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Ember Hawk The Katrosi Revolution Book 1 by Jamie Foley Genre: YA Fantasy

The elementals have decided they’re gods, and humans are nothing but fuel for their fire. A starving trapper. Merciless drought withers Kira’s ranch, leaving her family hungry—and desperate enough to cross the border into the forbidden forest to trap wild game. But the forest is infested with tree-scorpions and giant cats that wield elemental invisibility, and they’re hungry, too. When Kira mistakes one elemental creature for another, she ends up with the last thing she wants in her trap: an enemy soldier. An invisible spy. Ryon can’t afford to be a prisoner of war. If the Malaano Empire extracts his secrets, the rumors of war will be confirmed—and the tribes stand little chance against the Empire unless they can put aside generations of bad blood for the sake of a Tribal Alliance. When Ryon’s escape leaves Kira injured and her livelihood in flames, Ryon must choose between aiding her… or returning to his chieftess with vital information. But can he survive the trek when an elemental pursues him for his rejected heritage? A sacrificial princess. Imperial Princess Vylia is given a powerful ancient stone as her wavesinger trials approach. But is the stone’s whispering voice from the water goddess, or a masquerading elemental the creator god imprisoned millennia ago? When Vylia’s diplomatic mission to the tribal lands erupts in fiery revenge, she, Kira, and Ryon must work together to survive—or become pawns in the battle of the gods. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Website

Jamie Foley loves strategy games, home-grown berries, and Texas winters. She kills vipers with her great-grandfather’s rifle but she’s terrified of red wasps. As a graphic design ninja and marketing guru, Jamie loves helping other authors when she’s not writing. She’s the typesetter for Enclave Publishing and the creator of Fayette Press. Her books have been featured in Amazon Prime Reading, finaled for reader’s choice awards, and selected as #1 New Releases on Amazon.com. Her husband is her cowboy astronaut muse. They live between Austin and the cattle ranch, where their hyperactive spawnling and wolfpack roam. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Kiralau
Kira ran until her heart threatened to burst. She didn’t dare look back.
She wouldn’t be able to see the trace cat anyway—it bent reality around
itself in streaks of bleeding light. The beast’s footfalls thumped through the
dying forest with a lion’s gait; it was probably an
adult male.
And she was probably dead.
Kira plowed through a joyberry bush and ignored the stinging scratches
across her shins. She cried a prayer that the noose of her big game trap still
laid in the same spot. And that it would actually work this time. The bait had
never been so good.
She ducked under a gnarled oak branch and broke into the clearing,
where the merciless sun beat down on starving grasses and decaying
stumps. Energy surged through her, flinging her toward the young tree
pulled taut with her trap’s noose. As she leapt over it, she realized the
sapling wouldn’t be strong enough to hold a trace cat of this size.
Water goddess, creator, elementals—whoever’s listening, help me! Kira
grabbed for a throwing knife as she flew over the noose. But her leather
sheath wasn’t in its place on her thigh.
Wood cracked and rope groaned. A high-pitched snarl pierced the quiet
forest, and Kira ran a stone’s throw before daring to turn on her heel. The
cat that writhed in mid-air was as large as her father’s prize bull.
It shimmered in and out of existence like a firefly at dusk, with streaks
radiating across its pale fur like a tiger that had lost its stripes. Fieryorange eyes
fixated on Kira with wild hunger.
Terror chilled her blood despite the midday heat. It was an adult male, all
right, and her trap wouldn’t hold the awkward grip on its shoulder any more
than her mother’s nagging could keep her from Granny’s joyberry pie.
She turned and ran straight into umber skin and white cloth. Her brother
pulled a lasso from his belt and glared at the trace cat with ice blue eyes.
“Lee!” Kira stumbled back and nearly fell. “What are—”
“Back up!” Lee swung his rope and Kira ducked, barely affording him
enough room in the clearing to toss the rope. It circled around the trace
cat’s neck and cinched tight. The beast floundered against it with a guttural
growl.
Lee tossed his lasso’s slack over a tall branch. “Help me!”
Kira grabbed the rope and pulled just as her trap’s young tree snapped
and splintered. The fibers burned against her palms as she yanked down
and heard a strangled pop.
The forest quieted to nothing except her panting and the hesitant song
of a distant bird.
She looked back at the beast. Its body lay still, pulled between her noose
around its shoulder and Lee’s lasso around its neck. Light glistened along

