Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Click a book for the chance to win!
Click a book for the chance to win!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PINK TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, a blue team, an orange team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
Bonus Content: Fatal Heir Sneak Peek and Character Sketches
Sneak Peek of Fatal Heir:
Tan came home one day with red, rheumy eyes and a cough bigger than he was. Since he was my favorite playmate, it wasn’t long before his illness crawled inside of me and made a home in my lungs.
Tan died two days later, and I knew I wasn’t far behind him.
The sickness sapped my strength and twisted my mind. I was accustomed to the noise of my brothers, but now Tan was gone, and the others were banished from our room.
The silence drove me crazy.
When I could manage to speak, I talked to Tan. His body had already burned, but I still saw him every night in our room when the lamps burned low enough. We made plans for all the mischievous things we would do once I joined him in death. I asked him all about what it was like to be dead and pretended that he responded. The spirits never spoke to me, but I didn’t mind. It was good to have someone to talk to.
If I was too disoriented to speak, I would stare at nothing and listen to the frail beating of my own heart. I would lay in bed for hours, watching lights dance along the ceiling, wondering if they were real or imagined.
It was in the midst of these fevered dreams that I met The Man. He was the most peculiar man I had ever seen. His skin was the color of stone, a brown-ish gray that reminded me of the dark sandstone buildings of the marketplace. His hair was a brilliant shade of red that I had only ever seen before on a bird’s wing. It was cut so short it stood up on end. His beard was maintained like a work of art, shaved into swirls of bright red that stood out against his dark skin. A mask of brightly colored makeup framed his eyes and curled down onto his cheeks.
When I turned my head toward him, he met me with a frown.
“You are dying,” he informed me.
I nodded and pointed a trembling finger to the corner where Tan stood, staring solemnly at me.
“Tan says I can play with him again when I die.”
The Man snorted. “Tan will have to wait.”
He looked down at the glass decanter he held in his hands. I followed his gaze and watched with exhausted curiosity as he pulled pieces of leaves and little bottles of dark liquids from a pouch. He poured them into the larger decanter, swirling the ingredients in one direction, then the other. He dipped the bottom of the bottle into the flame of a candle he had set on the table beside my bed.
Despite the imminent peril of a stranger in my room at night, I was rather comfortable in The Man’s company. I felt no fear. I was so close to death that it made no difference whether it was the stranger or the fever that killed me.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“What’s it for?”
“It will make you feel better.”
The Man pressed his lips together in irritation. He didn’t answer.
“How?” I asked again.
What a strange man. Maybe he was lost and thought he was tending someone else.
“That’s not my name,” I said.
“Of course. What do they call you here?”
“Don,” The Man repeated. He shook his head with an amused smile.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“My name is not funny!”
“It’s just so plain.”
“That’s a mean thing to say!”
The Man swiped his little finger over the lip of the decanter and licked the liquid from his skin. He looked up as if reading messages written on the ceiling. After a moment of contemplation, he added a gray powder.
“Ground dragon bone.”
“Dragons aren’t real.”
“Not anymore, but their bones are still here.”
“Dragons were never real.”
The Man was silent a moment before asking, “Who told you that?”
I frowned. “No one. I just know. I’ve never seen a dragon before.”
“Your world must be pretty small if you only believe in the things you’ve seen.”
I was mystified. I fell asleep with the memories of Tan’s voice drifting like a mist through my dreams.
“Wake up.” The Man’s harsh tone jolted me from my feverish sleep. I had no idea how much time had passed. The sun had not yet peeked over the horizon, but a bluish morning light invaded the dark corners of my room. Tan was no longer standing in the corner.
The Man’s little fire had been extinguished, the candle stowed away. He held the decanter out to me, jiggling it impatiently. I struggled to sit up.
“Drink it,” he said. “It could save your life.”
I squinted at the blackish liquid. It looked like swamp water mixed with boogers and smelled like the manure of our old cow, Gussie.
“I think I’m okay dying, sem,” I said.
The Man grabbed me by the hair. His touch burned my scalp, but I was too surprised to cry out. He shoved the lip of the glass decanter against my mouth and forced me to drink. The potion was the single most disgusting substance I had ever tasted. It was somehow a mixture of licorice and salt and tar, and it writhed down my throat with the consistency of six-day-old pea soup. I struggled and gargled and choked, but The Man was relentless. He forced me to drink the whole bottle. When he released me, I collapsed onto my blankets, feeling too abused to cry. The back of my head ached where his skin had touched mine. The Man held the empty decanter up to his face. He smiled at me.
His smile reminded me of a wolf about to consume a helpless lamb.
“Good boy,” he said. Then my father opened the bedroom door, and The Man disappeared right before my eyes.
* * *
My fever broke an hour later, and by midday, I was eating solid food. Within two days, I was back out in the gardens with my siblings. Mum declared it was all a miracle, but I knew the truth. I knew that my recovery was the work of The Man. He had come to my room the night before and forced me to drink his disgusting concoction, but he had saved my life.
This was not the last I would see of The Man.
About L.C. Ireland:
Leslie Colleen “L.C.” Ireland is an Arts Specialist in Ogden, UT. By day she works as an educator and arts advocate for public elementary schools. By night, she writes plays and young adult fantasy novels. She currently lives in Ogden, UT with her husband and cat, Mystique.
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books from me, Jennifer M. Eaton, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 17. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the Pink Team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!