EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Zoe + the Demon Slayer
by Neel Kay
Twenty-four year old book worm and blogger Zoe Graves was looking forward to the fourth and final instalment of her favorite book saga – The Augustin Chronicles. The evening was meant to be spent in line at the local bookstore with hundreds of other fans, getting the book, maybe even meeting the author, and ultimately spending the night with the dreamiest hero of them all, Lucien de Forest and the love of his life Noomi Augustin.
But somewhere someone thought otherwise.
Confused and hurt after a mugging by the bookstore, Zoe is somehow transported to another world, and suddenly finds herself in a snow-covered landscape witnessing a bloody fight far away from the English summer, and is left to rely on the help from the rather reluctant Matis, who just happen to be out to kill none other than Zoe’s favourite hero and heroine, Lucien and Noomi.
Although convinced she might be in some sort of limbo or maybe even in a coma, Zoe figures that her role in the story is to prevent Matis from killing her all-time favorite fictional couple.
“What are you doing?” Emma said slowly and loudly, as if talking to someone hearing impaired. She even made a gesture resembling sign language with her free hand.
Zoe looked at the computer screen absentmindedly, and then over at her sister as if it was obvious. “I’m writing a blog post.”
Emma’s sweet face contorted into a sour frown that really didn’t become her. “You’re obsessed with that blog,” she said, as she continued to chop carrots for dinner. “And books,” she added eyeing the ragged copy of The Last Isilin - the fourth instalment of the Augustin Chronicles lying next to the computer on the kitchen counter.
“Haven’t you already read that one?”
“Only three times.”
Emma arched an eyebrow. She didn’t even have to say anything. Zoe knew what her sister thought of her books and her book blog. Nevertheless, Zoe continued undauntedly. “It’s the second last book of the series. The last one comes out tomorrow. Lucien and Noomi finally got each other in The Last Isilin, but it was revealed that Olander had sent out a hired killer to finish them off.”
“Olander?” A rather impatient look on Emma’s face betrayed that she immediately regretted having even said his name as a question.
“The ultimate bad guy. The dark lord of Norling,” Zoe continued, thrilled that Emma had indeed uttered the name. “He tried to enslave Noomi, to make her his slave bride in volume one, Lord of the Forest, but Lucien saved her in the nick of time and then later left Olander for dead in The Lost Prince. He didn’t appear in most of The Last Isilin, and everyone thought he was history, but then he returned on the very last page, thirsty for revenge.”
Emma sighed audibly. Her carrots on the chopping board were feeling her frustrations. Still, Zoe freewheeled on. She couldn’t help it. She was obsessed with this saga, fangirling big time, and near to tears when thinking about the fact that this next book was the very last one. Then what? She’d have to resort to fan-fiction, addict that she’d become. She really hoped the rumours of a film, several films in fact, were true. She needed them to be true.
“But he can’t go after Noomi and Lucien, because his legs were crushed when Lucien fought him in The Lost Prince,” Zoe said. She felt her eyes widen and her pulse pick up. “So now he’s hired someone to kill them.”
“Oh no,” Emma commented dryly, looking sarcastically deadpan. “I can’t believe my little sister is such a nerd. You should find yourself a boyfriend. A non-fictional one.”
“I have boyfriends,” Zoe protested.
“Like right now? In plural? Are you seeing anyone at the moment?”
“No, but it’s not like I’m a nun or anything.” She shrugged and added under her breath: “I date.”
“Really?” Emma ploughed the knife into the chopping board tip first and released it to put both her hands on the kitchen counter. Then she leaned over it a little bit, giving Zoe a piercing stare. All she needed now was a sharp light and someone to act as the good cop.
“When was the last time you went on a date?”
“Last week,” Zoe replied promptly. It was a total lie, she hadn’t dated since she broke up with Tom last Valentine’s Day, and now it was August, the following year.
“Yeah? What’s his name?”
“How old is he?”
“Kind of young, don’t you think?”
Zoe shrugged. He was only three years younger than her. Not that he was real or anything.
“And what does he do for a living?”
“He’s a … chef,” Zoe said eyeing the carrots on the chopping board. “I mean he’s training to be a chef.”
“A chef?” Emma repeated, sounding like she knew it was pure and utter bullshit.
Zoe nodded and avoided looking at her sister by pretending she’d just gotten a very important e-mail.
“You should have brought him tonight,” Emma said in a suspicious tone, straightening up.
“What? Here? No, no, we didn’t really click. It was a blind date set up by one of the girls at work. We probably won’t be seeing more of each other. But hey, at least I’m dating, right?”
About the Author
Introvert, creative, awkward.
Neel Kay lives with her husband and two kids in rural surroundings in the south of Denmark, not far from the German border. She’s a trained milliner, studied English at university, and now works a day job as a web editor. But she’s been writing always.
Love coffee, scarves and sea views. Oh, and butt-kicking heroines who know how to swing a sword and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty.
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