Thursday, January 16, 2014

Exclusive Content: Echoes of Balance by Cally Ryanne

Echoes of Balance by Cally Ryanne
Young Adult Paranormal Romance

For Chloe Moraine, fighting wild bears– and the occasional vampire– is a better pastime than the tediousness of keeping the universe in balance. But balancing is the family business. It comes with being one of the last in the ancient line of Naimei.

So when the impending return of the Original Demons threatens global harmony, Chloe is obligated to help. Even when that means the dull-as-dirt task of following a human girl who “might be involved, maybe,” instead of the thrilling hunt she craves.

With their powerful magic and ancient Ways, Chloe’s family is unconcerned, certain they’ll quickly fix the imbalance while she’s preoccupied with human high school. But when the Ways start to fail, the threat becomes more serious, and the only person that seems to know anything is a debonair vampire with an offer to help.

If Chloe chooses to trust him, and the darker side of the supernatural he represents, she’ll betray her family and risk losing them, and herself, in the process. But if he’s right, he may just be their only chance to stop the return of the Originals and save the world.

Maybe high school won’t be so boring after all.

EOB Exclusive Content - AURELIA
        The only things that had been in her bag lunch were an apple and a sandwich of the most boring variety. It wasn’t what she would typically back for herself: she liked to include snacks. Chips, maybe. Peanut butter to dip her apple – sliced, as was her preference – in. Fruit snacks, if they were in the house or she had remembered to pick up a box with the money her parents always left. 
        But her mother was in town for more than a day at a time. She was ‘between deals,’ she explained, and had time she wanted to spend ‘with the family.’ Which made sense, of course, if you didn’t count her husband and annexed the computer and cell phone to the definition of ‘family.’
        So far, her most maternal moment since Aurelia had turned eleven and she had rejoined the workforce in the name of college tuition was making these lunches. They had gotten progressively worse every year, which Aurelia took to be a reflection of her mother’s own workplace philosophy. Efficient, quick. No frills.
        It was a good description of her lunch. Her sandwich, especially. Two slices of lunch meat, mustard, the end. No cheese, no lettuce, no tomatoes, not even a pickle, and worst of all, Aurelia hadn’t particularly enjoyed lunchmeat since she was about eleven.
        But that wasn’t part of the work-required knowledge, and so her mother wouldn’t know.
        Aurelia crinkled the paper bag the apple and sandwich had come in, making it stand up higher as to hide her lackluster lunch from the people she sat with. She might occasionally go as far as to say friends, but they weren’t really close, per se. They ate together. Sometimes they talked. But when the final school bell rang, they went their separate ways – most likely to hang out together – and she went hers.
        It didn’t bother her, really, because it had been this way for as long as she could remember. There was no reason she didn’t connect; she just didn’t. She wasn’t disliked, but she wasn’t loved, either. She was just there, a girl who occasion contributed to the conversation and laughed along and was a constant bundle of nerves that The Thing was going to happen again.
        She hated thinking about The Thing. It happened randomly, always out of left field, and she had no idea what it was. But everyone seemed to notice. Once, she had thought it was some sort of seizure or strange health condition. But a week of hinting this to her mother – staying as vague as possible, of course – had only landed her in a second week of therapy. Until the shrink decided that family counseling would work best. Her mother had put a stop that right quick.
        So instead, she just held onto the dread and nibbled at her apple. The people she sat with were discussing their senior year; it had only just started, and no one seemed to see or feel much of a difference than any other year. College applications would start soon, sure, another source of anxiety, but that was later. Now it was just… now.
        “I can’t wait for off campus lunch to start,” one was explaining, “eating in the cafeteria is just so eleventh grade, right?”
        Aurelia chuckled as another girl tossed her hair and rolled her eyes to mock the first, who slapped the second’s arm playfully. Aurelia shook her head, shaking a strand of hair out of her eyes. She grinned her wide grin, about to add something to this – her second addition of the day – when it happened.
        Her knee bumped the girl next to her. It was a warm day; they were both in floral skirts that hit at the low thigh. She felt her knee touch knee, and then she felt The Thing.
        Static filled her brain, a distinct buzzing that began to form into words and pictures and feelings that raced through her so quickly that she could barely stop to grab them, not that she had wanted to. The Thing made her heart speed up to a rapid pace, but was it her heart? She could never tell, but it horrified her, and
        What’s happening? Is this why she doesn’t really have friends I can’t believe she hasn’t moved what’s going on I –
        Aurelia jerked abruptly. She was back, her heartbeat slowing down, the buzzing subsiding. The room swam back into focus; it always seemed to disappear when The Thing struck.
        “I…” she mumbled, realizing that the rest of the table was shooting her furtive glances.
        She lowered her eyes, her wide set grey eyes, scooping her lackluster lunch back into the bag in one motion. She swung her leg over the cafeteria bench and murmured a goodbye, though it was lost as her voice thickened and her eyes began to sting.

Cally Ryanne is a vegetarian, with a serious avocado habit, in search of the perfect leather jacket. She graduated from a Midwestern art school in 2012 with a BFA in Drawing and a minor in Creative Writing, and then proceeded to do exactly what most art students do after graduation – nothing to do with art. She currently teaches math in New York City to a bunch of kids who call her “Miss.” In her spare time (between the day job and the night time superhero persona), she writes, piecing together characters and stories that have been following her around since she was a child. She currently lives in uptown Manhattan with some awesome roommates – including her best friend from middle school – and a cat that can’t keep his tongue in his mouth. Echoes of Balance is her debut novel and the first in The Ways Trilogy, a Young Adult urban fantasy.

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