Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2)
by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Something Wicked This Way Comes...
As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.
Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.
As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...
Careful of the falling persimmons, Devon Sinclair stepped up beside me and craned his neck back. His black T-shirt and khaki cargo pants were splattered with even more persimmon pulp than mine, making it look as though he’d been caught in a red rainstorm. Just about the only part of him that wasn’t covered in fruit was the silver cuff that glimmered on his right wrist, one stamped with a distinctive design—a hand holding a sword aloft. The symbol of the Sinclair Family.
“He’s not a very happy fellow, is he?” Devon murmured in his deep, rumbling voice. “No wonder the tourists are complaining about him.”
Cloudburst Falls was known far and wide as “the most magical place in America,” a place where “fairy tales are real,” so tourism was the name of the game around here. People came from all over the country and the world to see the magnificent views from Cloudburst Mountain, the rugged, fog-covered peak that loomed over the city, as well as spend their money in all the shops, casinos, restaurants, hotels, and other attractions that ringed the Midway, the main tourist drag in the center of town.
But monsters were also drawn to the area because of all the bloodiron, a magical metal, that had been mined out of Cloudburst Mountain over the years. At least, that’s what the local legends and tall tales claimed. Tourist rubes might like to ooh and aah at the monsters in the various zoos in the Midway and photograph the creatures in their natural habitats during tours and expeditions up the mountain, but the out-of-towners didn’t appreciate tree trolls throwing persimmons at them as they walked down the sidewalk. And the tourists especially didn’t like to get attacked and eaten by some of the more dangerous monsters that lurked in the dark alleys and shadowy spots in and around town. So it was the job of the Families, or mobs, to make sure that the monsters stayed in their designated areas. Or at least didn’t snack on too many tourists at one time.
This particular troll had taken up residence in a tall blood persimmon tree that sat at the edge of one of the shopping squares off the Midway. Since this particular square was part of the Sinclair Family territory, we were the ones who’d been called in to deal with the creature. For the last three days, the troll had been fruit bombing everyone who dared walk by its tree, causing several tourists to drop and break their expensive phones and cameras. Nothing pissed off a tourist more than losing their fancy new phone. I knew, since I’d spent the last few years swiping phones out of the pockets, purses, and fanny packs of every out-of-towner who looked like an easy mark.
Beside me, Devon shifted on his feet, moving out of the bright, direct sun into a pool of dappled shadows closer to the tree. The warm rays filtered down through the branches and danced across his muscled body, showing off his intense green eyes, rugged features, and the honey highlights in his dark chocolate brown hair. I breathed in, catching a whiff of his crisp pine scent, mixed in with the sticky sweetness of the splattered persimmons. Just standing near Devon made my heart do a funny little pitter-patter in my chest, but I ignored the sensation, just as I’d been doing for weeks now.
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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.
The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.
Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.
Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.
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