her arrival, Riley believed she might have gotten something through to her. She knew her Aunt’s concerns weren’t without merit, but she had to learn how to cope with her episodes if she ever wanted a life of her own.

There was no way she was going to be able to go on a date with Michael if her Aunt insisted on escorting them. Talk about humiliation!

Aunt Lara sighed sadly as she smoothed her long gray streaked black hair back from her face. “OK but give me through the weekend. If you haven’t had another episode by Sunday then I will go back home, but if you do, we add a week.”

Riley felt her stomach flop at the idea of her Aunt staying any longer than the rest of the day, but she didn’t want to hurt her any more than she already had. She was sure her Aunt had to be lonely now that she was living by herself too, so maybe her being in Bradford wasn’t just for Riley’s benefit.

“Will you promise to back off a bit? Just to give me some breathing room? I mean, escorting me to class seems a bit much.”

Her Aunt seemed to weigh the request. “Case by case basis?”

Riley took a deep breath and exhaled. This was as good as she was going to get. “Deal.”

Her Aunt smiled. “Let’s get you something to eat. You seem a little peaked.”

Riley shook her head. It was going to be a long five days.

As Riley and her Aunt made their way to Dalton, Elisha skipped down the steps from the library.

“Hey, Elisha!” Riley called, waving.

Elisha waved back and waited for them on the sidewalk. “Where are you headed?”

“Dalton Café for dinner. Want to join?” Riley asked, hoping for the distraction.

“Thanks, but I’m meeting Jake at Bonnie for sushi. I’ll catch up with you later,” Elisha said, already heading toward the far end of the campus.

She hadn’t seen much of her friend since the day before her Aunt had arrived. At the beginning of the term, they had spent practically every day and night together in Elisha’s dorm room since Riley’s real roommate was a terror while Elisha’s had never bothered to move in.

When Riley met Michael, her friendship with Elisha had been the steady constant in the exciting whirlwind of romance with the fraternity brother of Pi Kappa Phi. They would recap the events of her date and giggle at the cute things Michael had said. It had been just what Riley had been hoping for when she made the move to the small university and smaller surrounding town, but when Elisha had met a guy on campus all of a week ago, that all seemed to come to a halt. The guy must have made a real impression for her to be so enamored so quickly.

Riley caught up with her roommate as her Aunt followed closely behind. “Well, you could walk with us to Dalton since it’s on the way. Besides, I want to hear all about this Jake guy. When do I get to meet him?”

Elisha picked up her step. “Sorry, but I’m really late. I’ve got to run if I’m going to make it on time!”

Riley stopped on the sidewalk as her Aunt closed the gap.

“Was that your roommate?” Aunt Lara asked.

“Yeah,” Riley answered, feeling bruised.

“Huh, she must be really late if she had to actually run,” Aunt Lara tilted her head, watching Elisha sprint across campus.

Riley huffed. “I guess.”

The rest of the walk to Dalton Aunt Lara discussed the happenings back home in Alexandria for the hundredth time. It was the same events that happened every year that they never joined in on, but for whatever reason, her Aunt seemed suddenly very interested in them.

“The Harvest Festival is coming up in a few weeks, not to mention the Columbus Day Fair. There is so much you are going to miss by not being home.”

“Yeah,” was Riley’s only response.

She was trying to focus on everything her Aunt was saying, but her mind was stuck on the two second conversation she had with Elisha. Something about it was off, or maybe it was just Elisha. Was something going on that she didn’t want to talk about in front of her Aunt? Could the guy she was dating be a total jerk and not treating her right, but she didn’t want to say it around anyone?

Riley searched her mind, looking for any hint of distress in Elisha’s demeanor, but all she had was how short her friend had been with her. Elisha wasn’t acting like herself, that was for sure, but Riley couldn’t figure out why. Hopefully she came back to the dorm tonight. Riley never realized how lonely sleeping by herself could be after sharing a room with someone for months.

Maybe that explained Leslie’s desire to keep her room occupied every night.

Riley threw that last thought away knowing there was nothing that could explain her assigned roommate’s revolving door of hook-ups.

“So, what do you think?” Aunt Lara asked.

Riley shook her head. “About what?”

Her Aunt sighed dramatically. “Have you not been listening this entire time? About all the events coming up?”

“What about them?”

“Don’t you want to go to them with me?”

Riley shook her head. “If they are during the week then no, but if it’s a weekend then I can plan to be there.”

