Tuesday, November 11, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Seth Z. Herman "The Guardian Lineage"


Life is about to change for fifteen-year-old Mike Prior. He’s to become a Guardian, a protector of the gargoyle clans. With all the promise of sorcery, kinetic powers, and magical-dueling, the new gig sounds awesome, for sure.
Except for a few minor details.
First, his ex-girlfriend. Seems she's trying to kill him. A shame, considering how well things had been going.
Second, he’s heard a rumor about a spy in the clan, and everyone thinks it’s him. Clearing things up is definitely a priority.
Finally, this war that’s apparently been brewing. Seems like the Black Brethren think Mike’s own power is the best way to touch off an inter-species Armageddon, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.
Mike’s been dropped into a web of assassins, spies, and necromancers, and no one’s even told him the rules. And as much as he’d like to sit back and hone his flamethrowing, he’s got to figure things out, and quick.
Because if the Brethren don’t get to him, his closest friends just might.
Growing up with a strange combination of Clancy, Crichton, Tolkien, and Rowling probably gave birth to Seth Z. Herman’s YA/fantasy/thriller style of writing. Seth hails from Queens, New York, where he grew up as an (admittedly sheltered) Orthodox Jew. A lifetime of experiences later, he now lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two children, where he poses as a rabbi teaching Judaic studies at an American post-high-school seminary.
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Chapter One
Mike Prior hated it when his girlfriend kicked his butt.
The wind left his lungs as a sharp kick nailed him in the chest. He stumbled backwards, surprised, his bare feet grasping for footing on the carpet. Another roundhouse came, this time aimed at his temple. Mike ducked underneath it. He slipped a hand out of his karategi-sleeve and grabbed Laura’s arm to pin her down, but she was too quick. In one fluid motion, she grasped his arm and flipped him onto his back.
Mike rolled left and handsprang to his feet. Cheering filled his ears. Laura took a shot at his torso, but he knocked it aside and countered with a similar jab. Then, after a few seconds of punch-counterpunch, Mike landed a shot on Laura’s stomach. She lurched forward, eyes squinted and mouth open in a stunned expression of pain.
He hesitated. This was just something she’d goaded him into, so the kids could see some real—
Just like that, he was on the floor. Laura slipped a foot inside Mike’s leg and pushed him backwards, landing Mike right on his back. She crouched down and held a fist-blade at his neck.
“Yield,” she said, breathing heavily.
Mike swore in his head. You filthy, cheating, insanely-gorgeous sleazeball…
The crowd erupted into boisterous applause. Mike glanced at the twenty-odd students who’d stuck around the dojo to watch the fight, all of them clapping and gesturing wildly.
He smirked. There hadn’t been a single eight-year-old pulling for him.
Laura removed her sparring gloves and offered a hand. Mike took it, noticing her sweaty palm, then brushed off his karategi and tightened his green belt. Laura did likewise. The two turned to each other, bowed, then did the same to the kids.
“Okay, everybody,” Laura called with a hint of swagger in her voice. “Same time next week…”
Mike let Laura’s wrapup fade into the background as he made for his gym bag, muttering under his breath. He’d had her… but no, he had to hesitate like that… he shook his head. Four in a row! How could he lose four in a row to her? He was faster, stronger, much better look—okay, not true, but hey, it was close…
“Excuse me, who’s in charge here?”
Mike turned to see a middle-aged man peering at him from behind a pointed nose and thin-rimmed glasses. He was wearing a three-piece suit, which must’ve been brutal in the July heat. Out of the corner of his eye, Mike saw Laura shoot him a playful grin and slide out of the way.
Are you kidding me, woman? Mike thought. I will kill you for this…
Resigned to his fate, Mike turned with hands on his hips, still breathing heavily. “That would be me.”
The guy looked Mike up and down, then raised an eyebrow. “And how old are you?”
“Uh, sorry, Jon Miller’s the sensei around here, he’ll be back tomorrow.”
“Just answer the question, kid.”
Mike blinked. Well. Somebody tied his Brooks Brothers a little too tight.
“I’m fifteen.”
“I see.” The man’s gaze swept the dojo. He looked bored. One of the karate students at the door called for him – Jamison, a sweet kid, if nothing more than a punching bag – but the man didn’t acknowledge. “And what’s your name?” he said to Mike while still looking backwards.
“Mike Prior. Is there anything you need me to—”
The guy snapped to attention. “Wait, what was that? What did you say your name was?”
“Uh, Michael Prior. Do I—”
“No, not at all,” the man said quickly, nodding and staring at Mike like he was a specimen or something. “Nice bout, kid.” And with that, the man turned and headed for the door, taking his son’s hand as he left.
Mike’s first thought was, okay, that was weird. But then something caught his eye. There was someone staring at him, through the window, from across the parking lot. Some dude in a t-shirt and shorts. Eyes squinted, mouth open, phone to his ear. As if he’d just found something he’d been looking for…
Mike froze.


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