9:00 am EST, April 24, 2018

Read an exclusive excerpt from ‘Flame in the Mist’ novella ‘Ōkami’ by Renée Ahdieh

Get your first look at Ōkami by Renée Ahdieh, a new novella featuring a fan favorite from Flame in the Mist.

About ‘Okami’ by Renée Ahdieh

At the close of Flame in the Mist, to end a bloodbath between the Black Clan and imperial soldiers, Ōkami allows himself to be taken prisoner by Prince Raiden, Mariko’s betrothed. For someone who doesn’t believe in heroes, it’s a surprising choice: to trade his life for the lives of his friends and the one he loves. For he will surely be killed when he arrives in the Imperial City. But he decides if his life is the cost of love, it may not be too high a price after all.

Excerpt from ‘Ōkami’

Ōkami opened his eyes to the night sky. Starlight filtered through the swaying leaves. He felt the moon’s power slowly work to heal the wound along his brow. It knitted around his eye, burning into his temple.

With nothing but the wish, Ōkami could free himself of these chains. He could cut the throat of Kenshin before the Dragon of Kai had a chance to blink. In the next breath, he could force Prince Raiden to his knees. Drive the Furinkazan through his stomach.

Would he get to Mariko in time? And even if he did, what would become of his men in the forest? His brothers. His friends.

The emperor would kill them all, just as he had Ōkami’s father and Tsuneoki’s father.

At the thought of Tsuneoki, Ōkami swallowed carefully. He’d allowed his dearest friend to take on the burden of his name for nearly a decade. Tsuneoki had been far better suited for it, after all. A true leader. The exact kind of warrior worthy of the Furinkazan.

But this alone had not been the real reason Ōkami had let his friend bear the weight of the Takeda name. He’d let Tsuneoki assume his identity because he’d wished for his friend to suffer. They’d been barely eight years old when their fathers had died. If Asano Naganori had stayed firm in his commitment to support Takeda Shingen — if he had not succumbed to his fear—perhaps it would not be Ōkami riding in a prison wagon to meet his death.

What kind of person punished his best friend for his father’s crimes?

Ōkami swallowed again.

Even if he did not wish to die, he deserved it. For this and many other reasons. He breathed deeply of the night air. Let it settle his raging heart and calm his swirling thoughts. It did no good for Ōkami to ponder all he’d done and all he’d failed to do. What might have happened in a different world. In a different life.

Instead Ōkami let his mind drift to happier memories. To brighter times.

He would need the strength of these remembrances, if he was to face what was to come.

So Ōkami filled his mind with laughter. With Yoshi teaching him how to mend his clothing. With Tsuneoki scheming of ways to recruit other lost young men to their band of forest-dwelling thieves.
With mist coiling above hot springs. The scent of rain in Mariko’s hair. The feeling of her heart pounding beneath his palm.

To me, you are magic.

Warmth settled around his heart. Soothed his soul.

Even if Ōkami died a thousand deaths, it would be worth it.

Ōkami by Renée Ahdieh is available for free download today.

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