the length of its fur, which faded to a dull beige.
Lee dashed to the beast, drew his knife, and turned his back to Kira
as he finished the job.
Kira’s fingers trembled but refused to let go of the rope. Whichever
deity had heard her prayer clearly wanted her alive.
“Bleeding stars.” Lee wiped his blade on a rag as he straightened. “You
ever seen one this big?”
“No.” Kira’s voice shriveled in her throat. “You might have
saved my life.”
“Yeah, like that’s never happened before.” Lee winked over his shoulder,
his bright eyes glinting in contrast with a dark smirk. “What the tails are you
doin’ playin’ cat-and-mouse with a trace cat?”
Kira looked down at the empty spot on her thigh where her fanned sheath of throwing
knives should have been. I’m never going anywhere without a weapon again. “It wasn’t
on my agenda for the day.” Her bones creaked with resistance as she released the
lasso, allowing the cat’s body to lay flat across crackling leaves. “How’d you know I
was in trouble?”
Lee sheathed his knife and tossed the bloodied rag to the ground.
“Your screechin’ was a little higher pitched than usual.”
Kira huffed and wished she was close enough to smack him, then
reminded herself that he’d saved her life. And she had no desire to move
any closer to the beast that had nearly made her its brunch. “You were at the
edge of the forest already?”
“Yeah, I came to give you somethin’ to sell in town.” Lee wiped sweat
from his brow and stomped closer to enter the spotted shade. “Though
this cat’s pelt will make us ten times as much.”
Kira’s frantic mind calmed enough to wonder exactly how late she was for
this week’s trade run to Navarro, and how Lee could possibly tan such a
large hide without their mother or grandmother noticing. She clenched and
unclenched her fists to stave off the trembling in her limbs, unable to tear
her gaze from the body. “Since when have they come so close to the
border?”
“Maybe since the drought got so bad.” Lee made a show of looking
her up and down. “Must be pretty desperate to hunt a gangly thing like you,
Frizz.”
This time he was close enough for her to hit him. “Don’t call me that!
Just because you’re taller than me now doesn’t mean you’re older.”
“No, but I’m better-lookin’.” Lee dodged her strike with that devilish
grin. “You get anything for dinner?”
“That cat stole everything my traps caught,” Kira grumbled. “Too bad we
can’t eat carnivores.” Or maybe they could try. Desperate times called for
desperate experiments in the smokehouse.
“So they’ve found a source of free food. Great.” Lee strode past her,
sending a shower of dry pine needles to the earth as he pushed a branch
aside. “You’ll have to stop trapping.”
“What? We just killed it!”
“Trace cats of this size tend to travel in pairs,” Lee said. “There’s
probably a female nearby.”
Kira charged after him. “So I’ll trap her too. What would we eat without
the rabbits and branch runners? We can’t slaughter another calf.” “We will if
we have to.” Sunlight brightened Lee’s short curly hair as he stepped from
the forest and into amber plains. “It’d be better than teachin’ trace cats

