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Sunday Snippet: Spartan Heart by Jennifer Estep

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 About the Book

Spartan Heart   
Author:  Jennifer Estep
Publisher:   Self-published
Released:  December 5, 2017
Series:   Mythos Academy spinoff #1
Genre:  Young adult urban fantasy – mythology
Author contact links:   Blog, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Website
Purchase links:  Amazon, B&N, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords
REVIEW TO COME

Snippet:

A shoulder slammed into mine, making me stagger to one side of the cobblestone path.

“Watch it!” I snapped.

“Why don’t you watch it?” a low voice growled right back at me.

Normally, I would have kept on going, since this wasn’t the first time someone had accidentally-on-purpose rammed into me while I was walking across the quad, thinking that it was hilarious to pick on the girl with the dead Reaper parents. All the taunts, whispers, and stares had filled me with a familiar, sickening mixture of guilt, shame, and embarrassment, but those emotions quickly morphed into a cold, hard knot of anger in my chest. Dirty looks and whispers were one thing, but actually plowing into me was something else, especially when I was already struggling with my emotions.

Once again, I felt that need to lash out, and I decided to give in to it, since my day was already ruined. Someone wanted to mess with me? Well, I was tired of taking everyone else’s crap, and I could give as good as I got.

I whirled around to confront the person who’d run into me and realized that it wasn’t one of the snotty Valkyrie girls like I’d expected. It was a guy—and he was gorgeous.

Seriously, he was tall and muscled and just plain gorgeous in his black boots, black jeans, dark gray henley, and black leather jacket. Rich honey highlights ran through his dark blond hair, which stuck up at odd angles, as though he constantly ran his fingers through it, but the slightly messy, unkempt look totally suited him. He had the kind of great cheekbones, perfect straight nose, and strong jaw that you’d see on a movie star. But his eyes . . . his eyes were simply amazing—a light, bright, piercing gray. I’d never seen eyes like that before, and I tried to figure out what their color reminded me of. Rain-soaked clouds, maybe, or the gleaming edge of a freshly sharpened sword . . .

The guy glared at me, breaking the spell. I blinked and forced myself to ignore how cute he was. Instead, I studied him again, and I realized I’d never seen him before. Last year, after all that mess with my parents had happened, I had made it a point to know every single student at the academy, especially the ones I should avoid. But this guy? He was new.

Oh, I was sure there was a perfectly logical explanation. Lots of students transferred from one academy to another, especially at the start of the school year and especially at the start of this school year, since the North Carolina academy was still undergoing repairs from the earlier battle.

Still, I kept studying the guy, this time trying to figure out what kind of warrior he was. He couldn’t be a Roman, since his magic would have made him fast enough to avoid running into me. My gaze dropped to the black duffel bag dangling from his hand. The bag’s long, distinctive shape was meant to hold a battle ax, and a couple of smaller axes were hooked to the outside of the bag as well. So he was a Viking. They were the only warriors who used axes like that. No wonder he’d almost knocked me down. His Viking strength would have let him knock me into next week if he’d wanted. Maybe he hadn’t slammed into me on purpose after all.

The guy’s eyes narrowed. “What are you staring at?”

Embarrassment spurted through me that he had caught me gaping at him. But I ignored the fresh, hot blush stinging my cheeks, crossed my arms over my chest, and glared back at him.

“What are you staring at?” I snapped. “I was walking along, minding my own business, when bam! You plowed right into me. And now you’re not even apologizing for almost knocking me down.”

Anger sparked in his eyes, turning them a darker storm-cloud gray, which, of course, only made him look that much more handsome. “I didn’t plow into you. You weren’t watching where you were going. If anyone should be apologizing, it’s you, cupcake.”

My arms dropped to my sides, and my hands clenched into fists. “You did not just call me cupcake.”

He arched an eyebrow. “What? You don’t like that nickname? Well, it’s true. Look at you, with your designer clothes and expensive bag and perky little ponytail. You’re a cute little cupcake of a warrior, just like the rest of the girls here.”

More anger surged through my body, and I stepped up so that I was standing inches away from him. “I am a Spartan,” I hissed. “One who is perfectly capable of kicking your ass, right here, right now, Viking.”

He arched his eyebrow at me again. “A threat? Aw, that’s so cute. Maybe some other time. Right now, I’ve got to get to class, and so do you. Unless you want to be late on the first day of school.”

“I—”

I started to snap back at him, but a series of bells rang out across the quad, cutting me off and signaling that we had five minutes to get to class.

“And that’s my cue to leave. Later, cupcake.” The Viking snapped his hand up to his forehead in a mock salute. He hefted his bag onto his shoulder, making all the small battle axes hooked to the outside clank-clank-clank together, and moved past me.

“But—”

I whirled around, but he was moving fast, heading for the gym on the opposite side of the quad. He was already out of earshot, unless I wanted to scream insults at him. I was still so angry that I opened my mouth to let loose, but then I realized that everyone was staring at me again, including the Valkyries who’d been mocking me earlier. The girls all rolled their eyes and snickered, adding to my humiliation. Everyone had seen my confrontation with the Viking, and they were already gossiping about it.

Great. Just great. I had wanted things to be different this year, but I was right back where I’d started, with everyone talking about me, the supposed Reaper girl in their midst. And it was all his fault.

I glared at the Viking’s back, but there was nothing I could do about him now. So I sighed, turned around, and trudged across the quad toward the English-history building.

As I walked along, one thought kept running through my mind. I had been absolutely right before.

The first day of school is always the worst.

Especially at Mythos Academy.

Book Blurb:

New school year, same old problems . . .

At Mythos Academy, everyone knows exactly who I am: Rory Forseti, Spartan girl and the daughter of Reapers.  

Even though I fought alongside my cousin Gwen Frost to save the mythological world from Loki and his evil Reapers of Chaos, I’m still the most hated girl at the academy because of all the horrible things my parents did. I had hoped that this school year would be different, but the other kids just won’t let me forget about my parents. 

 But something strange is going on at the Colorado academy. First, I run into a Viking guy who dislikes me more than most. Then I notice some odd artifacts in the Library of Antiquities. And worst of all, I start hearing rumors about a new group of Reapers who can summon mythological monsters. 

I might be the most hated girl at Mythos Academy, but I’m also the only one who can save it . . .

About the Author:   

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Mythos Academy spinoff series. Spartan Frost, book #1, will be released on Dec. 5.

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Kill the Queen, Bigtime, and Black Blade series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.

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