February 13, 2023

The Linked Trilogy Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE LINKED TRILOGY by Cassie Swindon Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


Author: Cassie Swindon
Release Date: SCORCHED March 3, 2023, SEVERED March 4, 2023, SHATTERED March 5, 2023
Publisher: Cassie Swindon
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 367, 366, 336

Find it: 

SCORCHED: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/SCORCHEDSWINDON

SEVERED: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/SEVEREDSWINDON

SHATTERED: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/SHATTEREDSWINDON 

From Book 1:

Perfect for enemies to lovers fantasy fans who enjoy a tough female protagonist and a strong Magikal hero.

Kyra Kozelski

“All men deserve to rot in eternal Abyss.”

Every male disappeared.
Turns out, I did that. Who knew I possessed Magik?
However, Jadox Griffin is still here- the only surviving male- a stubborn, annoying soldier who definitely does NOT have eyes to die for.
I need his help to return my nephew before it’s too late. But Jadox is hiding something, and a whispered threat is creeping closer with each passing moment.

Jadox Griffin

Kyra is bold, powerful, and a pain in my ass. Her idiotic wish turns the world of Lodesa upside down.
Lying to her is necessary to find the answers I seek. Time is running out. It's vital to make her believe I’m her only hope left. Except I’m not.
And when she finds out the truth, I might be the next to disappear.

Chapter 1  


Hard beats blared from the speakers that caged me, and the bass punctuated my intense longing for freedom. Thirty hours per day, seven days a week, for six months, I have longed toescape. Our band was already late going on stage, but Quamir demanded an emergency meeting with the entire staff. A bartender to my right plucked a hair off her shirt, then crossed her arms, waiting for the club owner to begin.  

Quamir’s glare lingered on us for a few seconds too long. “One of you knows where Tanya is. Please come forward with her location. She needs my help.”  

The tension was so tangible in the air I could almost taste it on my tongue.  

I rolled my lips in and stayed tucked in the shadows. If Quamir knew I covered for Tanya last night while she fled, I might end up with a broken leg. He paced in front of us, trying to keep his face calm while his fists flexed into balls by his side.  

“You all know I want what’s best for you.” He stopped in front of a waitress, their noses almost touching. “Where is she?” The waitress gulped and fidgeted in her pockets. “I don’t know, sir.”  

“One of you knows. And until I find out, there will be… consequences.”  

The fact that he didn’t elaborate only increased the fear of the unknown. I stepped back quietly, away from Quamir’s circle of attempted coercion. I knew, of course, that not one of the bandmates or bartenders would have my back if I confessed that I helped Tanya leave. There was too much at stake, and they’d get extensive praise and rewards for turning me in.  

My solar watch blinked tiny red lights, warning me of only three minutes remaining. I was lucky to notice them with the strobe lights from the dance floor competing for attention. My bandmates would have to search for me a bit longer before we took the stage. I hid behind the backstage pillar and quickly dialed my sister’s number. I had to push away my pride and contact Hallie. She was never up past midnight, but I had waited long enough to ask for her help.  

My watch flashed faster. Two minutes and forty-five seconds remaining.  

“Hello?” Hallie’s voice was so quiet compared to the club that I had to bring my watch’s video screen closer.  

“Hey! It’s me.” I screamed over the chaos surrounding me. “Kyra?” Hallie squinted her eyes, peering into the screen. “Holy shit, sis! You look so different with that hair.”  

Now that there was a chance for my band manager slash boyfriend to find out what I did. I needed to talk to Hallie to focus. I scanned the dance floor for him, then stumbled into a couple making out in the corner. “Listen, I don’t have much time, but—”  

Hallie smiled on the screen. “I mean, if you’d returned my calls in the last three months, maybe I wouldn’t be so surprised that your hair is red now. And is that a new piercing?”  

How did she have so much energy at this hour? That wasn’t like my older sister. Pausing, I glanced behind her as a shadow moved across her room. “Uh, Hallie, is someone there with you?”  

“No, well, yes. Look at these adorable kittens I found.” She stepped out of the frame. Damn it, I didn’t have time for this. The music blared louder, and a beeping sounded from my watch every few seconds, cutting off half of her words. “You…come tomorrow… kittens…adopt.”  

