The Scorpion’s Lullaby
Luminous Lands Book 1
by Juliet Vane
Genre: YA Fantasy
Be ruthless. Be rich. Live like gods.
Joella’s band of thieves lives deep in the jungle. Riding on giant scorpion dragons, they search the beautiful landscape for villages and caravans to rob.
But dangerous mists thread through the jungle’s undergrowth. One touch transforms its victims into mindless, murderous shells of their former selves.
When the mists interrupt a routine raid, Joella becomes separated from her people. She’s alone except for a stolen book of legends and Marc, a religious disciple dedicated to pacifism and preserving the ways of the old goddess.
Searching for their tribes, Joella and Marc brave mist-infected beasts, deceitful clans, and the sweltering days and freezing nights of their beloved jungle.
An uneasy alliance grows between them as they read from the book and uncover in its pages the truth of why the jungle has been fraught with evil. They must trust each other to right the wrongs of the past and save themselves, or risk the very landscape they hold so dear.
The Scorpion’s Lullaby is a fast-paced, lyrical fantasy filled with creatures and characters who will take your breath away.
Get your copy ofThe Scorpion’s Lullaby today to discover the legends propelling the unforgettable tale in this luminous, unique world.
Therese flirts with Sebastien in the evening. It has nothing to do with all the roussir she’s drinking, although in the morning, she’ll likely blame the roussir. Maybe not, though—for the first time, she looks happy.
I work on my mask, my fingers sticky even though I use the edge of one of my old knives to adhere feathers to the sap spread along the edges. The iridescent butterfly wings are frail and the work takes precision, but I don’t mind. Tonight, I need to focus. Lucien sits across the fire, not far from Therese and Sebastien, and every time I look up, his eyes are on me.
He wants me to lead at his side. All I have to do is prove my worth.
Therese giggles and stands up, blowing Seb a kiss. She makes seduction look so easy. I turn back to my mask, some unnamed feeling growing up through my stomach and sticking in my chest. Frustrated, I jab at the butterfly wings. One tears, and I growl under my breath.
“Joella.” Therese is there, right in front of me, her blond braids shining in the firelight, her mouth forming that crooked grin that says she has every intention of getting us into trouble.
“What now?” I ask.
“You look lonely.”
I make a huffing noise. “Hardly. I can’t get my mask right.”
She gently takes it from my grip and sets it aside. “It’s perfect, chère. You’re morose because Monsieur hasn’t made you his Madame yet. But I’ve come up with the perfect solution.”
Raising my eyebrows, I say, “Oh, I’m sure you have.”
“Take a drink,” she says, handing me her cup of roussir. “Actually, finish the whole thing.”
The liquid scorches as it moves down my throat. My body heats immediately.
“Now take out one of your knives.”
I do as she says, pulling one from the sheath on my leg. She must have some strange idea in mind, because she’s never asked me to do this before. She holds out her hand, and I give her the knife.
“Ask me any question,” she says.
I laugh. Now I know what she’s doing. Therese came to us from another nomadic tribe—a tribe that made all of its decisions based on divination, usually scrying with firelight. My knife has a shiny, reflective surface.
“Hmm,” I say, pausing as if seriously considering my question. “What did I have for breakfast this morning?”
She makes a noise of protest. “No, you know what I mean.”
“Okay.” I try to think of a question she’d like. She probably wants me to ask about Lucien, but I’m through thinking about him for a while. “Will I survive our next raid?”
Her eyes go serious, and she studies the way the flames and shadows flicker in the reflection on my knife. “Oui.”
“Will I make us unbelievably rich?”
“Oui,” she says, but before I can ask another question, she says, “and no.”
“Yes and no? What kind of answer is that?”
She shrugs. “I don’t control the shadows of the fire—I merely read them.”
“Teach me,” I say. It’s a miracle I’ve gone this long without worrying about Lucien, and I’m eager to keep my friend close. I pretend to listen as she demonstrates with her nimble fingers the different ways the flames can play against the edge of the knife, and how to read the direction for my answers.
“You can’t read your own future, though,” she says. “So here. Read mine.”
I take the knife, feeling silly. “All right. What’s your question?”
“I want to know what’s after this, for me,” she whispers. “Will I have a home? After the raiding, am I finally going to settle down into a bright future, happy and whole?”
It’s the most wistful, earnest thing I’ve ever heard from her. I follow her gaze across the bonfire to where Sebastien sits next to Lucien. Is something changing in the heart of my friend?
Then I remember I’m supposed to read her answer. The flames lick one way, and then the other, and I allow my eyes to lose focus for a breath as I concentrate. Someone drops another piece of wood on the fire, and the flames send a starburst of light and shadow across the knife.
According to Therese’s instruction, that’s not a good sign.
Her eyes are still closed, but she opens them at the sound of my gasp. “So?”
I lower the knife, carefully. If my hands are shaking or I drop it, it’ll give something away, and I don’t want to scare her. I smile wide. “Bright future ahead, chère.”
It’s the first lie I’ve ever told her, but I don’t believe in divination, anyway.
The Scorpion’s Daughter
Luminous Lands Prequel
Ruthlessness comes with a price.
The Scorpion Raiders are a ruthless clan, traveling through the jungle and raiding villages and caravans. As the only child of their leader, Claire has lived a safe, comfortable life tucked away from their violence. Her one desire is to join her father, but he refuses to allow it.
Her safe life has one major perk—her best friend, Gavin. But just when their friendship builds into something deeper, Claire finally gets the chance she’s been waiting for—a chance to join the Scorpion Raiders and win her father’s affection.
Will she choose love with Gavin, or will she choose the quality her father treasures above all others—ruthlessness?
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Juliet grew up in northern California, where she spent her free time staring at spooky lakes and making up stories about the old buildings surrounding them. Years later, she still lives in California and she still makes up spooky stories…about lakes and the old buildings surrounding them. Like April in April’s Ghosts, she’s terrified of spiders and she’s obsessed with Hamilton. Like Lissa in June’s Blood, she plays the piano…but not very well.
Q: What makes your writing stand out?
A: There is always an element of storytelling in my writing, because it’s such a fundamental human gift—both telling stories and hearing (or reading) them. My books feature strong female protagonists who aren’t always “strong” in the traditional sense of the word, but maintain a strength that helps them grow and change during their story. My fantasy novels contain imaginative settings and creatures that challenge my characters, and there is almost always a touch of romance within them.
Q: What other books have you published?
A: Aside from The Scorpion’s Lullaby, I’ve also published several YA Gothic mysteries set in unique, contemporary settings. The Blood Flesh Bone series is set in a haunted school during a summer classical music program. The Winter’s Cavern series features a storyteller heroine who gives tours in the cave system beneath her family’s property.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I plan on writing more Luminous Lands novels that connect to The Scorpion’s Lullaby in some way. I really enjoy this world and the creatures and characters within it.
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