||Rule of Three Press
A dark evil rises. A world on the threshold of destruction. A crossing into a mysterious realm. The journey begins.
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Storm of Arranon
Newly commissioned Interceptor fighter pilot, Erynn Yager, knows sacrifice. Her battle against a brutal alien enemy intent on destroying her two worlds set her on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, all while struggling to gain control of her secret abilities. With the alien threat crushed, Erynn believes the worst is behind her. She settles in to experience first love and a changed life on a hidden military base deep inside a glacier covered mountain on Arranon.
Her peaceful existence can’t last.
Dhoran, the evil sovereign of Arranon’s underworld has risen from the dead to possess an unwilling human. Dhoran’s powers grow while he plots a war that may plunge Arranon onto a path of destruction neither realm will survive. Arranon is pulled into chaos as violence spreads across the planet.
Drawn first in visions, Erynn enters a diverse world beneath Arranon’s surface, a realm teeming with danger, mystery, and beauty. The battle thrusts her into an uncharted kingdom, intensifying her connection to the heart and soul of the living Arranon.
A HIGH PIERCING SCREAM RIPPED through icy air and echoed along the dark intersecting tunnels. The shrieking faded and died.
Possession was a painful adjustment.
For the one being possessed.
Dhoran smiled. He felt the corners of the host’s lips jerk in a reluctant response.
Resistance is useless.
The cowering consciousness slid into a dark recess of their now shared mind, making room for the new, dominant one.
Destiny was on Dhoran’s side. This healthy athletic body suited him. It hadn’t been necessary to go through numerous candidates before finding an appropriate match, raising suspicion. The Shifter sent to lure an inhabitable being to where Dhoran’s spirit-self waited had done well. He’d found the perfect vessel on his first attempt.
I will reward him. Allow him to . . . play with these surface dwellers.
The host’s memories swirled, mingling with Dhoran’s. A short life so far, but full. Intelligence, pride, and a fierce drive to be of service propelled an unselfish soul. His knowledge remained for Dhoran to draw on, providing necessary information on these foreign surroundings.
Dhoran stared down at his new body. Sensations dead for nearly two decades rushed through him. A strong, regular heartbeat pounded in his chest, radiating warmth to his extremities. Beads of sweat tickled his smooth skin. Cool air moved in and out of his lungs. He trembled at the simple yet intricate workings of life he’d taken for granted, and inhaled deeply. The familiar scent of damp, musty soil permeated his nostrils. A light sweetness lingered in his mouth, and he licked full lips, finding more of this spicy syrupiness. His tongue darted across even teeth blunted with flat surfaces for grinding. He frowned.
There will be no rip and tear to this bite.
Dhoran raised his hands and glared down at the shape and size of them. Static popped. Blue currents snapped and wound around his fingers. His abilities seemed to be intact. But he missed the thick claws and taut muscles that had rippled under the glossy red-gold scales of his body. He recalled how his naked skin had glowed and shimmered in the firelight. With an unsteady reach, Dhoran touched the back of his neck. Long hair clasped in a metal clip replaced the heavy mane that had grown on his head and along his spine. He closed his eyes and growled, angered at the loss.
Dhoran’s true form had been exotically handsome to females from the surface and his underworld. His body had exuded a singular power and grace, evident in the reverence and fear of those subservient to him. His large gold-green eyes had missed nothing, and his notched ears had discerned even the slightest resonance. When he smiled, thin lips slid over sharp teeth.
I would have won the girl over in my previous form.
An icy wind whistled through the warrens.
I must be near an access to the outside world.
Dhoran shivered. He’d forgotten how bitterly frigid the surface of Arranon could get. He preferred the comfort of his underground kingdom. He sighed and nodded, the motion stiff and halting. The temporary sacrifice of warmth would be worth the results.
When Zander Tourani’s daughter joins me, enhancing my power, I will inspire fear throughout the galaxy. No one will dare attack Arranon again. With help from the daughter of my only equal and one true enemy, Arranon will be mine. Forever.