there’s free food at the edge of our property. Next thing you know, they’d be
leavin’ the forest to eat our livestock. Or us.” He gave
her a meaningful look.
Kira scanned the rolling hills for any soul who might witness them
crossing the border. She couldn’t just stop trapping. The mechanics, the
thrill of the catch, the reward… they made life on a withering border ranch
bearable. The more efficient her contraptions became—from the irrigation
system in Granny’s garden to the pulley system in the barn—the easier life
was for her family. Even if Mom would never admit it.
“I’ll just set up my traps deeper in the forest, then,” Kira said, ignoring
the way her gut churned as the words left her mouth. She wiped clammy
palms on her tunic and frowned at a new tear in the fabric.
Lee snorted as he approached his mangy saddled buffalo, which
nuzzled the dusty earth for anything to munch. “Yeah, ’cause Dad’s not
gonna whip our rear ends bad enough already.”
Kira narrowed her eyes. “If you’ve told anyone I’ve been crossing
the border—”
“’Course not.” Lee flipped a pouch on his buffalo’s saddlebag open and
withdrew a stack of branch runner hides. “Think you can sell these
discreetly enough in town?”
Kira’s spirit leaped as she snatched the skins. The brown and beige
furs were flawless—his skill as a tanner was improving. “It should be
enough,” she murmured. “Finally.”
“Tell her you got the medicine from the town doctor,” Lee whispered, as if their mother
could hear him from the ranch house on a distant hill.
“She won’t take anything from a tribal herbalist.”
“I’ll slip it in her tea.” Kira grabbed her brother and held him tight.
“Thank you.”
He hugged back, then pulled away with a raised eyebrow. “No more
wrestling matches with predators five times your weight, okay?”
Kira’s face flushed with heat. “You’d better not brag to your latest fling
about this.”
Lee’s mischievous grin made him look eight rather than sixteen. “No
promises.”
Kira rolled her eyes and took off toward the house, whose roof gleamed
like the surface of their dying pond. If Lee got married before she did, she’d
never hear the end of it. But while he wasn’t picky about the selection of
beautiful girls in Navarro, Kira refused to marry a guy who was dumber than
a sack of rocks. Of which there were plenty. And the more her mother and
grandmother pressured her, the more she despised every starry-eyed suitor.

She held the skins behind her back as she passed through the white-
blossomed cherry orchard, scanning the trellises for her mother’s hunched

back or her grandmother’s frazzled hair. Neither were in sight. Had they
gone inside to escape the midday heat already?
Kira cursed and hurried her pace until she spotted their cart brimming
with crates and barrels. The ranch hands had roped the covered wagon
to a pair of buffalo near the beehives—thankfully far enough from the
kitchen windows. Kira ducked away from the foggy glass and slipped the
hides between crates of cherry jam and smoked jerky.
She released a breath of relief and straightened, picking a bundle of pine
needles from the bandana across her forehead that held her curls at bay.
The overripe cherries for the vintner were already loaded, as were the
small ones for the candy maker and the shriveled pits for the inkmaster. All

she needed was the shopping list, her wide-brimmed hat, and Granny’s fan,
and her escape to Navarro would be flawless.
The back door betrayed her with a loud creak. The kitchen still
smelled of eggs, cheese, and cactus syrup from breakfast, but the wooden
counter and skillet over the fire pit were scrubbed clean. Kira ducked under
bundles of drying herbs and a garlic braid, then nearly swallowed her
tongue when her mother stepped out from the dining room.
“Kiralau, where have you been?” Inowae’s steel blue eyes blinked from
dark, sunken sockets and flicked to Kira’s hands. “No luck this morning?”
“Sorry. A raccoon raided my traps in the orchard.” Kira slipped past her,
snatching the list of charcoal-scribbled parchment from a nail on the
wall as she went.
“So it was a raccoon that took another hen from the coop last night?” Kira
halted mid-stride. “What?”
Her mother sighed. “I’m going to send a ranch hand to Navarro so you
can figure out why your traps don’t work.”
Kira’s jaw fell open. “They do work. I just…” She bit the inside of her
cheek before she could spill what she’d just trapped on the wrong side of

the border. Inowae wouldn’t understand that the traps in their drought-
starved plains hadn’t caught anything in months, so she had no choice but

