Author: E. Paige Burks
Book title: Return to Gexalatia
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publish date: March 10, 2019
Nyx Estrella, a girl who thought she was from Earth, has finally made it to Gexalatia. She thought she was prepared, but Gexalatia is much more foreign and dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Jet, her teacher and bodyguard, fights to keep her safe from monsters and more of King Paraximus’ forces, who want to see both of them dead.
Led by a vicious warrior named Savra, a group of Paraximus’ elite soldiers are after them, following them from the Limen into the Abjure forest. Jet thought dealing with his former comrades wouldn’t be hard, but Savra poses a challenge to him in more ways than one, including old feelings for her that he can’t seem to let go of.
Meanwhile, in Ymber, the manor of Sorona is attacked. Two young girls, Ellie and Bailey Atturon, escape the wreckage, pursued by Paraximus’ minions for their power of sight, the Visus. They flee into the wilderness, protected by their adopted brother, Raphael, but they soon realize they’re no match for Paraximus’ most deadly creatures, the werewolf-like atrox.
Separated from her brother and sister, Ellie must find a way to escape and get back to Ymber. She must find a way to reach Regius Carmen. She soon finds herself embroiled with a group of dragon riders from Fornax, the land of the dragons. They, too, need to see Liana, and offer to take her with them.
Their journeys are long and dangerous, and no one knows if they will live to reach the safety of Regius Carmen, and Liana’s help.
“We’re under attack!”
A shadow appeared overhead, more arrows raining down onto the deck. Gannon barely had time to duck behind cover, feeling the wind of an arrow as it whizzed past him.
“Man the cannons!” the captain barked. He pointed to two men as they stumbled from the crew quarters. “Put out the fire! We can’t lose the sails!”
Gannon jumped to his feet, helping a crewmate push a cannon into firing position. Men were scrambling to arm themselves with water pails and load cannons, but they were no match as another shadow fell to the deck with a crash. The wood groaned, the sound of monstrous claws digging into it permeating the bedlam.
Gannon was frozen as he looked up to see a massive red dragon. It roared, sending flames across the deck. An easy flick of its tail sent a handful of men across the railing and into the waters below. A rider aimed a bow toward Gannon’s shipmates, felling them with each draw of the bowstring.
Gannon struggled to turn the cannon as the man beside him was struck in the chest. Gannon knew the shot had pierced his heart as he collapsed to the deck, his eyes unseeing. Panic and fury was filling the boatswain, but it wasn’t enough as sharp pain exploded across his back, shoving him to his knees. He looked up, feeling dismayed as he realized there were more of the flying beasts, and more riders raining arrows down on them.
The ship was soon alight with fire, the blue dragon below trumpeting and twisting, trying to free itself from its prison. It crashed heavily against the bars, its cries desperate. It was answered by the shadows of dragons overhead, a small green-scaled one suddenly swooping down to allow a man to leap from its back. The man raced toward the bars sealing the hold, using a blast of magic from his hand to break the lock before throwing the door open. He whooped and whistled, the green dragon sweeping back down to catch him.
Gannon gasped as a flash of blue streaked from the darkness, twisting from the flames that were consuming the ship. It twirled as it flapped its wings, causing the fire to twist around its bright blue body, as it rose into the sky. It was beautiful, and its call of freedom was deafening as it joined the others of its kind in the sky.
The red dragon arched its neck, sending a final blast of fire across the deck. Gannon could hear the cries of his mates as the flames licked at powder kegs and he scrambled to his feet, a sudden blast sending him hard into the dark waters below.
E. Paige Burks is an award-winning author, as well as a graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Communication and Journalism. When she is not writing fantasy and love stories, she enjoys Mexican food, singing out loud, cuddling with her cats, and taking long naps. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son, their dogs, cats, and a single bird named Ricki. Her book, Return to Royalty, won the 2016 Author U Draft to Dream Award in the Young Adult category, the 2017 Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards in the fantasy category, and was a finalist in the 2017 Best Book Awards.