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Defying Shadows—A Glimpse Between the Pages

Published October 4, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

So you’ve seen the ah-mazing fan art that @Readiculousgirl created for “Chasing Shadows” (drool worthy!!!), and the giveaway went live this morning—the entries are pouring in! Keep entering and sharing the link for the Rafflecopter, and come back each day to enter again until the giveaway ends October 16th! And don’t forget to earn entries toward the 2 social media prizes by tagging @TownsendTales and using #TeamHood #ChasingShadowsBook https://ashley-townsend.com/2015/10/04/chasing-shadows-1-year-celebration-giveaway/

Now that we’re having a blast celebrating the 1-year birthday of “Chasing Shadows” with freebies and fan art, I figured I might give you a sneak peak at “Defying Shadows,” the final installment in the “Rising Shadows trilogy.” Don’t panic!

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You can freak out if you want to, actually—that’s totally all right with me. This is a never-before-seen sample from “Defying Shadows” that even my team of Hooders (beta readers) have yet to see yet. You all know how important this series is to me, so it’s so fun to be able to share a tempting morsel of some of the final words of the series. *feels attack* Curious? Keep reading, and reblog to your friends!

The wrinkled paper glared at her, the thick glob of red wax a stark contrast against the slightly yellow parchment. She knew the letter contained Damien’s writing, though she hadn’t yet brought herself to break the seal after months of holding it in her possession, unopened but never far from her mind.

Her hand twitched as she slid her finger under the seal with careful movements, the wax cracking and lifting as she did so. She held her breath when the seal broke and the letter unfolded an inch. She ignored the small piece of paper, crinkled and yellowed with age—whether because she’d left it in her dirty laundry for months or because it was nearly a thousand years old, she couldn’t say—that fell to the floor. She carefully held open Damien’s letter; his tight, beautiful script filled the entire page, as though he’d needed every inch for his thoughts, his looping a’s painfully familiar. Her eyes scanned quickly, unseeing, over the whole of the letter and then returned to the top, to the three perfectly sculpted words that looked like he had penned them with painstaking care: My dearest Sarah—

Abruptly, she snatched the smaller letter from the floor, stuffed it between the pages of Damien’s missive once more, and smashed the paper between her hands, balling it in her fists and chucking both letters the room with a screech of annoyance. It hit the frosted window and fell lamely to the floor atop a mound of clothes Clara had left behind.  

Feeling restless in her dorm room, where the air had suddenly become too thin to breathe properly, Sarah grabbed her heavy vest off the mattress and slipped her arms through it, not bothering to zip up the front. She shoved her feet into her leather boots and booked it down the stairs, needing fresh air. A girl she vaguely recognized smiled at her in the foyer, saying a friendly, “Have a great vacation!”

“You, too,” Sarah managed.

She immediately felt refreshed once she stepped outside into the cold, and the air helped to clear her head. The layers of soft white fluff covering the dead grass and piled on the trees that had been decorated with colorful lights made it look like Christmas had arrived on campus. Aside from those few bodies currently inhabiting the grounds, campus was otherwise deserted, Sarah realized as she let her gaze wander the snowy landscape. Hardly another soul in sight.

That was why her eyes found his so easily.

Sarah stopped dead in her tracks, arms falling to her sides in surprise. A dark-haired man stared back at her, and she could see, even from this distance, that his wide eyes were a deep blue. She imagined that she could make out the lighter blue ring surrounding his indigo irises, how the shadow along his jaw would feel against her fingertips. She blinked, sure he was a mirage, but he was still there when she opened her eyes. He looked exactly as she had last seen him—handsome, tall, and dressed for a different age—though he was also strangely like a ghost at the same time. It wasn’t that she could see through him, but there was something off about his appearance that was so subtle Sarah wondered if she might be imagining it.

Will’s lips parted when their gazes met, mouth working almost in slow motion as he shook his head. She squinted, trying to make out the words but too distracted by the fact that Will was in Oklahoma, on her campus, in the twenty-first century. Every instance they had spent together slammed into her, washing over her in a flood and reminding her just how much she had missed him, how much she loved him, and how he should not be here.

He advanced a step, eyes as big as saucers as he moved forward, motioning with one hand for her to come his way. He looked alarmed as he moved toward her, though his movements looked off somehow.

“Miss Matthews.”

