Please welcome author Beth Cato! Her series The Clockwork Dagger Duology will finish up this year with The Clockwork Crown. This novel will be released on June 9, 2015 from Harper Voyager! She also released a short story, The Deepest Poison, set in the same fantasy/steampunk world that tells the past journey of the main character Octavia. This eBook story is available now!
A huge thank you to HarperCollins for today’s giveaway! One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of The Clockwork Dagger. This giveaway is US only.
**Don’t forget to enter the giveaways running all month long! Click here to check out these great giveaways!**
Octavia Leander Meets the Wolf: A Clockwork Dagger/Little Red Riding Hood Tale
By Beth Cato
Octavia Leander was relieved to at last spy a cottage ahead. Smoke curled from the chimney. She had followed the well-trod path through the forest for quite some distance.
“Well, Leaf, it looks like someone is home,” she murmured to the gremlin on her shoulder. Leaf resembled a green naked cat with long, tapered ears and round black eyes. His bat-like wings were tucked close to his body. “Maybe they can give us directions out of here, and perhaps a cup of hot tea.” Leaf chirped in reply.
Octavia knocked on the door. A gravelly voice called, “Come in, dear, the door’s unlocked!” She entered a narrow hallway.
In the room ahead she could hear the distinct song of some kind of large animal. Through Octavia’s strong connection to the mystical Lady’s Tree, she could hear as song the health of any nearby living being. There was something especially odd about this melody, though–as if two songs overlapped, but not in a normal way, as in a pregnancy.
Ill at ease, Octavia slipped her parasol free of its holster and adjusted her grip to use it as a cudgel, if needed. Her satchel of medical supplies pressed against her hip as she cautiously peeked around the corner.
“Oh, hello, granddaughter!” said a gigantic wolf. It was tucked beneath a quilt in an intricately-carved four-poster bed. Ludicrous as it was, the wolf wore a calico nightcap and matching gown. Spectacles perched atop its long muzzle. Its eyes were closed.
“I… you… what?” asked Octavia. She stood in the doorway, gaping. Leaf’s wings flared out in sudden alarm.
The wolf barked into a paw. “I’ve been so sick, granddaughter, but I’m glad you’re here.”
“You’re not sick. I’m a medician, I know.” She could scarcely believe she was arguing with a talking wolf in a nighty. “You’re completely well, and you…” She listened, her senses attuned through her magic. The other song here was coming from within the massive wolf.
“A medician? A healing magus?” The wolf’s yellow eyes flared open as it sniffed the air. “You’re not the little girl!”
“No, I’m not, and you–”
“Help me!” The voice was low and muffled.
“Balderdash. Did you eat someone alive? The grandmother?” Octavia asked, her parasol held at ready. Leaf took to the air, screeching.
With a shove of its haunches, the wolf pushed back the quilt to lurch onto all fours. Its stomach was so distended within the nightgown that it almost touched the mattress.
“I thought I’d set the perfect trap,” the wolf growled.
“You mean, other than the fact that you look like a wolf in a nighty? Did you really think the child would fall for that?”
“Maybe there were a few hitches in my plan.”
“Get me out of here!” cried the woman inside the wolf.
The beast lunged at Octavia, slow due to its girth. Octavia swung her arm and knew just where to strike the wolf’s skull. The heavy thud echoed through the cottage. The unconscious wolf sprawled on the floor, night cap askew.
“It’s just going to be one of those days, isn’t it, Leaf?” Octavia reached into her satchel for herbs to force the wolf to regurgitate. “Here I hoped for directions and some hot tea, and now… well, this won’t be very pretty.”
The wise little gremlin squawked and flew from the room. Octavia fervently wished she could do the same.
Beth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure.
Want to read more from Beth Cato?
This giveaway is provided by HarperCollins!
One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of The Clockwork Dagger
Available September 16, 2014 from Harper Voyager
About this Book:
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.
Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.
Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.
April 28, 2015 from Harper Voyager Impulse
About this Book:
Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival’s medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia’s natural talents far outshine her teacher’s, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.
Fans of Beth Cato’s debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia’s past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!
Available June 9, 2015 from Harper Voyager
About this Book:
Rich in atmosphere, imagination, and fun, the action-packed, magic-filled sequel to The Clockwork Dagger is an enchanting steampunk fantasy, evocative of the works of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger
Narrowly surviving assassination and capture, Octavia Leander, a powerful magical healer, is on the run with handsome Alonzo Garrett, the Clockwork Dagger who forfeited his career with the Queen’s secret society of spies and killers—and possibly his life—to save her. Now, they are on a dangerous quest to find safety and answers: Why is Octavia so powerful? Why does she seem to be undergoing a transformation unlike any witnessed for hundreds of years?
The truth may rest with the source of her mysterious healing power—the Lady’s Tree. But the tree lies somewhere in a rough, inhospitable territory known as the Waste. Eons ago, this land was made barren and uninhabitable by an evil spell, until a few hardy souls dared to return over the last century. For years, the Waste has waged a bloody battle against the royal court to win its independence—and they need Octavia’s powers to succeed.
Joined by unlikely allies, including a menagerie of gremlin companions, she must evade killers and Clockwork Daggers on a dangerous journey through a world on the brink of deadly civil war.
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