9 October 2018

New Release - The Halves of Us




THE HALVES OF US by Sydney Paige Richardson is available now!


If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by
Author Sydney Paige Richardson, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon
Gift Card, International, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book
Tours. 




Title: THE HALVES OF US (The Halves of Us Trilogy #1)
Author: Sydney Paige Richardson
Pub. Date: October 9th 2018
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook Pages: 480


Find it:
Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * iBooks


Twin Sisters: one destined to rule, one
cursed to destroy. 

Some say blood is thicker than water. But for twin sisters, Adie and Aura,
their connection runs even deeper than blood.After investigating a surprise attack
carried out by dark souls controlled by the Wicked Willow, an evil  residing
in a neighboring region, Aura uncovers a family secret: she is the fulfillment
of a curse placed upon her family centuries ago.

While Aura is destined to destroy their planet, Thindoral, Adie is fated to
follow in their mother’s footsteps and become Ruler, but even Adie’s path comes
with revelations. Dangerous premonitions plague her dreams, all depicting
Thindoral’s demise at the hand of her sister.

As darkness takes control of her mind, Aura must determine whether defying fate
and time is the choice that will seal her destruction, or if self-sacrifice
will save all she holds dear. Meanwhile, Adie is faced with an impossible
decision: save her sister, or protect their world? 

Excerpt:
1
AURA AND ADIE
AGE 12

A  canvas of dark indigo filled Thindoral’s night
sky, and the silver light of the stars reflected the mischief in Aura’s eyes.
She counted them one by one, waiting for the Guards to finish their rounds.
Waiting for the moons to rise high in the sky. Waiting for the right moment,
when the palace was asleep and she could use the stolen key.


As the residents of the Dome grew quiet
and Aura could no longer hear the hustle and bustle from the Town Square below,
she tiptoed toward the door adjoining her room to her sister’s. Reaching into
her pocket, she ran her fingertips across the roughly carved key to the Holding
Room which she’d stolen from her Uncle Gossamer earlier that evening.


She shivered as the cold brass handle of
the door met her palm. The wooden door creaked as she eased it open.


The thin white silk of the bed’s canopy
fell in folds as it twirled down the dark wood of the bedposts. Aura tiptoed
across the room and looked at her twin. Adie slept peacefully. The moonlight
cast through the windows of the double doors leading out to their shared
balcony. Aura knelt on the floor beside the bed and tugged on one of her
sister’s scarlet braids, a replica of her own. She hid, crouching down as Adie
rustled awake.


Adie sat up, her eyes still heavy with
sleep. Aura jumped up onto her sister’s bed, giggling.


“Aura!” Adie said, throwing a pillow at
her sister. She lay back down and covered her face with another pillow.

“Come on!” Aura pleaded.


“It’s the middle of the night. Let me
sleep,” Adie begged, her voice muffled beneath the plush fabric.


“Look what I have . . .” Aura’s voice
trailed off as she pulled the key out of her pocket. Chiseled from petrified
wood, the key’s intricate design cast shadows from the moonlight onto Adie’s
bed.


Adie raised her head, her sleepy eyes
growing wide as intrigue filled them. She crawled across the bed, taking the
key from Aura. “How did you . . . when did you—” She stopped.


Aura failed at hiding her smile. Adie
always made her thieving ways feel like grand accomplishments. “We have to go
tonight,” she whispered, taking the key back from Adie and putting it in her
pocket.


She motioned for Adie to follow her as
she made her way to the door leading out from her sister’s room and into the
hall. She could hear Adie’s hesitant footsteps coming up beside her. She
signaled Adie to stay back as she reached for the door handle.


Aura tucked a crimson curl behind her
ear and tried to steady her breathing before peeking out. Her heartbeat drummed
in her ears, nearly drowning out the nearby footsteps as Michael, Security
Major of the Guard, paced the hallway as he did every night. The gold emblem of
Thindoral’s sacred pendant, the Rokis, shimmered on the back of his dark blue
uniform beneath the dim light cast from the lanterns on the walls.


