Witch Born Release Day! Read the first 5 chapters

Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Not sure whether to read Witch Born or not? Now you have the chance to read the first 5 chapters. Plus you'll have a chance to WIN a copy of Witch Born at each stop. BONUS. What are you waiting for. GOGOGO!

Start with:
Page Turners-Chapter 1  http://www.pageturnersblog.com/2012/09/witch-song-sneak-peak-and-giveaway.html  

Chapter 5 continued . . . 

Gasping, Senna tried to sit up, but blankets tangled her limbs. She fell to the floor with a thud and kicked her way free. Her shift was spotless. Lifting her shaking hands, she stared at her clean skin, her pristine bandages.
But her fingernails were torn and bleeding, and she was covered in scratches and welts. Her hand throbbed.
She hadn’t actually been there. It was just her soul. What had her mother called it—Traveling?
But if her soul had died, what would have happened to her body? Suddenly dizzy, she rested her head against her drawn-up knees. A sharp ache stabbed her chest. She felt so out of control. So helpless. It was as if the Four Sisters—the source of her power—had turned against her. Was it some kind of punishment from the Creators, for failing to convince the Discipline Heads to save Tarten?
One thing Senna knew—she needed answers. That required help, and the only person she trusted was Joshen.
What if her attacker was still watching? But there had been only two of them, and one was either dead or badly injured. One person couldn’t watch her all the time, could he?
She fumbled to dress, found her damp cloak, and wrapped it around her shoulders. Then she slipped from her tree house. She ghosted down the path at a jog, breaking all the brand-new rules the Discipline Heads had put in place—rules about Apprentices and Guardians, rules about going out alone after dark.
Twice she had to dart off the trail and wait for other Witches to pass. When she reached Joshen’s tree in the Guardian quarter, she tapped on the window. Nothing. She tapped louder. After her fifth try, he stumbled to the window and stood looking down at her, his chest bare. At the sight, a warm tingle spread from the top of Senna’s head to the tips of her toes.
Moments later, he opened the door. After she’d slipped inside, he locked it behind her. “Senna?” he said, alarm in his voice. “I told you not to go out by yourself. What if your attackers had been waiting? You’re not even supposed to be here.” He pulled the drapes shut but then peeked out the window. “I don’t think anyone saw.”
“I heard the other Witches again.” Senna wrapped her arms around herself. “Maybe I shouldn’t have risked it, but I’m tired of feeling helpless. I need to figure out what’s happening to me.”
Joshen took her hand and led her into his bedroom. His tree was short and rather fat, so everything was on the same level. “What did you see this time?”
Feeling awkward, she sat on his rumpled bed and told him of her second experience Traveling.
Joshen took a deep breath. “Senna, I want to help you, but I don’t know how. I’m not a Witch.”
“Were you watching me the whole time I was in the Ring of Power earlier?” she asked carefully.
He nodded.
“And I was there the entire time? I never…disappeared?”
He blinked a few times. “No. You just looked like you were asleep. After a while, you stood up, all graceful, like a dance. I didn’t realize at first you were even singing, it was so soft. When you were loud enough to understand, Drenelle started to panic. She shouted for you to stop, but it was like you couldn’t hear her. I almost left cover to see what was wrong, but Drenelle is one of the Heads, and they made it very clear we’re to stay away from the Apprentices. Besides, you didn’t look like you were in danger.”
He said the last bit apologetically. She bumped his shoulder with hers. “I only asked because I wanted to know how much of me really Travels.”
“Isn’t there someone you could ask?”
Senna studied her hands fiercely. “I tried with my mother—she won’t tell me. The Heads are already keeping the truth from me. It’s almost like they’re afraid of something—afraid of me.” She knew that was ridiculous. “If they were going to tell me anything, they’d have done it by now.”
Joshen rested his palm against her back. “Is there no one else?”
She grunted. “There’s always Espen…” She’d meant it as a joke, but as soon as she’d said the words, she straightened.
He shook his head. “Oh, no, Senna. We can’t trust her!”
She took his hands in hers. “But if I really can Travel…what harm comes in trying?”
He shot to his feet. “What harm? The woman would’ve had me kill you!”
“Joshen, I’m in danger now. Can’t you see that? The other Witches sang for the earth to swallow me whole.”
He trembled with rage. “What if these other Witches find you again?”
“I refuse to live in ignorance and helplessness.”
He started pacing back and forth across the room. Senna waited for his anger to fade. Eventually, he thumped down beside her. After a while, he rubbed the stubble on his face thoughtfully, and she knew she’d won.
“You’re not really with her, are you?” he asked. “I mean, she can’t hurt you, right?”
She tried to quell her fear. “Joshen, I turned her into a tree.”
 “I thought it was over,” he muttered.
Senna was grateful he didn’t seem to notice she hadn’t really answered his question. She rested her head on his shoulder. “So did I.” She was beginning to understand that her power came with a price—a burden every Witch born bore, especially one as strong as her.
He kissed her hair. “When do you want to try?”
Joshen winced. “She’ll ask for some sort of payment—just don’t give her anything that would put yourself or anyone else at risk.” His hold on Senna tightened. “It’s going to be all right.”
By the Creators, she’d missed him. “How do you know?”
“Because I’ll make sure of it.”