“But the best ones are during the week! Especially Friday nights,” her Aunt wailed.

“I can’t miss class,” Riley stated flatly.

Her Aunt was so obvious. The older woman had always been a bit dramatic when she was trying to get her way. Riley had always thought of the classic beauty as a stable rock, but hearing her whine this way was slowly changing the image of her Aunt in Riley’s mind.

“Fine, fine, but expect to be home on the weekends from now on.”

Riley tried not to let her frustration seep into voice. “I’m not going to Alexandria every weekend.”

“Well, why not?” Her Aunt asked with hurt in her voice.

“This is my home now. I have friends here that I would like to spend time with outside of the classroom.”

Aunt Lara flipped her long silvering hair over her shoulder. “They obviously can’t take care of you like me, and a few seem preoccupied at the moment.”

Riley’s heart fell into her stomach as Elisha’s strange demeanor resurfaced in her mind. She’d have to find time alone to talk to her soon. Get to the bottom of her strange behavior.

“It’s not their job to take care of me, and I have more friends than Elisha,” Riley lied, realizing Elisha and Michael were all she really had. It was more than she ever had, so she wasn’t complaining.

“You wouldn’t need them if you came home with me.”

Riley opened the door to the cafeteria and immediately smelled warm cheese and pasta. Her stomach growled as the scent filled her with warmth, easing her mind of any icy thoughts. The fluorescent glow of the overhead lights lit up the room as everyone seemed happy while they filled their bellies.

Maybe her Aunt was right. Maybe she did need her around.

Michael walked up behind her and placed his arms around her waist. “Hello, beautiful.”

Riley smiled, thankful for the distraction. “Hey.”

“Mind if I join you for dinner?” Michael asked, kissing her cheek.

Riley laid her head back on his shoulder. The past few months had been filled with excitement because of him and his adventurous dates, but her feelings for him were steadily growing stronger every day. She hoped he would ask her to be his girlfriend soon, but every time she really thought about the commitment, something at the back of her mind lifted a gate of anxiety. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was somehow missing something. Michael was everything she had ever wanted in a potential relationship, but that tiny piece of herself told her there was something more out there.

Riley tried to smile as she pushed the gate closed, turning her lips toward him. “Of course. I’ve missed you.”

Just before Michael dipped his head to kiss her, Aunt Lara cleared her throat. “Still here.”

Michael closed the gap anyway and pecked her gently with a chuckle. “Sorry, Aunt Lara, but you’ve been hogging her this week.”

Riley giggled. At least someone had missed her.

Michael, Riley, and Aunt Lara ate dinner together, but that was about all Aunt Lara did. She sat quietly in the booth across from Riley and Michael, and barely said a word the entire night. Riley thought she caught her sulking a few times, but whenever she looked over at her, her Aunt would quickly look away and scan the room.

Michael held her hand the entire night as they discussed their classes and stole kisses on her knuckles whenever Aunt Lara wasn’t looking. As they finished their plates and were ready to head back to her dorm on the thirteenth floor of the Muse dormitory, Michael pulled Riley aside.

“Can we go on a real date tomorrow night? Like off campus, or will your Aunt flip out?”

Riley laughed. “I was hoping you’d ask. I’ve missed you, and I need to get out from under her thumb for a bit.”

Michael smiled and hugged her tight. “Perfect then I’ll pick you up at eight. We’ll head to Macado’s for another round of karaoke.”

“You can have the karaoke, just order me the quesadilla!” Riley exclaimed as he released her and headed for the door.

“See you tomorrow,” he winked. “Bye, Aunt Lara.”

Riley’s smile widened as she watched him walk back across campus toward his fraternity house. She hadn’t realized just how badly she had wanted to go out with him again but couldn’t help the mingling of desire to escape her Aunt’s watchful eye for just one night.

“Will he be dining with us again tomorrow?” Aunt Lara questioned agitatedly.

Riley sighed. “Actually, he asked me to go to Macado’s with him tomorrow.”

“Oh, well, I’m not sure that is really my niche, but I’m sure I could-”

Riley interrupted quickly. “I mean, he asked me on a date.”

“Oh,” Aunt Lara startled.

She could tell her Aunt was calculating her next statement carefully, but before she could begin some spiel, Riley flipped her red hair over her shoulder and headed for the path leading back to her dorm. She wasn’t going to listen to her Aunt drone on about how bad of an idea it would be, or what could happen while she was out. She had been on many dates with Michael at this point, walked with him to classes, ate meals with him and Elisha, and nothing ever happened. Michael wasn’t a trigger for her episodes.

Aunt Lara caught up with her as she passed in front of Whitt. “I know you don’t want to hear this-”

“Then don’t say it,” Riley stated flatly.

She had never disrespected her Aunt before, but maybe it was because she had never had to fight with her over anything back in Alexandria. Her life consisted of school and home every day. She had never had friends, let alone boyfriends, she had wanted to spend time with, so there was never a reason to disagree. Now, she felt like that was all she and her Aunt did.

“Riley, I’m looking out for your best interests, and if your parents were still around, I’m sure they would agree with me.”

Riley had had enough. “But they aren’t, are they? My life is my choice now! It’s not up to you anymore! I make the decisions on how I want it to go, and my decision is I’m staying here, and I’m going out with Michael tomorrow. If you don’t like it, well, I’m sorry, but I don’t care! I’m not living like I used to in Alexandria. I refuse to! I’m going to experience life even if it kills me.”

Aunt Lara stared at her with an expression Riley couldn’t discern, but tears were welling in Riley’s green eyes. She never thought she would speak to her Aunt that way, and it hurt her to her core. Riley turned and ran in the dark toward the illuminated Muse as her tears streaked down her cheeks.

One day, maybe sooner, she was going to regret what she said to her Aunt, but right now, all Riley wanted was to be as far away from her as possible. She ran up the walkway and into the elevator, but before she made it to Elisha’s room, she thought better of it, knowing too soon her Aunt would follow.

Riley checked the doorknob on her assigned room. There wasn’t a ribbon, but music played loudly on the other side. She jiggled her keys in the handle, hoping the noise would disrupt a potential booty-beat session, as her assigned roommate would call it, but no screams for denial of entry met her ears.

“Randy! How are you?” Leslie called from the foot of her bed as she contemplated a few dresses sprawled out in front of her. “Which do you think will bring more boys to the yard? My milkshake is need of stirring.”

Riley didn’t even try to decipher her real roommate’s meaning as she closed the door and landed face down on her mattress. She hadn’t stepped foot in the room in weeks. Leslie had practically claimed the entirety of it with her clothes, shoes, books, and condoms strewn everywhere but on Riley’s bed. All the reasons she didn’t stay in her assigned dorm room were displayed for whoever entered the room to see.

“Bad day?” Leslie asked, uninterested.

Riley rolled her eyes before turning her face to the wall that thumped with the beat of another popular song.

“What, nice and sweet hasn’t made a move yet?”

Riley continued to ignore her as the lyrics from the music erased her thoughts, giving her something to focus on besides her screwed up life.

“You’ve been dating him for how long now, and he still hasn’t sealed the deal? What is he waiting on, marriage?”

Riley huffed. “Some people believe in connecting on a deeper level first.”

“What fun is that?” Leslie scrunched up her nose, disgusted. “How about tall, dark, and handsome? Is he a free agent yet, or are you still hung up on him?”

Riley’s eyes snapped open as she turned to face her roommate. “Who?”

“You know, the guy who helped you ‘move in’,” Leslie sounded bored as she made the finger quotes.

Riley stared at the half naked girl. “Uh, I don’t know who you are talking about.”

Leslie finally looked over at her. “How could you forget that fine piece of ass? Aren’t you friends with his best friend’s girlfriend or whatever weird triangle they are all in?”

Riley tried raking her brain for any possible person Leslie could be thinking of but came up blank. Her ring of friends was small, and the number of guys interested in her was very clearly set at one.

Leslie shot Riley a sideways stare. “Huh, maybe you need your head examined. You can’t tell me you forgot someone as good looking as him because, let’s be honest, how many guys are actually attracted to you.”

Riley felt her fists ball at her sides as she rose from the bed. Her blood boiled at the all too familiar insinuation of being called crazy. She felt the ultimate desire to smack the girl but soothed herself into calm before she could raise her hand.

“How many guys are actually attracted to you versus think you’re an easy target?”

Leslie’s smile became malicious as she leaned against Riley’s bed and whispered. “Honey, I’m not a target. I’m the arrow. Maybe I’ll just go find Mr. tall, dark, and sexy, and prove I always hit the bullseye.”

Riley wasn’t sure why, but the very idea of Leslie touching the mystery man she kept mentioning sent Riley’s heart into a flutter of emotions: pain, anger, disgust. She pushed off her bed and rounded Leslie in a wide berth in fear of “accidentally” pushing past her. She stormed her way to the door, kicking Leslie’s strewn about clothes and shoes out of her way.

