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Read an excerpt from Gena Showalter's Lifeblood

The ‘Firstlife’ sequel launches February 2017

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Debbie Bunch

Gena Showalter is gearing up for the release of Lifeblood, the second book in her best-selling Everlife series. The latest installment follows Firstlife, released earlier this year, and picks up with Tenley “Ten” Lockwood entering the Everlife and fighting for survival against an enemy that wants her — and her powers — neutralized.

EW is proud to give you a first look at Lifeblood’s cover and a sneak peek inside the book, both below. Lifeblood hits shelves Feb. 28, 2017.

Excerpt from Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

Killian’s words echo through my mind. Either we fight, or we lose. 

Fight each other to win the war? Or fight for each other?

I suspect the former, and my tears—such silly, useless tears—spill over my cheeks, leaving hot, stinging tracks in their wake. I thought I was prepared to give up everything for my realm of choice. I thought I could live with any consequences.

But the cost is far too high.

At this point in my life—or death, I correct myself, with a humorless laugh—I trust only two people.  Killian, my ML, and Archer, my TL, the boy I loved like a brother. But Archer died trying to save me. He died today. Worse, he died for nothing!  And now I’ve lost Killian, too. 

Grief clings to me with unrelenting determination, wrapping strong arms around me. It kisses my cheek and rests its head on my shoulder. It whispers, “There’s nothing you can do.”

Sorrow and helplessness join the pity party, and I despise both. These emotions are not innocent; they are deadly. They devoured my past, eating at my happiness until no more remained; I can’t cede my present or my future. 

I speak the promise burning a hole in my heart. “You matter to me, Killian.”

A muscle jumps underneath his eye. “Do I?” The roughness of his tone guts me.

I’ve never ascribed to the notion that words are enough, and I’ve never trusted those who huff and puff, furious when someone dares to question another’s claim of affection. I won’t pretend otherwise just because a spotlight now shines on me

My actions will make or break us.

“You do,” I say, lifting my chin, “and I’ll prove it.”

He gives a hard shake of his head. “Don’t be putting yourself in danger on my behalf, lass. I’d rather you hate me and live than love me and die.”

Deacon appears at my side, stopping my reply. “All right.  Enough.” He latches on to my wrist, and my spirit welcomes the connection, for Light always complements Light. I warm rather than freeze—the way I should have done with Killian. The way I used to do.

What have I done?

“In case you haven’t noticed,” Deacon says, “we’re in the middle of a combat zone. As a newly risen, you’re weak. Vulnerable. We need to get you to safety.” 

My stomach lurches. What he really means is that he needs to get me away from Killian.

Killian, who is now my sworn enemy. 

Once these two boys worked together to save me from a madwoman. The truth is suddenly clear: they will never work together again, because they will never fully trust each other. Myriad will never trust Troika.   

“No,” I say, shaking my head. I won’t abandon my friends when they need me most. “I’ll stay. I’ll help.”

“Go,” Killian tells me through gritted teeth. “You’ll only get hurt if you stay, and there’s nothing I’ll be able to do to help you. You’re no longer mine to protect.”  He turns to slip inside his Shell. 

His words echoed inside my head, and his tortured voice haunts me.  No longer mine…

“I’m sorry,” I whisper to him. I did this. I split us up.  But I’m determined to aid my new home—my realm—and also the boy who risked his life for mine. 

This. This is how I will prove my affection for him. 

“An apology without a change in behavior is worthless.” He doesn’t glance in my direction. “Prove you mean it. Leave.”

My determination to help him only strengthens. 

I stand my ground and prepare to fight.