Book One in the Mythrian Realm Series
Throughout history, myths and legends of extraordinary creatures have been told and retold. Fantastic tales of demons and banshees, gryphons and dragons, and of course, magic. Stories that every child grows to learn are nothing more than fantasy…or are they?
Beyond the world you see lies a hidden realm, the Mythrian Realm, inhabited by all of the creatures you’ve been told are mere fiction. Only one thing lies between humans and the truth: the Nexus. A magical barrier erected millennia ago to separate the two realms, it has stood the test of time. Until now.
For Mythrian Sha Phoenix, magic is nothing new. But when she stumbles upon a portal on the verge of collapse, her fate will forever change. Pulled through the portal into the Human Realm, she lands in the middle of Detective Connor Flynn’s brutal murder scene. Soon it is obvious someone is using blood magic to try to bring down the Nexus. Together, Connor and Sha must work to unravel the secrets before the barrier falls and the realms collide.
The Nexus is breaking and all hell is about to unleash…literally.
Foot tapping a rapid little rhythm, Sha tried hard to maintain her composure. This small room with its too big table and uncomfortable chair was making her claustrophobic. She didn’t have issues with small spaces in general, it was the austere walls painted an unimaginative gray and stained by years of use that gave the impression they were closing in. Or maybe it was the fact she hadn’t sensed any Gateways during her transportation here meaning she was stranded for now. Lovely.
She’d tried to study the city as the buildings zoomed by, but it hadn’t been easy. The blow to her head had dazed her more than she’d wanted to admit and everything was just so different from anything in Mythria. Most of the buildings were tall, rectangular structures with little imagination; nothing more than glass and metal thrown together. As fascinating as she found the humans, they lacked vision. Sure there was the occasional structure that was architecturally appealing, but what had happened to the gorgeous facades she’d read about? The intricate stone carvings and detail? It made her homesick for the beauty of her Mythrian cities.
Nice job, Sha. You’re sitting in a box in unfamiliar territory and you’re obsessing because the buildings are uglier than you expected them to be. Brilliant show of prioritization skills. When would that detective get here? The sooner she could convince him she wasn’t a lunatic, the sooner she could tackle the issue of what had caused the Gate to collapse. The only answers she’d come up with so far didn’t bode well for the stability of the Nexus. It was a thought that sent a chill racing down her spine.
“Cold in here?”
She jumped at the unexpected question. Either she was losing her touch or that man had perfected the art of sneaking up on a person. His gruff, baritone voice sent another shiver through her body, though she felt anything but cold. It was surprise, not him, she assured herself. Right and gryphons are cowardly fools. Who was she kidding? The detective was getting under her skin without even trying.
“Uh, no, it’s fine.”
“Good. Did you kill the man in the alley?”
Sneaky bastard was hoping to catch her off guard. She arched her brow at the brazen question. “No. Do I really look like I am capable of killing him?”
“You’d be surprised at the things I’ve seen, Ms. Phoenix. How’s the head? Did you get checked out at the hospital?”
She shrugged. “I’ve had worse.” It was true. As a trainee she’d had the brilliant plan to take on a juvenile Scray demon on her own. It may not have been full grown, but it had been twice her size and at least five time her strength. That was one lesson she never forgot. “And yes, the doctors said I may have a mild concussion. Nothing serious, though.”
The hospital was an experience she hoped never to revisit. Riding in the vehicle—car— had been exhilarating and a vast improvement over the carriages in Mythria that were powered by either magic or beasts. However, once they’d arrived at the hospital, she’d been overwhelmed by fear, desperation, and death. Her empathy wasn’t one of her stronger talents but it was enough to ensure she’d told the doctors whatever she thought would get her out of there fastest. Back home, healers made house calls unless your injuries required multiple intense sessions, so she’d never had to deal with such oppressive feelings. How could people take their loved ones into a place such as that? Increasingly she was coming to realize the Human Realm wasn’t quite what she’d imagined after all.
Fingers snapped in front of her, drawing her startled gaze. “Am I boring you, Ms. Phoenix?”
Sha felt her cheeks begin to burn. “Sorry, Detective. I didn’t mean to let my mind wander off like that. My brain must still be addled.” A noncommittal grunt was his only response. Things were off to a wonderful start, she thought with a scowl.
