Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Free, Spotlight, Young Adult on July 18, 2015

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courage and other demons

Courage and Other Demons (Book 1) Synopsis

The end of the world will start in the suburbs of Denver with a faery transfer student from Ireland. If you think that’s totally ridiculous, then you understand how Maggie O’Neill feels. In all of her sixteen years, faeries were something you read about in children’s books. They didn’t actually show up on your doorstep. They didn’t kiss you and make your knees go weak and whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Until Simon Brady, that is. Simon changed everything. He makes her heart race and her skin burn with excitement, but he has also changed her core beliefs about the world and made her see it as a dark and dangerous place filled with monsters that belong only in the lines of faery tales. There is no doubt in Maggie’s mind that she loves Simon, but can she see past who he is and find a place for him in her heart?


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“Are you ready to start?” Sloane asked as I stepped into the room.

“Yes,” I said, the word catching in my throat. Simon stood next to me and placed his hand protectively on the small of my back. I was scared and felt better knowing he was next to me, even if he were only there as my friend.

Liam took a small, black velvet box from his pocket and opened it, revealing a silver ring inside. I noticed with surprise that it was a Claddagh ring, very similar to the ones Simon, Finn and Erin wore, and I thought back to the time when Simon had said he was pretty certain someone would give me a Claddagh ring at some point. This one looked older and more worn than Simon’s, but it still had the two hands coming together to hold a heart with a crown above it.

Once everyone had an opportunity to inspect the ring, Sloane turned to me. “It’s not too late to change your mind,” she said.

I shook my head, ready to get it over with once and for all. I tried not to think about everything this ring meant—about how dramatically my life might change in the next few moments—because I knew if I did I wouldn’t be able to go through with it. I could still feel Simon’s hand on the small of my back and the heat from his skin reached through the cloth of my shirt and up to my heart, and knowing he was there with me made what I had to do a little easier. My heart was pounding wildly against my ribs as I took the ring from Liam’s extended hand, and after a moment’s hesitation, I slipped it on my right index finger. As soon as the ring touched my skin, I felt as if I’d been punched in the chest. I plummeted to the ground, sitting on my heels, my hands braced in front of me on the floor, trying to steady myself against falling any further. I was experiencing an extreme sense of vertigo and I felt like I was capable of falling well beyond the boundaries of the floor. I could hear Simon and the others asking me if I was okay. I could feel their hands on me, but they felt so distant. The room was getting darker and darker, and I was finding it hard to breath. I closed my eyes against everything I was seeing, too afraid to face whatever was happening to me.

“Don’t fight it, Maggie Girl,” I heard a woman call to me, using the nickname my grandfather used. “Don’t fight it. Let yourself come to us. Open your eyes.”

When I opened my eyes, I didn’t see Simon or the other faeries. Instead I saw a dark room filled with people, young and old and each wearing clothes from different time periods. My great-great-grandmother approached me and put her hand on my face affectionately. Her hair was completely white and tied into a braid at the back of her neck. Her eyes were the same blue as mine, and she looked peaceful and kind.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for you,” she said, smiling gently.

“Grandma Margaret?” I asked. She nodded, still smiling.

I looked around at the other people in the room.

“Your ancestors,” she said, answering my unasked question. “The O’Neills and the Breslins. Come. Sit.”

“I can’t,” I protested. “Simon. He’ll be worried.”

“That, my dear, is an emotion Simon is going to get to know very well. He’ll spend a lot of time worrying about you in the days to come. Besides, he’s waited two hundred years for you. He can wait a bit longer.”

I saw Simon’s face swim before my eyes and felt that he was simultaneously close and distant.

“Do something, Erin!” I heard him say frantically. “She’s feverish. Something’s happening to her.” I felt his hands on my face. My own hands ached to reach out to him, to assure him that I was okay.

Then I felt Grandma Margaret’s hand on mine, and the feel of Simon’s hands on my face faded away. “Come,” she said, pulling me deeper into the room. I felt myself teetering between the two worlds—the one with the room full of faeries and the one with the room full of my ancestors.

“Simon,” I said through the fog of my consciousness, “don’t leave me.”

He rubbed his hand across my cheek and whispered, “Never. I will never leave you.”

I closed my eyes and slumped in a heap to the floor, and as I did I felt Simon’s tears falling on my cheeks.

“Get the ring off her!” he yelled to someone I couldn’t see. “It’s going to kill her.”

I felt myself being lifted off the floor in Simon’s world and realized he had me in his arms, carrying me out of the room and up the stairs, and for a moment I was lost in the feeling of being so close to Simon. I could feel his arms around me, cradling me, the warmth of his hands reaching through layers of clothes and warming the skin beneath. I didn’t want to leave the circle of their protection, but the pull was so strong.

“Come,” Grandma Margaret urged, and Simon slipped a little further away.

“Am I dead?” I asked her as I sat down at the table with the group of strangers who were each a part of me—the strangers whose DNA ran through every cell of my body and made me who I was.

“Finn, please!” Simon was growing more and more frantic, and more and more distant. “Do something!” I was in my bed in Simon’s house, but I didn’t feel his hands anymore. I tried to open my eyes, to see his face, but he was slipping away from me.

“No. Not dead. Just taking a much needed mental vacation.” My grandmother chuckled. “It’s the ring,” she explained. “It was meant to pull you here with us for a while.”

“Then it is me,” I confirmed, dread filling up in the pit of my stomach. “This is how we know that the ring ‘fits’ me.”

Simon was gone. Everything in his world was gone from my sight. My touch. I could no longer hear his frantic insistence that someone help me.

“Yes,” she said, putting her hand gently on my face. “The ring fits you, Maggie. It was made to fit you.”

“Why me?” It wasn’t a complaint, but a genuine question.

She didn’t respond.

I tried to pull Simon back to me. I’d started to tremble with the knowledge of what was happening and wanted to feel his protective embrace, but he was gone.

“So, what happens now?”

“Now you spend some time with us getting used to the idea of what’s to come,” she said. The others in the room—the rest of my ancestors—had faded away. I was alone with Grandma Margaret.

abandoned courage

Abandoned Courage (Book 2) Synopsis

Maggie O’Neill had a rough junior year… She fell in love with Simon. She found out Simon was a faery. She spent some time with her dead ancestors. An evil faery with control issues came after her and brought his groupies to kill her. …but that was nothing compared to what’s in store for senior year. She’s the new girl at faery boarding school and is subjected to something she never thought she’d have to deal with in her entire life—mean girls. To make matters worse, she’s seeing less and less of Simon, her faery guard is smothering her in their efforts to protect her, and the evil faery is still stalking her, determined to kill her before she can kill him. She starts to wonder if she’ll make it to graduation. Then the unthinkable happens and she wonders if she’ll be able to survive even one more day.


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defining courage


Defining Courage (Book 3) Synopsis

Eighteen-year-old Maggie O’Neill is a high school dropout. If her parents knew, they’d probably kill her, but that’s the least of her worries. Balor—the evil faery from hell—is still stalking her, someone is still betraying her, and the mean girl at school is still mean. The worst part of her life, however, is figuring out how to live it without Simon. Will Maggie discover a way to defeat Balor? Will she ever be able to out-snark the mean girl? Will she find Simon? Tune in next week—uh, read the book—to find out.


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About the Author

Jill DaughertyJill Daugherty lives in Denver with Bailey, the world’s cutest dog. By day, she works with gifted children and their teachers. By night, she writes. A lot. She is the author of the Courage series, which has received glowing reviews. At the insistence of her readers, she has started work on a spin-off series.


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