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Torrent of Tears

Torrent of Tears

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With her birthday approaching and her adoptive family angry with her, Lexi abandons the security of Haven to find her birth family. Unfamiliar with the customs, laws, and obligations of life in Attalos, Lexi’s warrior habits and acerbic wit clash with everything in her oppressed homeland. When she finds a reluctant ally in Rowan, a shunned Noble of the Fifth House, their sexually charged pursuit of freedom teaches her that family and love are two very different things.

Main Tropes

  • Dark Secret
  • Orphan
  • Secret Lost Heir

Synopsis

The Scourge Survivor Series blends strong, clever women and tough, sexy men, in a fast paced, volatile cocktail of action, seduction and wicked humor. With her birthday approaching and her adoptive family angry with her, Lexi doubts her place in her own life. Where had she come from? Where did she truly belong? When her identical twin emerges from the surface of a frozen pond to reclaim her, Lexi abandons the security of Haven to go find out. Unfamiliar with the customs, laws, and obligations of life in Attalos, Lexi’s warrior habits and acerbic wit clash with everything in her oppressed homeland. At odds with her mother, the royal guards, and her arranged betrothed, Lexi finds a reluctant ally in Rowan, shunned Noble of the Fifth House. Through their sexually charged pursuit of freedom, Lexi learns that family and love are two very different things.

Intro Into Chapter One

I flailed. Reaching behind my head, I clutched for the
handle of what could only be the blade of a battle axe lodged between my
shoulder blades. Early-morning sunlight pierced the blue sky above. Pain burned
though me. It blinded. White spots and tears obscured my vision. Let death
come. I was done anyway. They were dead because of me.

I couldn’t make out their faces in the fading reality
of my vision, but the loss of lives hollowed my heart and left me feeling
drained and desolate.

* * *

A ragged breath rushed from my lungs as my
consciousness returned. Gods, what did I do wrong? No—what would I do wrong? My
butt slid off the snow-covered log and I slumped to the side. Winter wind
whistled over my body, across the forest clearing, and rattled the weathered
boards of our childhood clubhouse. Unable to move until the effects of the
vision wore off, I laid on the ice-crusted ground and blinked up at our motto
carved and painted above.

Shitstorm Survivors: Come in peace or leave in pieces.

Almost two decades and it remained. Scrawled in the
chipped, slime-green paint Bruin had ‘borrowed’ from the maintenance room of
Haven castle.

The numbing dread of the vision drained away as my
mind filled with memories of the four of us here, playing, training and holding
strategy sessions on how to avenge our dead. Painful as it was, life was simple
then. We were a team. A united force of four orphans against the evil of our
realm.

The Scourge.

When the shakes passed, I hauled my ass back onto the
log and dropped my head between my legs. The melted patch of snow where I’d
fallen, exposed the unyielding, packed dirt and leaf detritus beneath. When had
life come between the four of us? I wanted it back . . . that sense of
belonging to people who gave a shit. That’s what had always made the killing
and fighting and training worthwhile. My family.

The crunch of heavy footsteps from the forest
path had me breathing deep. The breeze, crisp and fresh in my nostrils, held
the bite of winter that wouldn’t relent. No stanky rot of Scourge. I let my
gloved hand relax from the hilt of the new Guardian double-edge sheathed to my
thigh and waited. Only a half-dozen people on this mountain knew the location
of our childhood sanctuary. Sadly, I wasn’t inclined to see any of them at the
moment.

“Princess?”

Reign’s gravel voice made my chest tighten. I leaned
forward and picked up a chunk of snow and cupped it between my palms. It was
spongy and packed into a tight ball under my fingers.

“Mind if I join you?”

I scootched to the side to make room. “That bad, is
it?”

“What?” He lowered himself, knees cracking as the log
groaned under his weight.

“I’m such a train-wreck that my father tromped through
the forest during school hours to find me?”

“You missed your morning training session with the
third years and then your one o’clock battlements class. You’re pale, Lexi. You
have a vision?”

I nodded, tossed my snowball into the skeletal scrub
and rubbed my gloves together.

Reign reached into his wool trench and handed me a
chocolate. Each member of my family carried a stock of treats to ease the
after-effects of my gift. He was quiet a long time, sitting with his elbows on
his knees, turning the massive platinum ring on his thumb. In the chill of the
afternoon, warmth oozed off him. It leeched into my hip and shoulder where his
frame touched mine. “Wanna talk about the vision?”

The grieving ache of my dream lingered too fresh.

Close like this, him six-foot-six and two feet taller
than me, I waited for the security to come like it always had. When I was a
kid, he’d scoop me up like a doll and make everything right again. If I didn’t
have that, what did I have?

Just the black void of nothingness that was my life
before Maximus Reign.

“Can’t you fix this?” I pressed my fingers into a
fist, the pop-pop-pop of each knuckle breaking the silence. “I thought
he’d get over it by now. It’s been months. I’ve said it a thousand times. I
didn’t mean to hurt her.”

Reign shook his head, his brindled hair rustling off
his shoulders, longer than he usually let it grow. There was more salt than
pepper in it these days, but he wore it well. “All intentions aside, you did
hurt her. Bruin has every right to be pissed. If Jade wasn’t there that
afternoon—”

“But she was,” I choked, surprised at the wave
of bitterness washing over me. “She always is. Everyone plays their part.
Jade’s the savior, Bruin’s the fighter, Julian’s the genius and I’m the spoiled
screw up, right?”

Reign’s square jaw clenched tight. “Just because you
screwed up, doesn’t make you a screw up, Alexannia Grace.”

I laughed, a white cloud of breath escaping my lungs.
“My full name proves it’s really bad.”

“You smashed Mika’s head into the marble floor. Brain
bleeds are really bad.”

I sighed, sick of this convo. “Please. Talk to Bruin
again. Make him accept my apology.” Reign made a noise which indicated that he
might as well have been trying to teach Savage to sing. “Do you think he’ll get
over it by my party? I want him there.”

“Them,” Reign grumbled. “You want them there.
Mika is his mate, you have to get used to that. And no, I don’t think he has
any intention of coming to your birthday celebration.”

An anorexic squirrel with a patchy grey coat dug for
some forgotten cache of food on the edge of the clearing. It searched here and
there, uncovering fallen leaves and bits of dead forest, then shimmied up a
redwood, empty handed.

“Do you ever regret adopting me?”

Reign kissed the top of my head and got to his feet.
“Not for one second in sixteen years.” He stepped over to the clubhouse and
knocked his scarred knuckles against the writing on the wall. Without looking
back, he strode to the path and left me to myself.

I stared at our faded, slime green promise to each
other and the world. Come in peace or leave in pieces. Yeah, well the
irony of that statement just sucked.

 

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