Title: The Reluctant Sacrifice
Author: Kerr-Ann Dempster
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: August 7, 2015Summary:
Centuries ago, sibling rivalry tore Aramith apart. As punishment, the losers were stripped of their immortal birthright and banished to Earth. There, they wasted away from old age and diseases. However, there is hope…
If a Shaw child, born on the 12th day of the 12th month offers her soul in a public sacrifice, then the exiles will be forgiven and welcomed home to Aramith.
Aubrey Shaw is that child, but dying for the exiles is not on her to-do list. Using her gift as a Jumper, Aubrey leaps between bodies to escape relentless shape-shifting hunters. Only, shedding her skin is not enough. Not when Joshua, her best-friend-turned-hunter, is hell-bent on dragging her to the altar.
Will Aubrey’s love for Joshua change his mind?
Or, will she have to trust the scarred stranger who shows up out of the blue cloaked in lies and secrets? Doing so means giving up on Joshua. But betting on Joshua’s love could do more than break her heart.
It could kill her.
Mom hobbled back to the center of the market. The hunters slinked out of shadowy corners to meet her. They moved as they did in the air, in V formation with Joshua at the head. The tall hunter and Rooster brought up the rear on the left and right. When he reached Mom, Joshua made a circular motion in the air with his thumb. The hunters fanned out, forming a circle around Mom.
Joshua heaved a deep breath. “Where is she?”
Mom’s voice was like steel on steel. “Gone.”
“If you think I’m telling you then you’re not only a traitorous bastard, you’re a fool.”
I watched as Mom and Joshua stared at each other, neither one blinking or taking a
breath. As the angry stare-off stretched on, the hunters exchanged uncomfortable glances and a low grumble moved around the circle.
One hunter, with arms like sculpted marble sniffed the air noisily with a bumpy nose. “Aubrey is close,” he said. “I can taste her in the air.”
“Silence,” Joshua barked.
“But her scent—”
“Use your eyes as well as your nose, idiot. It’s obvious Rose switched shirts with Aubrey.”
The hunter crunched his knuckles. “I’m no idiot. You can barely see the damn thing.” Mom shook her head. “Lefu always said you’d make a good Captain one day. Pity
he’s never wrong.”
“Yeah, Pity.” Joshua’s eyes flickered to the gate and back to Mom. “The sacrifice isn’t
“Sacrifice?” Mom cut him off. “Call it what it is, Joshua. Murder.”
“It is not murder.”
“She’s sixteen! She’s a child, and so are you. You should be taking her out on dates,
not hunting her like a rabid dog.”
“I wouldn’t have to hunt her if she would turn herself in. She’s meant to be on that
altar, Rose. You can’t keep telling her otherwise.”
“But why her?” Mom demanded. “None of you stupid exiles can tell me why it has to be my daughter who pays the price for our sins.”
Joshua’s mouth opened and closed. Finally, he shook his head. “I don’t know, Rose. The duty fell to her.”
“To hell with duty,” Mom said, stabbing him in the chest with a finger. “And to hell with Azure! And to hell with Celo and all you foul exiles!”
“Enough,” Joshua boomed. His voice echoed in the sky like thunder causing Mom to yelp. “We are Aramithians, not humans,” he said. “Just because we’ve been exiled to this backward world for the last two centuries, doesn’t mean we can abandon our responsibilities of duty, obedience, and loyalty to Aramith.”
Mom balled her fists, and her chin rose defiantly in the air. “Like I said. To hell with duty.”
Sighing, Joshua raked a hand through his hair. “Look,” he said. “The sacrifice isn’t for another year. I can see to it Lefu lets you stay with Aubrey until then.”
“That’s the best I can do,” Joshua said. “You won’t be pardoned.”
Mom smiled a cruel smile that would have never worked on her old face. “Is thirty
pieces of silver still the going rate?”
“I’m not a traitor,” Joshua said.
“Neither am I, but I’ll gladly die like one instead of letting you vipers bleed my child
A lovely mellifluous laugh came from the palm trees to the left of the circle. Bitterness flooded my mouth as Morgan stepped out. My sister had taken after my dad’s side of the family, from their pointy, elvish faces to their sylphlike bodies.
“Morgan,” Mom cried in an embarrassingly breathy voice.
With a spine as straight as an arrow and crimson dreadlocks touching her waist, Morgan stalked toward Mom. The hunters parted for her, their eyes darting to the splashes of pale flesh that peeked out of her carelessly wrapped cloak. Her shrewd, unblinking eyes stayed on Mom’s face.
“It must be nice having a mother who cares so much,” Morgan said in a scornful voice. “I wonder what that’s like.”
Kerr-Ann Dempster lives in Michigan where she is often found with her nose in a book, knee-deep in snow, and online fan-girling over fictional characters and fellow authors. She is a graduate of Loyola University, Chicago where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After working in Visual Communications and as a Flight Attendant, Kerr-Ann decided that life was best spent being happy. With that in mind, she published her first novel, Beneath Scarlett Valley, in August 2014. She then published her second novel, The Reluctant Sacrifice, in August 2015.
To learn more about Kerr-Ann, connect with her on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. If you live in Michigan, you may also find her in line at Moomers purchasing homemade ice cream.