“Go ahead! Chalk another one up on your list of men! Have fun explaining that to a potential husband one day!”

Riley slammed the door as Leslie let out a booming cackle on the other side. She marched her way to Elisha’s room, seething as she slammed another door and face planted onto her borrowed mattress. She screamed into her pillow until all her frustration and anguish dissipated, but that had been a horrible idea.

Tears began to fall down her cheeks as a feeling of loss washed over her entire body, and she had no idea why. She knew she and her Aunt would make amends, so that wasn’t the cause. She had to talk to Elisha, but she didn’t think she had lost her yet. Everything with Michael was going perfectly, so why was she sobbing with grief as if she had lost the most important person she had ever met in her life?

Riley grabbed the tiny picture of her parents she had carried around with her since she was a child from the nightstand and clutched it to her chest. She had cried wishing for her parents as a kid more times than she could count, but it had been a long time since then. Maybe with Aunt Lara throwing in her face what they may have done or said had dredged up old emotions for the parents she had never known.

Riley looked at the picture, trying to make out their faces through her tears. They had always looked like a king and queen to her in the photo, dressed in all white on their wedding day. It was heartbreaking how in love they seemed with their arms wrapped tightly around each other, smiling at the camera with newlywed bliss.

Riley wiped her eyes, trying to control her sobs, wishing with everything within that her parents were with her. She begged the photo for the millionth time to understand why they had left her on her Aunt’s doorstep when she had been a baby.

Regardless of what her Aunt had said, she was sure they would understand and want a life full of experiences for her. They wouldn’t want her to go back to the misery of Alexandria and live the half-life she had been in her Aunt’s house.

“Riley.”

Riley sat up quickly, searching the room for the voice. A woman’s voice, just barely above a whisper.

“Follow your light.”

Riley turned toward the bay window at her back, swearing the voice had come from directly behind her, but no one and nothing was there.

She pushed her fingers into her hair and squeezed her head as more tears welled in her eyes. She searched her mind for the owner of the voice, knowing she had heard it before, but came up empty.

Was Leslie right? After all the years of episodes consumed in darkness, was she finally going crazy?

Repost: What is Light and Midnight?

Birthright, A Touched By Light Series, Book 2 of 3 – Release Date April 2019img_20180508_205858_570336534470.jpg

You know that moment in the final hours of darkness in the early morning hours, just before the sun’s first light paints the sky and reveals what the dark kept hidden? That is the Light and Midnight. The Light is like the sun as it stretches over the world and warms everything it touches, chasing away your worries of what may be haunting you in the dark. Midnight is like the darkness of night, casting everything into shadows, concealing the world and creating secrets to tempt wary souls. Here’s an excerpt from Guardians explaining the foes in Riley and Reymend’s world:

The Light had been created by everything bright and good in this realm while the dark had consumed and tore at the universes edges, threatening oblivion. The Light was said to have Touched, or blessed, twelve mortals with immortality to fight against the darkness that had begun to accumulate into an organized immortal shadow and attack this realm.

Midnight wasn’t a tangible being like its shadows, minions, demons, or wielders that crossed on to the plane of mortals and divvied out Midnight’s wrath. The shadows and minions followed Riley as if they were her own personal entourage, coiling themselves around her throughout her entire life. Demons and wielders rarely invaded the mortal realm, but there were plenty still around from Midnight’s reign over the world. Midnight itself hadn’t crossed the plane in over two thousand years, but its bidders wreaked its havoc all the same.

The Light lives within our souls, composing an essence of life within all of us. Some of us shine a little brighter, are blessed with a stronger Light, and can become Guardians (see What is a Guardian?). Midnight creeps in the night, an essence of darkness and  hopelessness. Shadows, minions, demons, and wielders all were once mortals, but their souls were consumed by the dark temptations of Midnight. Even though they carry out Midnight’s biddings, the moment they are no longer useful, they cease to exist.

Riley is no stranger to Midnight’s shadows and minions. Rey is a Guardian full of Light. And their journey is just the beginning.

Repost: What is a Guardian?

Welcome to the Touched by Light series ! Here you will find a quick look into the world Reymend lives as a Guardian. It’s hidden within Riley’s mortal day-to-day, but of all other mortals, she has glimpsed it the most. So, what is a Guardian?

