The One and Only Crystal Druid by Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Unveiled, #1)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: September 24th 2021
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
I’m not your average girl.
My best friend is my switchblade. My favorite hobby is using it on the cruel, the abusive, and anyone who gets on my bad side. I’m a convicted murderer with a chip on my shoulder and a dangerous lack of restraint.
And then there’s Zak.
His rap sheet makes mine look tame. The bounty on his head is worth more money than I’ll ever make, and the deadly fae that shadow his every step wield more power than I’ll ever know.
He’s the Crystal Druid, and his first mistake was setting foot on my turf.
His second was saving my life.
And his final mistake will be failing to realize that however dark, however ruthless, however broken he is…
From the author of the best-selling Guild Codex books comes a new series that delves into the dark, dangerous world of druids and fae alongside two ravaged souls who may be exactly what the other needs…if they don’t destroy each other first.
Unveiled can be read as a standalone series or in conjunction with other Guild Codex series. For the full reading order, visit Annette Marie’s website.
More series in the Guild Codex world:
The Guild Codex: Spellbound
The Guild Codex: Demonized
The Guild Codex: Warped
Fifteen feet away, the man watched me, or so I assumed. He’d pulled his hood up again, deep shadows hiding his face—but I’d already seen his human features, and I wouldn’t mistake him for a ghostly wraith again. Instead of a nightmarish black cloak, he wore a long jacket paired with black pants, sturdy boots, and leather gloves.
When my attention landed on him, he strode toward me, his long legs eating up the ground and coat billowing out behind him. Stopping almost on top of me, he reached down as though to take my elbow—and seized the front of my jacket.
I grabbed his wrist as he roughly hauled me onto my tiptoes, bringing my face close to his. Despite the moonlight and forgotten flashlights illuminating the clearing, the interior of his hood was filled with unnatural darkness.
Ríkr watched us from his lofty perch, pale blue eyes gleaming.
“That was quite the scene I came in on,” the man rumbled in a low, dangerous tone. “What do you know about that bear fae?”
I stared into his hood.
A rough sound grated from his throat. “You don’t seem to be grasping the situation. Tell me what you know before I lose patience.”
I smiled, showing my teeth. “Was that a threat?” “What do you think?”
My smile widened, and I lifted my empty hand toward his face. “It’ll take more than a hood and a threat to scare me, especially when”—I pushed his hood back—“I’ve already seen your face.”
The shadows fell away, revealing his countenance again. Inhumanly vibrant green eyes, framed by dark lashes, fixed on mine, his eyebrows lowered with menace. A beautiful face, if I were honest. Striking cheekbones, a strong jaw, full mouth—currently pressed into a thin, angry line. By my best guess, he was in his mid-twenties, maybe a bit older.
My palm brushed against his clean-shaven cheek as I let his hood fall—and with the same motion, I flicked my hand, pulling my switchblade from my jacket sleeve. The blade sprang free, and in an instant, I had the point resting against the corner of his left eye.
But not fast enough.
A cold, thin edge pressed against my left cheek. I didn’t break eye contact to see what sort of weapon he had in my face, but the blade felt sharp—sharper than my little knife.
Neither of us moved, his fist tight around the front of my jacket. If either of our hands wobbled, we’d both bleed.
His right eyebrow arched slightly. “How do you want to play this?”
“Let go of me.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I stab you, you stab me,” I suggested frostily. “My cheek is more likely to heal than your eye.”
He wouldn’t let me go and he wouldn’t play knife-chicken. What was left? “Then I’ll answer your question if you answer one of mine.”
His full mouth thinned again, green eyes raking across me. “Fine.”
His agreement surprised me until I realized he expected to win this game too. He thought I’d reveal more with my answers than he would with his.
“Who the hell are you?” I demanded.
“Answer my question first.”
“You first. Who are you?”
He growled under his breath. “The Crystal Druid.”
Surprise flushed through me, and I couldn’t stop my eyelids from flickering with a single, startled blink. He was a druid?
“Now,” he rumbled, “tell me what you know about that bear and the other aggressive fae in this area.”
“I don’t know anything.”
His blade pressed painfully into my cheek. “This little game doesn’t work if you lie.”
“I’m not lying.”
“Then you’re an idiot. Every fae across the lower mainland is talking about the attacks and disappearances around here.”
“Fascinating, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
“Aren’t you a witch?”
“Yes, but a terrible one.”
His striking green eyes narrowed. “Terrible in what way?”
Ignoring his question, I shifted my blade ever so slightly, ensuring he couldn’t miss the sharp point in his peripheral vision. “My turn again. Why are you here?”
“Yes, yes, the attacks. But why do you care about some aggressive fae?” I arched my eyebrows, though my bangs probably hid them. “What are you hoping to gain, Crystal Druid?”
Annette Marie is the best-selling author of The Guild Codex, an expansive collection of interwoven urban fantasy series ranging from thrilling adventure to hilarious hijinks to heartrending romance. Her other works include YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter.
Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada with her husband and their furry minion of darkness. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
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