The last thing Ward de'Ath wants is more trouble. On the run from both the law and the criminal underworld, Ward and Celia flee Brawenal City only to stumble into the mansion of a powerful evil necromancer. And when Ward discovers the man possesses a dangerous grimoire, his duty leaves him no choice. He can't allow the necromancer to keep the grimoire. But the mansion is filled with monsters--human and undead--and Ward has no way of telling who's friend or foe. The only person he can trust is Celia who dominates more of his thoughts and feelings everyday. But there are still laws in the way of anything but friendship. She's still dead and he's still alive . . . for now.
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The mystery word is in RED


Chapter One, Part 5

“Stay here,” she said. “I’ll look for a safe place to enter.”
Before he could answer, she slipped around the end of the wing, the only sound of her passing a momentary silence among the crickets. 
He pressed his forehead to the bricks, but they weren’t particularly cool and did little to ease the pounding in his head. He didn’t know why he worried about her. This was what she did best. She crept around in the night and faced dangerous men. Yet he couldn’t seem to keep from fretting and didn’t know why.
Even being chased by bounty hunters couldn’t distract him from thinking of her. He wanted to be near her, wanted to be within the radius of her confidence and determination, and have it wear off of him. Wanted the Goddess’s law to be wrong. Wanted—
Things he wasn’t supposed to want.
He forced his attention to the crest above the door. He could work out how he felt once they were safe on the road to Gyja. Until then, he’d distract himself with the intellectual puzzle of the crest.
The swirls and creases of bronze formed an open goddess-eye, the staff of the Eternal Wanderer, and the cup of knowledge…cup of knowledge and staff…
Of course! This was a waystation on the pilgrims’ old road to Gyja. 
Ward had thought all the waystations on the old road had been closed when the Grewdian Council established the new, safer road, through the mountains a few generations ago. Without the pilgrims, there was little money for food and upkeep, but this station appeared in excellent condition—save for its horrible mismatched architecture.
They were already on a road to Gyja. Things were already looking up. Now, all he had to deal with were four bounty hunters, and then his fate would involve fewer crossbow bolts and swords.
Something clicked, and he jerked around. A girl who looked to be a couple years younger than he rose from the far side of the fountain. He’d been so distracted by the crest he hadn’t noticed her. Blond tendrils escaping the pile of curls atop her head framed a wide forehead and square jaw. Her pink gown—far too formal for a waystation in the middle of nowhere—shimmered with pinpricks of light.
“We don’t tend to get pilgrims at this hour.” She stared at him with dark, wide-set eyes and reached a delicate hand toward him.
His feet, of their own volition, stepped off the grass onto the gravel courtyard, moving him out of the shadow into the light. “I’m not a pilgrim.”
She shifted. More light shimmered from tiny beads sewn in an intricate pattern swirling from her hem up the right side of the gown and over her bodice. “You’re hurt.”
He brushed his temple. “It looks worse than it is.” Although, he really had no idea how bad it looked.
“Still, you should come in and have me look at it.”
“Ah, no… It’s all right.” He inched back a step. He shouldn’t have left the shadow of the building in the first place. Celia would have jumped at the invitation, but he didn’t want to get anyone else involved in his mess. He should give some kind of excuse to make the woman think he was leaving, then return to his hiding spot and wait for Celia.
“At least come in and get cleaned up.” She offered a shy smile. “I’m Allette.”
“Ward.” Goddess, how he wanted to say yes. But it was too dangerous. “I’m sorry, I— I’m waiting for someone.”
“Your friend is welcome, too. This is the Goddess’s house. All who travel on Her path are welcome.”
He had no idea how to refuse. Her offer was so attractive, the promise of relaxing salvation, and a simple ‘no’ hadn’t satisfied her. “I can’t pay.”
“I’m sure we can find a chore for you and your friend in return for the hospitality.”
“That’s very kind of you, but I really should…” He took another step back. If he didn’t put distance between himself and the girl, his willpower would crumble.
Footsteps crunched on the gravel behind him, and he spun around.
Celia strode down the driveway toward him. Her expression revealed neither anger or relief, but that didn’t mean anything. She was a consummate actress, and very little escaped her control. “I see you’ve found someone.”
“Yes, but we really should be going.” He struggled to keep his tone light while willing Celia to accept his plea to not bring trouble to this house.
“No, please. Stay.” Allette grabbed Ward’s forearm. 
Celia tensed, and light flickered on something by her thigh. It was the sword she’d acquired from the last bounty hunter she’d killed, hidden by her leg. “One night would be lovely,” she said.
“I’m not sure that fits our plans,” Ward said. Celia had just said they were only staying long enough to get food, certainly not stay the rest of the night.
“Plans are meant to be broken,” Celia said. “We accept your generous offer.”
“Wonderful.” Allette squeezed Ward’s injured arm, sending pain shooting through it.
The front door opened, pouring more light down the steps and into the courtyard. The rumble of voices and the swell of music drowned out the chirp of crickets. A tall woman about eighteen, his age, stood framed in the entranceway. She was probably only an inch or two shorter than Ward, which was unusual for most women. She, too, wore a ball gown—hers was gold—and while she didn’t have Allette’s complicated hairstyle, her loose dark blond locks didn’t lessen her air of sophistication and sensuality. It was an air Ward didn’t often see in women his age—Celia being the exception. Not that he had a lot of experience with women, his age or otherwise, but he’d observed enough to make some basic conclusions.
Celia shifted beside him. All right, maybe any conclusion, basic or otherwise, was a stretch. He could observe her for an entire lifetime and still not figure anything out about women.

About the author:

Melanie has always been drawn to story telling. In fact, she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t telling a story in her head or on paper. In grade school, they had journal writing time which she turned into story telling time, weaving tales of magic and adventure that mimicked the fairy tales and myths that she loved to read. It was there, with the help of two very special teachers, that she nurtured this love and started her journey as a writer.
She writes fantasy, paranormal romance, and everything in between, seasoned with a good dash of adventure and mystery. Join her on my tales of magic, adventure, and romance.

Giveaway Details:

Prize 1: Signed copy of Ward Against Death and Ward Against Darkness and a $25 gift card (Amazon or B&N) US Only

Prize 2: $15 gift card (Amazon or B&N) US/Canada

Prize 3: 2 eBooks International

a Rafflecopter giveaway


thanks for the giveaway and I love the cover

Thanks for the giveaway!

thank you for the opportunity

This sounds like a terrific book. Thanks for the giveaway!
smhparent at hotmail dot com

Definitely going to be reading this one!

Thanks for the giveaway!!!

Thanks for the great giveaway! Love the cover and the book sounds super interesting

thanks for the giveaway!

Thanks for the giveaway! :^D

Great excerpt!! Sounds like a book I'd love!

sounds like something I would like, for sure. Cool cover too.

Sounds like a awesome read, thanks for the giveaway!
Tammy Dalley

Thanks for the giveaway!

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!

thank you for the giveaway!

Thanks for the giveaway! Have a fantabulous day!

Great giveaway, I'd love the signed copies! Thanks :)

Well you don't see necromancers every day! In books, I mean. I really love the play on words with the title, that's just great (:
Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love to read your book!

thanks for the giveaway!!!!!

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What is Twilight?


  1. The soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.
  2. The period of the evening during which this takes place, between daylight and darkness.
dusk - gloaming - nightfall

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