Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Unearthed" by Rachael Wade

A Resistance Trilogy Novella
by Rachael Wade

Unearthed is a short novella (approximately 25,000 words) that takes place after the events of the Resistance Trilogy. Also available: Amaranth (FREE on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords), The Gates, and The Tragedy of Knowledge.

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For Gavin and Camille, the Amaranthian war is over. But they've evolved since then, and so has the realm they've come to know as home. Now comfortable and happy in their new life, they soon discover that something groundbreaking is brewing, threatening to disrupt the peace they've worked so hard to secure. And whether they're prepared or not, it's about to be unearthed.

“Tomb?” I gulped, glancing around. “Gav…”
“This isn’t just a secret passage,” he said, looking up to study the ceiling. “It’s a grave.”
“What kind of grave?” I slowly rose to my feet, crossing my arms over my chest. A cold, slithering chill crept down my spine, and I could have sworn I felt the temperature drop. “I’m ready to get out of here, now.”
“Wait, baby, we need to do what the Book of the Ancients says. Isn’t that how this stuff works?”
“That was before. We’re not frozen souls anymore, Gav. Gérard’s positively gone. There are no witches trying to help us destroy the curse. Whatever this is, it’s not the same. I can feel it…something’s off.”
“We can’t defend ourselves like we used to,” Gavin said quietly, his gaze roaming the floor. “If this is some kind of threat, we’re at its mercy. We have to know what to tell these people when we leave this passage.”
Tomb,” I corrected him, feeling another chill skate over my spine. “We’ll figure out what to say when we get home. I don’t care. I’m getting out of here. I don’t want to know…whatever’s in that box, I just don’t want to know, okay?”
“Cam,” Gavin stepped in front of me, taking my face in his hands, “we can’t just walk away from this, you know that, love.”
“No.” The word came out hard and cold. A stern plea. “The second we do what that book tells us, there’s no turning back. I’m not ready.” I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head. “Everything’s been so good…so, so good here. Let’s walk away from this, please.”
“You know that’s not an option. Open your eyes, Cam. Look at me.”
My head rolled forward in defeat and I bit down on my lip. I slowly let my eyes flutter open, knowing exactly what I was going to find on Gavin’s face when I did.
That soft, imploring expression of his, mixed with a trace of unwavering determination.
“I know the place you come from, remember?” he whispered, tucking my hair behind my ear. “Before me. Before Amaranth. Before him, even.”
My lips parted at his words. We hadn’t spoken about Andrew in years. I hadn’t brought him up. Not once. I had no need to.
“Always waiting for the ball to drop, waiting for the rug to be pulled out right from underneath your feet. That comes with trauma, Cam. With heartbreak. Just when things begin to feel peaceful…you think everything’s going to be stolen from you. I know you, remember?” He placed his hand over my heart, breathing deeply. “You’re the same girl you were when I picked you up for our first date—remember that?” He smiled fondly.
“Of course.”
“You were so beautiful, wearing your grey Chucks and that sexy black top. At first, you hated dancing. But you let me drag you all over Café Des Amis, let me dip you and spin you around and then you were laughing…so vibrant and strong. You’re that same girl now. The one who quoted O’Connor and Maupassant. The one who loved my chicken parmesan and who fought to the death when our friends needed us. You’re that same girl right now, only you’re even stronger. You’re the mother of our child. No matter what happens when we do what that book says, no matter what’s going on here, you still have the strength you need to follow through, because that strength never disappeared. And you know me, too. You know I keep my word and that wherever this leads us, we’re in this together. So, it’s okay to be afraid of losing what we’ve worked so hard for, here. But know that you can handle this, and that you’re never alone, okay? Never.”
“Shit,” I murmured, my gaze falling to the Book of the Ancients. “Why do you have to be right?”
Gavin laughed softly and let his hand fall from my face. I marched forward, back toward the stone case, bracing my fingers on its cool, heavy edge. “Okay, then. Let’s get this over with.”
He nodded swiftly and moved to join me, giving the coffin lid a strong push.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we opened this thing, but given the circumstances, it couldn’t be pleasant.
