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December 9, 2013

Sneak Peak: Empower by Jessica Shirvington

I don’t know about you guys, but i am dying…DYING… to read Empower!

And thanks to the great people over at Sourcebooks,
you can check out the first chapter in this highly anticipated finale in 
The Violet Eden Chapters series!

Empower

It has been two years since Violet Eden walked away from the city, her friends, her future and – most importantly – her soulmate, Lincoln. Part angel, part human, Violet is determined to stand by the promises she made to save the one she loves.

Living in the perpetual coldness of a broken soul she survives day to day as a Rogue Grigori in London.

But when an unexpected visitor shows up at her door, the news he bears about someone she swore to protect leaves Violet with no choice.

Even worse, she fears that this might all lead back to the night she tries hardest to forget. And what was taken without her permission.

Violet is going back to New York … and she knows exactly who is going to be there.

With Phoenix in her dreams and Lincoln in her heart she knows it is only a matter of time before the final choice must be made.

add to goodreadsEmpower (The Violet Eden Chapters #5)
by Jessica Shirvington
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

chapter one

“But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

My sweater was coated in a layer of mist—-again—-a by–product of life in London. I barely noticed the constant drizzle anymore. It’s not as if the cold bothered me, not when I was the very definition of cold.

What was bothering me was the smell. There is something rank about a meat market at night—-especially when you’re wedged into the eaves wondering what, over the years, has been sprayed about and never cleaned away. I shuddered.

The Smithfield Market was currently in vogue, but a gritty sense of history thickened the air, giving it a density that made me sure this wasn’t the first time the site had been used for wicked intent. And right now, it was hunting hour.

At least I was the hunter.

I watched quietly as the exiles came into the center of the massive terminal–style space, vaguely interested to note that there were six of them, instead of the four I’d expected. No bother, I suppose. I still had the element of surprise on my side.

The past two years had taught me not to let the everyday hiccups get to me. Sure, the additional muscle would hurt, but only in the physical sense, and I could cope with that. Rolling with the punches is necessary when you are a Grigori—-a human–angel hybrid—-a weapon against the ever–increasing numbers of exiled angels on earth. For me even more so, since they gave me such a colorful nickname. I’m the Keshet—-the rainbow. I didn’t ask to be, but I made my choices and I stand by them.

So, there I was. Although I was still trying to figure out exactly what being the rainbow meant, mostly I found that the desire to know conflicted with my continuing need not to think about it at all. One thing I did know was that somehow I could create space with the angels—-an unknown place where we were able to take form and communicate. My angel maker—-whose name I still didn’t know—-said it was a place of new possibilities. For what, I was not sure.

But I know this is what I am. It is what I will be.

The final two exiles sauntered up to the four already waiting. It used to be impossible for me to be this close to exiles without them going into a frenzy, sensing my presence. But I’d learned many lessons over the past year, the most useful of which had been how to keep my guards up and locked so tight that even exiles couldn’t sense me when I was truly concentrating.

Which—-judging by the thin film of sweat on my forehead—-is now.

The exiles dumped the huge calico sack they had been dragging along the floor and pulled it open, revealing three mutilated bodies to join the two maimed ones already on display.

From my position it was difficult to tell how old the corpses were, and if the smell was able to give a clue, I wouldn’t have known, the stink of death and flesh being an overall theme of the place.

It was no wonder the exiles liked it so much.

Normally, exiles wouldn’t bother with the cleanup—-leaving evidence was of no concern. Normally, the exiles enjoyed the mess and despair they left behind. But not these exiles. These dark exiles were working for someone else. They’d been following a plan, using a hit list, and it was all too well constructed for any one of them to mastermind. Our intel told us they’d been hired. Such behavior would usually be considered beneath them, but apparently this group of exiles had decided the job was thrilling enough to suffer the humiliation of working for the highest bidder—-even if that was a human.

As for the billionaire businessman, well, that’s not my department, but someone will pay him a visit. Right after all the evidence of his wrongdoing—-minus the exile activity—-is handed over to the authorities and his bank accounts are heavily siphoned to pay for the futures of his victims’ families. And our fee, of course.

Which, thanks to certain people, is exorbitant.

