A fighter with a venomous grudge.
A monster with an immortal curse.
A girl with a terrible gift.
All three out for blood in a land torn apart by harsh gods and holy wars. Each entwined with the other, on their own quests for vengeance, and yet held together by strange links to sinister pasts. As their fates unravel, a dangerous romance blooms, and violent darkness beckons.
At turns both darkly humorous and utterly morbid, STRANGER RITUALS is the startling first novel in Kali Rose Schmidt’s dark new series.
Stranger Rituals Excerpt:
She started down the hall she shared with the Djavul, her footsteps echoing on the obsidian floor, dim lamps lighting the dark corridor, grey walls flecked with etchings of bones. There were no Shadow guards here; they would be rushing to Vojtech’s side, cleaning up his mess with the Warskian soldier. Vojtech had wished to kill the soldier himself, even as the outdoor guards had spotted the man when he was miles away, stumbling along in the cold sands.
Scarko remembered that journey well.
She wished to forget it.
“Well aren’t you a bloody mess,” a cheerful voice called from behind her. She whirled around, reaching for the knife that was in her cloak pocket. But she did not bother with it as she beheld Klaus, a white tunic loose on his muscled body, contrasting with his smooth, dark Beheni skin. He walked towards her in the empty corridor, and came to stand before her, his blue eyes lit with amusement.
“Did you have an early dinner?” he asked with a grin, his white teeth flashing.
“Where’s your cloak?” Scarko countered, eyeing his white tunic and beige pants. Klaus was a Glassmat, represented by deep blue cloaks within the Order.
He tucked his hands into his pants pockets and shrugged. “In the wash. Are you going to tell the Djavul to eat me for it?” He waggled his brows playfully.
Scarko knew she must have looked a mess. She could still taste the blood on her lips from the soldier. “He’s probably full by now.” She glanced down at her bloody grey cloak, the twines of black thread.
“And you, too, it seems?” Klaus grinned. “Was it a lone Warskian?” Some of the cheerfulness left his voice.”
“Scarko dipped her head. “Yes,” she whispered.
She had come to the Order alone, but Klaus had followed not long after. They had both been forced into the Warskian army as enslaved Vrakas, dulled with the mindeta plant to keep them in line, to keep their abilities at bay until they were useful. She and Klaus had both lost parents ten years ago, both at the command of Olofsson the Third during one of his many Vrakan purges. They had both lost their innocence to Olofsson’s right-hand man, the Praeminister.
“But he was here to kill us,” Scarko clarified, correctly reading the anger on Klaus’s smooth face.
Klaus’s eyes darkened. “How do you know?”
“I just know,” Scarko lied. “Besides, he wore green.” Emerald green, the color of non-Vrakan soldiers.
He nodded after a moment. “Right then. Meet me and Yezedi tonight? My rooms?”
About Kali Rose Schmidt:
Kali Rose Schmidt is an author, mother, and villain lover. She likes bloody tales of monsters, yoga with the lights off, and anything that goes bump in the night.
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