“What…the…hell?” I groaned through gritted teeth, throwing every ounce of my human strength into pushing the damn lid.  “This thing isn’t going anywhere!”
“Keep trying. Harder.” Gavin bent his knees and shoved mightily, working to slide the stubborn slab of stone to the left.
Ahh! I give up.” I dropped my hands at my sides, completely out of breath.
“It’s times like this I wish we had our frozen soul strength again.”
“Was I always this physically weak as a human?”
“Pretty much.” He shrugged, falling back against the wall with a labored sigh.
“Please, don’t try to spare my feelings or anything.”
A little chuckle slipped out between pants for breath, and Gavin shoved his hands deep into his pockets. “Well, the book gave us plenty of light and pointed us to this coffin. This doesn’t make any sense.”
I was about to agree, but a low, heavy rumble and the sound of stone grinding against stone stole my breath, calling my attention to the coffin’s lid. “Gav, it’s moving.”
Gavin pushed himself off the wall and hesitantly moved forward, taking my hand and aligning me to the left, just behind him. “Dagger,” he whispered.
My hand slid under my dress to the leather strap that held one of our old silver daggers, the same ones we fought with during our battles as frozen souls. We didn’t have the luxury of super human strength anymore, but we still knew how to fight in combat, and these simple weapons would have to suffice.
Gavin grabbed his knife, too, and we readied ourselves for whatever was about to greet us.
As we kept our eyes glued to the stone coffin, an irrational giggle bubbled up beneath  my breath.
“What’s so funny?” Gavin hissed, glancing nervously at me.
“Nothing,” I said, forcing another laugh down, “except for the fact that we’re holding up knives to protect ourselves from…a dead person?” Gavin’s head swiveled in my direction and his brows raised.
I stopped laughing.
Yeah. Vampire kings and queens, dead-witches-turned-reanimated-corpses, and magic? Suddenly, a confrontation with a dead body didn’t seem so unlikely.
The Book of the Ancients’ light flickered and flared, swelling and bathing the passage in an even brighter light, almost to the point of blinding. The coffin’s scraping sound gnawed at my ears and I winced, my heart flip-flopping in my chest when I heard the cumbersome lid land with a clunk on the ground. The scraping sound ceased and the tomb’s light dimmed, leaving Gavin and me standing there in the quiet, musty hole. I swallowed hard and tensed up, waiting for something to pop out at us like a cheesy haunted house display.
But nothing happened.
The air was still cold, the space eerily calm.
Gavin picked up a lantern and took a step forward. “Are you ready?”
I nodded then waited, not moving a muscle.
He cautiously stepped forward, the sound of his shoes on the dirt path breaking the piercing silence, and held the lantern up to hover over the stone coffin. Every muscle in his neck and shoulders locked up, the tension in his back visible from where I was standing.
“Gav? What is it?”
“Come see for yourself.”
My eyelids blinked rapidly, my mind unsure whether it wanted to propel my body into forward motion just yet. I fought the fear and took a step in Gavin’s direction, slowly walking up to meet him at the edge of the coffin.
“It can’t be,” I gasped and stumbled back, covering my mouth with a trembling hand. “That’s not…it can’t be. How?”
“I don’t know.” Bringing the lantern closer, Gavin illuminated the corpse’s face. Only it wasn’t a corpse. The woman inside didn’t look dead at all. She was flawless. Exotic. Strikingly beautiful.
She was Samira.

Unearthed is the final installment in the Resistance Trilogy (maybe). What an ending it was! I literally cried at the end of The Tragedy of Knowledge because of how bittersweet the ending was to that book. I was so, so glad to have this last little piece, this resolution that I'd been searching for in Unearthed.
What I liked most is that the ending didn't come from something I ever would have expected. In fact, a completely new character is introduced into Unearthed, and I was left in complete awe of how this character was so gracefully worked into the plot.
If you've missed Gavin, Camille and the rest of the crew, don't miss out on this short novella. If you wanted more from the ending of the series, read Unearthed. I'm so glad I did!

About the Author
Rachael Wade writes edgy New Adult and Adult romance and science fiction. She is the author of the Amazon bestselling Preservation series, The Replacement, and Love and Relativity, as well as the paranormal romance series, the Resistance Trilogy. When she's not writing, she's busy going to concerts, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect animals and the environment. She's an avid Brandi Carlile fan and loves all things Tim Burton.

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