She spun to find her professor behind her, smiling cordially. On instinct, she quickly whipped her head back around, though the apparition had already disappeared. She blinked, swallowing over how silly she had been to think he had been there at all, though she couldn’t keep her eyes from roving the grounds another moment in deluded hope. He had looked so real….

Her heart rate returned to normal, though there was a pain in her chest now. No, she reminded herself dully, Will is dead, and you’ll never see him in this world, or the next.

panic

I know how you feel—I basically reacted this way while I was writing the scene. Right in the fangirl!

agony

I tried to pick a spoiler-free sample from “Defying Shadows” so that it won’t ruin the series for those of you who have yet to begin, but I also really wanted to torture my fans. Muwahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! But you all know I love you. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you and God’s mercy, so I gotta share some love and feels! Oh, and Hiddles love.

kiss

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Spotlight Saturday with RHL!

Published September 5, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Romantic Historical Reviews is one of my favorite historical book review sites, and so I was preeeeeety excited to be featured on today’s Saturday Spotlight. (Two seconds for fangirl shrieking, aaaaand I’m back)

Follow the link below to check out the spotlight on Chasing Shadows, read an excerpt from one of my FAVORITE scenes I’ve ever written–and probably will ever write–and enter the giveaway for a free copy of Chasing Shadows. And, as always, be sure to share the links and don’t deprive your book loving friends of free books. Nobody likes a cookie/book monster who doesn’t share!

http://www.romantichistoricalreviews.com/saturday-spotlight-chasing-shadows-by-ashley-townsend/

BOOK II EXCERPTS!!!!

Published January 29, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Yes! I finally got around to getting some snippits from book II of the Shadow Trilogy together for your pleasure. Just a little random taste of what I’ve been working on, and I’ll probably post some quotes and excerpts from the sequel and Rising Shadows in the future, too. Enjoy!

Chapter 4: Calm down, Matthews, she chided herself. You’re being ridiculous. She turned around and began to jog down the narrow street toward the main square. Glancing over her shoulder as she moved, she ran straight into something hard. Strong hands gripped her upper arms to keep her from toppling backwards and pulled her close, over compensating for her lost balance. Sarah had to lean back slightly to look up at the man who held her, and the action caused the hood to fall back. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked up into Will’s startled blue eyes.

Chapter 11: “Well, my lady,” Damien said smoothly, still appearing comfortable and unaffected by her silence. “Now it’s your turn.”

Sarah eyed the Spaniard warily. “My turn for what?”

He leaned forward and lowered his voice, golden eyes gleaming with mischief. “It is your turn to tell me who you really are.” 

Chapter 19: She waited in the darkness. Nothing. The absence of noise was more ominous than the ones Sarah had braced herself for. She shivered at the cold wind that whistled softly in the tunnel directly ahead. It moved toward her, curling through her hair and touching her body with icy fingers as it brushed past. A whip snapped somewhere down the way, and she started. Her breath caught when she made out the faint sound of the lifeless, almost inhuman moan that rode on the breeze coming from what she imagined must be the torture chamber. Sarah felt chilled to the bone at the hollow sound of someone too weak to cry out and stood frozen in wide-eyed horror.

Chapter 22: Swallowing the desire to express her confused feelings about him, Sarah said, “I want us to be friends.” She was relieved when she didn’t stammer over the words.

Will’s chest swelled with air, and his lips parted as it escaped his lips in a shaky breath. His nod was almost imperceptible. “As you wish,” he said. Then he launched himself over the ledge. Sarah’s eyes widened in alarm, and she ran to the window to peer down at his retreating form as he quickly scaled the walls of the castle. With shaking fingers, Sarah closed the window screen to keep out the cold that seemed to have found its way into her bones. Now she was alone in her new home with the necklace and the single rose as her only companions. Her breathing was the only sound in the room—that and three words that played themselves loudly in her head: As you wish.

Chapter 32: Guilty sorrow tightened Sarah’s chest. She tore her eyes away from her hands, which had been covered in blood moments before, and looked up at him. He was watching her closely, eyes searching her face. “But it’s my fault she’s dead,” she whispered brokenly.

His expression softened. “How could it be your fault your friend was killed?”

 “Because the arrow was meant for me.”

Chapter 35: Will surprised her by pulling her into his arms and holding her tightly against his chest. But even as he held her close and told her everything was going to be all right, Sarah couldn’t shake the feeling that a storm was coming, and if they couldn’t fight it together, it was going to tear them apart.

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