Elizabeth Tanner has one goal: to find her mother in whatever dimension she’s imprisoned. But to do that, she has to face her estranged father, and to do that, she needs a shot of whiskey…or seven. But after an attempt on her life and the return of her lost love, she wakes up with one hell of a hangover and a whole barrage of questions.
Finn O’Connell doesn’t know why the Fianna want him to aid Elizabeth in her search, but he’ll take any excuse to be near her again. Together, they dive headlong into the shadows of her mother’s secrets and find themselves embroiled in a Fae rebellion that will test Finn’s loyalties and their love.
With the Faerie realm verging on chaos, Elizabeth and Finn will embark on a quest that will lead them from the streets of Chicago to London’s seedy Fae underground. But rescuing Elizabeth’s mother means journeying to a place Finn can’t follow, and Elizabeth is forced to make a choice between finding her at last or saving her own soul.
The Aisling Chronicles are best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Through the Veil
Book #2 Children of the Veil
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Children of the Veil
The Aisling Chronicles
By Colleen Halverson, Suzanne Evans
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Colleen Halverson
All rights reserved.
The whiskey nestled in my belly like a hibernating animal. Despite the blizzard raging outside, a trickle of sweat beaded on my forehead. The press of warm bodies slammed me against the bar, and the smell of patchouli and hipster BO filled my nostrils, the blast of retro 80s music echoing across the black walls of the club. I raised my shot glass into the air, and the bartender nodded with a sly wink, his hand palming a bottle of Jameson. A few drops of whiskey landed on my palm as he sloshed it into my glass before moving on to another customer. I licked the spicy alcohol off my hand and gave the side-eye to his weak pour.
Erika smiled at me as I threw back the shot. "Hitting it pretty hard tonight?" she shouted over the din of the club.
I winced, rubbing at the sweet ache in my chest. "I'm going to see my father tomorrow. Need to work up to it."
The synthesized ring of some one-hit wonder bled into my ear, the kaleidoscope lights flashing over the roving packs of revelers as they splashed beer on the chipped linoleum dance floor. A tangled mass of limbs moved in time with the pounding bass, and I blinked as the room dipped out of focus for a moment, the dancers turning into a writhing monster.
My heart skipped, my aisling powers flooding through my arms. I clenched my fists, letting the fizzy, electric-spark feeling subside. Maybe I should have stayed at home, but Erika had showed up at my doorstep, took one look at me, and dragged me out into civilization. Good thing, too, because tomorrow I planned to say good-bye to everything and hop on a bus to DC to find my dad. I could have used my powers to travel there, maybe save a few bucks in the process, but since returning from Tír na nÓg, I needed to get back to some sort of normal, even if normal meant doing shots with my best grad school pal, Erika.
I raised my hand in the air again, motioning to the bartender for another drink. Erika glanced at the tattoos lacing my wrists. She hadn't asked questions when I showed up on her doorstep a month ago. Just took one look at me standing shivering in the snow, ushered me into her living room, and offered me a beer. This is why I loved Erika. She took all comers.
She nudged my shoulder. "Are you sure you want to leave?"
Buzzed, I blurted out, "The bar?"
She laughed. "No. Grad school. The Celtic Studies Institute. It's a shame about what happened with Dr. Forrester, with the accident and all, but ..."
The accident. Somehow the Fianna had made the brutal attack on my advisor look like a fiery car crash, hiding all traces of the way the monstrous creature had pumped his body full of venom and torn him apart. I still hadn't visited his grave. I couldn't bring myself to.
As for The Celtic Studies Institute, I had only returned once to clean out my study space, pick up a few personal belongings, and make sure Candace, the intern, was all right. Someone mentioned she had transferred to another school, and she hadn't left a forwarding address. Erika was my last connection to St. Brendan's University, and the blunt pain of closing that chapter of my life felt raw and final. I once had so many dreams for my future, but they now lay crumpled with the rest of my papers and notes at the bottom of the recycling bin in the reading room of the Institute.
I waggled my fingers in the air, trying to make eye contact with the bartender. He had a lumberjack beard and a tattoo of a bicycle on his neck. Hot hippie heaven. He caught my stare and smiled, lifting his large hand in a gesture of patience. Those hands would feel good around my waist or palming my breasts. I bet he preferred the lights on, the amber beads around his neck tracing a seductive line down my abdomen as he settled his scruffy face between my legs. He was a giver. You could tell. The next day he would make me vegan pancakes with a side of kale and tofu scramble. My stomach rumbled, and I realized I hadn't eaten that day. Kale. Tofu. Didn't matter. Nothing tasted good anymore. Since the day I left Finn in that tower, all I wanted was the burn of whiskey on my tongue and a random warm body to replace the ache he left behind. I gripped the edge of the bar, a plan forming in my head about the most tactful way to ask the bartender when he would get off work.
