Brenda Drake: Assassin of Truths (Excerpt)

Happy Monday to all! We’re doing something a little different this afternoon. I’m sure you’re used to the My Favorite Things column we publish every Monday morning, but we got to thinking: why not invite authors to share excerpts from their latest releases? We reached out to Entangled Teen, and they were  more than happy to hook us up with young adult author Brenda Drake, whose latest book, Assassin of Truths, was released to the wild on Tuesday, February 6th. What’s it about? Let us tell you:

The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.

And it’s not your normal bump-in-the-night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.

Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.

The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.

Interested yet? Assassin of Truths is the third book in the Library Jumpers series, so if you want to catch up before grabbing this one, check out Thief of Lies and Guardian of Secrets first. However, I’ve been told this book can also be read out of order, so feel free to check out the spoiler-free excerpt below the cover!

Excerpt from Assassin of Truths:

Emily pounded down the stairs with me on her heels and Afton on mine. She wove through the moving boxes stacked around the room and over to an old looking furnace, the kind used as a gateway to hell in scary movies. It dominated most of the back wall and looked as if it hadn’t been used for centuries. She pushed on one of the bricks in the wall beside it. The furnace swung out, revealing an opening into a dark tunnel.

I created a light globe. “Where does it lead?”

Emily entered the tunnel. “I don’t know. Nana said to use it in an emergency. We’re to follow it to the end.”

I stepped inside, trying not to think about what kind of insects or tiny critters would live in the cool, moldy-smelling cave. Afton came in behind me. Her measured breathing told me she was just as nervous and scared as I was. Emily lifted a handle by the opening, and the furnace closed.

“I don’t like this,” Afton said.

From the other side, we could hear voices, and boots clapping down the stairs.

Emily lifted a finger to her lips to quiet us. She motioned with her head for me to start down the tunnel.

I rushed down the tight passageway, leading the way. The light from my globe bounced against the brick walls. Tree roots had broken through the packed dirt, and we had to climb over several of them. Water leaked down on us from the many cracks above.

“What is this place?” I asked.

Emily adjusted my overstuffed messenger bag on her shoulder, the Chiavi inside clanking against each other. She’d added the velvet bag, and the flap to the bag barely closed. “Nana said it was used during the Revolutionary War,” she said. “The patriots transported guns to the center of the city. That house we were in was a makeshift armory — ”

A thunderous boom shook the tunnel’s walls.

Another bang resounded quickly after.

“Guess they figured out where we went.” I hurried my steps and glanced over my shoulder at Emily and Afton, both with frightened looks on their faces. “Keep up. We have to get out of here.”

We rushed as fast as we could over the roots and fallen piles of bricks where there must have been a mudslide. One pile was so massive we had to crawl through a tiny opening at the top. It was difficult to keep my light globe going while climbing, and I dropped it several times. The darkness that enveloped us terrified me until I could get another one lit. Whoever was following us didn’t bother being quiet, which succeeded in freaking us out even more.

It sounded like the group was gaining on us. I slipped down a brick pile and waited for Emily and Afton to get on the other side before creating a battle globe in my free hand. A purple ball of light pulsed on my palm. “What is this?”

“How are you doing that?” Afton asked.

“I have no idea.” But that globe wasn’t going to help me in this situation. Or would it? I gently placed it on the ground, trying not to pop it or snuff it out. It worked. The globe sat in wait just under the opening.

“What’s that for?” Afton asked.

“To stall them, I hope — ” A sharp pain hit my shoulder, and I stumbled.

Emily caught me before I fell to the ground. “You’re bleeding through your bandages.”

“It feels like it’s on fire.” I inspected my shoulder. A stain had bled through my trench coat.

“This isn’t good,” Afton said. “You have to rest.”

“Can’t.” I straightened and tried to focus. “It just hurts. I’ll be fine in a sec.”

“Why didn’t you say so?” Emily reached into her front pants pocket and tugged out a small glass bottle. “Nana’s elixir. It should ease the pain.”

I took the bottle she offered and popped off the cork.

“Only half,” she warned. “Or you won’t be able to move. And we can’t carry you.”

The sweet taste drenched my tongue as I gulped it down. “Okay, let’s get some distance between us and them,” I said, returning the cork and slipping the bottle into my vest pocket.

It was then I noticed I’d forgotten to put on my breastplate. Veronique hadn’t worn hers, and she’d ended up dead. I suddenly felt vulnerable. If I wanted to survive, I had to stop making careless mistakes. A warrior doesn’t take risks. They calculate. I glanced from Afton to Emily. It was up to me to get them to safety.

The elixir was kicking in, so I hurried my steps. Behind us, there was a soft punch of air, and a purple light flashed through the tunnel. Someone had stepped on my trap.

We stopped at a thick wooden door with wide, rusty hinges and an ancient looking handle. It took all of us to get the heavy door open. It creaked and squeaked so noisy, I worried whoever might be on the other side would hear. The footsteps and voices behind us grew louder. Whoever or whatever followed us was getting closer. We threw our bodies against the door, and when we pushed hard, it moved an inch.

“Harder,” Afton yelped from her spot nearest the opening. “They’re here.”

We threw our bodies repeatedly against the door. Inch by inch it opened until we could squeeze through one at a time.

“We have to close it,” I said and pushed the door as hard as I could, blood from my shoulder staining the wood. Emily and Afton joined me.

“Again,” Afton called, and we shoved it again.

A long hand with claw-like nails reached out at the same time as we threw our bodies at the door with one last heave, closing it with so much force it snapped off the creature’s hand. It thumped to the ground, blood spraying across the stone floor.

Afton screamed.

I pulled her away from it. “Don’t look. Keep moving.”

“That was seriously gross,” she said. “Will this nightmare ever end?”

“No.” I shook my head, surveying the room we were in. “Once you know about Wonderland, you’re never the same, Alice.”


Buy it now: Entangled TeenAmazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo


Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at school until her family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brenda’s fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write young adult and middle grade novels with a bend toward the fantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Newsletter, Instagram

Author photo by Ginni Lanou

2 Comments

  • Lane Robins February 12, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I love the idea of excerpts and this seems like such a fun, adventurous book! With a beautiful cover.

    Reply
  • Nicole Taft February 12, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Agreed! I’m such a sucker for sparkly things, too. xD

    Reply

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