Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cover Reveal of Elizabeth Kirke's Next Addition to the More Than Magic Series: Snowbound

We are so excited here at R&M to bring you the cover reveal for the next book in author Elizabeth Kirke’s More Than Magic Series!  We are anxiously awaiting the release of this book and hope that you are as well!  So without further ado, we give you the cover for the next novel Snow Bound!





To celebrate this fantastic reveal Elizabeth has included some bonus material to whet your appetite until the release, so please read on as there is a blurb for the book as well as an excerpt! 

Blurb:

After learning how to use magic and fighting vampires, anyone would be bored going back to normal college life. As if that wasn't enough, Jen didn't realize how hard it would be to tiptoe around her non-magic family and friends. She can’t even talk to her familiar, Rak, without making sure nobody else is around! Worst of all, Jen misses the friends she made over the summer. Aside from Rak, they’re the only other magics she knows and she hasn't seen them in almost five months!

Jen is all too happy to accept an invitation to go skiing with the
gang. She gears up for two weeks of snow, magic, and fun. Just when everything seems to be going great, an uninvited guest turns up and soon skiers aren't the only things going downhill. Jen thought that vampires were just about the most dangerous thing the magical world could throw at her. But, she’s about to learn that  people with no magic at all can be just as deadly... 


And a brief excerpt from Chapter 1!

It was almost beautiful. The pines lining the sides of the road were
covered in snow and when the bus slowed down I could almost see each
needle encased in ice. In fact, it had been beautiful. Four hours ago.
The only thing that had changed about the landscape since I'd boarded
the bus from the airport was the color of the snow. The sun was just
starting to set and now everything was green and slightly pink,
instead of green and white. I shifted my weight and tried to stretch
my legs.

"Seventeen minutes to Winter Valley," Bill called.

Bill was the bus driver. He was turning sixty-one in March and had
been driving the bus between the airport and Winter Valley Ski Resort
for almost forty years. He also, I had learned, was a very talkative,
overly-friendly man. There were four other people on the bus with me
and none of us had gotten a word in over Bill's life story.

"How's your panther, Sailor?" Bill asked with a laugh. He also thought
he had a great sense of humor and had given everyone on the bus a
nickname. Mine, thanks to the sweatshirt I was wearing, was Sailor.

I looked into the cat carrier next to me. All I could see was a ball
of black fur. To be fair, Rak was on the large side for a cat.

"He's fine! Thanks, Bill."

The fur moved and I caught sight of a bright yellow eye. "Actually,
his tail is cramping and he's hungry," Rak said.

Nobody else on the bus could hear him, so he spoke at a normal volume.
I had to cover my mouth with my hand to hide my reply. "It was the
biggest one I found that I could carry-on the plane.”

Rak sighed and shifted his weight again. "I could have stayed home."

"With Emily?"

He hissed in disdain. My little half-sister was fond of stuffing him
into dresses.

"Besides, we've only been bonded since August. If I'm going to live on
campus next semester I want to spend as much time with you as
possible," I added.

He purred in agreement and I leaned back against the window. If
someone six months ago had told me where my life was heading I would
have thought they were crazy. I had spent the summer studying abroad
on a cruise ship. In fact, the sweatshirt that had earned me Bill's
nickname was a souvenir from the trip. By sheer dumb luck I had been
in the right place at the right time and had met a few students who
weren't exactly human. They were magical beings and, much to my
surprise, I was one too. Specifically: a witch. My parents were
non-magics and I had gone the first twenty-one years of my life
without even knowing that magic existed. Once they realized what I
was, I became good friends with all five of them. Then, just when I
thought my summer couldn't get any more incredible, I had arrived home
to find my familiar waiting for me.

"You should probably call Thomas to let him know we're almost there," Rak said.

I pulled out my phone and frowned at the lack of bars. "No service."

"Maybe that's why he didn't answer before."

I groaned and put my phone back in my purse, spotting my wand as I
did. I had called Thomas as soon my plane landed, but had had to leave
a voice mail. If he didn't get service up here either, there was a
good chance I'd end up stranded at the bus stop. Then again, there
were worse situations to be in than stuck at a ski lodge. I stretched
again and settled back to watch the darkening landscape fly by. Now
that I was minutes away - I hoped - from seeing my friends again I
could feel the excitement building. We had all kept in touch with
email, but this would be the first time I had seen any of them since
we had gotten off of the ship back in August. I couldn't wait to spend
the next two weeks with them.

But it wasn't just the prospect of seeing them again that had me
excited. They were the only magics I had ever really spent time with.
Now that I knew what to look for, I had seen a few here and there, but
I hadn't gotten a chance to talk with them. There was also the fact
that I lived with my step-mother and Emily. They were both non-magics
which meant it was illegal to tell them anything about my new life.
That itself was frustrating, even though I had been prepared for it.
What I hadn't expected, was just how much trouble it would be.
Non-magics couldn't hear Rak's voice, so he was free to talk to me
whenever he wanted, but I couldn't always reply. We'd figured out a
simple system of gestures that I could use when nobody was looking,
but it was still frustrating to not be able to talk to him whenever
Rachel or Emily were around. Fortunately, over the past few weeks our
bond had strengthened to the point where we could sense each other's
emotions from time to time. It was still faint, but it had started to
make our stealth conversations easier. Poor Rak had it harder than I
did. He had to periodically use the litter box to keep Rachel from
getting suspicious; despite the fact that she usually asked me to
clean it. Although he grudgingly admitted that it was nice to have a
litter box around if someone left the toilet lid down. But the litter
box charade wasn’t his only problem. Since he was just as intelligent
as a human, he often had to do cat-like things so that he wouldn't
seem overly smart. We were both looking forward to spending some time
alone with other magics, which was something we'd never gotten to do
together.

Even as my excitement grew, there was still one dark cloud. Shannon.
Shannon was my best friend and cousin. We had grown up together and
hadn’t ever really been apart until college. Even then, we had spent
all of our vacations and most of our weekends visiting each other.
This summer had been the first time we had split up. We had calculated
that it was the longest single stretch of time that we had been apart
since we were little kids. We kept telling ourselves that we’d have
winter break…yet here I was. Luckily, she’d gotten an invitation to go
skiing in Colorado with her roommate and other college friends. As
much as I wanted to see my friends again, if Shannon hadn’t been able
to make plans I probably wouldn’t have left her. I certainly wouldn’t
have gone for two weeks.  But I still felt bad that we weren’t
spending winter break together and I knew that she did too. I also
still felt guilty that I had had to lie to her about most of my summer
adventures or at least downplay them. Even though I was hoping to
experience some new magical things on this trip, I’d have to lie about
those to her too.

That, I supposed, was something I’d just have to get used to as a
magic. I tried to turn my thoughts back to how exciting it would be to
see everybody again. It worked, but I started to feel a nervous knot
forming in my stomach as the minutes ticked by. As much as I was
looking forward to seeing Thomas again, I was worried about it too. I
had developed a massive crush on him over the summer and half-way
through the trip he had kissed me. Then he had never mentioned it
again. Just to make things more complicated, the kiss had happened
while there was a very good chance that a vampire was about to kill us
both. Given the situation, the reasons behind the kiss were that much
harder to analyze. As if that wasn't enough, everyone else insisted
that Thomas did like me; he just moved slow. It didn't make me feel
any better.

Suddenly, the trees parted and we were out of the seemingly endless
forest. The bus pulled into a large parking lot covered in road salt.
We drove past a row of small shops and stopped by a little glass
shelter.

"Well, we're here," Bill announced. He waited patiently as everyone
got off of the bus and then started pointing out the sights. "Down the
street there is a grocery store, a great shop that will fulfill all of
your winter sports needs, a pizza place; Don is a good friend of mine,
the food is great, and the rental agency for the cabins is over there.
The lodge is up those stairs there; do be careful, there’s usually
ice. Gear rental is on the other side with the slopes. And the hotel
is that large building there!"

When the bus was unloaded, three of the people I had been with went
straight for the hotel and the fourth started for the shops. Bill
helped a new group load their suitcases onto the bus and soon I found
myself standing by the shelter. I had my suitcase on one side, Rak's
carrier on the other, and my skis resting against my shoulder. I
checked my phone again but still had no bars.

"You know where you're off to, Sailor?" Bill asked.

"I'm being picked up."

"I'd be happy to wait with you…but I do have to get back to the
airport on time." He glanced at the bus and the people settling down
inside.

"Go on ahead, I'll be fine. Thank you for driving me."

Bill beamed. "Not a problem! I'll be back to take you down again. Two
weeks right?" I nodded. "See you then, Sailor!" He bent down and
waggled his fingers at Rak's carrier. "Bye, Panther!"

"Bye, Bill!"

Rak muttered a goodbye as well and then it was just us. I made sure
that there weren't any non-magics close enough to see, and then
slipped my wand out of my purse.

"Mar," I whispered, casting a spell to give me night vision and warm
me up. My night vision would have been stronger and I would have been
warmer if I had cast them separately, but doing two-in-one was a
little more advanced. I considered it good practice. I glanced around
again to make sure nobody was watching, then aimed my wand down at
Rak's carrier. "Ahn."
The door clicked open and Rak pushed his head out. He gingerly set one
paw on the pavement and I felt an odd, distant sensation of cold and
damp on my left palm. He leaned out far enough to turn and see the top
of his carrier, then Jumped. The distance was so short that I didn't
even see him vanish. The only sign of his Jump was the wisps of black
smoke hanging around the carrier. He stretched gratefully and yawned,
then sat down to clean the paw that had touched the ground.

"Jen!" a voice yelled.

I turned just in time to see a blur of motion. Then, someone slammed
into me and lifted me completely off the ground in a bone-crushing
hug.

"Jen, Jen, Jen, Jen, Jen! I missed you! It's so grand to see you!" I
recognized the gravelly voice with a hint of an Irish accent
instantly. But even if he hadn't said a word I would have known who it
was. The sheer size of him would have been a dead giveaway, even if he
hadn't punctuated how glad he was to see me by licking me from chin to
temple.

"I missed you too, TS," I said, trying to dodge his tongue. That was
one of his habits I didn't think I'd ever get used to.

He gave me another squeeze and then set me down, grinning. It was the
same old, familiar grin: wide, goofy, and almost adorable, with his
tongue partially lolling out. It was good to see him. Then I noticed
that even though his hair was just as shaggy as usual, it was a
shockingly light gray.

"What did you do to your hair?"

He looked confused for a moment, then laughed and scratched at it.
"Nothing, it's my winter coat." A few strands of his original brown
fluttered down and he scratched more vigorously. "Still shedding, it
really bloody itches." As he spoke I realized that he had shaved off
his goatee too, although I could see gray stubble that looked a couple
of days old.

"It looks good," I offered, not sure if laughing would offend him.

"Thanks."

It was almost surreal to be standing next to TS. I had been looking
forward to seeing everyone again since the summer, but now that I was
here I couldn’t quite believe it was finally happening. The
butterflies that had formed in my stomach on the bus were still
eagerly fluttering and I was sure that I was grinning like an idiot.






Make sure you check out Elizabeth's links below to stay informed as to when Snow Bound will be released!  And if you haven't checked out her first novel in the series Semester Aboard, then now is a great time to check it out, that way you are ready for the release!

Happy Reading!


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