My foot bounced faster with each passing second. As much as I’d love to adopt one, Quamir would never let me keep a kitten in his apartment. He’d probably end up cooking it on his grill just for fun. But obviously, Hallie didn’t know any of this. My sister was completely unaware of my predicament. 

“Look at this little smushy face.” Hallie held up a tabby with entrancing eyes and ears three sizes too big for its body. One minute and thirty seconds left until my watch battery ran out. There wasn’t enough time to tell Hallie that my boyfriend was the villain. Quamir had refused to help with my last watch bill, and since he was my band manager, who also refused to give me a paycheck, I barely had any money left.  

“Hallie! Listen, I need your help.”  

“What? I can’t hear you. Wait, Kyra, where are you?” She finally put down the kitten and started paying attention. I’d been so stupid waiting this long to call my family. In less than a minute, I’d have no outlet, no way to communicate if things got worse—no means of escape.  

The DJ started introducing our band on the mic, his voice crackling louder than the music, so I crouched down on the floor, trying to block out the noise.  

“Hallie! I need you to pick me up downtown Andersonville at—” “Kyra?” Her face blurred in and out of focus. “I can’t hear—" The call dropped.  

“Shit!” I dropped my arms to my side, my heart pounding. “Kyra! There you are,” Quamir roared from the shadows, racing footsteps thundered after his voice. “You’re ten minutes late! I was so worried.”  

Fuck Quamir and his fake charm. He lifted me from my crouched position, crushed me in a suffocating hug, and kissed my forehead. “I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.” He scanned my outfit, a red tank top with black shorts, and for just a moment, his eyes narrowed with possessiveness. “They’re waiting for you. Get on stage, babe.” He handed over my drumsticks and spanked my butt while pushing me toward the stage. If only I could punch the drumsticks into his eyes. As the lights blinded me, the raging crowd burst into applause and screams. I pounded my drumsticks together, yelling, “One, two, three, four.” Soon, we were creating the hypnotic rhythm all the hopeless couples craved. Scarlet-red and atomic-orange beams from the strobe lights sliced through the fog to the mosh pit below our stage. For a few moments, true passion struck deep in my core, with every beat thudding faster on my drums. The smiles of my bandmates mirrored my own, though theirs probably weren’t layered with pain. Even though our lead sang the routine lyrics, I hummed a verse of the words I had written in my journal, matching them to this beat.  

You ignore my soul that could’ve shined so bright,  

You’ve swallowed me whole and stolen all my light.  

I’ll soon find my violent spark,  

So watch your damn back, cuz I’ll put up a fight.  

And one day soon, my soul will ignite,  

No one can trap me in the dark.  

I wanted freedom from this bar, this band, my ‘boyfriend,’ AKA captor, and rid of Lodesa. At this point, I’d even live in abandoned Vuldow if it guaranteed that I’d never have to see Quamir’s face ever again—or any man, for that matter. But that’d never happen. I was so devastatingly trapped. I stared at the neon sign flashing on the wall, mocking me with the name of the run-down bar which had imprisoned me in the capital city for the last few months.  

I caught Quamir’s eyes through the crowd. When a guy leaned into whisper something in his ear, Quamir’s features turned from cold to deadly. My heart rate instantly tripled. What secret passed between them? Did he know I helped Tanya escape from his clutches? Or maybe someone had caught me stealing money from his usually thick, but now lighter, wallet.  

My stomach coiled from the memory of Quamir’s fists hitting my stomach last week. Screw all men. There wasn’t one good one left. My time to act was running out. One week—if I could survive seven more days under Quamir’s slimy fingers, I’d finally have enough hidden cash to flee.  

He stepped forward, parting the sea of sweaty bodies, and headed straight toward me. Shit, whatever that guy had told him made him snap. The prospect of a week rapidly disappeared. I needed to leave tonight. Now.  

Someone blocked me from Quamir’s predatorial eyes in the knot of swaying bodies. I leaped out from behind my drum set, jumped offstage, and bolted into the shadows. 

“Ky-ra! Ky-ra! Ky-ra!”  

The crowd’s chanting of my name faded into a blur. As I jogged away, every hair on the back of my neck prickled in warning. I broke into a run down the dark hallway when I was free of the crowd, yet Quamir’s gaze burned a hole in my back. My heart thudded with each clomp of my boots that echoed off the walls. I needed to grab the stolen cash; otherwise, I’d never survive. The terrifying thought that someone may have found my secret stash made my legs push harder.  

