Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Syphon's Song" by Anise Rae

Syphon's Song
(Mayflower Mages Book 1)
by Anise Rae

Syphon's Song is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Legends say a syphon can drain a mage dry. He’ll brave the danger. Will she?
Someone’s playing pranks. The body of the late Casteel patriarch has been stolen and gifted to the family’s enemy, the powerful Rallises. As far as Bronte Casteel is concerned, they can keep it. She hasn’t spoken to her family in thirteen years, not since they exiled her from society for her lack of mage power. But she’s a syphon mage, able to drain another mage’s power. Syphons’ destinies are always the same: death by fiery stake. She hides her secret by living among the Nons - powerless humans and the lowest class in the Republic. When her family orders her to go plead for the body’s return, she comes face to face with the one man who knows her secret.
Colonel Vincent Rallis isn’t letting his syphon get away this time. Not when she’s under suspicion of body-napping and aiding anti-mage terrorists. He’ll prove her innocence whether she wants him to or not, and then convince her they belong together ... forever.
Vincent’s help comes with a steep price: Bronte must reveal her power. The inevitable ensuing witch-hunt and trial would be bad enough, but even a tough girl might buckle if her prosecutors are her own parents.
Content warning: Hot, steamy nights with the colonel’s magic touch

He brushed the underneath of her chin with a finger. “Project the image you want seen. That’s something you of all people should understand. You’re a master at manipulating people to see what you want them to. They are completely deceived by your façade and don’t look any deeper.”
The brief physical touch increased the connection between his vibes and her syphon. The flow of his energy quickened.
“It’s not a façade. I can’t conceal my ability. People just don’t notice. They assume I’m a Non.”
“And you play along.”
“Of course I do. I want to live. What you think I am…” She shook her head. “It’s not what all those fairy tales say. I’m not the witch in Hansel and Gretel capturing lost children to feast on their energy.” She pressed a hand to the bare skin beneath her throat. “I never sensed mage energy before I met you. I never have since. All those accounts in the history books of burning…syphons.” There. She’d said it. The word flung from her like it had been straining at its tether, yearning for freedom. “Those poor women. They were turned over to the inquisitions by other mages.”
His intent focus did nothing to stop her ramble. Instead it seemed to be the catalyst for the spill of her plea.
She continued, “Some coward of a mage was accused of witchcraft, and he pointed the finger at a syphon to save his own skin. Those historical accounts all read the same. No one else in the village or the castle knew the syphon even had a mage power. And there’s a reason no one ever suspected anything! There’s nothing bad about syphons.” She held her hands in front of her as if pleading with him to believe her. Those words had existed inside her for years. They were finally free.
“I’m familiar with the stories.” His tone reflected a scholarly expertise. “It’s worse than you know. Most of the history books don’t tell you that the coward who betrayed her was the only mage the syphon could sense, the only mage whose vibes sang to the syphon’s soul. They handed their syphons over to a horrible death to deflect attention from themselves.”
She took a step back.
“Without exception, the men who accused the syphons were very powerful mages.” He stepped forward. “But their courage didn’t match their power.”
He bent down until his nose was mere inches from hers. “I’m not a coward.” The colonel no longer sounded like a professor. “I’m not scared. Not of anyone, including you and your direct line to my vibes. You need me. Just as much as I need you. And I’ll stand up to anyone who tries to sever that link.”
She leaned forward, refusing to give anymore ground. “Your energy might sing to my syphon, but I’ve survived without it just fine.” She closed the gap another inch and lowered her voice to a whisper. “I don’t need you. And I don’t trust you.”  

Featured Review
Bronte Casteel has tons of problems, but mage power ain't one (apologies, couldn't resist). Her estranged family continues to control her life in spite of pushing her out of theirs, she's limited by her powerlessness to performing mediocre music in spite of her own great talent, and there's that little secret of what she truly is that could get her killed if it gets out. Oh, and she's tied to the powerful Vincent Rallis in ways she can't bear to think about or deal with. When a command from her mother lands her in the midst of the Rallis estate and temptingly close to Vincent's charms, everything begins to unravel.
Anise Rae's alternate history world is incredibly well-drawn with mage-level detail that's both powerful and meaningful. Her characters are well-rounded, especially Bronte, who vacillates between wanting freedom and accepting her poor lot in life for survival. The plot itself has some brilliant twists that even seasoned readers of the genre won't anticipate, and the mage politics enhance rather than burden the story. Finally, the romance is balanced well with other plot elements and should satisfy both paranormal and urban fantasy readers.

About the Author
Anise Rae grew up among the cornfields and soybeans of Ohio, dreaming of being a ballerina, an astronaut, and a romance writer. Thanks to her soul deep love of chocolate and a lack of natural grace, her ballerina dreams floated away as high as the moon, equidistant with the astronaut aspiration. She stuck with writing. 
Now transplanted to the south, Anise lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with her kids and a dog gifted with the power of finding dirty socks.
Syphon's Song, a 2012 Maggie Award of Excellence finalist, is the first book in the Mayflower Mages series.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes.