I am stoked to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for TITANIA ACADEMY BOOK ONE: FAERIE MISBORN by Samaire Provost! I have an excerpt to share with you today check it out and enter to win the giveaway below!
Title: TITANIA ACADEMY BOOK ONE: FAERIE MISBORN
Author: Samaire Provost
Pub. Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: Black Raven Books
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon
Called into the headmistress's office on the first day.
Freezing cold winters, constant hunger: This was the life of a homeless orphan. This was my life. Then I got the letter.
I've been on the streets since I was born. It got very rough after my aunt got sick and died. But I made do.
The streets of New York city can very unforgiving, especially when times get desperate. Like in winter.
At least I never had to worry about the cold.
But then I got hurt. Things were looking very bad.
Then Chance showed up with the letter.
The letter that said I was misborn of the fae. A bastard, but the magic still counted.
The letter that said I'd been accepted into Titania's Academy.
When the magic blood of the fae runs through your veins, they will find you, no matter what.
~ ~ ~
So I get to the school. The Faerie Academy Chance said was soooo great. And before I even step one toe on the ground, these girls are doing double takes and giggling behind their backs at me and I just want to plant my fist in their faces.
Then I get upstairs to my dorm room and find some Barbie doll is bullying a girl.
Then she mouths off at me, giving me attitude.
Well, that was it. I couldn't hold back.
I punched her. Yeah, I did it.
Called into the headmistress's office on the first day.
“HEY! COME BACK HERE!” The shopkeeper shook his fist at me as I ran. “THIEF!”
I was thirteen years old, skinny as a rail, and small for my size.
So I was fast. Really fast. I could run like the wind, even while carrying the two loaves of bread.
I heard a police whistle behind me, but I didn’t stop to look.
If you stop to look, they catch you.
I raced down the alleyway, stuffing the bread into the sack hanging from my shoulder as I ran.They were hot on my heels; I could hear them breathing behind me.
More like puffing. Fat old man, you can’t catch me.
I reached the end of the alley, and leaped, catching the top of the dumpster with both hands and swinging my feet up. Scrambling to the back edge, I jumped up and caught the side of the second-floor fire escape, and swung myself over the eight-foot-high chain-link fence to the next alley.
This alley led away from the street where I’d just swiped the bread, the deli that had the table on the sidewalk full of just-baked bread, to tantalize people with the smell and lure them inside. The soup they were then sold was gross. I’d seen a rat fall into the vat last month, and the gross thing was, so did the cook. He hadn’t fished the thing out; he’d left it in. I guess he figured, “more meat for the soup.”
I didn’t eat rat. Aunt Clare always told me they carried disease and to avoid them. We’d been lucky: We hadn’t had to eat rat yet. Though things had gotten lean in the last year. Aunt Clare had gotten older, and she didn’t really gather food anymore.
That was up to me. And I was good at it. She’d taught me well, after all.
But it was still hard.
“Being skinny will help you, Holly,” Aunt Clare had said. “You can run faster, you can squeeze through gaps in fences better, and you can jump farther. Sometimes jumping rooftops is the only thing that’ll get you away from the coppers, and it’ll save your hide. So stay thin and lean and live to read another day.”
Aunt Clare love to read. She had two books she kept guarded and read to me most nights.She’d taught me to read from those books.
I ran down the alley, my feet padding the ground noiselessly in my sneakers.
Aunt Clare had procured the canvas sneakers one night six months ago, and they were already
“You’re growing like a weed, Holly,” she’d said, smiling.
“I am a weed, Aunt Clare,” I said ruefully, trying to brush out my wild hair with my fingers.
My hair was kind of white, at least after I went swimming in the canal. Most days it was grey, and wild. An untamed mess of tangles, Aunt Clare called it.
It flew behind me when I ran, a white/grey silvery beacon, and helped the coppers spot me in a crowd. It was not an asset, let me put it this way.
I wore a brown hoodie, the hood covering my head of crazy platinum hair, the drawstrings tied snugly under my chin. It helped to hide me in a crowd, and in dark alleyways.
I turned and ran down a sidewalk, slowing as I approached a crowd.
Slipping in through the edges, I lost myself in the throng of people walking, and I disappeared.
New York City was a great place to live if you were homeless, Aunt Clare had always said. Whenever she would say that, I wondered why she didn’t mention the winters, which were cold as ice, the rats, which managed to get in everywhere, and the dangers.
Dangers of being grabbed by coppers.
Dangers of being robbed by the others who shared the streets with you.
Dangers of getting sick.
Dangers of getting stabbed.
Lots of dangers.
I was now walking rapidly through the crowd, one hand firmly wrapped around my bag holding the precious bread loaves. Aunt Clare and I hadn’t eaten since yesterday, and I had a hollow feeling in my stomach.
Ten minutes later, I turned down between two buildings and into a side door that led down to the subway system.
Ten minutes after that, and I was walking down a nearly dark subway tunnel beside tracks that had been abandoned before I was born.
I trotted faster, then ducked into an alcove, lifted a heavy metal grate, and slipped into our home.
