The Fire Sisters by A.G. Henley
(Brilliant Darkness #3)
Publication date: September 25th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Fennel and Peree are finally where they’ve worked ceaselessly to be: together and safe from the Scourge in the protected village of Koolkuna. But on the day of their partnering ceremony the children of the village are stolen away—Fenn’s loyal companion, Kora, among them.
Fenn wants to bring the children home, especially as the villagers seem to blame Peree and her for the tragedy. Only since the death of her own family, she’s terrified that a wrong move on her part will lead to the loss of others she loves.
Despite her apprehension, Fenn and Peree join a small search party led by rival Kaiya, the one person who stands a chance of finding the children thanks to her mysterious past. As they travel away from the safe waters of Koolkuna and into the Scourge-infested wilds, Fenn endures Kai’s scorn, her subtle designs on Peree, and the squabbling of the group. But nothing in her life so far has prepared her for the fierce warrior women who will steal others’ children to preserve their own existence—the Fire Sisters.
If Fenn is to survive the threat of the Scourge, rescue the children from the Sisters, and have a hope of making a life with Peree in Koolkuna, she must face her fear of failure and loss and become the leader she’s destined to be.
Read THE FIRE SISTERS, the thrilling conclusion to the bestselling young adult fantasy Brilliant Darkness series! There are three novels and two short stories in the series. The first novel, The Scourge, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award.
“We lost them.” Derain’s voice buckles with grief. “They left one woman behind to fend us off with her arrows, and then she slipped away in the shadows of the branches, moving like the wind. We searched, but we couldn’t find them again.”
“Then we have no time to lose,” Nerang says. “A search party will leave as soon as possible. Who will go?”
There are a few declarations from the group. I hear Derain, and a woman’s high voice, like birdsong, that I think belongs to Amarina. I worked with her in the gardens. She sounds as breakable as a thin stalk of the maidengrass that grew around our water hole at home, but Kadee told me she’s a skilled tracker and woodswoman who can coax fire out of little more than a handful of damp kindling.
“My brothers and me are going for sure,” Moray growls. I don’t trust them much, but they’re tough and cunning. We need whoever can help bring Frost and the children home.
“I’ll go.” My voice is strong, decided. I feel better for saying the words.
Peree squeezes my shoulders. “I will, too.”
I’m afraid to enter an unfamiliar forest, chasing after a group of kidnapping warrior women. I’m no fighter.
But I want to go for Kora and her family. They were the first to befriend Peree and me when we washed up in Koolkuna, helpless as babies.
I want to go for Thrush, Moon, and Petrel. I know all too well how it feels to lose a brother.
I want to go for Frost. Pregnant and afraid, she risked her father, Osprey’s, rage to free Eland and me when we were trapped in the Lofty trees.
I want to go for Nerang, who saved our lives, and for the anuna, who took us in, even if some might unfairly blame us for this tragedy now.
And… I want to go for Eland. I couldn’t save him. I can still save these children.
Everyone has done so much for us. How can I sit here, enjoying the protection and comforts they secured for us, hoping someone else will help?
I’ll go, and I’ll do whatever it takes to find Kora and the others and bring them home.
“The Sisters were something else, Fenn,” Peree says. “All painted white. Armed to the teeth. And that scream… Thrush went white as a stone.”
I won’t forget the Sisters’ battle cry any time soon. “Why didn’t the children cry or shout? Why couldn’t I hear them at all?”
He lets out a long breath. “I don’t know. They weren’t gagged or anything. But they looked odd. Kind of… slack-faced.”
I shiver, and he rubs my arms.
“It reminded me of a story Kadee told me once,” he says, “about a man who came to a village and, at the request of the people, played his pipes to lead all the rats that had been bothering them away. But once the rats were gone, the people wouldn’t give the piper what they promised him in return. So the next night, he came back, played his pipes, and took all their children away. Only three children remained behind to tell the villagers what had happened. One was lame, and so couldn’t follow the other children. One was deaf, and so couldn’t hear the music. And one was blind and couldn’t find her way.”
I make a face at that. “What did the people do?”
“They begged and pleaded with the piper to give their children back, but he was angry, and he wouldn’t.”
I sigh. “Peree, I wish Kadee would teach you some new stories. Ones with happy endings.” I start to move away. “We should get ready.”
“Wait.” He draws me back into his arms. “The timing could be better, but… I don’t know when I’ll have you to myself again.”
He kisses me.
We’ve shared a lot of kisses now—sweet, soft, tender, steamy, seductive, intense. I never knew there were so many kinds. This one starts slow and builds, like a fire catching. My legs go weak, and my insides turn to liquid.
I press myself against him, wanting no distance between us. His back is muscled under my hands, and his slim hips fit well against my own. His sweet honeysuckle scent makes me dizzy. If only we could lose ourselves in each other, forget everything and everyone else… let it all slip away in the heat of our passion.
For a moment, I let myself pretend we can.
A.G. is also a clinical psychologist, which means people either tell her their life stories on airplanes, or avoid her at parties when they’ve had too much to drink. Neither of which she minds. When she’s not writing fiction or shrinking heads, she can be found herding her children and their scruffy dog, Guapo, to various activities while trying to remember whatever she’s inevitably forgotten to tell her husband. She lives in Denver, Colorado.