Oklahoma, January 15
The flabby man had stayed crouched for hours in the same shadowy corner of the library where Isa Telwyn worked, which was odd, because it was obvious that he didn’t know how to read.
The large encyclopedia looked tiny in his huge, warty hands. He hadn’t turned the page since he’d arrived, but he kept peering over the top of the book at Isa like he was trying to figure out if he knew her. But the really strange part was that he didn’t seem to realize he was holding the encyclopedia upside down.
Closing time was minutes away, and he didn’t look like he was going anywhere soon. His bulbous body sat folded into a creaky oak chair that strained to hold his mass. The cowboy hat he wore was too small for his round head, but it shaded his face, leaving only an impression of sagging skin, wiry whiskers, and oddly-shaped eyes.
Wind howled outside as the winter storm front closed in. Tiny pellets of ice clicked against glass panes that had protected the books for so long they were rippled with age. The smell of old paper and aging wood wafted through the building as the fierce wind worked its way in through drafty cracks in the aging brick and plaster walls.
The buzzing fluorescent bulbs overhead hadn’t been replaced in years. There weren’t as many as there should have been, thanks to cost-cutting measures, leaving the whole space a labyrinth of shadowy mazes with high bookshelf walls. Even the utilitarian carpet on the floor seemed to absorb light as well as it did sound. Footsteps were muffled, but the creak of aging boards underneath was easy to hear all the way from the back wall to the check-out desk.
Mrs. Bird, the library’s oldest employee, shuffled toward the front desk, eyeing the strange man. Her white hair had thinned, but she still twisted the little wispy bits into a bun that was more bobby pins than hair. She settled her crooked hands on the back of a rickety chair too large for her shrinking frame. “It’s seven,” she said to Isa, confusion clear in her tone. “Why is he still here? Everyone knows we close at seven.”
“I don’t think he’s a local,” Isa said. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “In fact, I don’t think he can read. I bet he’s been sitting over there all day, trying to work up the courage to ask about our classes.”
“Classes are on Saturday. It’s Tuesday.”
Isa stifled a grin at the seriousness of Mrs. Bird’s statement. She’d lived in Silver Gulch her entire life, and after eighty-eight years had a hard time remembering there were other places on the planet where people could exist. This town—this library—was the center of her universe, and Isa feared that if she didn’t get out of here soon, she would end up just like Mrs. Bird sixty years down the line.
Taken by Storm Description:
The last of their kind, each born with a unique set of gifts, the Taken are a dying people. They were whisked away to Earth as children, hidden for their own protection and raised as humans. Now adults, they are the only hope for a world consumed by war and terror. Hunted both by those who seek to protect them as well as those who wish to use them, their lives depend on who finds them first.
In a world where technology and magic coexist as one, only a few special people have the power to stand guardian against the death of countless innocent souls. They must defeat the Raide and stop the ravenous war machine that destroys all it touches. Or humans will be next.
Isa Telwyn always thought she was normal. Ish. Sure, she can taste lies and has dreams filled with impossibly beautiful places that don’t exist, but who doesn’t have a quirk or two. It’s not like it interferes with her quiet life as a small town librarian.
As a storm closes in on her sleepy home town, her normal life is knocked sideways by a godlike warrior who is the stuff of dreams. The ridiculous claim he makes—that she is some kind of empress who is the only hope for her subjects on a distant world—is true. At least he believes it. But as the sexy, honorable warrior rips apart her normal life and drives her toward her destiny, she realizes that life as an empress is not exactly the cushy job that Hollywood had led her to believe. Darkness and danger lurk inside the palace walls, haunting her at every turn.
Warrian is a man of honor, sworn to protect the last of the imperial line, no matter how feisty and unruly she may be. His mission on Earth was supposed to be simple: find the empress and bring her home. But his superiors had not taken into account the willful, beautiful woman raised with strange human ideas—like that she should have a choice in the life she leads. As he soon learns, when the empress is involved, even the most honorable man is tempted—though whether to kiss her or throttle her, he’s not sure.
Torn between two worlds, bound by their sense of duty, and caught in a maelstrom of forbidden love, their time is running out. The storm is closing in, and Isa and Warrian must act fast if they are to have any hope of saving the two worlds they love from utter destruction.
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