I turned to Erika. "I'm done with Celtic Studies. No jobs there anyway." I cupped my hand on the top of my shot glass, creating suction before letting it clatter back to the bar. "I want to find out more about my mom."
Like figuring out which hidden dimension she's holed up in.
Night after night for the past month, I threw my energy out into the world, searching desperately through the astral plane for her spirit. I knew she still lived, but she certainly didn't exist in this reality.
She traced a snowflake design into the condensation on her pint glass. "Do you think you'll go to Ireland?"
Flashes of my last trip to Ireland flooded my brain. Carolan's death. Amergin's prisoner. My marriage to Bres. My throat tightened and a shudder of anxiety rushed through me. My hands gripped tight around the shot glass, and I thumped it on the bar, beating a sharp tattoo in rhythm with a Psychedelic Furs song. I had to get ahold of myself.
I spied the bartender on the other end of the bar now lost in conversation with a manic-pixie dream girl, her gossamer maxi dress billowing around her barstool in light green waves. Who the hell wears a maxi dress in a goddamn blizzard? She threw back her head and laughed at a joke the bartender made. They snickered, their heads almost knocking together.
I raised my hand to grab his attention. "Excuse me!"
The hipster looked up with a slight eye roll before returning with the bottle. "You sure you don't want to switch to something lighter, sweetheart?"
"You sure you don't want to mind your own business?" I slapped a five-dollar bill on the bar. "Sweetheart?" He poured the liquor and moved on, crumpling the money in his hand. I laughed to myself, saluting the back of my would-be boy toy for the evening.
Erika eyed me nervously.
I gave her a bright, placating smile. "Sure, maybe Ireland. We'll see."
Erika's fiancé John came back from the bathroom, and he brushed her arm and whispered something in her ear with a kiss. Then turning to me, he grinned, flashing a pair of dimples in his all-star quarterback face. "Cheers to you, Elizabeth. For having the good sense to get out of graduate school while you still can."
I laughed and we clinked our glasses. Throwing back the shot, I let out a spluttering gasp as the liquor stole my breath. Swallowing hard, I closed my eyes, letting the warmth bloom in my belly. When I opened my eyes again, it took a moment for the room to stop spinning. Blinking rapidly, I peered into the speckled mirror behind the bar. Through the pulsing shadows and shifting lights, a pair of steely eyes bore right through me. My heartbeat raced, a spark of longing taking flame deep in my core. I slammed my glass and whirled around.
I scanned the faces in the boiling mess of dancing forms, distorted and ghoulish in the black lights. I leaned against the bar, rubbing my forehead. Maybe it was a trick of the light. My subconscious piecing together his face because it was the only face I wanted to see in the reflection. I stared through the crowd, emptiness eating away my insides like napalm. The phantom ache seeped into my veins and down my arms, my hands clenching with the desire to touch Finn's smooth skin, run my hands through his silky hair. Instinctively, my hand slipped inside my coat pocket where I stowed the small volume of Yeats poetry he had given me. My fingers traced the leather binding, its presence near my heart reassuring. Shaking my head, I turned back to the bar.
"You guys need another drink?" I said absently.
I turned, expecting to see Erika and John, but they had left for the dance floor. Instead, perched on a stool sat a heavily pierced and tattooed punk rock dude with spiky blue hair. His eyes swept over me and he cracked a devilish smile.
"No, but I can buy you a drink," he said in an Irish accent, raising his hand for the bartender. "What are you having?"
"Um, Jameson," I mumbled, my brain fuzzy as I spied Erika and John whirling around, a peal of laughter escaping Erika's lips as John dipped her. I turned back to the blue-haired guy, memories of Finn still occupying my mind. With a deep breath, I shoved them back and focused on the punk rock hottie next to me.
"You're Irish?" I said.
"I am." He winked and pushed a shot into my hands. "And you're beautiful."
I snorted and slammed the whiskey, shuddering before setting the glass back on the bar. A wave of cheers swept through the club as the DJ put on "How Soon is Now?" Bodies flooded the dance floor, arms flying through the air as the familiar beat echoed against the low ceiling. Closing my eyes, the rhythm wrapped around my limbs, and I swayed in a fever, letting Morrissey's crooning voice wash over me.
