Age gap. Fear. Rejection.

After a miserable childhood, Lark has finally found the family he always wanted. There isn’t much he wouldn’t do for his new liege, including undertaking a secret and dangerous mission to save the most hated creatures in their society, the chades. He only wishes his partner wasn’t a lethal, stoic ranger with a mouth he yearned to make smile.

Ivy is a ranger. She is judge, jury, and executioner to any who break the strict laws of their society. So how has she become the trusted operative of a legitimate goddess who wants her to save the chades instead of beheading them? To make matters worse, she is partnered with a fresh-faced earth paladin with green eyes, a body that won’t quit, and a perky attitude in direct opposition to her hostile one.

As their mission evolves, Lark and Ivy discover pieces of a convoluted and terrible plot buried within the very foundations of their society. The secrets they uncover run deeper and are deadlier than any of them could have imagined. In order to save the chades and prevent a civil war, the two must reconcile their differences – and their hearts.

Here’s a little taste..

“Ivy? You’d better be dying,” the sleep-roughened voice threatened her. “Do you know what time it is?”

“Get over it!” Ivy snapped, in no mood for Nikolai’s good-natured banter.

She heard a pouty grunt before he asked, “Are you okay?”

“No! I am not okay!” she screamed. “They infected me with their virus!”

“Infected? Virus?” he yelled back, sounding more awake. “What are you talking about? Are you sick?”

“Yesss,” she hissed at him. “I’m very sick.”

“Chade poison?” he barked out, all business now. She could hear rustling in the background and could picture him throwing on clothes and weapons.

“No, it’s not that. Well, it was that. But not anymore. You’re not listening to me!” she yelled, knowing she had yet to tell him anything to listen to.

“You were poisoned?” he asked.

“Yes,” she huffed impatiently.

“But you’re fine now. Not dying?”

She yanked on her hair, feeling her anxiety continue to rise. “Yes, I’m fine now. Death is not imminent.”

Nik let out an aggravated breath. “Jeez, Ivy. You scared the crap outta me. What’s going on?”

“It’s their … niceness. It’s contagious. I woke up all happy and safe and warm. I’ve talked more in the past few weeks than I have in my entire lifetime. And I feel like smiling all the time. Smiling!” she panted.

Her boss had the audacity to laugh at her, “I see. Well, this sounds very bad. I agree with you; it’s a virus. Definitely a nasty virus.” His words were solemn, but his tone was filled with hilarity.

“I’m serious, Nik. Before I left they were calling me family. Family! It’s going to be even worse now,” she lamented.

“And what’s wrong with that?” he questioned, his tone quieting now.

She scoffed. “Come on, we both know I’m not family material.”