Guardians are immortal beings who have been fated to join the Guardianship. The Council of the Wise is made up of twelve of the oldest Birthright Guardians, meaning they were not born from mortals, but from previous Wise Council members. A Touched soul means the Light within someone is brighter, stronger, more likely to withstand the temptations of Midnight. The Wise determines a Touched soul’s fate at age nineteen. If you are meant to be a Guardian, you are granted immortal life and given Charges (Touched souls, typically mortals) to protect against Midnight’s bidders. If you’re destined for anything else, you are left as a mortal to live out your life.

We’ll get to “What is Light and Midnight?” in my next post. Hang in there! For now, enjoy this excerpt of Reymend’s inner dialogue over the course of a chapter explaining from his memories what it is to be a Guardian, and why having Riley as his next Charge is the most defining Guardship he has ever had.

Birthright, A Touched By Light Series, Book 2 of 3 – Release Date April 2019

Rey hadn’t thought that far back in years to when he and Phelix had been young men, barely over nineteen years old. Two of the twelve members of the Wise Council of the Light had offered them immortal life as Guardians. If they accepted, their lives were to be dedicated to protecting those Touched by Light from the darkness of Midnight. Even though the significance of it all flew over their teenage heads, after living their entire lives as vagrants on the streets of a New York ghetto, it had been an easy decision.

He hadn’t flat out lied to Riley when he said he was an orphan. He and Phelix had been when they were kids, but having been in the system was pushing it. They had lived off what others threw out in the streets or what they could beg for, but back then, that was the system for parentless children. Castaways, left to fend for themselves.

They had met Amber, Phelix’s girlfriend, in their early years of immortality during training, but her life had been completely opposite to theirs. She had known the ways of the Light at an early age before her fate had even been determined. Her entire bloodline could be traced back to Guardians and the Wise Council. As a Birthright Guardian, her conception was a carefully mastered plan to keep purity on the Council. Although, some would argue that plan was failing or had failed already.

The three of them had been through hell and back more than their fair share, facing demons of Midnight when no one else could. They weren’t the strongest singular Guardians by any means, but together, their Light always shone brightest against the darkness. Together, they were undefeated, but in their line of work, defeat wasn’t an option.

The three Guardians had left Baltimore two years ago after their Charges had reached the age to be fated. It had been the first time in their almost two hundred years together that they had been separated. Phelix had gone to Richmond for a Charge until she reached nineteen years old, and the Wise fated her for the Guardianship. Amber had two Charges turn nineteen, one in Atlanta and the other in Columbus, but both of the guys destinies were decided to remain mortal, leaving their Light dormant within their souls. Rey hadn’t had a Charge since Baltimore, so he moved to Bradford for the hub of darkness found at the small town’s edge. There was always something to do in the quiet town for a Guardian.

Phelix and Amber showed up over the summer since the Wise hadn’t designated new Charges for them either. The Wise had always seemed to find them individual Charges within the same vicinity as each other, clearly understanding the strength they shared between them, but after their two year stretch apart, Rey knew things were changing.

They posed as students at the University to keep up appearance and be poised in case their new Charges were students in town. There was also a bit of competition amongst them to keep their minds sharp and see who could have the highest grades, but it all boiled down to being ready when a Charge was granted.

Rules.

Light.

Dark.

They had been Rey’s world for so long. Now he bent and outright broke so many, using his Light in ways he shouldn’t to beat out the dark invading his Charge’s life.

The number one rule of the Guardianship was to never become involved in the Charge’s life. Protect them at all cost, but never be seen. A Guardian was to use their Light in the fight against the shadows of Midnight, but never shine it in the direction of the Charge. After years of servicing mortals, Guardians had earned the nickname of Guardian Angels, but Rey knew he was far from angelic, especially now.

Number two: never, ever touch a Charge. Those Touched by Light could transfer energies, memories, and even thoughts through their Light just by brushing up against each other. It took a Guardian years of training to harness their Light and learn to channel it through the transference of randomness and into a true Connection. It was the very thing that had kept him, Phelix, and Amber alive for so long through all of their battles over the centuries. Their Connection to each other flowed easily, allowing them to communicate and act as one seamlessly in battle.

And, number three: without exception, do not sway a Charge’s fate by Connecting with their Light before the Council so determines the Charge’s destiny. After a Charge turned nineteen, the Wise would determine whether the Touched soul would be given the choice to become a Guardian or remain a mortal, or if their fate was meant for the darkness. No one in the long history of the Light had ever Connected with a Charge outside of the realm of the Council of the Wise.