Tourani’s daughter was young, little more than a child. Her inexperience would make her pliable to Dhoran’s will and unwise to the wiles he possessed. He would convince her of the importance of forming a . . . merger with him. For the good of Arranon, she would agree to a union. The recent invasion of a marauding alien society would add credence to his proposal. He offered the means to keep her home world safe.
First, he had to find her.
A similar ploy to join forces for the safety of Arranon had nearly worked on her father.
Or had Tourani’s compliant manner been a ruse within a trap? Yes. Tourani would consider self-sacrifice a noble end.
Tourani’s deception had triggered his own death, as well as Dhoran’s.
Foolish. Tourani knew I would return. My spirit remains strong. My power will never die. Will there still be those eager to do my bidding awaiting my . . . re-birth?
Black, oily shadow shapes slithered toward him, silent in their fluid advance. Shifters hissed and bowed their submissiveness. These creatures would obey him without question.
Dhoran tried his voice. “Camorra nah.” The timbre pleased him. He held up his hand, the movement uneven. He growled deep in his throat at the host’s continued resistance. “I will use the predominate language of the surface.” He had no difficulty controlling speech. The tone coming from him was deep and soft, appealing to his ear.
The assembled Shifters deepened their bows and trembled at the sound of their master’s voice.
“Return to our underworld. Advise your brothers to find the girl.” Dhoran’s command demanded fulfillment. “The one who does so will gain my approval and an ample reward.” He chuckled, the rumbling more growl than mirth.
Without a scuff or scrape of flesh on stone, the Shifters disappeared, blending into yawning shadows and leaving the faint stench of putrefying flesh hanging in the chilled air.
Dhoran took a step forward, the action unyielding. He fought for control of this body, arching his back and rolling his head. His arms flexed and extended in a convulsive twitch. A low snarl issued from deep in his chest. “Obey me. You have no choice.” He bit down, slicing the tip of his tongue. The salty, metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. His muscles burned with resistance. He increased the pressure, an internal struggle against the possessed being’s last push of opposition. “I will command this body. When I have accomplished my goal, I may return it to you. If you behave.” A final snap of determination resonated, vibrating through his core.
The fight was over.
Dhoran walked with long easy strides through dim corridors, warrens chiseled by time, elements, and natural cataclysm in the primeval granite. His shadow glided from behind to ahead in the spaced lighting centered at the tunnel’s apex. The click of his boots against stone was music. Icy air caressed his cheeks. The unfamiliar but recognizable scent of trees, spicy and sharp, assaulted his senses. His heart rate increased, nerves tingled. He slowed and stopped.
I am close to the surface. How long has it been since I set foot in that hostile environment?
Dhoran’s musings took him to the moments before his premature end. He had steadily rebuilt the forces needed to begin a final battle and seize what he believed was rightfully his.
Years of careful preparation had his armies in place, ready to attack the world above. Then Tourani interfered, overthrowing Dhoran and ruining his strategy for domination.
Dhoran’s breath hitched in with the comprehension of precious time wasted, passed in a temporary death. Anger flared. Lights above him popped, extinguishing in a crackle and whiff of scorched wiring. Electric tendrils snapped and pulsed outward, wrapping Dhoran in a deep- purple glow that reflected off uneven stone walls. He closed his eyes and pulled in the throbbing current. The cavern went black, but the quiet buzz of static remained.
Calm. Breathe. Calm.
The snapping hum quieted, and a preternatural stillness filled the dark. Dhoran’s eyes opened and he smiled. With planning and patience, a most gratifying revenge would be his.
He continued to an alcove with tunnels leading off in several directions. His murk-accustomed eyes detected a faint natural light seeping in from an opening to the cold, sun-bright realm. The soft glow chased away thick slices of darkness. The way to proceed from this intersection was clear to him.
Go to the left.
This was the direction of the possessed one’s work and he was due there soon. The route led him to a daylight-filled bay. Dhoran squinted, turned his gaze away from the cursed brightness, and grimaced when his vision cleared.
Snow. Cold. Wet.
He didn’t know which was worse, blinding white snow or brilliant sunlight. Warm firelight suited him. The way a fire’s warmth encircled him and muted flames danced against the dark.
Large flakes swirled in three massive openings behind . . .
This information took a moment to filter through a shared mind, a side effect of the recent possession that would soon pass.