She spun out of view when Michael
glanced over his shoulder, and she silently begged Adie to stay quiet. They
held their breath, and Aura swore the beating of her heart was now loud enough
to give them away. Closing her eyes, she prayed he hadn’t seen her. If he had,
he would never leave his post again.


After pleading to Fate herself, Aura’s
gaze shifted out her bedroom window as she waited. Two silver rings lined
Thindoral’s largest moon, reflecting bright light through her windows and
creating a soft hue around a worried Adie in front of her. Michael’s footsteps
faded down the granite hallway as he continued the last of his rounds
throughout the Dome, and a grin stretched across Aura’s face.


“Are you sure we should do this?” Adie’s
voice peaked as she stepped back toward her bed. “Mother always said the Rokis
must never be touched by anyone but the Ruler, and—”


Aura stared at her. “Mother says lots of
things.”


“What about Michael?” Adie frowned as
she stepped out of bed.

“He just finished his rounds. Come on!”


Aura opened the door and searched both
directions of the hallway. Michael was nowhere to be seen. She took Adie’s hand
as they moved down the lonely hallway, followed only by the sounds of their
bare feet pitter-pattering across the granite floors and the light scratching
of the designs etching into the walls.


Aura released her grip on Adie’s hand
and stopped to watch the pencil-like lines swirl around one another, forming
mesmerizing odd shapes and letters. Her mother always told her these were
secret messages left by the Designers, the godly beings who created the
universe and all life within. Those worthy of their secret messages could
decipher them. But to this day, none knew what the messages meant. Some areas
of the walls repeated, and some changed as someone touched them.


Aura reached out to touch a design, and
a flower bloomed where her fingers had just been. As the petals grew larger,
her breath caught when the corners became black and shriveled, ultimately
falling away from the stem and fading back into the colors of the wall. Her
brow furrowed as she skimmed her hands along the rough lines of the walls. The
texture moved under her palm like worms through thick dirt.


“Aura! Come on!” Adie whispered,
breaking Aura from her trance as she grabbed her hand, pulling her farther down
the dimly lantern-lit hallways.


They peeked down where the corridor
ended at the Holding Room.


“No Guards!” Aura smirked, looking to
Adie.

They squeezed each other’s hands tighter
as they walked toward the towering silver door.


“Are you sure it’s in there tonight?”
Adie asked.


Aura nodded. “Every fortnight, Mother
leaves it in here for one evening. She says something about it being too heavy
to sleep with.”


They stopped in front of the door,
looking up as far as they could. Even though the dark of night had taken over
the Dome, the door to the Holding Room still glowed. The silver designs carved
into its surface reflected in their eyes. An even brighter golden light draped
the sacred design of the Rokis which hung above it.


“You did make sure you got the right
key, didn’t you?” Adie asked. Her head remained tilted back, examining the door
as she fidgeted with her braid.


Aura turned and faced her sister. A
mirror image of herself nervously smiled back as she retrieved the key from her
pocket.


She handed it to Adie, but she shook her
head. “You open it,” Adie insisted.


They walked forward, hand in hand. As
they approached the door, Aura broke free from her sister. Adie waited a few
steps behind, sneaking glances back down the hallway.

Aura’s hand trembled as she slid the key
in the door and twisted. The loud click of the door unlocking hung in the air,
and Adie ran toward her.


“Shhh!” Adie hushed. Aura shrugged and
grinned as she twisted the handle. They gazed over their shoulders, peering
down the hallway. Adie sighed heavily, relieved as she looked back at Aura and
nodded. They were still alone.


Together, they gritted their teeth and
pulled at the door with all their strength.


“Keep pulling,” Adie whispered as it
creaked open and she slipped in.


Aura pushed her way through the opening,
and the door closed behind them.


