Out of the Shadows
Ashlee Nicole Bye
Genre: Mature YA/NA Contemporary
Publisher: Huntuzie Press
Date of Publication: 11 April 2017
Word Count: 106,000 approx
Cover Artist: James @Go On Write
Tagline: Nobody ever said dying would be easy
From the streets of Melbourne to the bowels of Westminster, the delicate balance between life and death that is so painstakingly maintained by the Reapers of The Order of Dark and Light is being tested by the return of an ancient threat. Tensions are rising within the hidden world of The Shadowlands and if this threat is not contained war will be inevitable. And the destruction of the human world is bound to follow in its wake.
Amidst this tension, eighteen year-old Sachi Manning is struggling to cope with the grief and guilt that has plagued her ever since her best friend was murdered six months earlier—that is, until she spots him seemingly alive and well and being held at scythe point by a hooded figure who looks more like a GQ model than the Grim Reaper.
Sachi shouldn’t be able to see through the glamours that shield Shadowlanders from the human world, so the Reaper in question wants some answers. And so begins the craziest couple of weeks of Sachi’s life as she is drawn into a world of mysteries, magic, monsters, and mayhem, encountering dragons, Faeries, soul-sucking Demons, not-so-grim Reapers, and even the Horseman of Death.
With a mix of heart, humour and hair-raising action, Out of the Shadows is the adventure of an after-lifetime, perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Kresley Cole.
EXCERPT TWO (Scene from Chapter 17)
A dragon. A freaking dragon! Even through her pounding heart, the artist in Sachi couldn’t help appreciating the creature’s beauty. It was enormous, reptilian, and winged, with gleaming obsidian scales tinged with flashes of electric blue. As it studied her, one of its forelegs began to stamp, making the timber fences on either side of the laneway rattle. Smoke furled out from its nostrils and when it stretched its wings Sachi gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. In the narrow laneway, it wasn’t able to expand its wings to their full span of what Sachi assumed had to be at least twenty metres, but instead flexed them upwards—a gesture Sachi was sure was meant for intimidation purposes. And it was working. She was completely frozen in place, her body ignoring every single one of the flight response commands being sent by her brain.
The dragon folded its wings back down and began creeping toward Sachi, smoke billowing from its nostrils. As it got to about five metres away, it reared up and let out a burst of flame. Sachi just barely managed to duck before the flames passed over her head.
Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god. I’m gonna be eaten by a dragon!
She scampered back as far as she could get, knowing it wouldn’t be much good. What was she going to do? No one was home, and even if they were she wouldn’t want Nikko and Ella out here, it would be just as dangerous for them. Maybe she could call the fire brigade? At least they had flame retardant suits… Yeah, she could see that call right now:
‘Triple zero, what’s your emergency?’
‘A ***ing dragon’s trying to kill me!’
Yep, she’d probably be fined for wasting the valuable time and resources of Melbourne’s emergency services. And then the phone call would end up on one of those reality shows: World’s Craziest Emercency Calls. So, triple zero wasn’t an option. She was going to die, burnt to a crisp by this dragon, and on her tombstone it would say She shouldn’t have opened the gate.
The dragon reared up for another attack, but it never came. Instead, a familiar figure appeared out of the shadows, brandishing a sword and beating the dragon back, away from Sachi.
Sachi watched, awestruck, as Griffin gracefully dodged and ducked the dragon’s fire and weaved around its snapping jaws and thrashing claws before finally thrusting his sword through its stomach. The dragon reared up with an agonised roar and Griffin yanked the sword out, only to thrust it in once more, this time through the dragon’s heart. The creature slumped to the ground with a thud that merited a Richter scale reading.
Griffin spun around to face Sachi, looking like a freaking knight. He was wearing that cape thing again, and now she was seeing him up close she could tell the black long-sleeved top she’d seen him in that first night at The Veil was actually made out of gleaming onyx chainmail. It was all very medieval-chic.
‘Good thing it was only a baby,’ he said.
‘That’s a baby?’ Sachi squeaked.
‘Ay—near grown, yes, but still a hatchling. An adult would not have hesitated to kill you, love. Not very fond of humans, dragons.’
‘On account of all the hunting—your Saint George and his ilk nearly drove them to extinction.’
Sachi had never considered the situation like that. Of course, up until twenty minutes ago she hadn’t even known dragons were real, but now that she did she found she was sorry this one was dead. Naturally, in a choice between her life and the dragon’s she would choose her own, but nevertheless, she was sorry.
She looked at the dragon’s body, with those beautiful obsidian scales. ‘It sounds stupid, but I kinda wish you hadn’t killed it.’
Sachi snapped her gaze back to Griffin to find him studying her curiously, sword hanging by his side in a loose grip. It was an interesting weapon: thin and slightly curved. It looked like it had been stolen from Jack Sparrow. ‘What?’
‘Only two things can kill a creature of The Shadowlands—Celestial fire and beheading. The blow to his heart has stunned him, however, so we have a few moments.’
Sachi’s head was spinning. ‘A few moments for what?’
He ran his eyes carefully over her face. ‘Do you trust me, love?’
Well, that was a loaded question if she’d ever heard one. He had saved her life, yes, but something about him warned her to stay on her guard. After considering the situation, she shook her head. ‘I’m grateful you saved my life and everything, but no, sorry, I don’t trust you.’
Griffin’s eyes flashed, the corner of his mouth turning up with amusement. ‘Smart girl.’
And then all Sachi could feel was a cold, icy fire as Griffin’s sword tore through her chest, burying itself in her heart.
About the Author:
Ashlee Nicole Bye is a self-confessed bibliophile, sports fan and music lover. She also writes sometimes—when she’s not busy mastering the art of procrastination, that is. She writes mainly Fantasy, mainly Young Adult, although some of her current works in progress have seen her step firmly outside her comfort zone.
Her first novel is OUT OF THE SHADOWS, a mature young adult contemporary fantasy set in her beloved home town of Melbourne. It is the first installment in the five-book series, SHADOWLANDS, and will be released on Kindle on April 11, with paperback to follow shortly after.