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Oct 19, 2014

Cover Reveal - Cross Keys by Ally Shields

Cover, Excerpt & Book Trailer Reveal

Cross Keys by Ally Shields
Elvenrude Book One

Cross KeysConspiracy, murder, and magic…

When the first wanderer—a common elf who isn’t authorized to use the portal—is spotted on the streets of New Orleans, the king assigns Kameo Ryndel to capture the elf and return him to Elvenrude. Before she can intervene, he's shot, and the gunmen steal his body. Just as puzzling is Seth Lormarc's appearance at the shooting scene. Although Seth is an Elite elf from a rival guild and heir to the centuries-old feud between their two families, it's hard for her to believe he's involved in murder.

Seth is in New Orleans on behalf of his grandfather to find out who's behind the portal breach before someone's recklessness exposes their existence to the world of men. His best lead is the intriguing Kam Ryndel. When he stakes out her apartment and finds her sneaking out in the middle of the night, dressed in black and leaping to the top of the nearest building, he realizes she's more than a beautiful woman. That kind of feat requires magic. Ancient magic.

As their paths cross and draw them deeper into a mysterious conspiracy, attraction sparks between them, but there’s little time for romance. They uncover an illegal smuggling operation that has come to the attention of the CIA. And the stakes are raised when Kam and Seth discover a band of rebels deep inside Elvenrude that offers nothing except violence and destruction of their world.

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Content/Theme(s): Fae, Magic, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Etopia Press
Trailer, Excerpt & More

Purchase links:  Etopia   Amazon   ARe   Kobo   B&N
Kam and Caleb shared two dances—their feet barely skimming the floor as they swirled to the ethereal music of harps and flutes—then followed etiquette by mingling and dancing with others. This was strictly an Elite ball, attended only by the dark-haired members of the houses descended from the ancient elven warriors, often referred to and sometimes vilified in human lore as dark elves. If any of those old stories were true, it was hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Their descendants had evolved into a fair-minded upper class that still maintained the warrior’s energy. Tonight, however, none of their ancestry showed, as the women swayed decorously in their floor-length gowns, the men rather stiff in their unaccustomed fancy coats.

During a break in the music, Kam tracked down her sister. “Did Aaron McClanahan ask you to dance?” She kept her voice low.

Esty blushed and dropped her eyes. “He did. Oh, Kammy, he is so wonderful.”

“Wonderful? Oh, girl, you have it bad.” Kam cut off a laugh. Her sister’s hormones were at it again. At twenty-two, Esty’s body was still developing. She’d been in love three times in the past year.

As if to prove her point, her sister suddenly pulled on her sleeve. “Speaking of wonderful, Seth Lormarc just arrived. What a waste to give all that sexiness to someone I can’t have.”

“Hush,” Kam warned. “Mother would be appalled to hear you talk like that.”

“Well, don’t you think he’s sexy?” Esty wasn’t the least bit cowed by threats of her mother’s censure. “He’s more your age too.” Esty’s eyes danced. She loved to tease Kam about the five years difference in their ages.

“Stop that.” Kam’s grin belied the reprimand. “I would never think about a Lormarc in that way.” But in fairness, she turned to take a look at him. The man in question looked like he was approaching thirty and kept himself in shape. He was deep in conversation with his grandfather Harad, the head of the Lormarc family, and with his great uncle Jermon. All she could see of his face was his profile, strong, sculptured features that said don’t mess with me.

She arched a brow. Bad tempered, no doubt, and probably arrogant too. His black hair lay tousled in a casual style; his body muscled and taut, as if containing an energy resistant to control. He might be considered attractive, she conceded. If you liked the type.

She scanned the room until she found Caleb, charming, polished, each lock of hair carefully combed in place. Compared to him, Seth Lormarc seemed wild, untamed. Maybe a little uncouth.

Esty’s voice brought her back to the conversation.

“Well, I think he’s cute. Ooh, and there is his equally hunky cousin Rhyden.” Esty stifled a giggle. “I’d take either one of them. Who cares about some old family feud. One of my best friends at school is a relative of theirs.”

