"Empaths have been legend for centuries," Siors said. "Some of the old texts say that an empath can read emotions, and others say that an empath is really connecting with the other person's soul."
Lauren grimaced; she wasn’t sure she liked the sound of that.
"So, there aren't any other empaths I can talk to?" she asked.
“No, the only other one I am aware of was taken by the Anghenfil."
"So this….Anghenfil." Lauren swallowed nervously. "You said that you found me near the caves where it lives? What…is it exactly?”
Siors placed a thick and dusty book on the table, flipping it open and turning the dusty pages. He paused and turned it around, showing Lauren a painting of a winged red dragon looming over a flaming city. Bright red eyes and gleaming white teeth rounded out the frightening image.
"Beautiful," Lauren pushed the book away before she had a full-blown panic attack. “And it ate the last empath, you say?"
"The empath had been summoned by the king to the castle in Traegaron. The beast itself had not been seen in centuries. Most thought it was just a myth. And then it appeared and destroyed half the castle as it hunted for her. Those who were there say it wrapped her up in its fearsome tail and carried her to these very mountains.”
Lauren caught the vision of the beast in the book again and wondered if it was the reason why she was here. She remembered that odd voice that she heard in her office moments before the earthquake--
She quickly squashed that train of thought to refocus her attention on Siors, and she began to play with her necklace anxiously.
"The beast has been seen every few years since that day," Siors said. “But I'm afraid we do not know what powers the beast may have; just the fire and the claws are enough to be getting on with."
"Do you have any more books about the Anghenfil?" Lauren asked.
"This is the end of my compendium on the subject," Siors smiled. "But I shall send word to my scholar-brother. He is the keeper of the great library in Traegaron and one of the wisest men in the entire kingdom. If there is more to be known—about the Anghenfil, or about yourself—then he will know it.”
Author: S. Usher Evans
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Lauren Dailey is in break-up hell.
Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another – an empath.
The villagers – sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin – welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It’s sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.
Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her…
S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in a small, suburban town in northwest Florida, she was seventeen before she realized that not all beach sand is white. From a young age, she has always been a long-winded individual, first verbally (to the chagrin of her ever-loving parents) and then eventually channeled into the many novels that dotted her Windows 98 computer in the early 2000′s. After high school, she got the hell outta dodge and went to school near the nation’s capital, where she somehow landed jobs at National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, capping off her educational career with delivering the commencement address to 20,000 of her closest friends. She determined she’d goofed off long enough with that television nonsense and got a “real job” as an IT consultant. Yet she continued to write, developing 20 page standard operating procedures and then coming home to write novels about bounty hunters, teenage magic users, and other nonsense. After a severe quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided to finally get a move on and share those novels with the world in hopes that she will never have to write another SOP again.