And Today I Die by Tate James & CM Stunich
My life is no fairy-tale.
It’s a nightmare.
The land is slowly dying, my stepmother wants to kill me, and my only friend is a talking doll.
But any life is better than death, so when the dark witch Baba Yaga offers me a fool’s bargain to save mine, I accept. Her cottage drinks blood, she keeps headless animals as pets, and her three indentured knights look at me like I’m a goddess.
One burns hot as the summer sun, one is as wild as the frozen winter, and the other is as tricky as an autumn day. Together, we can survive our nightmarish servitude; together, we can find our freedom and our happiness.
But only if I don’t die today.
Excerpt And Today I Die by Tate James & CM Stunich
(C) Tate James and CM Stunich (unedited)
A bucket of water crashed over Mak’s head, and he let out a flurry of cursing that would’ve made an entire tavern full of sailors blush. Aleksei was standing there, glaring at his friend and not looking at all sorry for dousing him with ice water.
“You, my friend,” Mak snapped as he stood up and yanked his pants into place. “Have just killed my boner. What do you want?”
“Grandmother needs us now,” he snarled, flicking his eyes over to me and examining my bare shoulders and calves like he was hungry for me. But he ripped his gaze away just as quickly and went back to scowling like the asshole I already knew he was.
“She knows about … this,” Kirill whispered, his voice threaded with steel. Speaking of steel … I noticed the dagger the witch had given me sitting on a side table and padded across the floor to pick it up. The men were too busy talking to notice what I was doing.
“No, thank the gods,” Aleksei said, running his fingers through his gold-blonde hair. Where my hair was like a slice of sunshine on snow, his was a summer afternoon on the shores of a lake, bright and vibrant. “There’s a vila in the woods, and it’s poking holes in Baba Yaga’s barrier spells.”
“A vila,” Kirill replied, turning his gold eyes on Mak who was busy adjusting his crotch. Hmm. I’d much rather get wet between the thighs than have a massive tree branch catching on the inside of my slacks when turned on. Just sayin’. “She’s drawn to Spring.”
“More like she’s hungry for all of that power–” Mak started and then stopped, clenching his jaw tight. With a huge exhale, he closed his eyes and finished his sentence in a way I was almost certain was not his original intention. “That Baba Yaga used to resurrect Lissa.”
Mak cursed again and didn’t bother with a shirt, yanking an old, tattered leather coat over his shoulders and strapping on a pair of curved scimitars.
“A vila,” I said, and the three men snapped their gazes over to me like they’d forgotten I was there. I was already in the process of digging through the small, raggedy dresser next to Mak. He was the smallest and slenderest of the three men, so I figured if I were going to borrow some clothes … “A wind spirit.”
“Oh, no you don’t.” Mak plucked the pants out of my hands, and when I reached up to grab them, I dropped my towel. I had never before felt my bare ass so plainly. It was practically glowing. Full moon, indeed. Maybe I really was a moon daughter or whatever?
“Please give the pants back,” I said through gritted teeth. No way was I bending down and flashing … well, everyone knows what happens when you bend over naked. I held out my hands, but Mak just chucked the pants into the hay pile behind him and crossed his arms over his bare chest.
Well, fine, screw him.