It was the simplest of rules to follow. Rules Rey had never had issues with in over two hundred years, but now, with Riley as his designated Charge, he had broken all but one so far.

When had his immortal life become so filled with gray?

The first twelve Touched souls composed what is now known as the Council of the Wise. They gathered as many more Guardians they could, Connecting with mortals who held stronger Light, and pushed what they began to call Midnight and its darkness as far from this universe as possible.

As millennia have passed, the Wise Council’s duty had become to determine a Touched soul’s fate, to Connect with those souls and keep the balance between Light and dark, and to keep the rules of the Light by sending Guardians to enforce them on any darkness that made its way onto the plane. The Guardians had become the first defense in the never ending war to keep the world from slipping into Midnight’s grasp while the Wise continued to reign on high.

It was Rey, Phelix, and Amber’s job to keep their Charges safe until the time the Wise determined their fate. They were to keep Midnight as far from their Charges as possible and defend the dormant Light within them. That was what Rey was doing.

Repost: Meet Reymend!

rey1Reymend may be able to blend in with the students at Bradford University, but he is nothing like an average mortal. He’s an immortal teen, a warrior for the Light, a Guardian against the darkness of Midnight. He protects mortals until they reach Guardian age, and his next Charge is Riley.

She doesn’t know it yet, but her Light, the essence within every living being’s soul, is stronger than most. Keeping her safe should be easy, but Rey’s never seen the shadows of Midnight so attracted to a mortal before. It’s never a dull moment with her as his Charge, fighting off the darkness. Midnight’s minions find her irresistible, but Rey is like a moth to the flame.

In the everlasting life of an immortal Guardian, three things always ring true. Never become involved in your Charge’s every day life. Never touch your Charge. And never allow a Connection to manifest. Rey broke the first rule, bent the second, and has tried desperately not to allow the third to happen, but Riley’s Light calls to him. A Guardian isn’t supposed to know anything other than honor and valor, but now that Riley is in his life, regardless of his Guardianship, he’s willing to do anything to keep her.

You can save her. Follow your Light.

A whisper on the wind Rey has heard in his mind as if it were his own thoughts more times than he can count since she became his charge. He knows Riley is in danger. He knows he’s the only one who can protect her from Midnight’s bidders, but who was going to protect her from him?

Birthright, A Touched By Light Series, Book 2 of 3 – Release Date April 2019

Guardians – Released and Rated

As the book tour ends for Guardians release, I’ve become contemplative about the journey thus far. I’ve had to answer why I came up with this story, and what the Light and darkness really mean to me. I’m not sure I will ever be able to answer the why other than I had a dream that brushed the surface of what Guardians became. My dream inspired this story, and I’ve enjoyed developing it, but why is a very heavy question.

A question I know I can answer is what the Light and darkness mean to me. That’s easy. Light is the goodness of the world, the strength to overcome any fear or temptation. Light is perfection that we all wish to achieve, and what I love most about it is Light is life, so it is within us all.

Darkness, or Midnight, is the evil of the world. It consumes people until they are controlled by it. It closely resembles someone who has succumbed to a battle of one of the deadly sins. They may deny it, but their greed, gluttony, or pride controls their every decision.

I’ve known many people who have fallen to their vices, specifically drugs, but there have been too few that have come back from their stint in darkness to a life better than before. Those with survival stories talk about being saved from their battles by finding something or someone that brought them back to the light of life. These stories have also amazed me. Thus, Light and darkness, and the basis of the why.

I’m really not this deep, but this story really speaks to the testament of human will. Riley faces darkness in ways most people never have to, but she keeps fighting to stay in the Light. Every day people battle with pain and afflictions, but we can overcome them and live a life greater we ever imagined.

Don’t forget to order your copy of Guardians today! 5 star ratings are rolling in! Vampires and werewolves could never face the shadows the Guardians battle everyday. Click here for more information.

Guardians – What is Light and Midnight?

Guardians Proof twoGuardians, a Touched by Light series, book 1 of 3 is out for PRE-ORDER now on all major distributors. Publish date is set for October 31, 2018 – Halloween!

