Hi everyone! Great to see you here!
Today I'm featuring author Kasey Mackenzie for An Urban Tuesday with her Blackhearted Betrayal in the spot light. I've heard very good things about this book and series from fellow readers and reviewers. And with Karen Chance's cover blurb front and center for this book it's a hard one to turn away from.
So for those that haven't had a chance to check this title out I've offered up an extended excerpt to wet your reading buds and for those that have already devoured this read, share your thoughts in the comment section to start up a conversation on this series.
Shades of Fury, Book 3
Back of the Book:
Trust is a luxury some women can’t afford…As a Fury, Riss Holloway belongs to an arcane race that has meted out justice since time immemorial. As Boston’s Chief Magical Investigator, she’s responsible for solving any crimes committed by or against supernaturals. But now that she’s going home, Riss has no idea just how dangerous–and personal–the crimes have become.Riss Holloway has taken a leave of absence from her mortal job as Chief Magical Investigator for the Boston PD. Right now she’s determined to focus on her Fury duties: like assisting her mother with an unsettling friction brewing in the Sisterhood–a faction of Furies sworn to serve all the Deities equally. Until now.Someone is playing favorites. As a result Riss is ushered into a tumultuous civil war–and not one just tearing apart the Sisterhood, but one embroiling every god and goddess into the chaos as well. What was once a precept, to stand as a united whole policing arcanekind for millennia, has been divided by something Riss never imagined–and choosing sides could be the most dangerous move she’s ever made.
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AN EXTENDED SNIPPET:
SHOCK STABBED STRAIGHT TO MY BELLY, making me distinctly weak in the knees. They think bloody freaking Anubis, the god who hates me because grief and Rage made me bitch him out in front of his priesthood, is plotting an immortal coup and believe Mom and I are Their best hope for thwarting it? The two of us barely-even-demigoddesses up against a lesser god who drummed up enough power to challenge every other Death Lord—and win? Who now has enough power to command other immortals who should be his equals? What the hell kind of drug are They smoking—and, more importantly, where can I get me some?
My penchant for sarcasm in the face of danger helped me straighten my spine and stare at the Triad with every bit of incredulity pulsing through my body. Mom knew me all too well, despite our twenty-year separation, so she grabbed my hand in a viselike grip and mouthed the words Calm down! as if they had a prayer in hell of working. Hell. Exactly where these out-of-Their-minds Deities wanted to send us on a suicide mission.
Rage at Their seeming callousness toward two Furies who had already sacrificed plenty—like, say, twenty years of a mother-daughter relationship we could never get back—quickly caught up to and beat the snot out of former shock. Nemesis and Nike hissed in response to the white-hot flood of anger they could feel as strongly as I did. They probably saved me from certain doom because settling them down distracted me long enough that I missed my chance to immortally offend the Triad.
Mom spoke up while my attention was diverted. “Just to be sure we understand, Your Graces …Not only has Anubis sworn both other lesser gods and a faction of the Sisterhood to his personal service, but you believe he has closed off most of the Underworld to other Death Lords and now to the Divine Realm? And you want the two of us to find proof of his crimes where the other Death Lords have fa—been thwarted?”
Ha. That showed Mom’s greater gift for diplomacy clearly enough. I would have just spat out the word failed to two of said Death Lords without bothering to pretty it up. Because, dammit, that’s exactly what Epona and Ala had done—screwed the ever-living-heck out of the pun-so-intended pooch, in the form of Anubis. Also known as the god who told me if I ever set foot in his domain again, he’d rip my entrails out and eat them in front of me with a side of fava beans and Chianti. And he hadn’t been kidding.
Any other Deity would have taken into consideration the fact that I’d been consumed with Rage and grief over Vanessa when I’d, um, requested help in figuring out whether she really had been murdered, but not Mr. Jackal Face. He and Mercy were not only strangers to each other, but I was willing to bet he couldn’t even spell her name, with a dictionary.
What sucked even more hard-core was the fact my lover, Scott Murphy, and the entire Murphy clan considered Anubis their personal protector in addition to his position as Warhound patron deity, even the distant cousins who had actually sprung from Epona’s Celtic line. I’d thus far managed to conceal how far I was in the immortal doghouse (ha) from them because, hey, it hadn’t come up. But it damned well would if I accepted this Mandate to drag Anubis before the Triad currently out for his figurative blood.
Assuming I survived.