to lay snares in the forest.
Kira pursed her lips. “Whatever it is, it’s just too smart.”
Inowae’s expression was as flat as her humor. “Then you won’t mind
watchin’ the coop ‘til it shows up again.”
Kira reeled in her frustration before it spilled out in a jumbled mess.
“Whatever’s eating the chickens only hunts at dusk. I have a full load to sell
in town, and we need the ranch hands here. Lee thinks that heifer’s about to
give birth, and he might need help pulling the calf—”
“I don’t want you going into town by yourself anymore.”
Kira felt like her frail mother had punched her in the gut. “Why?” “You
know tensions with the tribes are worse than ever.” Inowae
pulled a mortar and pestle from a shelf below the counter. “It’s not safe
for a young girl.”
“Mom, I’m eighteen, and I’ve been making the weekly trip since I was
twelve. I’m the one who knows all the vendors, and I speak Phoeran better
than anyone.”
Her mother pulled a bundle of dried rosemary from the overhead rack.
“Well, we’re not going to trade with tribesmen anymore, regardless.”
Kira balked. “Mother! How can you—”
“Did you forget about the girl who disappeared last week?” Inowae ran
bony fingers down the rosemary stem, letting the thin leaves fall into the
green-stained mortar. “They say it was a Katrosi man.”
“Is there any proof of that?”
Inowae gave Kira that sidelong glance she knew all too well. “Kiralau,

take your father’s bow, get on the barn roof, and sit there until that chicken-
killer shows up.”

“Mom, seriously, I think your illness is—”
“Do I need to remind you of what will happen if we lose any more
livestock?”
“Do I need to remind you we wouldn’t have food on the table without
tribal irrigation designs for our garden and orchard?”
Her mother paused halfway down another stem. “Have you been

readin’ their scrolls again?”
Kira paused long enough to forcefully calm her voice. “The tribes lived in
a desert before their ancestors sailed here. They know how to survive in this
drought, and they even have schematics for cooling air—”
“Kiralau.” Inowae pointed to the door, looking like a ghost of herself.
Exhaustion hung from her every movement, as if breaking down dried herbs
would crush her instead.
Pushing her any further would only send her to Grandpa’s
graveyard faster.
Kira brought her hat, Granny’s fan, and Father’s bow to the barn roof. She
watched her cart leave without her, then Lee deliver a fluffy white calf by
himself, then the workers retreat to the house for lunch. After midday nap,
her grandmother appeared to tend the garden, and her mother the orchard.
The heat finally began to abate when everyone retreated again for dinner.
Kira bit off a mouthful of jerky and washed it down with stale water from
her water skin. Maybe marrying some idiot from Navarro would be best, or
one of those rich guys from the island with their lighter skin and fancy
accent. Maybe then her mom wouldn’t treat her like a kid. Maybe she
wouldn’t have to work so much. Or maybe she’d be forced to have children
and her work would double.
Maybe war with the tribes would break out and she’d never feel the
embrace of a loving husband regardless.
Kira squinted at the chicken coop and pen, where heat from the earth
waved upward like steam from an overcooked roast. If her mother knew
she’d cried out to any god other than the water goddess that morning, she’d
be locked in the root cellar for a week.
She glanced at the shrine to the seven-tailed fox on a nearby hill. Was it
the goddess who saved me or the creator? She flapped Granny’s fan harder,
but it only served to push more hot air into her face. Everyone knew the
creator was dead—the elementals had killed him thousands of years ago.
Or was it just random chance that Lee heard me scream?
Something flickered beside the coop, warping light in a familiar
distortion.
Kira gasped and set the fan down in favor of her father’s bow. An arrow’s
feather tickled her cheek as she pulled it back, shaking with strain as she
squinted for the perfect shot.
There. The figure was big enough to be a trace cat, all right—surely the
missing female.
She opened both eyes and released the arrow. It arced over the distance
and disappeared as if she’d fired into a void. Then a figure shimmered into
existence.
A human.
Kira’s pulse stalled. She stared as a young man cried out and stumbled
toward the forest. He wore dark leather with a green sash—the regalia of
a soldier of the Tribal Alliance.

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About Angie

I'm a wife and a a mom of 4: 3 boys and a girl. I also have 3 fur babies, cats named Soleil, Luna, and a Savannah cat name Malkia. I work part-time outside my home as a COTA/L at a local hospital. I cover Johnstown, Altoona, and Pittsburgh areas. I love to do reviews and host giveaways for my readers. Contact me: angwith4 at gmail dot com if you would like a review.

Comments

  1. sounds so good.