You know that moment in the final hours of darkness in the early morning hours, just before the sun’s first light paints the sky and reveals what the dark kept hidden? That is the Light and Midnight. The Light is like the sun as it stretches over the world and warms everything it touches, chasing away your worries of what may be haunting you in the dark. Midnight is like the darkness of night, casting everything into shadows, concealing the world and creating secrets to tempt wary souls. Here’s an excerpt from Guardians explaining the foes in Riley and Reymend’s world:

The Light had been created by everything bright and good in this realm while the dark had consumed and tore at the universes edges, threatening oblivion. The Light was said to have Touched, or blessed, twelve mortals with immortality to fight against the darkness that had begun to accumulate into an organized immortal shadow and attack this realm.

Midnight wasn’t a tangible being like its shadows, minions, demons, or wielders that crossed on to the plane of mortals and divvied out Midnight’s wrath. The shadows and minions followed Riley as if they were her own personal entourage, coiling themselves around her throughout her entire life. Demons and wielders rarely invaded the mortal realm, but there were plenty still around from Midnight’s reign over the world. Midnight itself hadn’t crossed the plane in over two thousand years, but its bidders wreaked its havoc all the same.

The Light lives within our souls, composing an essence of life within all of us. Some of us shine a little brighter, are blessed with a stronger Light, and can become Guardians (see What is a Guardian?). Midnight creeps in the night, an essence of darkness and  hopelessness. Shadows, minions, demons, and wielders all were once mortals, but their souls were consumed by the dark temptations of Midnight. Even though they carry out Midnight’s biddings, the moment they are no longer useful, they cease to exist.

Riley is no stranger to Midnight’s shadows and minions. Rey is a Guardian full of Light. And their journey is just the beginning.

Guardians – What is a Guardian?

Guardians Proof twoWelcome to the Touched by Light series and the first book, Guardians! Here you will find a quick look into the world Reymend lives as a Guardian. It’s hidden within Riley’s mortal day-to-day, but of all other mortals, she has glimpsed it the most. So, what is a Guardian?

Guardians are immortal beings who have been fated to join the Guardianship. The Council of the Wise is made up of twelve of the oldest Birthright Guardians, meaning they were not born from mortals, but from previous Wise Council members. A Touched soul means the Light within someone is brighter, stronger, more likely to withstand the temptations of Midnight. The Wise determines a Touched soul’s fate at age nineteen. If you are meant to be a Guardian, you are granted immortal life and given Charges (Touched souls, typically mortals) to protect against Midnight’s bidders. If you’re destined for anything else, you are left as a mortal to live out your life.

We’ll get to “What is Light and Midnight?” in my next post. Hang in there! For now, enjoy this excerpt of Reymend’s inner dialogue over the course of a chapter explaining from his memories what it is to be a Guardian, and why having Riley as his next Charge is the most defining Guardship he has ever had.

Guardians, A Touched By Light Series, Book 1 of 3 – Available for Pre-order on all major distributors! Publish date October 31, 2018 – Halloween!

Rey hadn’t thought that far back in years to when he and Phelix had been young men, barely over nineteen years old. Two of the twelve members of the Wise Council of the Light had offered them immortal life as Guardians. If they accepted, their lives were to be dedicated to protecting those Touched by Light from the darkness of Midnight. Even though the significance of it all flew over their teenage heads, after living their entire lives as vagrants on the streets of a New York ghetto, it had been an easy decision.

He hadn’t flat out lied to Riley when he said he was an orphan. He and Phelix had been when they were kids, but having been in the system was pushing it. They had lived off what others threw out in the streets or what they could beg for, but back then, that was the system for parentless children. Castaways, left to fend for themselves.

They had met Amber, Phelix’s girlfriend, in their early years of immortality during training, but her life had been completely opposite to theirs. She had known the ways of the Light at an early age before her fate had even been determined. Her entire bloodline could be traced back to Guardians and the Wise Council. As a Birthright Guardian, her conception was a carefully mastered plan to keep purity on the Council. Although, some would argue that plan was failing or had failed already.

The three of them had been through hell and back more than their fair share, facing demons of Midnight when no one else could. They weren’t the strongest singular Guardians by any means, but together, their Light always shone brightest against the darkness. Together, they were undefeated, but in their line of work, defeat wasn’t an option.

The three Guardians had left Baltimore two years ago after their Charges had reached the age to be fated. It had been the first time in their almost two hundred years together that they had been separated. Phelix had gone to Richmond for a Charge until she reached nineteen years old, and the Wise fated her for the Guardianship. Amber had two Charges turn nineteen, one in Atlanta and the other in Columbus, but both of the guys destinies were decided to remain mortal, leaving their Light dormant within their souls. Rey hadn’t had a Charge since Baltimore, so he moved to Bradford for the hub of darkness found at the small town’s edge. There was always something to do in the quiet town for a Guardian.