Long moments passed, the uncomfortable silence making her want to squirm. Oh, she knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted her agitated so she’d let something slip. They’d been taught a similar tactic during training; lucky for her, she didn’t have any knowledge to divulge. Squaring her shoulders, she met his gaze unflinchingly.
“Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask, Detective? Or did you just want to have a staring contest?” A small part of her liked staring into his eyes, the intense gray seeming to shift subtly, almost like mercury. Intriguing. She filed that bit of information away to examine later.
“You’re hiding something, aren’t you?”
She decided to play dumb. “How can I hide anything when you haven’t asked a question?”
“At first I thought you were as high as a kite at the scene, but you’re more intelligent than I thought.”
Why did it sting that he’d thought she was high? “Is that a compliment or a question?”
“A statement.” He set a rectangular device on the table and a red light began to blink. “I’ll be recording this if you don’t mind. You’ve already been advised of your rights, have you not?” He paused, waiting for her response.
“Yes, I have.”
“Good. You were found in an alley lying in a pool of blood. How did you end up there?”
“I don’t know.” It was close enough to the truth. No reason to mention the bit about falling through an invisible, magical barrier.
“Do you know this man?” A picture slapped down onto the table in front of her showed a man, his skin waxy with a grayish cast and large purple shadows around his eyes.
“No, I’ve never seen him before.”
“Really? I find that hard to believe when we found you within feet of his body. We’re waiting on DNA confirmation, but unless you have an explanation for where the blood in the alley originated, I’d say you and I both know it belongs to our victim here. Let me ask you one more time. Do you know this man?”
Irritation flashed through her body. “As you pointed out, Detective, I was found unconscious and prior to that had never met the guy. I may have lain next to him, but that doesn’t mean I knew him. Who is he?”
“I’m working on determining that. He’s lacking his fingerprints, so it’s not as simple to identify the body. What happened last night?”
“I don’t know. All I remember is waking up, being confused, and being surrounded by strange people. You showed up a short time later.”
“Where are you from?” That man just didn’t know when to drop the subject, did he?
“I’m from out of town.”
“Can you be more specific?”
“A town so small, I’m sure you’ve never heard of it.” Not far from the truth. Fire Falls wasn’t tiny, but it wasn’t huge.
“Do you take me for a fool? Stop lying, Ms. Phoenix. You had no ID on you, no credit or debit cards, no cell phone, and your prints aren’t in the system. Tell me the name of the town; it should be simple enough to verify it.”
“Trust me, Detective, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
His eyes sparked at her words, the irises seeming to shift with increasing speed. If she didn’t know better, she’d think he had some Metallum ancestry. Only the metal crafters in Mythria had eyes like that, but there was no way he could share their blood.
“I’m tired of your games. I have a body in the morgue and two other cases I believe are related to this one.” He pulled out pictures of two other crime scenes and placed them on the table in front of her. “This is your last chance. Answer me now or I’ll have you locked up for obstruction of justice.”
Sha stared at the two other images, stunned. “It can’t be,” she whispered.
He sat back in his chair, studying her. “What can’t be? You recognize one of them don’t you?”
She didn’t know what compelled her to respond, however, she couldn’t halt the flow of words. “I don’t know who the men are, but I recognize those runes. It’s impossible you’d find them here.”
“Three dead guys would beg to differ with you on that one. Where have you seen the runes before?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
Connor’s palms slammed on the table, the sound reverberating through the cramped room. “Enough with the theatrics. Where…have…you…seen…these…
runes?” He punctuated each word with a stab of his finger on the photographs.
“In Mythria,” she blurted before she could stop herself. Mother Night. What had she just admitted?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Mythrian realm and the world of humankind are kept separate by the Nexus, patrolled by Sentinels such as Sha Phoenix.
When Sha falls through a magical Gateway, she lands in a back alley in Denver, in the thick of a crime scene. As soon as Detective Connor Flynn arrives, things quickly heat up, both in terms of attraction and action, as other creatures arrive through the damaged Gateway to play havoc in the human world. A banshee, for instance, is not something your everyday cop knows how to deal with.
