cover of Season of Suffering

A villain in his own mind, Stone McLarin is labeled the hero for murdering a man.

Not only is Stone weighted down as a hero, but he’s idolized by the dominant religion, and he’s the sole protector of the knowledge of the ages. The pressure of the entire realm is on his shoulders.

Carib Reign, a shapeshifter building an army of immortals, plans to purge the Crimson Capital to find this hidden knowledge. His motive, to give the people of Azure the freedom they deserve.

With many adventures along the way, Stone will lead the charge to defend the Crimson Capital against the Immortal Army. Should he fail, anarchy is inevitable. Death for all Azure, a possibility.

Where there is life, death anticipates. But what if death is abandoned? Life will rebel.

Season of Suffering is part two of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy with both light and dark hearts. You’ll experience many fantasy tropes, clashing swords, unique magic, fantastical beasts, and a wide range of Azure’s scenic terrain.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.

An Excerpt from Season of Suffering

“There.” I can only sense it through the conduit of Instincts. But I know Tekor, with his admirable eyesight, will see the beast sprinting through the wood.

He does. He drops from our high perch and soars in the direction of the beast, traveling much faster than the Cryptid can run. We pull ahead of it and circle around to drop in for a landing. I quickly dismount, and Tekor takes flight, uncomfortable with remaining on the forest floor for too long. I wait.

The foul beast plows through the underbrush, giving none of his obstacles a chance for survival. And I’m in line to be one of them.

Its aroma swoops into my nostrils, and dizziness strikes momentarily. I cannot see straight. I don’t remember the last encounter being this severe. I suppose, like any living thing, we’re not all made alike. And this one reeks.

The Cryptid hardly acknowledges me as I wobble in place. He pushes off me as if I were a tree and he were trying to get some leverage to burst forward. His meaty claw shoves right through me and lashes at my lower shoulder. A loud sound curdles from my throat. It’s an odd feeling these days—to use my vocal cords.

The beast stops in its tracks and turns to face me.

“Friend.” I speak, hoping it understands this language.

Its dark eyes glaring. Its teeth baring. Its smell daunting. It stands rigid and unmoving. An apex predator. A long moment passes as we both maintain eye contact.

“No time. Friend.” It finally replies, then turns to leave.

“Wait! I can help. Are there more of you? In danger, I mean.”

It looks over its shoulder with a subtle nod. Teeth still baring. Aroma still daunting. But its eyes are sad.

“Let me help.”

“Run.” It turns and hurdles through the undergrowth in a rush, disappearing behind the wood giants.

About Jonathan Michael

Jonathan stares out the window. He daydreams about being outside with the warm sun beating on his skin, taking in the sweet, damp aroma of dirt, the fresh scent of evergreens, and the honeyed perfume of butterfly bushes. There is nothing quite like exploring the unbeaten terrain. And that’s where he wants to be. Right now. Better yet, the unbeaten terrain of a world yet to be discovered. That is why he sits behind the window. So he can create those worlds for all to explore. So we can all share the adventure.

That, and because it gets really cold in winter in the Inland Northwest. Otherwise, he would be sitting outside doing this writing thing.

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