A strong hand spread across my back, holding me upright. "Watch yourself!"
"What's your name?" I slurred in his ear as he pressed me against his chest.
"Kent." A wide smile cracked across his impish face. "And what do they call you, lovely?" His hand slipped over my hip, tracing an invisible oval up against my spine and down across my ass. I was far from caring about Mr. Grabby Hands at that point. If he could keep me from thinking about Finn for five minutes, he was a viable candidate for at least one evening.
Moving to the music, I traced the studs marking the lapels of his jacket, mumbling lyrics under my breath in reply.
A giggle escaped my lips, and I doubled over with laughter, my power tingling in my hands, the desire to travel, to move objects, to smash wards bubbling up inside me. The guitar riff blurred in and out, and a surge of energy rushed through my body. I needed release, the pain of holding it in overflowing through me.
Kent leaned in closer, his lips brushing against my ear. He smelled like clove cigarettes, whiskey, and man. "You wanna dance?"
Any Fae can dance.
I flung my arm around Kent's broad shoulders. "Yes!" But it sounded more like "Yesssh," which only made me laugh harder.
Pulling me out onto the dance floor, he placed his hands on my hips and I closed my eyes, moving with the beat. One of his hands swept across my shoulders, and I shivered, the press of his fingers guiding me where to go, bringing me in close to him until I could almost taste the alcohol on his breath. His hips brushed close to mine, and a hot spring of desire uncoiled in my abdomen, the music moving our bodies in perfect rhythm.
The song ended and Nine Inch Nails blasted in my ear. Kent's hands practically held me up, strong and capable. I could lose myself in those hands. Forget everything.
Erika danced over to me and whispered in my ear over the music, "He's cute."
"He'll do," I whispered back.
Kent disappeared for a minute and came back with a round of bright green shots for all of us. I slammed back the licorice-tasting alcohol and coughed, a wave of nausea rising in my throat.
"You okay?" Kent put a hand on my shoulder.
His words came from the end of a long dark tunnel, his face blurring in the strobe light.
"I ... I think I need to sit down," I said in a garbled string of consonants, my lips numb. I took a step toward the bar, but my feet tangled together. I stumbled, banging my knee on a table. Kent's arms propped me up, leading me across the dance floor. The world tilted out of focus, and before I knew it, the cold January night hit my face, a door clicking shut behind me. A stream of snowflakes spit through the glow of a single streetlight.
"What ... where ..." My mouth was full of cotton balls, and my back slammed against cold brick.
Warm lips pressed against mine, someone kissing me, a hand inching up beneath my shirt. Finn's face swam to the surface of my mind's eye, his eyes staring at me through the mirror. This felt wrong. Wrong hands, wrong mouth. Revulsion bubbled up in my stomach, and I broke off the kiss, trying to push Kent away, but my arms felt like concrete. My consciousness crumbled away, my knees buckling.
"It's too bad I have to kill you, aisling," Kent whispered huskily in my ear. "I would have liked to have played with you a little."
Aisling? Oh, right. That's me.
I tried to form the word "no," but darkness folded over my mind, leaving me paralyzed. Beneath the haze of too many shots, a burst of panic bolted through me. But my body felt buried under layers of a thick fog, pressing me deeper into a warm oblivion. Something cold and sharp trailed along my cheek, and my eyes fluttered open.
A knife. That's a knife.
The pain triggered me back to consciousness, the freezing wind filling my lungs.
"No!" I threw Kent back against the alley with a blast of energy.
He slammed into the wall with a cry of pain. My body spent, I crumpled to the ground, in the snow, trying feebly to crawl away, the stench of garbage making me gag. Kent's hands tangled in my hair, savagely pulling my head up to meet his gaze.
"Don't ..." But the word came out in the barest whisper.
A ring of steel and a scream echoed through the alley. Kent broke his hold, and I collapsed facedown in the snow, my nose burning from the icy sting. Blinking and shaking snowflakes from my eyelashes, I looked up to find Finn towering over us, his sword raised and dripping with blood.CHAPTER 2
Kent stared wide-eyed at the bloody stump of his wrist, his mouth opening and closing in a silent scream. His severed hand lay in the snow, the split nerves making the fingers twitch. Bright blood created rivulets in the pristine surface before the hand shriveled, turned to ash, and blew away in a gust of frost. Through alcohol and whatever Kent had slipped into my drink, my pickled brain cells put together the puzzle pieces. Kent wasn't human.