Kam looked at her in surprise. “Does Mother know you’ve been socializing with the Lormarcs?”

Esty tossed her hair. “Do you think I’m stupid? I wouldn’t tell her something like that. But Mariel is a nice person.” She lowered her voice. “We meet at The Bookstore sometimes. She has a wicked sense of humor.”

“It doesn’t bother you that our families have been bitter competitors for centuries?”

“Why should it? We don’t talk about business, so all that old stuff doesn’t matter.”

“It does to Mother and Father. You’d better be careful or you’ll be grounded for life if they catch you.”

Her sister’s chin came up. “I don’t care.”

“Don’t care about what?” Caleb appeared from the crowd, smiling down at them from his more than six foot height. “You two are looking very serious.”

“It’s nothing. Just feminine chatter.” Kam brushed his question off and took his arm.

“We were talking about the Lormarcs.” Esty’s tone held a hint of defiance.

Caleb raised his eyes to look across the room. “They do seem to be here in force tonight. I’ve noticed several of the smaller houses—including those who share our trade portals—have paid their respects to old man Lormarc.”

“Is that unusual?” Kam asked.

He frowned in thought. “I suppose not. Many of the smaller houses are trying to remain neutral, trading with both guilds.”

“It sounds like good business to me. Is Father bothered by it?”

Caleb shrugged. “Not so far.” He gave her an indulgent smile. “You really should pay more attention to the guild so you don’t have to ask me these questions. Your father will want to pass the reins someday.”

“It’s easier to ask you, and we have plenty of time to make those plans,” she said dryly. “Father is young. Any change in leadership isn’t likely to occur for a hundred years or more.” Besides, the reins wouldn’t pass to her; it would be to her husband or Esty’s husband. Women had never been the visible head of the guilds, and Elvenrude wasn’t likely to change. Kam stifled a sigh. But Mother had her share of opinions on guild affairs. Which meant Caleb was right—it would be part of her duties to understand the issues and support her husband.

“Um, if you two are going to talk business, I’m going elsewhere to have fun. See you later.” Esty stepped forward to place her hand on the arm of the young man who’d just implored her for a dance.

Caleb nodded absently at the departing couple, then returned his gaze to Kam. “I’m serious. It’s time you became more involved with trade matters. In fact,” he paused, “you have several decisions you should be making. When are you coming home?”

“I’m here now.” She clamped down on a spark of anger. Why did every conversation with him lead into demands about the future?

“You know that isn’t what I meant.”

She stiffened. “It’s too soon for any long-term decisions. I like where we are now.” A storm was gathering in his eyes, and she took steps to head off a fight. This was hardly the time or place. She tilted her head and looked at him. “Are you about ready to leave?” A diversion was in order before she lost her temper and said something she’d regret. “I have to be back in the city by early morning, and I can think of better things we could be doing.”

“More than ready.” His smile held a provocative edge. “Shall we start our round of goodbyes?”

“I’m going to visit the ladies’ room, then I’ll catch up with you.”

“Don’t be long.”

She ducked her head and hurried away, anxious to get out of sight before he realized just how annoyed she was. She shoved the door open into the hallway a little harder than was necessary and ran into a solid body. She stumbled, throwing out her arms for balance.

“Oh, I’m so sor—” Strong hands caught her, and she looked up into Seth Lormarc’s glittering green eyes. “You!”

His eyes widened in surprise. “Do I know you?”
Purchase links:  Etopia   Amazon   ARe   Kobo   B&N
Other titles by Ally Shields:
Fire Storm

and Fire
Both Ends
the Fire
Find Ally Shields at:
Twitter: @ShieldsAlly
Ally Shields Facebook page
Ally Shields Goodreads author page
Ally Shields Amazon author page
More Ally Shields on Cover Reveals

Be on the lookout for Ally Shields's upcoming releases: Wild Fire coming November 2014 and coming in 2015 Eternal Fires and Revelation

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