Plush velvet curtains gathered at the
sides of the stone walls around the perimeter of the room, revealing exquisite
stained-glass windows. The moonlight poured in, bouncing off the tall ceilings,
and a deep rush of color danced across the floor. Aura looked at her blue
dress, which now took on a deep red, mimicking the lighting. She twirled around
and smiled as the ends of her dress broke the kaleidoscope of colors reflecting
on the floor.


“Aura!” Adie whispered as she pointed to
the stairs in the center of the room, leading up to a pedestal.


Hand in hand they marched up the four
giant stone steps. There lay the Rokis given to them by the Designers, who
harnessed the power of a star in its center gem to protect them from the evil
residing on their planet. The gem radiated a bright blue light, and twelve
golden triangles jutted outward around it, reflecting a ray of sapphire on
their faces.

“Touch it!” Aura said.


“No! Mother says I have to wait,” Adie
replied.


“Come on! We didn’t come here just to
look at it. I mean, it’ll be yours one day, anyway.” Aura stood tall and struck
a pose, mimicking their mother. “The Rokis belongs to the youngest born, the
future Ruler.” She giggled and covered her mouth as the sound echoed throughout
the Holding Room. “What’s wrong with touching it now?” she whispered.


Aura watched her sister’s brow crease in
thought as she stared at the Rokis, entranced by its beauty. The light of the
center gem captured the jade color of her eyes. Adie shivered suddenly and
looked back up at Aura with hesitation.


“Together?” Aura asked, taking her
sister’s hand.

Adie gulped and nodded slowly.


As they brought their hands above the
center of the Rokis, Aura could feel Adie’s tremble below hers. She closed her
eyes and lowered their hands onto the blue gem. As soon as she felt their palms
reach the center, a surge of light burst throughout the room, throwing Aura
down the steps.


The bright light rose higher, climbing
up the walls. Pain coursed through Aura’s elbow as it smacked on the floor.
Clutching her arm, she tried to stifle her tears. Taking a deep breath, she
moved from her stomach to a sitting position and looked around, searching for
her sister.


Her bottom lip trembled. “Adie?” she
whispered. “Adie!” she whispered louder.

Adie was gone.


A blue light collected around the
ceiling, swirling above her. Silent tears fell down her cheeks as her trembling
evolved into shakes.


The light came together into a ball in
the middle of the ceiling, and Aura froze. It shot down toward the ground, and
she shielded her eyes with the back of her hands. Once she felt the light
dissipate, she let her hands fall and opened her eyes. Motionless, Adie lay on
the floor a few feet in front of her.


“Adie! Adie! Wake up, you must wake up!”
Aura ran over to her twin, hushing her voice as she heard the Guards coming
down the hallway.

Adie groaned and opened her eyes.


Aura gasped and stepped back. “Adie,
your eyes! They’re blue!” She wiped her tears and looked over at the door as
the voices on the other side grew closer. “Come on, we have to get you up. We
need to go!” Aura said, helping Adie to her feet.


They ran over to the curtains and hid
behind them.


“Stand still and don’t make a sound,”
Aura begged.


Adie leaned against Aura’s shoulder as
they both peeked out from behind the curtains.


“The key. Where’s the key?!” Gossamer
shouted from outside the Holding Room door.


“Sir, it’s open . . .” replied one of
the Guards as they eased into the room.


Aura pulled the curtain back over them,
listening to Adie’s heavy breathing. She tried to calm her down, hoping the
Guards wouldn’t discover them.


“I was making my way back to my room,
when I saw a bright light come from behind the door. That’s when I discovered
my key missing . . .” Gossamer’s deep voice bellowed.


“We were on guard, sir, but saw
nothing,” another Guard replied.


Aura peeked out from the curtains once
more. Gossamer walked up the tall steps to the pedestal, a puzzled expression
on his face.

“The Rokis is still here, unharmed.”


“It could’ve been the stained glass
windows reflecting the light, sir,” suggested the short, squatty Guard.


Gossamer spun around to face him, and
Aura quickly stepped back behind the curtain.


“Have the other Guards stand directly
outside the entrance. We’ll begin a search for the key.”

“Minister, could you have possibly
misplac—” the Guard began.


“The keys are always on me.” Gossamer
pulled on the iron loop around his belt. Hundreds of keys dangled atop one
another and clinked together as he released the loop. “They never leave my
side. And remember, no one is to touch the Rokis but the Ruler herself. Its
powers are far more than we can comprehend. Have the Guards check all the
exits. Make sure everyone is accounted for. The last time this happened . . .”
He paused, his hands still in fists. “Double the Guards around the Ruler and
Adie and Aura’s chambers.”


Adie gasped, and Aura quickly covered her
sister’s mouth. She narrowed her eyes at Adie in a silent plea to keep quiet.
She frowned upon seeing her sister’s eyes remained bright blue. They stood
perfectly still as Gossamer and the Guards quieted. Aura prayed they didn’t
come any closer.


“Sir, I don’t think we should alarm the
staff. We haven’t had an intrusion in years.”

“We take no risks!” Gossamer shouted.


Aura peeked out as her uncle walked
toward the entrance. His face reddened as he took a few long breaths. She’d
never seen him this angry.


“Check the exits. Do not wake the Ruler.
I will inform her myself. Keep Guards at the door until the key is recovered,”
he ordered.


THE DOOR CLOSED BEHIND THEM, and Adie
removed Aura’s hand from her mouth. She peered out into the empty room. “We
have to get out of here!” Adie’s stomach churned as her nerves took over.


Aura stepped out from the curtain and
ran after Adie, hugging her tightly. “What happened? I thought you were gone!”
She pulled away from Adie, wiping away new tears. “And why are your eyes blue?”


“I don’t know . . .” Adie tried to hide
the welling in her eyes. “But if Uncle Gossamer finds us in here, we’ll be in
terrible trouble. We have to get back to our rooms.”

Aura nodded in agreement. “I’ll leave
the key here. He’ll think he dropped it.” She knelt and carefully placed the
key on the floor.


“I suggest we pretend this never
happened.” Adie bit her lip to hide its trembling.


“Agreed.” She made her way to Adie,
hugging her again. “You had me so worried. Where did you go?”


Her sister’s arms clung tightly to her.
A warm tear fell down Adie’s cheek. “I don’t know. Let’s worry about getting
out of here first.”


Aura pulled away from their embrace,
heading toward the entrance of the Holding Room.


“Wait! The Guards?” Adie stepped in
front of her, blocking her way toward the door.

Aura tugged Adie’s braid. “Those are the
same Guards who were sleeping through their shift. How do you think we got in
here without being detected?” Her mouth curled into a mischievous grin.


“No! No! Aura, what if they are on the
other side?”


“We can’t hide in here forever,” Aura
replied.

“Maybe we just confess . . .”


“And explain to Mother what happened?”
Aura said.


Adie froze, holding her breath as Aura
cracked the door and glanced through the opening.


She closed the door slowly and turned
toward Adie. “There are two Guards with their back to us. We’re going to count
to three and make a run straight out of here. Got it?”

Adie nodded back at her and finally
breathed.


“Hey,” Aura said as she reached for
Adie’s hand. “They’re on the other side of the door, toward the left. We can
make it. Count with me. One . . .”

“Two,” Adie replied.


“Three!” they whispered as they slipped
out of the tiny opening of the door and darted down the corridor.


“They didn’t see us!” Aura said, but
Adie dared not look back.


They continued to run down the hallway
and dashed into Adie’s room. Adie shut the door quietly behind her as they
heard footsteps coming down the hallway.

“Quick! Into bed!” Aura whispered.


They both jumped into Adie’s bed and
huddled together.