"Who are you?" Finn snarled, grabbing his collar. "Who sent you?"
Kent glowered up at Finn. "Fir Bolgs go Brách!"
Finn's eyes narrowed to dark slits. He released the creature and, with a flash of steel, his sword sliced through Kent's neck, blood spattering against the dumpster. His blue-haired head tumbled to the ground and settled against a pile of blackened slush. His dead eyes faced me, and I blinked as they turned black, his face becoming more angular, ears growing and turning pointy. Before my mind could fully understand what happened, Kent's head burst into a cloud of ash and sailed into the wind.
Finn hovered over me. "Are you all right?"
I meant to say, "Yes, I'm fine," but it came out in a gurgle of noises.
Finn sighed and lifted me up out of the snow bank, brushing flakes from my hair.
My legs buckled and he snatched me into his arms, my head lolling against his chest. I breathed in the smell of leather, fresh folded laundry, and that pure, manly scent of Finn-ness. God, I had missed him.
"Who ...?" I managed to say, the words feeling like caked mud in my mouth.
He didn't answer but slipped me into his car, and I sank onto the leather seat, darkness eating the edge of my sight. The purring engine lulled me into a daze, and I must have passed out, because the next thing I knew we were stumbling up the stairs to my apartment.
"I live here," I slurred.
"I know," Finn mumbled, his muscled arm propping me up. "Where are your keys?"
Snowflakes collected on the crown of his head, his eyebrows knitting together. The curve of his mouth filled my vision, and my fingers slipped over the soft skin, tracing the delicate cupid bow on his top lip. His face softened, multiple Finns swimming through the muted streetlight.
"Mmmmm ..." I murmured, running my hand against the side of his face, trying to keep from seeing double. "Stay still."
He gently placed his hand over mine. "Elizabeth, your keys. It's freezing out here."
I brought his palm next to my face, brushing my lips against his callused fingers. Need burned through my body, and I fell against his broad chest, covering his mouth with mine with a moan. For a moment, he kissed me back, his hands pressing firm against my shoulders. The falling snow tickled my neck, sending icy trails down my spine, and I pressed into him, seeking his warmth. He made a low sound in his throat.
Excerpted from Children of the Veil by Colleen Halverson, Suzanne Evans. Copyright © 2016 Colleen Halverson. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Children of the Veil is the second book in the Aisling Chronicles Series. The story picks up where the first one ended. My only complaint is that there was no lead in. With the number of books I read and the length of time between book 1 and book 2 I needed to go back and refresh my memory as to what had happen at the end of book 1. Now onto all the good stuff, the amazing storyline, and the wonderful characters. Elizabeth is searching for her mother. The mother who has never been around but gave her the part of her that is fae. She has to face her father, who is not such a great dad, and search through history to find out what has happen to her. Finn, Elizabeth’s boyfriend, is sometimes helpful and sometimes secretive. I understand that he is trying to protect her but it seems that every time he leaves her out of something or tries to be sneaky it backfires and Elizabeth is put in danger. The story is not a quick and easy story. There is a lot happening and a lot of different type’s to keep track of. The story is based on Irish mythology and is complex. This makes Children of the Veil a different feel that the other paranormal books I have read. You absolutely have to read the first book in this series before picking up this one. But they are both worth reading. Take the time, find a quiet spot and enjoy!