As I sprinted down the long hallway, my ruby necklace slapped between my breasts. I prayed to whatever goddess above for the elevator doors to magically open. Too bad magic didn’t exist.  

Panting, I used my drumstick to jab the elevator button repeatedly.  




“Come on!” Bouncing on the balls of my feet would surely make the elevator appear faster. “Let’s go!”  

Finally, the elevator doors screeched open, and I released a breath. Inside, mirrors surrounded me on each side. My long, brown locks fell down my chest, with the red highlighted streaks matching my crimson shirt. My face showed the similar edges of Mom’s jaw and the soft curves of her nose. Maybe I should’ve called her instead of Hallie—too late now.  

I had two options: head up to my cash hidden on the roof or down to the basement tunnel exit. But there’d be no point in fleeing without the safety net of money. Loud thumping footsteps triggered a glance over my shoulder. A dark silhouette loomed from down the hall.  

Quamir had caught up with me.  

Thankfully, the elevator doors swished shut between us just in time. I pressed “R” for the rooftop and nervously fiddled my drumstick between my fingers.  

It lifted. Up. Up, rising higher. I gulped as the elevator doors opened to the roof, revealing the onyx sky. Darting forward, my feet followed the path straight to the loose brick in the corner. A bluster of wind flung my long hair across my face. I wiped it off, careful to avoid the tender spots hidden by makeup. Lightning splintered the darkness like a spiderweb. With a steadying hand on the side of the roof, I checked the fire escape ladder. Gone.  

Shit! My plan was doomed from the start. I quickly peered ten stories below to The Crooked Chateau’s graveyard, where my father’s bones lay resting. Another man I used to run from.  

“I hope the Divinities burn you a thousand times over, Dad, and melt the skin off your face for eternity,” I spat into the wind, hoping it landed right on his tombstone. Unfortunately, Quamir was just like Dad, an abusive asshole—like all men. They should all just disappear and make our lives much better.  

Crouching with trembling hands, I twisted the loose brick to the side and reached into a hole. Something sharp jagged into my forearm, and I gasped from the pain.  

“Keep going, Kyra,” I whispered to myself, “Don’t stop.” Finally, I grasped the wads of cash. Hopefully, I’d have enough for a hoverbus ticket out of Andersonville and a place to stay. Heart pounding, I pulled out the money and clutched it to my chest for just a beat. Blood dripped onto the top bill from the gash on my forearm. One more injury wouldn’t hold me back—not tonight. I’d rather slowly bleed out than stay near that sociopath for one more minute. A heavy sigh puffed out behind me. “You’ll learn to trust me one day, Kyra.”  

Rising, I spun on my heels and stared into Quamir’s monstrous eyes. He leaned on his stupid cane, a tool he used for power, but I only saw weakness.  

I gritted my teeth together and hissed, “If you try to make me stay, you’ll regret it.”  

“Is that a threat?”  

“It’s a promise.” I shoved the money into my purse.  

He closed the gap between us, stretching his snakelike smile across his cheeks in a way that had charmed me once before. “Let’s get you back on stage. The band sounds terrible without my star. No one uses their hands as good as you, Kyra.” He winked. “I’d know.”  

The edge of the rooftop crept closer. If I jumped, I wouldn’t survive, so I faced him directly. Bile rose in my throat at the reminder that I used to trust him, like him, maybe even love—no, I couldn’t love any man—never again. I eyed the rooftop elevator behind him. But Quamir pulled up his shirt, hovering his hand over a gun—a rare weapon and outrageously expensive.  

“Give me back my money,” he growled, “And let’s get you downstairs where you belong.”  

Thunder rumbled, followed by another crack of light above. As I backed into the brick wall, rain splattered, drenching my hair. If only I could harness the downpour and strike Quamir down where he stood.  

“Don’t test my patience,” he snarled.  

If I gave him the money, I’d live at least another day. If I ran for it, I might last four seconds until he shot a bullet into my back. “Kyra, don’t make me hurt you.”  

Those words stoked a flame deep within my soul. He had already hurt me. It was too late for that. Instead of running toward the elevator, I rammed my head straight into his gut, and we toppled backward. His gun dropped onto the rooftop.  

