Updated: Mar 29
Welcome to the sneak peeks countdown. With the 5th book, Cardinal Rose, soon to be released at the end of December, I'll be posting some snippets from the story to whet your whistles :)
I'm sure everyone has a lot going on right now with the upcoming holidays, so if you've made it this far, then I thank you for being here and tuning in.
Now, if you're here, then you are getting excited for the release of Cardinal Rose, book 5 of the Cardinal Series! With a late December release, hopefully it'll be the perfect atmosphere to read cuddled up in front of a fire with busy holdiay plans winding down.
Also, as a reminder--if you're interested in purchasing a new hardcopy set of the first two books, The Cardinal Bird and Cardinal Caged, you can buy the first volume here. This volume is also available in the Kindle Unlimited store if you want to purchase or add to your ten-book Unlimited list to help free up a slot for another great book. I know I always have a hard time trying to cull my ten-books. Get the Kindle version here. Both versions save you some money by bundling :) Plus, it has an amazing new cover design. Soon, I'll be bundling the second volume of the series to include Cardinal of Hope and The Cardinal Sin. I'll make sure to announce it on social media.
Just some old business to bring up, I created the pre-order for the next book so that I could include the link within the current book, but I haven't been promoting it. The link isn't working yet on Amazon, so hopefully I'll have it uploaded here soon. Amazon usually has the link up within three days, often two. However we're six days in now and no link approval for the last book. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to include it in the book.
We're almost through the series now. People have asked if I'll be making another series with these characters in it, and my answer for now is undecided. With the finish of each book in my first ever series, the feeling has gone from to relief to bittersweet. I know some of you feel the same way. Which is why I can't completely close the lid on further series with Callie and her boys. I've been laying small Easter eggs that would pave the way for further plot, but not be so pressing as to leave us hanging when we reach the end of book 6.
For now, enjoy it while it lasts :)
Cardinal Rose, book 5
“Oh, Callie!” Triz wailed and tackled me from the side, breaking our embrace to form a suffocating one with her. She sobbed Portuguese in my ear. Unfortunately, though I spoke Portuguese, understanding her seemed unlikely since it all came out as garbled nonsense.
I patted her back, tamping down my own emotions to keep things on track.
She pulled back, letting out one more small wail.
Darcy comforted her, transferring the upset Brazilian right into her arms. “There, there, lassie. Don’t cha worry yer pretty head about it too much. Callie will come visit us often.” Her grass green eyes met mine. “Won’t ya?”
Anytime Darcy took on that threatening tone, the smartest plan was to nod and agree, so I did.
She beamed at my acquiescence. “Grand! See there, Triz? She’ll come over to spend the night every weekend. Won’t ya, a chara?”
“Hey, hey now, holy cannoli! You can’t just coerce her like that!” Corbin exclaimed, stepping forward.
Darcy’s hair seemed to ignite as Corbin roused her temper, her fiery curls springing into action as she tilted her head. “Oh, yeah? You ‘n what army?”
Corbin didn’t seem deterred in the least until he looked around to see that none of the other seven guys on his newly expanded team had stepped forward with him. In fact, a noticeable gap of five feet had grown between his team and him. “Wow, thanks, guys. Scared of a bunch of girls.”
“We’re not scared,” CJ denied. “We’re just letting them know where we stand on this.”
“Yeah, cowering against the wall with your tails between your legs like a bunch of overgrown puppies.” He shook his head and turned back around to see the smile on Darcy’s face.
“You were sayin’?” She grinned.
Corbin gulped, his Adam’s apple visibly bobbing before he squared his shoulders and stood his ground. It surprised me. Corbin was the most submissive guy I knew. “I said that Callie can visit as much as she wants to visit. No more, and no less. And that’s that.”
Darcy stared at him, her face unchanging. Corbin’s steadfast resolve won her over. She let out a loud laugh. “Okay, deal.”
“Oh, thank God,” he sighed, deflating. He leaned in close, whispering, “I thought she was going to eat me for lunch.”
I grinned but made sure he didn’t see it. My hand sought his as I pecked his cheek. “You were very brave, Corbin.”
His eyebrows rose, and his cautious gaze traveled from Darcy to me. “I was, wasn’t I?”
I nodded. “The bravest.”
His lips twitched in amusement. “I deserve two kisses.”
Excitement bubbled up in the pit of my stomach, a familiar tingling feeling making my heart race. I kissed his other cheek, half expecting him to turn his head into it for a kiss on the lips instead. He didn’t. He seemed content with what I’d decided and pleased at the action.
Natasia cleared her throat.
“Natasia,” I started, pulling away from Corbin. Unable to think of what to say, I stepped forward to hug her as well. Despite knowing several languages, words were definitely not my strong suit in high-emotion situations.
She hugged me back. “Always remember that you have a home with us, should you ever need it, little sister. And even though you may be leaving us, you’ll always be a Cardinal.”
“Natasia… spasibo,” I uttered, and then repeated it in English. “Thank you. That means so much to me.”
She nodded and stepped back only to see Sabra in her place. Sabra’s strong, muscular arms wrapped me up. I didn’t recall having ever been this close to her before because I knew all the Cardinals’ scent just like I’d catalogued all the Emerson and Tate Teams’ scents. However, cinnamon and the sweet smell of sun-dried grass washed over me in a new, unique combination that embodied the essence of Sabra.
As I pulled back, she planted a kiss on the middle of my forehead, tall enough to do so with ease. “You will be missed, Callie, but always welcome. I hope you find what you are seeking in your new team. You have a lot of healing to do, and it is my belief that they will be the ones to help you do it.”
I caught her hand before she could pull away. “Maybe, but it was your team that started the process. I can never repay you for that, but I can at least repeat my thanks.”
She bowed her head. “It was our honor to help you.”
The Cardinals lined back up, facing us.
Sabra met each set of eyes on the Emerson Team. “If we had to let Callie go, we are glad
it is with you.”
“But know this,” Natasia added. “If you hurt her in any way, and we mean any way…”
Triz ticked off her fingers. “If you break her heart or get her killed… If you accidentally bruise her or she trips and hurts herself…”
Yolo examined her nails as she picked up the threat that seemed far too practiced and coordinated to be happenstance. “Just remember, we know where you live, and we will use that to our advantage in our plan to make you pay. Revenge will be cold, swift, and just.”
“And may the lamb of God stir his hoof through the roof of heaven and kick your arses down to hell,” Darcy finished.
Silence followed their speech.
My jaw had to be on the floor at what had transpired. I felt too much to parse out any single emotion, but embarrassment ranked high on the disorderly list.
Emerson cleared his throat, stepping forward to extend his hand to Sabra—leader to leader. “Duly noted. We appreciate the advice.”
Jace leaned over to his brother. “Advice? They sounded like they were all but chomping at the bit to chop off our—”
As one, the Cardinals turned to leave.
Watching them go without me left a bittersweet taste in my mouth.
This was it.
Emerson tugged at the pointed tips at the waist of his vest. “Well then, shall we?”
Hope you enjoyed!
Don't forget to stop by for next week's preview as well!