This was one of those books that started out a bit hard work to get through the opening chapter, but from then on captivated and sped along at breakneck speed.
I notice in the author’s notes that this began life as a NaNoRiMo story, and I think a hint of that still lingers, despite obviously having come a long way from the raw first draft.
It was really only chapter 1 that I found a struggle – predominantly dialogue with a few info dumps dropped in, but no sense of place at all; no description of anything in the character’s environment, just one single bald mention that they are in a forest, and a two mentions of a clearing. There is description of the characters, and some fun banter, but that’s it. The Gateway is talked about, but I have no idea what it is, what it looks like, or even if it can be seen.
Once we hit chapter 2, we are suddenly in a familiar environment, though not familiar to Sha. There were a couple of small procedural issues, and an annoying tendency for Sha to gripe about her bad headaches without seeming to suffer any symptoms (in the first half of the book), but without question it turns into a great fun story, and I was quite willing to go along with the speed of things, even the romance and sex, when there was clearly some magical concept underlying their ‘can’t keep their hands off each other’ attraction.
The dialogue is witty, the sex hot, the characters very individual, and the plot interesting enough to keep me engaged, but I will finish with a warning – whilst the US story has a wrap up, there is also a big cliff hanger to the ending. I will read the next one, because I liked the characters and their interactions, but I’m not in favour of this style of episodic book – with the already short length, it felt like reading half a novel.
Book 1.5 of the Mythrian Realm. Can be read as a standalone, but best enjoyed if book one, Breaking the Nexus, is read first.Nothing is more dangerous than a warrior unleashed.
When Sentinels begin dying under mysterious circumstances, the deaths are believed to be unrelated. Only one man sees the truth: an unknown enemy is targeting the elite group of warriors and no one is safe. As a panther Chimerae, Achaius Rilke recognizes the signs of an unpredictable predator. The only person he can trust is Saia Makan, the tempestuous Sorceri who has driven him crazy for years. But when the killer has set his sights on Saia, Achaius faces the hunt of his life.
As two Realms collide, the world descends into chaos.
From the moment Sha Phoenix dropped into the middle of Detective Connor Flynn’s murder scene, he had known his life would never be the same. Following her claim to be a Sorceri from the Mythrian Realm, he had received a crash course in the impossible as they had struggled to stop a madman. Unfortunately, despite their efforts to stop the Nexus, a magical barrier separating the Mythrian and Human Realms, fractured. Magic and myth are spilling over into the Human Realm, plunging everything into turmoil.
Is their love strong enough to survive the flames of the phoenix?
When Sha vanished through a portal in the middle of battle, Connor did not hesitate to follow the woman he had claimed as his. Now in the Mythrian Realm, they join forces with the Sentinels, the guardians of the Realms, to protect the world they love. Will they be able to contain the evil taking control? Or will they perish in the flames of war?
This is a continuation of Connor and Sha’s story. Book 1, Breaking the Nexus, should be read first.
About the Author
Lindsay Avalon is a wife, owner of a devious mini Schnauzer, programmer, and now an author. An avid reader, her amazing husband never seems to mind the multitude of books scattered around the house. However, after listening to the words “I have nothing to read” one too many times, he suggested Lindsay try her hand at writing her own books.
Since she’d never liked writing in school, she balked at the idea until her sister pestered her to participate in NaNoWriMo. It was then Lindsay realized that it was never writing she hated; it was writing boring essays. Creating worlds of magic, mystery, adventure, and romance became her true calling. In 2012, she embarked on the journey to become a self-published author and to bring her crazy ideas to life.
In 2013, Lindsay decided to ask a fellow author about her publishing company, Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. It was a spur of the moment, impulsive decision, and one which Lindsay is eternally grateful she made. Though self-publishing was exhilarating, being a part of her amazing publishing family gives her a bit of structure in her chaotic existence.
When she’s not writing or spending time with her husband, she’s hiding out from devious bears seeking to thwart her writing efforts, pestering her amazing friends and personal assistant, creating works of art in resin, and a multitude of other things that capture her attention at the moment. You can find Lindsay online spreading insanity across Facebook and interacting with her many lovelies. She loves hearing from her readers and fellow writers!