And you talk like you have a choice here, Marissa, like you physically could turn down a gods-given Mandate. Even one they’re nice enough to discuss with you ahead of time. Then I remembered that Nan was somehow a puppet in this whole mess, and I steeled my spine again. As if you would refuse if you could.
Because, when it came right down to it, I had enlisted to serve as the arcane version of a soldier, not been forced into it. One thing to be said for the immortals: They were completely honest and up front about what could be asked of you as a Fury before you pledged those unbreakable vows. Until that point, you could always choose to go back to being 100 percent mortal again. But I hadn’t made that choice, and I wouldn’t change my mind if I could. Because, as they were now proving by recruiting us to serve as Nemeses, they held each other to just as high standards as they did their arcane children.
Again, Kamanu nodded. “We are well aware how dangerous the Mandate we would place upon you shall be; thus, why we propose to make you Nemeses. You shall be true demigoddesses until you fulfill the Mandate, and have the special powers that coincide with that title.”
Wait, we would continue as full demigoddesses while fulfilling this suicidal mission of a Mandate? And get special powers with the gig? Suddenly, it didn’t sound quite so suicidal. True demigoddesses shared one particular attribute with full gods and goddesses: namely, they couldn’t be killed.
Of course, that didn’t mean Anubis couldn’t capture and torture our asses, but hey, small favors and all that.
Mom took another deep breath. “If we do agree to this Mandate, agree to serve as your Nemeses, we’ll be going up against sister Furies of our own class, not to mention possibly against my mother, Marissa’s grandmother. Neither of us will kill her should that be asked of us.”
Epona cut in. “It will not be asked, not of you, hopefully not of anyone. We believe she is being somehow manipulated by Anubis; thus, she has not committed any crime that cannot be laid directly at his feet.”
Mom relaxed slightly. So did I although I hadn’t realized until then that I’d become just as tense as she. Epona had basically pardoned Nan for any crimes she might have committed—or would commit—while acting as a pawn of Anubis. Now, we just had to prove she was one of his pawns and not a willing participant.
Ala’s expression grew slightly more sympathetic at the mention of going up against sister Furies, including Nan. “Even those who pledged to serve Anubis willingly may find forgiveness if he coerced or threatened them into serving him. Mere arcanes cannot be expected to stand up to the full force of an immortal’s commands.”
“That is exceedingly merciful of Your Graces, and I don’t mean to cast doubt on the wisdom of Your choice, but …how exactly can two demigoddesses prove Anubis’s guilt against the combined might of his arcane and immortal subjects? While stealth and strategy can make up for superior numbers, in this particular situation …”
The Megaera spoke for the first time in several minutes. “It will not be you two alone, Allegra. Several of my sisters will pledge to serve you as you fulfill your Mandate, up to and including giving their lives so that you might succeed.”
I had the sneaking suspicion that my least favorite of her sisters would count among that number, but it was a generous offer, one we couldn’t afford to refuse.
Kamanu bestowed an approving smile upon the Megaera. “Indeed, the Megaeras will assist you in your endeavor, and I suspect you already know several Tisiphones who can be trusted as well.”
Like Laurell and Patricia, to start with.
Mom ventured a question that hadn’t even occurred to me. “And what of the Alecto? Do they stand as loyal to the Deities as the Megaera and we two of the Tisiphone?”
Kamanu hesitated, and his wife took advantage of the pause to speak. “We believe so, yes, although that shall be the first task of your Mandate. To ascertain for sure.”
Mom furrowed a brow. “What do you mean?”
“We have been unable to contact the Prime Alecto for several days now. However, unlike the Tisiphone, she had been cooperating fully before that. It is our hope that Anubis has somehow prevented the Alecto from either receiving or responding to our communication attempts but that she remains loyal. It shall be your task to ascertain whether this is true, Allegra. If it is not, then you shall bring her before us for judgment. When we bind you to your Mandate, you alone shall have the knowledge of the Alecto Prime’s identity—which you are not to reveal to anyone else unless completely unavoidable.”
Kamanu picked up the thread of instructions. “Once finished with that, we desire that you bring the Tisiphone Prime before us. She will answer for her disobedience.”
I swallowed at the thought of what awaited Maylin, such a good friend of my mother’s but now persona non grata with our immortal Makers.
Ala turned her sour gaze upon me. “To you falls the duty of journeying to the Underworld to find proof of Anubis’s crimes and bring him before us for judgment.”
It was hard to pick just one snippet to share today. Ms. Mackenzie can write a great urban fantasy with a lot of action and sass. What did you think?