“Bitch!” He scrambled toward me, but I crawled faster, kicking his neck.  

I grabbed the gun and rolled, but his firm hand clutched my ankle, pulling. Hard. My back scraped against the concrete. Rain blinded me. I squeezed the trigger. Sound erupted from the weapon and jerked my body. I wouldn’t miss the second time.  

“Hey! What’s going on?” A sharp, deep voice yelled from the elevator.  

I glanced over to where a man stood between the opened doors, a dog by his side.  

In the distraction, Quamir kicked my leg. A scream burned my throat from the searing pain, and I dropped the gun.  

“Hurry, get over here!” The man beckoned me forward while holding the elevator open. I swore the rooftop shook for a second. Through the pummeling rain, I crawled. Gunshots blasted louder than the thunder. I didn’t dare look behind me. Fear clawed at my heart and sliced its way into the roots of my soul.  

Six feet to the elevator. My breathing turned ragged.  

A sound like cracking stone split the night air. Was the roof moving? The dog barked frantically, urging me on. I couldn’t see through my sopping hair.  

I was only four feet to safety.  

Pebbles dug into my knees and palms. Faster!  

“Hurry!” the stranger hollered.  

Two feet.  

I collapsed inside after another blasting gunshot. The elevator’s mirror cracked and split like a painting of silver veins. Before the doors clamped shut, a bullet had flown between them.  

You okay?” The man reached his hand to help me up. “I’m…I’ll be fine.”  

Silently, the stranger stood before me with a posture so straight that he might have a rod for a spine. His brown complexion was a shade darker than my golden tan, and even though he looked to be only a few years older than me, his expression reminded me of cold, ancient tombs. Those near-black eyes were so harsh that they could’ve been made of stone.  

“If you touch me, I’ll carve your damn eyes out.” I gulped down my fear of his titan size towering over me.  

“Woah, it’s okay.” He stepped back and leaned against the shattered mirror, his eyes fixated on his dog, who sat calmly by his side. I tilted my head and squinted at the tiny cloud patch between the chocolate lab’s brown eyes.  

“Have we met before?” I pointed my drumsticks like daggers which didn’t bother this giant in the least.  

“No, but you look cold. Take my jacket.” Those dark eyes held no spark of life, and that thick, messy, brown hair gave him a look of not-giving-a-crap that couldn’t be faked.  

I was about to refuse when he draped it over my shoulders. Now, I could see his camo cargo pants, military-looking boots, and a tight brown tee that hugged his sculpted chest.  

“I’m hitting the emergency button,” he said quietly. “Please don’t stab me with your…um…drumsticks.” A hint of a smirk quivered at the corner of his lip, but I probably imagined that too. This guy didn’t seem like he had smiled a day in his life.  

“No, I need to get away. Don’t, for one second, think that you’re trapping me here.” 

“I’m helping.” His voice was sharp enough to cut straight through bone.  

“Sure, every man thinks their ideas are the best ones.” The elevator shook fiercely. “Crap!” My side slammed into the shattered mirror, and glass pieces cascaded into my hair. He stared down at me from his six-foot-something with a practiced scowl meant for enemies. His hand reached for my face. I flinched and squeezed my eyes shut, ready for a slap to the cheek.  

“Hey, calm down. I’m never going to hurt you, Kyra,” he said, then plucked a piece of glass from my hair.  

How does he know my name?  

“This is Chocolate, and I’m Jadox Griffin,” he said, with a voice like sin.  

I studied his features—bone structure that looked cut from an edge of quartz, but his thick, long lashes didn’t match the rest of his masculine features.  

His large hand pinched his stubbly chin, and he took a deep breath. “Why was that man shooting at you?”  

“Does it matter … Jade … Jay?”  

“It’s Jadox. It’s a native name from my village, Draven.” His deep baritone mumbled the words together.  

Draven must’ve been outside of Lodesa. I hadn’t heard of it. This time when Jadox shifted his weight toward me, I stayed firmly in my spot. I still waited for an impact, not trusting him, but his hands wiggled a lever in the ceiling. “Let’s go, climb up,” he said. I looked up into the dark space above, refusing to tell him about my fear of heights.  