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.* Rating: Rave Review- 4/5 Stars I reviewed Through the Veil this week in anticipation of Children of the Veil’s release on Monday. You can find my Rave Review HERE. After the stunning conclusion of Through the Veil, the second book in the Aisling Chronicles, Children of the Veil, begins shortly after the events that took place at the end first novel. Elizabeth Tanner is back to her old routines, living like a broke college student and drinking her way through the days since she last saw Finn O’Connell. The binge drinking only last for the first chapter before Finn returns with no explanation to save Elizabeth’s life. As the granddaughter of the Fae King, Elizabeth has a target on her head. Even though she’s half human, Elizabeth is still considered the rightful heir to the throne because of her aisling powers. In the first book, we’re introduced to aislings, magical creatures who have the ability to open portals, move between realms, and are basically travelers with additional gifts such as telekinesis. At one point, Elizabeth conjures up her magic and hits someone with a ball of light that reminded me of what Sookie did in the TV show, True Blood. In fact, a lot of things in this series have somewhat reminded me of the True Blood books and TV show mashed together with a lot of Irish mythology. That’s also what I loved about these books. Lovers of Irish mythology, you will appreciate the world Haleverson has created that’s somewhat true to the legends we all know and love, including some of the same gods and heroes, with a different spin on history. To fully understand the world building and how the human world and magical realms connect, you will need to read the first book in the series because the story is very complex, especially in terms of the mythology. In Children of the Veil, Elizabeth and Finn set off on another mission to find Elizabeth’s mother who was presumed dead until Elizabeth learns there’s a possibility she might be alive at the end of the first novel. From the start of the series, everything has revolved around Elizabeth’s mother and her betrayal of her family and her people. Elizabeth doesn’t know what to believe when it comes to her mother, the woman who abandoned her after giving birth, and especially not when the information comes from her father, a man who has never shown her an ounce of love. The nature of her mother and father’s relationship is revealed in this book. It explains why her father has been so detached her entire life. But Elizabeth has enough to worry about, like saving her people from being thrown out of their realm, potentially losing Finn, and the possible loss of her soul. All of the romance from the first book is present in the sequel, with Elizabeth and Finn sneaking around to be with each other because Fae and Fianna are not allowed to be together. The consequence of Finn, who is a Fianna warrior, and Elizabeth, a Fae Princess, dating is death because of a contract that was signed between the two races. I expected Finn and Elizabeth to keep more of a distance from each other because of this but they seemed more determined to break the law, no matter what the cost. I recommend this series to anyone who likes YA and NA fantasy and isn’t scared off by a little romance.
Another touching piece in this incredible story! Colleen Halverson was able to not only do as well but BETTER than the first installment in the Aisling Chronicles. Picking up right where the story left off you are immediately thrust back into this magical situation, the veil of our world that OTHER. The love, the adventure and all the new twists put into the series completely kept me on my toes. I LOVED every moment of Children of the Veil-- I am throughly looking forward to what comes next!
Children of the Veil, Colleen Halverson Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Fantasy & Paranormal, Romance Well, wow, this is such a brilliant series. I’d read the sample of book one before requesting this, and when I was accepted I bought book one and read that first. Don’t be tempted to read this without book one, you'll miss so much and will find the storyline so difficult to follow I think. You can miss books in some sereis but not here, there’s so much going on and its hard to know who to trust, who’s telling the truth especially when we get another persons views of what actually happened – that can change the way we feel about events and it happens a few times here. Really keeps the reader on their toes!! Its hard to believe that Through the Veil was Colleen’s debut novel, it's so well written, so polished, and flows seamlessly despite covering some serious issues, and of course travelling back and forth from world to world. That can make books really confusing to read but its done so well here I could feel myself wherever Elizabeth was. It felt Real to me and that's my line, my marker for a good read. A five star one, even if its fantasy etc has to feel that if that ( whatever the fantasy/paranormal part is) were possible these events could happen. Of course its published under the Entangled banner, I’ve bought many books and had lots of ARCs from them and I know they’ll deliver a story I can get lost in, without getting confused over bad editing and missing/disappearing story/plot lines. You know – when some parts that feel major are brought in lots of times then fizzle out to nothing. Or a plot gets so convoluted it no longer makes sense. Gah! None of that here thankfully :-) After the end of the last book I was gutted for Elizabeth, the connection between her and Finn was so solid I thought, so fated it was like they were twin souls, and yet he really let her down. Heart breaking. Now they’re apart she’s not dealing with it well, left uni, out drinking and trying to lose herself in others every night. When the whole story came out I sort of understood why he did what he did but....for Elizabeth I was so upset, and I could feel her pain, feel how let down, betrayed she felt. Finn though has got hundreds of years of Fianna behind him, of obeying orders, toeing the line so he was in a hard place. We like to think love wins but sometimes the barriers are just too much. Or are they? Can Finn find a way forward? He’s desperate to be near her again, in whatever way he can, and when his task is to find her mother, it allies with what she’s decided to do anyway, so they team up, somewhat reluctantly on her part. Its a journey fraught with terror, betrayals, unwelcome surprises, that jumps from world to world, that uncovers secrets held at the highest levels in both worlds and that bring Finn and Elizabeth into danger again and again. I loved it, loved the way Elizabeth did what was right – well, what felt right to her morally, regardless of the dangers. Finn needed that, needed to remember how to think for himself after so many years of being told what to do by Amergin ( Ah – I Hate that guy!). I can see why things were set up that way but its centuries on now, its not fair to only a few people, and time is ripe for change. Elizabeth's actions seem to be paving the way even though she’s only acting according to her conscience. I love the way she’s growing into her powers, love the way