Two of the exiles were dressed impeccably: one in a steel–gray suit and sporting villain–typical slicked–back hair; the other wore a slim–collared black suit that hugged his tall figure and set off his of–the–moment tousled, light brown hair. The remaining four were less striking in casual wear, though nonetheless picture perfect. All six looked over the bodies like fishermen comparing the size and quality of their haul. My hand grazed my dagger, the blade that had been given to me after I first embraced my powers and became a Grigori warrior three years ago. I was never without it. I even had a sheath attached to my bed for a quick draw if needed.

I’d learned the hard way—-through the death and suffering of people I loved and, strangely enough, through my own death and suffering—-exiles stop at nothing. Their insanity and misguided missions know no bounds, and they take pleasure in causing great pain and suffering to humankind.

At least tonight I would only face exiles of dark. A couple of years ago, the two opposing sides, light and dark, had called a truce. Of course, I tried not to think back to that time.

I tried constantly.

The discovery of the scripture that could end all Grigori had found its way into my hands. That in itself was part of the reason the Assembly had rejected me. They blamed me for trading with the dark exile, Phoenix. My decision had allowed him to resurrect Lilith—-his mother, the first dark exile—-from the dead, and she had taken control of the Grigori Scripture. But at the time, my choice had been a simple one. Phoenix had Steph, my best friend, and I wasn’t about to take any chances with her life. I’ve never regretted that choice.

Not like so many others I’ve made.

In the end, that made it easier to walk away from a place in the Academy when Josephine decided to change her mind. Of course, that was after I’d given my life, Lincoln’s soul had shattered, and Phoenix had died—-proving that not only was he the son of Lilith, but he was also the human son of the first man, Adam—-all so that I could kill Lilith. And those reasons weren’t even the ones I tried not to think about.

But I can’t go there right now.

I caught myself. I was working and the last thing I could afford to do was acknowledge that I was thinking about him.

The six exiles started to shift the remains of the bodies toward the incinerator, tossing them with supernatural strength and no care. I half expected them to try and mince the meat and load it onto trays for sale tomorrow. I wouldn’t put anything past them.

“Make sure you take the index fingers,” one of the suited exiles instructed. “Mr. George is expecting me to deliver them to him tonight.”

That’s a shame. Though I’m sure Mr. George will receive a knock at his door nonetheless.

“I still don’t understand why we don’t just kill him too,” another said.

“Are you challenging me?” The exile who had spoken first stepped forward.

His questioner mirrored his actions.

Here we go.

“If I must.”

Exiles never back down. Their pride and egotism combined with their unique brand of insanity is just too much to ignore. Angels were not created to take corporeal forms on earth. Though they have existed for eternity, in human bodies, they manifest emotions in ways their innate nature can never process. It makes them unstable. And almost unstoppable.

I wriggled into a better position and waited patiently, knowing that this would work in my favor.

Sure enough, the exile who had spoken out first also struck out first, engaging with the suited exile. It didn’t last long. The suit, clearly the older of the two and a true fighter—-my guess was he had once been either a Domination or a Power—-overpowered his opponent, snapping his neck and making quick work of removing his heart.

We had our methods of ending their immortal existence; they had theirs.

Happy days. I now have one less exile to take care of.

I checked the time and sighed. If I didn’t get this show on the road, I’d lose my window. And fighting alone was always my preference.

The drop to the ground was at least two stories high, but I landed behind the group of exiles lightly, thanks to my angelic enhancements.

Breathing calmly, I let go of the power I was holding tightly within, just enough to lower my shields.

The exiles, who had been preoccupied with their boasting, stiffened instantly and spun around to face the new threat. It was almost comical, the look of surprise on their faces. I guess a Grigori had never snuck up on them before.

Responding quickly, the suited exile stepped forward, shoving two of them to the side, the five of them quickly forming a semicircle around me.

So nice of them to stand in single file.

But the way he studied me—-with trademark exile insanity and undisguised raw desire—-made me think that this one recognized me. It happened from time to time.

I wanted to sit around and chew the fat. Really. I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do with my time than hear about how they intended to rip me limb from limb and how that would make them as great as gods and me the most pathetic of humans. But when you’ve heard it all before and always walked away—-or, at the very least, been carried—-while they were returned for their ultimate judgment, it gets old. So, I cut to the chase.

“You have a choice. Make it or I will make it for you,” I said, knowing that of all Grigori, I alone had the right to put it like that. “Consider wisely,” I reinforced. After all, I could return them like any other Grigori with one of our blades, but if I willed it, I could also strip them of their angelic strengths and leave them human—-a fate exiles c