Harperpages

The blog of author Harper Alexander


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A Grand Entrance – Queen of Spades Excerpt

When I took a deep breath and entered the ballroom, all eyes turned to me, a hundred or more people peeping through their masks at the arrival of the guest of honor.
   I had thought my own mask a great bother up until that point, but was suddenly very thankful to be wearing it, to be hiding behind whatever I could for my grand entrance.
   And grand it was. The hush that fell over the room sent goosebumps down my arms, and a draft came in from the balcony just then, hissing with the ghostly chuckle of joker gargoyles and making the heart-lanterns flicker as it swept through the chamber. Confetti wasn’t the only thing strewn across the floor – there were cards interspersed as well – and as the breeze issued forth from the opposite side of the room, a dozen aces of spades overturned across the floor before me to line my path. The train of my gown was like an ocean stretched out behind me, dragging the floor clean of confetti in my wake.
   I stopped in the center of the room. Let everyone stare at the grand spectacle that I created. Tried to endure the self-consciousness, the sound of my heartbeat rising to a crescendo in my head.
   And then, all at once, there came a whoop from the balcony – a couple, in fact – and a company of jesters materialized from behind the joker gargoyles, jumping down from the balustrade and tumbling into the ballroom.
   Their acrobatics fanned out and spilled through the gathering, until one of them initiated a series of back-hand-springs in my direction and ended with a back-flip directly in front of me, exploding into a rain of cards that fluttered to the marble floor at my feet. No sign of a human presence remained.


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A Breathless Prologue

I’m pleased to announce I’ve started the fourth and final book in the Breathtaker series. I also have plans to do a quick rewrite of the first two books and add a bit of excitement (and polish a few other things up), but I’m trying to maintain forward momentum where completing the series is concerned, in order to keep the fans happy.

So to celebrate the beginning of this final installment, I’d like to share with you the prologue that officially begins the end.

I give you…the prologue of Breathless:

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If you knew a breath would be your last…would you hold it?
For centuries, those who have had a brush with death have been saved by the graces of instinct. The natural, compelling instinct to survive has long been poised to jump in, to intervene, to do what it can to preserve its host.
But it is an unconscious preservation. And a brush with death is an entirely different creature than a pact with fate.
So what if you knew? Knew and welcomed the moment.
Would you have it in you to go peacefully, without a fight? To shake Fate’s hand, and walk off into the unfathomable beyond without glancing back?
Or would a piece of you still resist, clinging to all that you know and love? And if you love nothing in this world, would you fall prey to that final disease that is the human capacity to hope, and cling to all that you could come to know and love, if you held on just a little longer…
If you knew your moment had come, would you lie beneath the stars aligned for your death, and hold your last breath?


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A Knock at the Fortress Door

Today’s excerpt, from my progress on Queen of Spades (making good headway now, folks! I promise!)

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Then, one day during what must have been my third week at my new headquarters, I was headed back to my room after a game with the Royals when a knock came at the grand doors of the fortress.

It stopped me in my tracks, because I had known when I came to that threshold how rare a thing it was. I remembered my impression of those doors – that visitors didn’t just come knocking at them. So the significance of the knock rang through me as it echoed down the halls. I stood in the ripples of it for a moment, and then I turned.

Down the hall, the other Royals looked as bemused as I where they had exited the playing room.

Slowly, Lady Cardelia glided forward, approaching the erstwhile neglected doors. And I couldn’t help it – I inched forward too, curious.

Who came knocking at a door in the sky?

Composed, Lady Cardelia reached for the handle, letting her fingers linger ever so momentarily before pulling open the slab.

Wintry light cracked into the hall, illuminating the dust in the air like fine snowflakes.

And as the door swung wider, yawning its hibernating maw to inhale the outside world, who stood there but Damien.

My dirty rotten Cheater.