Read Online Books/Novels:
The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
You Don’t Choose The Academy. The Academy Chooses You.
I had no idea how those words would change my life. Or how they’d changed my life already…
Until the day the most dangerous man I’ve ever met waltzed onto my farm and left us a death sentence.
In an invitation.
My younger brother has been chosen for the prestigious, secret magical school hidden within the folds of our mundane world. A place so dangerous, they don’t guarantee you’ll make it out alive.
If he doesn’t go our entire family will be killed.
It’s the same invitation my older brother received three years ago—the same place he mysteriously died.
The academy has already killed one sibling. I’ll be damned if they take another.
I do the only thing an older sister can: chop off my hair, strap on two bras to flatten the girls, and take my brother’s place.
Magic and monsters are real. Assassins are coming for me, and the dead are prone to rise. What’s a girl faking it as a boy supposed to do? That’s right—beat the academy at its own game.
Or die trying.
Shadowspell Academy Book 1 and Shadowspell Academy Book 2 end with a cliffhanger.
|Books in Series:|
|Books by Author:|
“Damn it, Wild, hold her tight or she’s going to gore me!”
“Easier said…than done…old man…” I labored to hold on as Bluebell, our fifteen-hundred-pound longhorn, tried to swing her great head around and get a look at my dad, who was sewing up a gaping hole in her side. She’d had a run in with Whiskers, our massive bull, unfortunately named by my sister when she was younger. Whiskers wasn’t known for being easy on the ladies. He was probably still pissed about the name. “She’s in a really…really…” I flexed my hands around the smooth horn, cursing under my breath as my fingers slid closer to the tip. “Bad mood!”
I barely heard him huff out a laugh.
I gritted my teeth and dug my heels into the loose soil, pushing against the metal of our makeshift chute for leverage. The ramshackle affair groaned and crackled. Bluebell stomped her foot in impatience or maybe pain, and a splatter of mud flew up and slapped my face. The glop of rank-smelling muck slid over the corner of my mouth and infiltrated my lips before I could close them. I fought not to gag, settled for spitting to the side and tried not to taste what had just landed on my tongue.
Much as I loved being a farm girl, moments like these made me wish for a house in the city. Houston. Dallas. Anywhere in Texas but the great nowhere I called home, a quarter mile from the nearest neighbor and a tiny town five miles beyond that. The moment was fleeting, and I spat again, clearing the last of the sludge from my mouth.
That had better be mud…
I craned my neck to get a view of my dad.
“Johnson, you good?” I hollered.
His failing body had a harder and harder time keeping up each year, an open secret in our family. A cripple before his time, he couldn’t dance out of the way of a pissed off cow like he once had. Dad was in his mid-forties, but moved as if he were a hundred plus. But his hands were still steadier than anyone’s, though, when it came to stitching up the animals. . . assuming I could keep the cow’s big butts in our crappy cow chute, of course, something I wasn’t excelling at in that moment.
“Good,” he called out, strain in his voice. “Just slow going. Thick hide on our ol’ Bluebell, you know.”
Bluebell jerked to the side, dragging my feet through the mud. With a growl and a heave, I yanked her back to nearly straight and held on. The chute groaned and the weld closest to me began to open. If it broke free, we’d be wrestling with Bluebell in a whole new arena.
“Come on, you fat cow, stop fighting!” I growled, as frustrated as a woodpecker on an iron post.
She let out a bellow and jerked her head toward him again. My knee bashed into the metal panel and I yelped, barely keeping my grip on her horn. Bluebell shifted gears fast, slamming her shoulder into the panel and using it as leverage. Damn it, smart cows were going to be the end of me. The other end of the panel swung out and smacked my dad, sending him flying.
He yelled, and there was the distinct sound of a body hitting the mud.
I’m sure he hoped it was mud, at any rate.
“Tell me you didn’t break your neck!” I called out, breathing hard and pushing aside a sudden spike of anxiety. My knee throbbed, but I barely felt it over the worry. “Dad?”
There was a good five seconds that felt like a heck of a lot longer where he didn’t answer.
“I’m fine,” he grunt-laughed, and I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. His dark hair and ballcap slowly appeared above the cow’s shoulder again. “I didn’t see that one coming. One day, we’ll get a proper chute. One of those big head gates maybe.”
“We sure will. Just gotta start playing that lotto.”
“I keep telling you to get a ticket. With your luck, all our problems would be over.”
I laughed and pulled on Bluebell’s horn again, adjusting my grip. If only that were true, I’d scrounge up a few bucks and make the long trek into town tomorrow for a stack of tickets. Sadly, it was my older brother, Tommy, who’d always been the lucky one. Whole lot of good it had done him in the end.
A black cloud settled over me at that wayward thought, and grief, old but still raw, churned in my gut like soured milk. I shook my head to dislodge the heavy pallor and forced myself to focus on the task at hand. What had happened to Tommy was in the past. Too late to change it.
I bent my head and wiped the sweat from my face onto my upper arm. The end of summer in Texas was as hot as the devil’s thong and about as humid. The rain the night before hadn’t been any help to us.