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A Dark So Deep (The Madness Method #2) - Hardcover (Vorona Books)

A Dark So Deep (The Madness Method #2) - Hardcover (Vorona Books)

Regular price $27.99 USD
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Some things are made to be broken...

Beloved prince, rebel, traitor...Tarik grapples with the consequences of pushing his country to the brink of war. Now, haunted by shadows and his own demons, he must navigate a treacherous path to bring peace before losing his own sanity.

With Hayli imprisoned by the Science Ministry and his allies in the shadows, Tarik must contend with both external and internal foes. Some see him as the key to defusing hostilities; others believe he alone can save the mages from annihilation. But the pressing question remains — at what cost?

As Tarik fights to protect his people, Hayli struggles to escape her captors, but is true freedom ever within reach? And as the lines between loyalty and betrayal blur, only one question remains.

If the price for peace is too high…is war the only option?

Read an Excerpt!


I paused at the top of the stairs and closed my eyes. Just five minutes. I only needed to Mask for five minutes. I let my mind clear, then pictured a face that was entirely forgettable, middle-aged and plain. After a moment I felt the tingling sensation across my skin, the tightening and stretching as my features took a new form. I brushed a hand over my head to feel the sparse tufts of hair, then over my nose—bulbous, but not too remarkable—and chin, receding under a neatly-combed wisp of beard. Good.

Taking a deep breath, I headed down the stairs and walked toward the parlor as quickly as I could without looking like I was running from something. The guards posted outside the room held their hands out as I approached, stopping me. I panicked; I hadn’t thought of this complication.

“What is your business here at this hour?” one of them asked.

“I’m here…at His Majesty’s invitation, of course,” I said, as smoothly as I could manage. “He asked me to come if I heard any news of his son.”

The guard’s eyes widened, but he only asked, “And whom should I announce?”

I barely hesitated before answering, “Katzpota Massat.”

It was a common enough surname, and the guard didn’t even blink. He nodded smartly and disappeared into the parlor without a word. A moment later he returned and held the door open for me. I could feel my cheeks beginning to tingle again, and my pulse kicked into a terrified gallop. Muttering a word of thanks, I bent my head and pushed past him into the room, praying with every fibre of my being that he hadn’t seen anything, that I hadn’t unMasked too soon, that I hadn’t failed. No surprised exclamations followed me, so, maybe I’d succeeded. For now.

Trabin stood near the massive white-stone hearth in an elegant charcoal suit, leaning one arm on the mantle until I wondered how he could bear the heat. He didn’t turn to acknowledge me, not even when the door clicked shut behind me.

“So,” he said. “Have you come to accept my offer?”

I cleared my throat, partly to see if the voice that would come out would be Tarik’s or the unremarkable gentleman’s. “You knew it was me?”

He did turn then, barely, casting a sidelong glance at me over his shoulder. Appraising. Mocking.

“Well, you look like hell. Are you quite ready to leave the streets yet, and come home where you belong?”

I stood rooted in the middle of the floor, trying to make sense of his words that sent my reality skewing sideways. My hand swiped distractedly over my head, and felt the always-unkempt fringes of Tarik’s hair. Of course. I sighed and moved to stand across from him, letting my fingers run idly over the familiar leaf-and-stag carvings in the white mantle.

“Home?” I echoed. “Do you still think this can be my home, or that I could ever belong here?”

“If you made the choice, yes.”

Why? I wondered. I thought you made it fairly clear what you thought of me. How you were done with me. Why change now? What could you possibly gain from it?

“Aren’t I just…I don’t know, an inhuman beast? Isn’t that what you called us once before?”

He stared at me long and hard, no hint of emotion on his face. “I may have been provoked into saying something along those lines.”

His honesty caught me off-guard. “Did you mean it?”

“I’m not a scientist,” he said. He turned his face aside. “I’ve always relied on the research of the best scientists in the kingdom.”

“The Ministry? You should have known they never had the purest of motives,” I said. “Seems like everyone over there has an agenda.”

“I doubt you realize just how true that is,” he said quietly. “I certainly didn’t.” There was a long pause, while I tried to figure out the strangeness of this conversation, then he said, “You need to come home. Make an appearance, show the people that you are safe.”

I studied him warily, because from what the article in the Herald had said, I would have thought my return was the last thing he wanted.

“And if I do, what will happen to the mages?” He didn’t answer, so I raised my voice and asked again, “What of the mages?” 

When he just shook his head I swore under my breath and turned my head. The fire blazed off my face, and curled in the pit of my gut. An insatiable thirst burned inside me, tempting me to reach into the flames and take hold of them. A mad part of my mind wondered what I could I do if I wanted to. Would anyone have the power to stop me?

I curled my fingers, digging the nails into my palms, and swallowed back the thirst.

“I’m not ready to do anything.”

I wasn’t sure if I was answering him, or the voice in my head.

“Your indecision is driving us into war,” Trabin said, a dangerous edge to his voice.

I slammed my hand down on the mantle, shaking with rage. “I don’t want a war!” I shouted. “Can’t you see that? You’re the bloody king! Why is it up to me to start or stop a war? Why can’t you just let us live in peace?”

He drew a slow breath, straightening his shoulders. It was his tell; I knew he was just as furious as me. But somehow I’d been driven to irrational rage faster than him for perhaps the first time in my life. My palm still stung with the reminder. I mimicked his deep breath, but where he used it to hide his fury, I used it to tame mine. I could use his anger, but only if I was in control of myself.

“Science has been trying to catch up with what magic makes possible for nearly a century now, but we’re still so, so far behind,” he said, spitting the words through clenched teeth. “Should we have done nothing? Should we have left ourselves defenseless?”

“Defenseless? Against whom?”

“Against the likes of you!”

For a moment there was only silence, silence and the groan of burning wood. I wondered what madness, what wicked irony this was. It made no sense. I didn’t want it to make sense.

“Is that why you sent that pilot to kill me?” I asked.

Trabin lifted one brow briefly before turning his gaze back to the fire. “You have a knack for survival, Tarik. I knew that warning shot across your bow wouldn’t kill you. But I hoped that maybe it would wake you up.”

My hands knotted at my sides. I could feel the cold anger draining the warmth from my cheeks, settling like steel in the core of my heart. This time I wasn’t sure I wanted to control it.

“Your warning shot,” I said, my voice low, dangerous, “left ten people dead. Six of them were children.”

“You could have prevented it,” he said, and he didn’t sound the least bit sorry about it. “But I hope you understand…more will die if this goes on.”

And I knew he meant it. I watched him quietly, deliberating, calculating. Arguing was pointless—seventeen years’ experience had taught me that I could never hope to win a shouting match with him. It was a waste of breath.

“You attacked the smelter,” I said. “Without cause. Without warning. Fired on unarmed citizens. Do you think you can just step back now and claim you want peace? To them you’ve already declared war. They won’t back down. They’re Cavnish. We don’t back down.”

“You will,” he said, without irony. “I know what kind of man you are.”

I drew a thin breath. “You know what kind of child I was. You have no idea what kind of man I am.”

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