“We don’t have time to chat. Your rooftop friend might be waiting when these doors open…and his gun might be aimed straight at your heart.”  

With that last word, his gaze scanned my chest, my tight, wet top with my breasts squished together. Typical male—only three possible things on his mind: sex, power, money.  

“I’ll go up alone,” I said.  

“No, I’m not leaving you.” 

His dog’s wet tongue licked raindrops off my calf. Something about his pet looked familiar. I bit my lip and let my mutinous gaze skate down his flat torso.  

“You make a hideous first impression with that alpha attitude.” A devious flicker sparked in his dark eyes as he stared at the elevator ceiling. “So, when did you receive your tattoo?” “Receive? That’s a strange way of putting it.” I flipped my forearms over. “Which one? I got this feather during the Snow Moon of year 80T. Or did you mean this rose? That was earlier, I think, in 76D.”  

“No…your Circle.” Jadox’s eyes raked over my face. “Uh, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”  

“You…don’t…have a…?” One of his thick eyebrows almost met his hairline. “You don’t have one,” he said, not as a question this time.  

“Um, this has been lovely. Thanks for the thrilling conversation, but I’m leaving now.”  

His mind seemed far away, like we weren’t in the same place. Of course, he was probably just another egotistical asshole who thought the sun revolved around him even though I was literally running for my life.  

“Um, actually, can you please lift me?” I reached into the darkness.  

Jadox laced his calloused fingers together, and I placed one boot in the center. With the ease of an athlete, he projected my one hundred-and-thirty pounds straight up through the hole. One wad of cash thudded to the floor, landing by Chocolate’s paw. Jadox shoved it in his cargo pants. “Thanks for the tip.”  

“Hey! I need that money.”  

I turned and surveyed the dark elevator chute. A thick, long cord was hanging down and swaying. Next to it were divots that formed a ladder on one wall.  

A pounding sound came from below against the closed elevator doors.  

“He’s trying to get in,” Jadox said. “Move so I can climb up.” “No, you stay down there,” I hissed. “Your dog can eat him.” 

Ready to dig my boot into the narrow ledge, I suddenly heard heavy breathing directly behind me. A landmine of goosebumps sprinkled my neck. Holding my breath, I turned slowly, so slowly. Silent as a ghost, Jadox had somehow magically appeared next to me, his deep oak eyes boring through me. I didn’t dare make a sound. This man just rose seven feet while holding his dog without making a sound.  

“What the? How did you get up here already?” Chocolate wagged her tail beside him. “Maybe I’m dreaming. Or I must be in the afterlife.”  


“And stop acting like you know me. It’s creepy. Are you a stalker?”  


Quamir’s pounding below grew louder and louder until my head buzzed intensely.  

“I have to get out of here,” I mumbled to myself, absolutely frantic.  

One of the dim lights overhead burst into a shower of sparks. I climbed the steep wall, slipping with each attempt.  

“I’ll help you up. Step on my hands again,” Jadox insisted. The divots were too shallow, and I wasn’t strong enough. I struggled, trying to pull up, but slid down with each try. Gripping a tiny indent, my fingertips turned red from pressure, and my arms shook. I groaned and pushed up with my legs. I fell. Useless. “Fine, help me up, but only because I asked you. This is my idea,” I said, seething at having to give in.  

“Okay, and when we’re out of here, there’s something I need you to do for me.”  

“I don’t owe you anything.”  

“It’s not really an option.” His eyes grazed my chest again, his irises lit from the inside, full of mystery. This time, I realized he wasn’t soaking in the view of my cleavage but had his eye on the necklace draped between my breasts.  

“I need your ruby.” 

Cassie started writing in 2020 and published her first trilogy in 2021. She switched from romantic suspense to fantasy romance with her second trilogy releasing in early 2023. Cassie's next plan is an interrelated world of fairy tale retellings that all have gender reversals. Think ... the infamous Beast as a female antihero, the little mermaid as a merman soldier, and Peter Pan as a female wanderer.

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(1) winner will receive a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Rockstar Book Tours - International.

Ends March 11th, midnight EST.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


A Dream Within A Dream



Mythical Books

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read dog reviews

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IG Review



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Week Two:


Books With A Chance

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IG Review



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Review Thick And Thin

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The Book Countess




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Emily Ashlyn

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The Real World According To Sam

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