She smiled and tipped her face back for a kiss. He brushed his lips across hers. His lips were so soft. He leaned his forehead against hers. “You can do this.”
Senna scooted back until she sat in the center of the bed. “You won’t leave me?”
Joshen took her hand. “No.”
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and listened for the music she knew was there, just under the surface. Leaving her body came even faster and clearer this time, almost as if the Four Sisters had been waiting for her. Waiting to take her back.
But she shifted her destination away from the mysterious island, speeding across the ocean in a blur. Within the space of a few dozen heartbeats, she was in Tarten again, in a clearing now bereft of trees. Save one, a kind of weeping willow whose leaves formed a faultless circle. Without ever having to touch it, Senna knew the bark was as soft as flesh.
The branches shifted aimlessly in the breeze. The once-glossy leaves were now covered in a crusty blight. Half of them seemed to litter the base of the tree. Wetting her lips, Senna stepped forward, leaves crunching underfoot. “Espen?”
The tree heaved a little as if stirring in its sleep before going still again.
“Espen,” Senna tried again.
This time the tree seemed to rouse itself. Senna almost felt it looking at her. The leaves quivered as if in recognition. The branches snapped toward her.
Senna had prepared for this reaction. After all, she was the one who’d forced Espen into this form and stolen her song.
The branches struggled as if against an invisible current, but Espen was in essence a plant, and plants obeyed Witch song. Though the Dark Witch trembled with anger, she couldn’t move.
Espen retreated into herself. A clump of bark dropped from her trunk. With a start, Senna realized the Dark Witch was dying. The drought wasn’t just killing the Tartens.
Suddenly, Senna didn’t feel frightened anymore. She could still feel Joshen’s hand in her own. And for once, she was in control of the situation. “I have questions the Discipline Heads refuse to answer. As payment, I can ease your suffering. Water. A song to take away the blight.”
Her eyes never straying from the tree, Senna crouched down and brushed the ground free of leaves, revealing dark, dry earth.
Espen slowly stretched a branch forward and wrote in the dirt. “Free me.”
Anger flashed through Senna. “I can’t free you. And even if I could, I wouldn’t. The Creators took your song, remember? You have no fruit and therefore no seed.”
The leaves rustled as she wrote, “Not save from life.”
Senna opened her mouth, closed it again.
“Free me!” Espen wrote in deep gouges.
Senna stared at what remained of the Dark Witch until the tree stained her after vision. “It’s no more than you deserve.”
Espen didn’t respond.
Senna took a deep breath. “Fine. I will come to Tarten and free you.”
Espen seemed to sag in relief.
“What is Traveling?”
A branch came forward and scratched against the earth. “Obvious.”
Senna grimaced. “That’s what I’m doing—Traveling? How do I control it, stop from being attacked?”
The branch stabbed at the same word, “Obvious.”
“No. It isn’t. I could have died tonight!” Crouching, Senna brushed the word away and jabbed at the blank earth. “Tell me how to stop it, how to protect myself.”
With exaggerated slowness, Espen wrote, “Witch song.”
Senna stared at the words as the simplicity of it crashed down on her. Espen was right. It was obvious. You fought Witch song with Witch song. It wasn’t a perfect solution. Her song was strong, but not as strong as the whole of those other Witches.
“How is this possible that I can Travel?” Senna whispered.
Espen bent forward and wrote again. “Creator touched.”
Senna’s breathing came faster. She’d been right. More than just her song was changing. This was bigger than just taking Espen’s song. “What happens to someone who is Creator-touched?”
The branch scratched a single word into the ground. “Death.”
Senna’s breath caught in her throat. Was this what she’d overheard the Heads speaking of? Weighty as the rectangle of earth above a grave, the word lumbered from her mouth. “Death?”
The wind trailed Espen’s branches.
Senna’s gaze narrowed. “You’re just trying to frighten me.” Still Espen didn’t answer. “Why would I believe anything you have to say? You’d gladly see all the Witches dead.”
The tree rustled and the branch scratched in the soil. “Not dead. Rulers!”
Senna flinched. How often had she thought the Witches were meant to be more than a cluster of frightened women hiding on an island? Their songs transformed the world, and mankind hated them for it. “And the hundreds of other Witches outside of Haven?”
Espen went very still, so still the breeze didn’t seem to touch her.
Senna rose from her crouch. “I’ve felt them. On an island much like Haven.”
The tree strained forward. Espen swiped the earth blank and wrote, “Don’t know.”
Senna glared at the trembling tree. “You know something.” If Senna didn’t know better, she’d think Espen was afraid.
“Impossible,” the Dark Witch wrote.
“What’s impossible?”
Espen didn’t answer for a long time. Finally, she wrote, “Calden. Lilette.”
Senna stared at the unfamiliar words. “What do they mean?”
Espen lifted a shaking branch. “Fulfill bargain first.”
So Espen wouldn’t tell Senna anymore until she came before her. “Please,” Senna couldn’t help but ask.
Espen made no answer.
Take me home.
In the space of a handful of heartbeats, the wind carried her across the ocean, back to the room where Joshen sat waiting for her. Senna took a gasping breath.
Joshen started. “Did it work? What does Espen want as payment?”
Senna stared at him, her eyes moist. “She wants me to kill her.”
 Witch Born Links:


  1. Wait a second. Where's my copy in the mail? I better make sure there wasn't a shipping error.

    Happy release day! :)

  1. That would be tragic . . .

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