{Excerpt+Giveaway} Crown of Ruin by @KearyTaylor ‏

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{Excerpt+Giveaway} Crown of Ruin by @KearyTaylor ‏

Today I am spotlighting an adult paranormal romance series, called the Crown of Death series! The 3rd book in the series by Keary Taylor, Crown of Ruin, just released and to celebrate Keary, Xpresso Book Tour and Book Briefs has an awesome giveaway for you guys! So check out the excerpt below, and then be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

Note: This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

“How long have you lived at Court, Diana?”
She leans forward, bracing her forearms against the edge of the table. Her features are hard, her face angular. I think she just permanently looks angry. “For about three hundred years.”
“And you were born here, yes?” I prompt.
She nods.
I smile, nodding. “I would like to tell you a story, Diana,” I say, mirroring her posture. “A story of when our kind very first came into being. When my husband made himself into the ultimate hunter, but also cursed himself with the craving of blood.”
Diana’s eyes widen a bit and her entire body tightens slightly.
“I watched in horror as he hunted down his first human. I saw his tears as they fell down his face in remorse. Cyrus, the first vampire, like yourself, craved blood and he could not resist the urge to drink. So people went missing and the rumors began to spread in our town.”
I can picture it all. Every detail. Every memory. The beginnings when I wore the face of Sevan and had never died a single death.
But in this moment, I pay exact attention to my words. I control every line and every thought.
“And then when there were two of us, the whisperings grew louder. Dark eyes turned our direction. Our lives were torn apart. We had to leave, or we knew they would turn against us.”
I shiver as I think of that first night in the forest.
“We lived like animals in the woods,” I continue. “And every night, we moved, because always during the day, they hunted us through the forest. With knives and primitive weapons. We didn’t know how they would hurt us. For months and months we were driven from place to place, constantly pushed by fear.”
Diana sits there, very, very still. Frozen. She’s hardly even breathing as she listens to my story.
“After I gave birth, we were once more on the run. One of us would always kill, and most of the time we were not discovered, but the times we were…” I shiver, remembering the terror. “We were strong, we could defend ourselves, but it was the two of us against the entire world. A population of billions.”
I look up and meet her eyes. I lean forward slightly, our faces only a foot apart.
“Roter Himmel was a god-send,” I say. “After years of living in fear and uncertainty, we had somewhere safe. Somewhere we did not have to hide what we were. We grew our family here. We loved and cherished here.”
I sit back, my eyes darkening. “There are over eight billion people in this world, Diana,” I say straight and blunt. “There are roughly fifty-thousand vampires, Born, Royal, or the few Bitten left, throughout the world. There are forces at work in this moment that are trying to destroy Roter Himmel. They would expose our kind to the world, perhaps to change the system. To create a new monarchy. Perhaps to attempt to take over the world.”
I sit forward again, locking my eyes on hers. “Fifty-thousand of us, eight billion of them. I’m not willing to take on those odds and lose the peace and protection of Roter Himmel. Are you willing to take that risk, Diana?”
Her expression has been going slack, slowly, over this entire story time. Her eyes are open, her lips slightly parted.
“We all look the same, loyal or betrayer,” I say. “This may take some time. But if even one of them slips through the cracks, it could mean the end of us all. Are you ready to take the risk, Diana?”
She blinks five times, as if clearing the fog of my story from her brain. “No,” she whispers.
“Do you want to be hunted one day, 160,000 to one?” I ask her.
“No,” she immediately says.
“Do you understand why I must be careful and thorough?”
“Yes, my Queen.” She says it with a little bow of her head.

——————————————————————————–
I want to break. To shatter. I could crumble, a million pieces scattered across the stone floor.
But there are eyes—so many eyes. Dozens of them, hundreds perhaps. They watch me. They watch their queen.
I’ve been under their eyes before. I’ve been studied, scrutinized. I know what they are looking for in this moment.
I can’t crumble.
Because right now I have to be queen of them all.
“Get out,” I say evenly as I stare at my husband’s blank face. My stomach turns. My jaw tightens.
I stand straight. I take one deep breath. I turn to face the masses.
“I want everyone, and I mean everyone save Alivia, Ian, and Eshan out of this castle. But if anyone tries to leave Roter Himmel, the punishment will be one hundred years tied up in the middle of the desert where the sun never sets.”
Eyes widen, breaths suck into lungs.
I see it, they doubt me. If I really am the Queen. If I mean what I say.
If I were Cyrus, I’d probably kill someone. Drag them out into the sunlight outside, watch them scream, watch them cry in agony. I would probably tear someone’s skin off, inch by inch, while everyone watched, to show them how deadly serious I am.
But I am not Cyrus.
I am Sevan.
“Do you all understand me?” I ask quietly.
No one speaks. They only watch me with wary eyes.
“Do you understand your Queen?” I bellow.
Some take a step back. Eyes widen. Others narrow at me.
“Do you understand if you leave our city you will regret it for the next 36,500 days?” I threaten with an angry tremor in my voice. “Do you understand if anyone tries to travel on silent and dark feet, I will know?”
While the majority nod their heads solemnly—most know better than to defy me, others doubt.
I make a mental note of each of them.
Of their own accord, my eyes drift, studying each of those that surround me. The shock of Eshan. The horror of Alivia. And the bitter anger of Ian.
My eyes shift from him to those who look at me with doubt. And I look back to Ian.
He looks over at them as well, and I know he gets my silent communication: take note of the doubters.
We may not like one another, maybe we never will, but I know in this, we speak the same language when it comes to being distrustful and suspicious of others and their motives.
Looking back at those who weren’t smart enough to take me seriously, I know that some will die.
And I don’t care.
Emotion wells in my eyes. Tears threaten to slip down my face.
But I hold them in.
I’ll burn every one of them to the ground if it means avenging Cyrus.
“Leave,” I let the word quietly slip over my lips.

Note: Book Briefs Contest Policy applies.  All of the prizes, terms and conditions of the giveaway should be contained in the rafflecopter below. No Purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.


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{Excerpt+Giveaway} Crown of Ruin by @KearyTaylor ‏ Download Link

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