Rise of the Elites, Reign of the White Phoenix by Jessica Cage
The Ancients foretold of the one with the white flame. She would change the world.
Hidden since birth from her own people, Elsfaer was born with a distinct marking that covered her entire body. Before she could walk, she was seen as a threat to their existence. But there were those who believed that she should be protected at all costs.
With the call for a new Elite, the High Spirit chose Elsfaer as the next to lead the Phoenix people. The very people she’d been told to fear all her life. But unlike the rest of her people who burned either a blue or red flame, Elsfaer’s fire was the hottest of whites.
Her white flame was a sign of change, of a new order for her people. Unfortunately, Phoenixes weren’t exactly open to change, but Elsfaer knows something they don’t. The balance of the Phoenix has been thrown off and if she doesn’t fix it, their flames will burn out for the last time.
Reign of the White Phoenix is a part of the Rise of the Elites Shared World Collection
Collection includes titles by:
USA Today Bestselling Author, Jessica Cage
USA Today Bestselling Author, Jennifer Laslie
USA Today Bestselling Author, Mikel Wilson
E. M. Lacey
Six Elites will Fall. Six will Rise.
Find out if they survive.
Excerpt from Reign of the White Phoenix:
The rustling of grass caught my attention. “Who’s there?” I called out, hoping that it wasn’t someone who wanted to try their luck despite the issued challenge. It wasn’t unlikely that there were people who didn’t care about the order of things or the consequences of the High spirit.
“Settle down.” The familiar voice of a person I thought I’d never see. “I’m not here to hurt you.”
“Kaden?” I peered into the shadows unable to see the source of the voice.
“I thought you were the Elite.” He revealed himself, stepping from behind a large tree.
“What are you doing here? What if someone catches you?”
“I had to see it for myself. Your wings.” Kaden leaned against the tree. “I was prepared to be blown away with awe. Little did I know, you’re really a Flameless after all.”
“Well, sorry to make you come all the way out here for nothing.” I turned away from him, focusing on the busy fish again. “And I’m not a Flameless. At least I don’t think I am.”
“What happened?” He remained behind me, enough distance between us that he could escape if I decided to turn on him.
“I don’t know. I’ve waited my entire life to have them and now they are just gone.” My shoulders slumped forward. It was hard enough to have the thoughts in my head but saying it out loud gave the disappointment a new weight. “I would think you’d be happy about it. You wanted me to be a Flameless. Did you come here to gloat?”
“No, I didn’t. Why would you think I’d risk being here just to rub salt in your wound?”
“Face it, you turned your back on me the moment you learned the truth. Don’t get me wrong, you had every right to do it. I should have been honest with you from the beginning. I messed up.”
“I know it wasn’t all your doing.” Kaden joined me on the bench and watched the water. “Ali can be convincing when she wants to be. I figured she probably concocted the entire thing and because she is your friend, you went along with it.”
“I just wanted to enjoy my life; you know? I wanted challenges and experiences that weren’t connected to being an Elite. I lived in that temple for years just waiting for the day that I would be strong enough to leave on my own. Not even a day after I mature, this happens. The option for that life and the freedom I longed for was ripped away from me. I never wanted any of this, Kaden.”
“And now you’re here.” He nodded.
“I am, except nothing is how I thought it would be. I’m struggling, and I don’t know what to do.” All of Phaedrial had expectations of me. Zodiac had already decided what my future was without even considering me. And Ali, in all the commotion I hadn’t even considered her. Where was she?
“I wish I could help.” He leaned back on the bench, finally looking at me and not the water.
“Why are you really here?”
“I told you.” He shrugged. “Wanted to be wowed like all the others. I knew you would be magnificent.”
“I know what you told me, but I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who is capable of keeping secrets.”
“Okay, I’ll admit it. You’re right. I came here in anger.” The moonlight bounced off his skin and gave his face a glow I’d never seen before. That was the thing about the Darkest Forest, it hid so many wondrous things. ” I don’t know what I planned to do. It’s not as if I’m strong enough to take on an Elite.”
“You wanted to fight me?” I raised a brow. That wasn’t the answer I was expecting.
“I wanted to hurt you, the same way you hurt me. I believed in you. Watching you train the others, the care and concern you had for them, I was impressed.” He paused, “And I thought we had something special. I confided in you, told you things about me that I’d never shared with another person. How was I supposed to know that you wouldn’t use that information against me one day?”
“I would never do that,” I confessed. ” Being with you all was the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere. Wings or not. I didn’t want to lie to you, but I didn’t think that you could ever accept me if you knew the truth. I care about every one of them and you. But I understand why you would be concerned.”
“I didn’t know what to believe.” He lifted his hand and carefully pushed the hood back from my face so he could better see me. “I had to be sure.”
“Well, you can be sure your secrets are safe. They will die with me; in just a few days it looks like.”
“Why do you assume you will lose?” He looked disappointed in me. “Have you suddenly forgotten how to fight?”
“Whoever challenged me has to be powerful. Or at least someone with a flame. I can’t compete against that.”
“You’re telling me you spent your entire life in combat training and you never once trained on fighting without your flame?”
“Well, of course, I have. That’s all I could do.”
“Okay, so you’re a skilled fighter and from what you taught our men in just a few short days, I know you’re capable of going out there and kicking ass.” He shook his head with a stern expression. “Elsfaer, you can’t give up before you even step foot in the ring. That’s a sure-fire way to make sure you don’t come back out.”
“It’s a lot to take on. In training I knew what I was up against, here, I have no idea. We don’t even know who issued the challenge.”
“Stop whining. You have time, prepare yourself.” He stood from the bench to walk away. “There are still people who want to see you succeed. Not everyone wants your life to end, regardless of the secrets you have at your disposal.”
“Where are you going?” I stood wanting to follow him, but I knew it was best not to. Kaden being there was risky enough as it was.
“Back to the Odious where I belong. Maybe you can come to find me when you win.” He winked over his shoulder.
“Wait,” I called out to him.
Under the rising moon, I joined him beneath the tree. With death looming and life slipping away, I needed to take advantage of every opportunity to live. I stepped as close to him as I could and looked up into his eyes. With a sharp inhale, I lifted to my toes and pressed my lips against him.
As it always did, the kiss grew with intensity and fire until I felt like my flesh was burning. His hands gripped the small of my back before his arms wrapped around me and he lifted me from the ground. When our lips parted, we were both out of breath and flushed with our desire.
“Make sure you win, woman.”