Phelix and Amber showed up over the summer since the Wise hadn’t designated new Charges for them either. The Wise had always seemed to find them individual Charges within the same vicinity as each other, clearly understanding the strength they shared between them, but after their two year stretch apart, Rey knew things were changing.

They posed as students at the University to keep up appearance and be poised in case their new Charges were students in town. There was also a bit of competition amongst them to keep their minds sharp and see who could have the highest grades, but it all boiled down to being ready when a Charge was granted.

Rules.

Light.

Dark.

They had been Rey’s world for so long. Now he bent and outright broke so many, using his Light in ways he shouldn’t to beat out the dark invading his Charge’s life.

The number one rule of the Guardianship was to never become involved in the Charge’s life. Protect them at all cost, but never be seen. A Guardian was to use their Light in the fight against the shadows of Midnight, but never shine it in the direction of the Charge. After years of servicing mortals, Guardians had earned the nickname of Guardian Angels, but Rey knew he was far from angelic, especially now.

Number two: never, ever touch a Charge. Those Touched by Light could transfer energies, memories, and even thoughts through their Light just by brushing up against each other. It took a Guardian years of training to harness their Light and learn to channel it through the transference of randomness and into a true Connection. It was the very thing that had kept him, Phelix, and Amber alive for so long through all of their battles over the centuries. Their Connection to each other flowed easily, allowing them to communicate and act as one seamlessly in battle.

And, number three: without exception, do not sway a Charge’s fate by Connecting with their Light before the Council so determines the Charge’s destiny. After a Charge turned nineteen, the Wise would determine whether the Touched soul would be given the choice to become a Guardian or remain a mortal, or if their fate was meant for the darkness. No one in the long history of the Light had ever Connected with a Charge outside of the realm of the Council of the Wise.

It was the simplest of rules to follow. Rules Rey had never had issues with in over two hundred years, but now, with Riley as his designated Charge, he had broken all but one so far.

When had his immortal life become so filled with gray?

The first twelve Touched souls composed what is now known as the Council of the Wise. They gathered as many more Guardians they could, Connecting with mortals who held stronger Light, and pushed what they began to call Midnight and its darkness as far from this universe as possible.

As millennia have passed, the Wise Council’s duty had become to determine a Touched soul’s fate, to Connect with those souls and keep the balance between Light and dark, and to keep the rules of the Light by sending Guardians to enforce them on any darkness that made its way onto the plane. The Guardians had become the first defense in the never ending war to keep the world from slipping into Midnight’s grasp while the Wise continued to reign on high.

It was Rey, Phelix, and Amber’s job to keep their Charges safe until the time the Wise determined their fate. They were to keep Midnight as far from their Charges as possible and defend the dormant Light within them. That was what Rey was doing.

Guardians – Meet Reymend!

rey1Reymend may be able to blend in with the students at Bradford University, but he is nothing like an average mortal. He’s an immortal teen, a warrior for the Light, a Guardian against the darkness of Midnight. He protects mortals until they reach Guardian age, and his next Charge is Riley.

She doesn’t know it yet, but her Light, the essence within every living being’s soul, is stronger than most. Keeping her safe should be easy, but Rey’s never seen the shadows of Midnight so attracted to a mortal before. It’s never a dull moment with her as his Charge, fighting off the darkness. Midnight’s minions find her irresistible, but Rey is like a moth to the flame.

Guardians Proof two

In the everlasting life of an immortal Guardian, three things always ring true. Never become involved in your Charge’s every day life. Never touch your Charge. And never allow a Connection to manifest. Rey broke the first rule, bent the second, and has tried desperately not to allow the third to happen, but Riley’s Light calls to him. A Guardian isn’t supposed to know anything other than honor and valor, but now that Riley is in his life, regardless of his Guardianship, he’s willing to do anything to keep her.

You can save her. Follow your Light.

A whisper on the wind Rey has heard in his mind as if it were his own thoughts more times than he can count since she became his charge. He knows Riley is in danger. He knows he’s the only one who can protect her from Midnight’s bidders, but who was going to protect her from him?

Guardians, A Touched By Light Series, Book 1 of 3 – Available for Pre-order on all major distributors! Publish date October 31, 2018 – Halloween!