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Sneak Peek - Sequel - Veridan

Veridan - The Next Chapter in the Hleo Series

Hannah and Ethan are together; a real couple. Minus having to keep it a secret from everyone in their lives, out of fear that the news of their forbidden relationship will get back to The Three. Still struggling to sort through Hannah’s visions and make some sense of what part they play in her status as a protected, the two are in no real hurry to figure it out, as long as they get to be together.

But when an old enemy surfaces, putting someone in Hannah’s life in direct danger, they decide to take matters into their own hands. No longer content to wait for the answers to come to them, Ethan decides it’s time to take action and to go somewhere they might be able to discover a way to control Hannah’s ability for themselves.

Veridan, the prestigious quarters of the Hleo and The Three, offers beauty, luxury, and information about both Hannah’s past and, potentially, her future. Traveling to the Hleo’s headquarters gives Hannah the opportunity to connect with the mysterious leaders of the society, but with all eyes on them, it also presents the struggle to keep her relationship with Ethan well hidden.

As they delve further into the mystery of Hannah’s ability and her link to the world of the Hleo, will they be able to find the answers they seek before it’s too late for Hannah and everyone she loves?

Veridan - Sneak Peek

The sun had set and we were sitting across from each other at the kitchen table working on our algebra homework. The overhead hanging light was on but it only gave off a dim glow. Ethan had been quiet for a while, and looked up to see that he was no longer writing, and looked deep in thought.

“Stuck on a tricky question?” I teased, catching him in his stare.

“Sorry, it’s nothing.” His expression relaxed, but it didn’t fully reach his eyes.

“You know, for someone who pretends to be other people for a living, you are a terrible liar.” I got up to sit next to him at the table, and pulled the chair in close. Cocking my head to the side, I stared at him with eyebrows raised.

He grinned and nodded. I knew he was silently debating whether he should tell me whatever he was thinking as he took my hand and distractedly played with my fingers.

“Suspense built, just lay it on me. It can’t be any weirder or worse than everything I already know.” I tried not to be preoccupied by his fingers intertwined with mine. What could he have to say?

“It’s about that story your dad mentioned at dinner.” Ethan looked up at me with those intense green eyes.

“About the Glain Neider stone? What about it?” I asked, sitting up straighter, my curiosity peaked.

“Your dad wasn’t completely correct,” Ethan paused, looking past me out the back door. “It’s real.”

My eyes went wide. “But Dad said it wasn’t supposed to exist.”

“Neither am I.”

I looked down at our linked hands. “I guess that’s true. So if this mysterious stone does exist, what does that mean? Do you think it could help me?”

“I’m not sure; I’ve never actually seen it in action before. I’ve only heard stories about it as well. The Glain Neidr used to be in the possession of the Hleo society. It’s believed to be made of the same hard stone the circular rooms are made from, and it does have an unexplainable ability to bestow the wearer with certain powers. The stories your dad told probably have more truth to them than he realizes. That’s why I think it probably would be able to give you more control over your visions, but the necklace was stolen from the Hleo by a faction group of the Bana just over 400 years ago. It bounced around for a while and eventually got sold. I don’t know where it ended up.” Ethan was tapping his finger on the table as he spoke.

“So it’s missing?” My shoulders slumped.

Ethan looked at me, his eyebrows furrowed. What was he thinking? There was something more he wasn’t telling me. “It is missing, but I think there’s one place we could go, where we might be able to dig up some information on it.”

I perked up; almost positive I knew what he was going to say. “Where?”

“Veridan has much more extensive historical records than the average library.”

“So what are you saying?” I was practically falling out of my chair.

Ethan sighed. “I think we need to take a look at their library. We need to go to Veridan.”

I wanted to do a cartwheel. Ethan was finally giving in on going to the stomping grounds of the Hleo leaders, but then I remembered what he had said before. He had been pretty sure they would be unwilling to see me. “Can we go? I mean, do you think The Three will let us come?”

“I’ll contact The Three and explain that you’ve requested an audience with them. I’m hoping that their interest in meeting you and your connection to the Hleo world through Elizabeth will be enough to outweigh their fear of tainting your decisions as a protected.”

“Do you think The Three will be okay with it?” I tilted my chin down to stare at him.

He put his arm on the back of my chair and his other arm on the table so I was inside his arm span. I shifted so that I was squarely facing him. “It doesn’t matter if they’re not. You’re right Hannah, we have to do something, and we’re just spinning our wheels looking at your drawings over and over again. I’m sure they’re going to resist, but if we can get to Veridan and get our hands on some information about the Glain Neidr it might help you, and then maybe you can be free from all this destiny stuff.”

“I just want to stop feeling like a freak show. I want to know what I’m supposed to do to with this ability, so I can do it. But, there are certain parts of all this destiny stuff that I would be unable to live without.” I slowly slid my arms around his neck, trying to reassure him that I didn’t want him going anywhere. He was the one thing I knew I needed in my life, and the one reason I was so glad all of this had happened to me.

He slipped his arms around my waist and pulled me in until our lips met. As we kissed the world melted away. All I wanted was to hold onto this moment to stay right here with him. The intensity between us increased, his kiss grew more urgent; I leaned in and was about to move to sit on his lap, when he quickly pulled away.

“Sorry,” he exclaimed breathlessly, pushing his chair back so we weren’t touching. He sat up very straight in his seat.

“It’s okay,” I replied also breathing hard. I wasn’t sure what else to say. He seemed so reluctant to take our relationship further physically, and I didn’t want to push him. It was yet another mystery in my life. I had been hoping Ethan might bring up the subject, but so far he was choosing to avoid the topic. I moved my chair back a little, to show my compliance with his silent request for space.

“I should contact Veridan; now that we have a plan, there’s no sense putting it off.” He got up from the table to make the call, but I wondered if it was also to put a little physical distance between us.

I tried to go back to my homework, but as I read and reread the math problem in front of me, my mind wandered to thoughts of what The Three could be like, and whether Ethan would be able to convince them to see us. And sooner, rather than later.

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