Fiery Edge of Steel (A NOON ONYX NOVEL)

Praise for

 

DARK LIGHT OF DAY

“A spectacular debut novel.”

—Faith Hunter,
USA Today
bestselling author

“A great debut from the urban fantasy world. Ms. Archer is now down on my ‘never miss’ author list.”


Night Owl Reviews

“A fascinating story line . . . Archer has created a dark world that will grab your attention from the very start.”


The Reading Cafe

“[A] well-written and fast-paced urban fantasy with unique characters and a multilayered plot.”


A Dream Within a Dream

“There is a fresh new voice in urban fantasy, and she has a unique take on Armageddon . . . With her unusual heroine, Noon Onyx, Archer has created a brilliant character who struggles against fate to find her place in the world. Set against the backdrop of university life, there is an abundance of adventure, mystery, and passion!”


RT Book Reviews
(4 stars)

Ace Books by Jill Archer

 

DARK LIGHT OF DAY

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

 

JILL ARCHER

 

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

 

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group, visit penguin.com.

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

An Ace Book / published by arrangement with Black Willow, LLC

Copyright © 2013 by Black Willow, LLC.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-62388-6

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Ace mass-market edition / June 2013

Cover art by Jason Chan.

Cover design by Lesley Worrell.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Acknowledgments

 

In writing this book, I was inspired by a number of things, among them an old French imposter case, two children’s songs, and a fairy tale. Chapter 8 includes portions of the international student hymn “Gaudeamus Igitur,” chapter 17 includes a traditional Irish toast, and chapter 18 includes portions of John Milton’s “On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough.”

Continued thanks to my agent, Lois Winston, for her timely advice and never-ending encouragement. To my editor, Jessica Wade, for her insightful comments and astute suggestions. It’s great to work with someone who knows your characters almost as well as you do and who always has their best interests at heart.

To the rest of the team at Ace: Brad Brownson, my publicist; Michelle Kasper, production editor; Mary Pell, copy editor; Jesse Feldman, assistant editor; Lesley Worrell, art director; and cover artist Jason Chan—thank you! There are myriad things that need to be done behind the scenes to produce a quality novel, and I am grateful to have had help with all of it.

Thank you to Joan Havens for assisting me with the Latin phrases again. This time, I modified one of the loose translations to fit the story. Any and all errors of interpretation are mine.

A big, huge thanks to my family and friends, who support me in ways too numerous to list. Without you, this book would not have been possible.

And, finally, to my readers, thank you for choosing to read
Fiery Edge of Steel
. I hope you enjoy it!

Contents

 

Title Page

Copyright

Acknowledgments

 

PART I

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

 

PART II

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

I

 

A woman knows the face of the man she loves like a sailor knows the open sea.

—HONORÉ DE BALZAC

Chapter 1

I
n pre-Apocalyptic times humans stoned their criminals to death by throwing rocks, sharp pieces of metal, and other debris at the wrongdoer until they were so bloody and beaten, death was inevitable. It was said that, until jaws were broken or skulls were smashed, all wrongdoers cried for it to end.

Everyone got their wish.

Stoning demons is impossible, of course. Trying to kill a demon by throwing rocks at it would be like trying to take down an alligator by blowing soap bubbles at it. So, in modern times, public executions call for a
Carne Vale
—a “farewell to the flesh” ceremony where waning magic is thrown instead of stones. The practice is even more brutal than its ancient counterpart, but just as cowardly.

Other books

Remote Control by Andy McNab
An Elderberry Fall by Ruth P. Watson
Tempting the Heiress by Barbara Pierce
Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum
The Compound by Claire Thompson
Between Friends by Amos Oz