“Close your eyes!”
“Shh!” Adie responded.


Her bedroom door creaked opened,
allowing a sliver of light halfway into the room. Adie squeezed her eyes shut
as she heard Gossamer sigh and close the door.


Aura pushed the covers back and jumped
out of bed, listening to his footsteps disappear down the hall. Adie opened her
eyes and turned over, clutching one of her pillows as Aura got back in bed with
a satisfied grin on her face.


“Adie, your eyes aren’t blue anymore!”
she exclaimed. Her smile grew wider.


Adie stood and walked over to the dark
wood vanity by her bed. She examined herself in the mirror. Emerald eyes stared
back at her. She pulled at the puffy, tired skin beneath them.


“Now are you going to tell me what
happened?” Aura asked.


Adie’s hands dropped to her side. She
continued to stare at her reflection. She blinked and froze as the whites of
her eyes vanished and went black. She blinked again and the emerald color
returned. Taking in a deep breath, she walked back over to the bed, shaking her
head and lying down.


“I don’t exactly know, but I think we
should promise to never talk about it ever again. If Mother were to find out—”


“She won’t, but I must know!” Aura
begged. “Adie, you disappeared—”


Adie looked at her sister, frizzy red
ringlets framed her face. She sighed, sitting up and facing Aura. “I don’t know
where I was, but there was this tall beautiful tree.” Her eyes grew wide at the
vivid memory. “It had long, thin branches that swayed in the wind. They filled
the space around me. There was so many I couldn’t see past them! I walked
closer to the trunk of the tree, but I had to tilt my head to see the top.” She
hesitated.


Her sister’s curious expression was
opposite of the worry in her own.


“Then there was this gust of wind, and I
turned as a black cloud of smoke came straight toward me. The branches started
to lose their leaves, and what I could see of the sky was changing to red.” She
paused, fearing her heart would beat straight out of her chest. “So I started
running. The next thing I knew, you told me to get up . . .” Adie trailed off.


“Why didn’t I see the tree?” Aura asked,
looking down at her hands.


“I don’t know. Maybe I just imagined it
all.” Adie said, trying to convince herself nothing happened. She looked at
Aura, whose eyes remained down, deep in thought. “Now promise,” she said.

“Promise what?”


“We never talk about it to anyone. We
pretend it never happened.”


“What if your eyes turn blue again?” she
asked.


“They won’t. Just promise, please.
Okay?”

“Promise.” Aura agreed.


Adie hugged her sister. She closed her
eyes, remembering the dark cloud coming toward her. She could never tell Aura
the rest of what she’d seen. She buried her face in her sister’s embrace,
trying to remove the image from her mind, but the memory flashed across her
eyelids, mocking her.


She remembered hearing Aura’s voice and
turning to see her sister standing a few feet away, hiding in the thin branches
of the tree. A dark smoke-like cloud came from around Aura, charging toward
Adie. Aura’s black eyes and haunting smile made Adie shudder.

She must never tell anyone.



Author Spotlight:



Even before I could hold a pencil in my
hand, I was making up stories in my head. I wrote my first book in the second
grade, Girls [sorry Lena Dunham], about me and my best friends in college
[because college was super cool when you were 8] who went on treasure hunts and
fought bad guys with our super powers. My second grade teacher was so impressed
with me, she laminated a cover and bound it. That will forever be the moment I
dreamed of holding a copy of my own book and placing it on a shelf.


Now all grown up, my head still stays in
the fantasy world, fashioning worlds where the power of a star can be harnessed
and used for time travel, flying is just as easy as walking here on earth – and
my best friends are fairies. My characters are dark and lost individuals, but
your love for them will grow when you realize not everything is black and
white. I am represented by Rebecca Angus at Golden Wheat Literary.


I have a three book deal with The
Parliament House with Book One of my current trilogy, The Halves of Us,
scheduled to be published in 10/9/2018.



Giveaway Details:


1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.



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