The spot was barely seven feet square. It was lined with discarded coats, blankets from the shelters and giveaways, and a small, flea-infested old mattress Aunt Clare and I had dragged in five years ago.
“I’m back,” I whispered, setting the candles I had swiped on the crate that served as a table. A button lamp sat there, flickering fitfully.
Aunt Clare had made it last month.
“Let me show you how to make a button lamp,” she’d said. “My parents had these when I was a child.”
She’d taken a small metal disk that we’d used to burn candles in, it had wax at the bottom, and she’d put a small tear of fabric from her shirt, threaded it through a large plastic button from an old coat long since lost, and stuck it in the wax.
Then she’d lit it.
It didn’t give much light, but it lasted forever and stubbornly refused to go out.
“It will stay. It will stay for a long, long time,” she’d said.
Aunt Clare was asleep on the bed, wrapped in an old tattered blanket.
I leaned over to her face and kissed her cheek.
Her eyes opened, fluttering softly in the dim light.
I pressed one of the loaves of bread into her hands, and she sat up and began to eat.
I sat facing her in my own little nest. My back against the wall and my knees drawn up to my chest, I began to nibble on my own loaf of bread.
She was all I had.
“Aunt Clare?” I whispered, rubbing her arm. “How are you feeling today?”
“Ohh,” she yawned. “I think I’m feeling better, child.” She took a bite out of the small loaf of bread. “Mmmm, this is delicious!”
The bread loaves were about ten inches long and crusty on the outside, baked to a golden brown. The inside was soft and fluffy, just the way Aunt Clare liked it.
“Mmmm, it is good, isn’t it?” I crunched the bread with relish.
We ate in silence for a few minutes.
Our little corner of the world was small and dirty, and the walls were stained with old water runoff, and no matter how much I tried, I could never keep all the insects out, but one thing that set it apart from the other cubbies underground in this old subway tunnel was that it was warm.
A few years back, we’d had a woman who befriended us and shared her food with us. She’d been homeless a few years and had learned the ropes from others in the city.
She’d been nice and asked to sleep in our cubby in exchange for sharing the food she stole, and we let her.
That had been a mistake.
After two months of this situation, she’d pulled a knife on us and forced us out of our cubby.
“Yours is the only one that’s not freezing!” she’d screamed.
It was true that the underground could be brutally cold during winter. But she was right: ours was the only cubby not freezing.
In fact, it was warm enough so I could take off my coat.
So, we’d grabbed our stuff and fled, while she’d brandished the knife at us and glowered. We’d spent a day looking for a new space to sleep in and finally found one, about a half-mile down the tunnel.
It was another warm cubby.
I wasn’t sure I understood what was going on, but Aunt Clare and I had spent the evening talking in whispers about it.
“Holly, sweet baby girl, you’re the reason why the cubby was warm,” Aunt Clare had hugged
me and whispered, then put a finger to her lips. “No one can know.”
No one can know.
I never understood this thing I did, but I did realize that it was because of me. When I left the cubby for a long time, the temperature slowly dropped until it was freezing.
Once, I had been gone for two days, because I got caught in a bad deal with several people chasing me and the coppers were around, and I just ran. I ran and ran and ran, then found an old coal chute I could hide in. I had some food in my bag since it’d been the end of my hunting-forfood day, so I was fine. Even though there’d been snow on the ground outside, I was able to huddle in the three-foot space and wait it out.
It had grown warm while I crouched there, and I’d decided to stay.
But when I finally emerged and was able to make my way back to Aunt Clare in the cubby, I’d found her shivering and the cubby had been freezing.
When I entered it, she’d been so happy to see me, and had hugged me for a long time.
“You’re so warm,” she’d said through her chattering teeth.
I thought about all these things as I ate the bread, chewing slowly, savoring every bite.
I glanced around our little cubby. It was our world. It was home. I always felt better when I was back home after a day of foraging for food in the city.
It was a constant worry. I usually went to the park or the fountain and watched people eat their lunch, waiting for one of them who glanced at their watch, realized they were late, and tossed the last half of their sandwich or meatpie into the trash. I was there like a flash, picking it back out and running off as I stuffed it into my bag.
Sometimes no one threw out half-eaten food, and I had to go hunting for something to eat. Then I’d walk down the streets and look for stores that had food out front, displayed to entice shoppers to enter and buy.
I could often get away with grabbing an apple or orange, a banana or a pecan pie, or a small loaf of bread without being seen.
But sometimes they saw me. That’s when I ran.
They’d never caught me, not once. It was a point of pride.
A far-off noise rattled outside in the tunnel and brought me back to the present.
I finished the last bite of bread and began picking the crumbs off my coat and licking them off my fingers.
5 winners will receive a $5 Amazon GC, International.GIVEAWAY
Samaire Provost grew up in a lot of different places, and now happily resides on the East Coast of America, laboring away at writing stories every day. She is an animal lover with far too many pets, yet she still muses how she’d like to add even more. A lover of all things night and gothic, she also loves to read and reread her favorite books.
Owned by a cat named Tyrion, she can be found haunting the shadows and mists that hang low over the hills of southern Virginia.
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