Dhoran nodded. The knowledge that these sleek, white forms were warring aircraft, accompanied by a feeling of awe and respect, came from the buried psyche locked away in a prison of flesh. He stopped and stared at the cold deadly force before him. His thoughts turned to Tourani’s daughter. He was anxious to find the girl and begin his conquest of her and Arranon.
From around the closest fighter, a petite female in a heavy white jacket, pants, and boots emerged. Long, curly red hair surrounded her face and draped her shoulders. Dhoran tipped his head and studied her.
Odd, she doesn’t wear her hair in the traditional style of Arranon, clasped at the back of her neck. The color. The curls. This too is unusual.
Recognition of the female caused a flow of admiration and gratitude from the host’s mind.
Ah, she is not Arranon. She is from Korin. Erynn Yager. She is important to Arranon, though. A pilot?
“She’s only a child. And an outsider,” Dhoran scoffed in a low, menacing voice. He remained unimpressed as he studied her.
How could one so young be this accomplished, this distinguished? Why is she here?
Turned in profile to Dhoran, Erynn gazed up from the green glow of the device she held. Ice-blue eyes brightened under long lashes. She smiled at a dark, powerful young man approaching her from the far side of the hangar.
More information surged from a collective base of knowledge.
Jaer. An Anbas Warrior. One of Arranon’s elite.
Dhoran’s attention returned to Erynn.
There is something familiar—
He spun toward the exit.
I must find out more about her.
For now, he was due at his duty station.
Being late may bring up difficult questions, and that is no way to start my first day as a human surface dweller.
Dynamic character, descriptive settings, and a great story
They say stories should start out with a hook so that the reader has the immediate desire to continue reading. Here is the first sentence of Storm of Arranon Fire and Ice: "A high piercing scream ripped through icy air and echoed along the dark intersecting tunnels." That's quite a hook. This sentence does more than just show how engaging the story is. It also shows how efficient this author is at descriptions. This is just one sentence, and yet the reader already knows that someone is terrified, he or she is somewhere cold and dark, and the setting seems to be somewhere secluded and empty. Sheahan has found a way to give just enough description to give the reader an idea of what a scene contains or what a character looks like, without overdoing it. I find it a little annoying when authors find the need to describe every single detail. It's like they don't trust the reader to connect the dots. I prefer to be given a little detail to start a picture in my mind, and then I'll finish it with my nifty imagination. That's what reading's all about, isn't it? Sheahan is very good at painting a picture in my mind, using minimal words.
There are quite a bit of characters in this story, and that is an aspect I enjoyed. This takes place at Arranon's version of a military base, so it makes sense that there would be a lot of characters interacting with each other. I liked how Erynn has a group of friends who each do their own thing. Something was very realistic about the base and the levels of command. Even Erynn's quarters were small and simple.
As for the story line, this is classic good versus evil, with a fantasy twist. They're on a different planet (Arranon), complete with different races. There are humans living above ground, and there are a couple different types of species living underground. The bad guy here has mixed blood--one parent from above ground and one from below. This gives him powers, and he pretty much wants to take over the world. Erynn, however, is also special and has her own abilities, so she's the one who needs to imprison the evil guy. Her quest takes her on a journey to different places on Arranon, and each setting is wonderfully described. I saw Arranon as a cold, dismal planet, but with warm people willing to help each other.
This is the second book in the series, but it's the first one I've read. Sheahan provides just enough history in this story to make it accessible for someone like me. I wasn't confused at any point, and I was given just enough information about the happenings from the first book to be brought up to speed. After reading this one, I definitely want to read the first so I can see how everything began, specifically Erynn and Jaer's relationship. I think I might actually enjoy it more because I know they end up together and can therefore anticipate it.
I would say that this story can stand on its own, but there's a very interesting cliffhanger at the end. There was a constant curiosity in my head throughout this story, regarding a certain character that doesn't get much "say" in anything. Right at the end, the reader is finally given a glimpse into that character's mind, and I must read the next book to see what happens with that! I'm very impressed with Sheahan's writing style. It's descriptive, fast paced, and beautifully poetic at times. I'm very excited about reading the next books!
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