Sophie Jordan is Back with “A Fire in the Sky”, and We've Got a Heart-Pounding Excerpt (Exclusive)

The celebrated romance author's latest takes place in a world inspired by the bestselling 'Firelight' series

<p>Avon Books; Country Park Portraits</p>

Avon Books; Country Park Portraits

'A Fire in the Sky' cover; Sophie Jordan

New York Times bestselling author and romance legend Sophie Jordan is now turning her pen toward a brand new romantasy series.

The first installment, A Fire in the Sky, will come out September 24 from Avon Books and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the cover and an excerpt, below.

A Fire in the Sky features royal palace intrigue, exciting magic, fierce dragons, dark secrets and enough lust to satisfy heat-seeking readers. A limited special hardcover edition will feature royal blue sprayed edges, a dust jacket with special effects, designed endpapers and flipbook-style art throughout, according to a statement by the publisher.

The novel is set in a world inspired by Sophie Jordan’s bestselling Firelight series, which will also be re-released this summer with new covers.

Related: Romantasy 101: Here's Where to Start Reading the Hottest Genre of 2024 (Exclusive)

In A Fire in the Sky, dragon fire no longer flickers in the skies over Penterra, but palace life is still perilous, especially for Tamsyn. Raised in the lavish court alongside the princesses, she exists to take on punishment for their misdeeds.

Her only friend is Stig, captain of the guard, although she wonders if he's set his sights somewhere more intimate than friendship. When Fell, the Beast of the Borderlands, descends on her home, Tamsyn is commanded to marry the brutal warrior and save the pampered princesses. She agrees to the deception even though it means leaving Stig, and the only life she’s ever known, behind.

Read an exclusive excerpt from A Fire in the Sky, below.

<p>Avon Books</p> Sophie Jordan's 'A Fire in the Sky'

Avon Books

Sophie Jordan's 'A Fire in the Sky'

I stood on the other side of the painting, shrouded in darkness, only the thin spread of canvas between us, stretched taut like skin. Hidden in the secret passageway, invisible to those inside my father’s chancery, I held my breath.

I was invisible to them, but they were not invisible to me. I saw and heard everything and the fury pumped hard and fast inside me, battering inside my veins like a storm. My father intended to give one of his precious daughters to the Beast of the Borderlands in marriage.

One of my sisters.

I had never felt such rage, such helplessness. All my life it had been my duty to protect the princesses of Penterra. To be flogged in their place was a privilege ... At least that was what I had been taught.

Outraged breaths fogged from my lips as I glared directly into the ice-pale eyes of the man who thought to claim one of them.

Scant inches separated us, the air hot and crackling between us. His dark hair reached his shoulders, the sides braided close to his scalp. I could practically feel his breath through the flimsy barrier. I studied his hazy face through the fibers of the canvas, taking comfort that he could not see me in the darkness of the damp corridor, and yet…

Why had he stopped directly in front of the painting?

Why was he staring at me like he could see me? As though he was on the verge of reaching through the canvas and touching me? A fever rippled over my skin as I imagined those big hands closing around me. 

It was impossible, of course. He could not know I was there. 

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The men began to disperse, the regent reminding them that a grand feast awaited. Several minutes passed before I felt composed enough to exit. With a push, the painting swung out like a door and I stepped down into the room, my slippers sinking into the rug covering the stone floor. 

Turning, I made certain the painting was back in place with no hint that it had been disturbed. Satisfied, I turned around and walked directly into a wall. A hard wall with arms and hands that came up around me. A wall that possessed a deep, rasping voice. “I see this palace comes equipped with spies.” 

The Beast.  

Instantly I was assailed by the scent of him that I had noted earlier in the Great Hall. I was awash with it—with him. My nostrils flared. Wind and earth and horseflesh. And that indefinable something else.  

Heat rippled over me, igniting my skin. I arched against the great slab of him, against pulsing, immovable muscle. I pushed my palms into his solid chest, desperate to break free.  

I was fire. My entire body warmed at the contact, and fear clawed up my throat. 

His eyes weren’t narrow slits any longer. They blasted me, wide and alert, battle-ready. This close, without a hazy barrier between us, I could see they were the color of frost, pale gray with a ring of darker blue. Gratification gleamed there. He’d sensed I was behind that painting and now he’d caught me.  

“I am not a spy,” I said in a raspy voice I did not even recognize as my own.  

“No? Who are you then?” Those eyes roamed my face and flame-red hair. His gaze lingered there, on my hair. The unusual color featured largely into the torments of my childhood when children of the court would call attention to it as a visible reminder that I was truly not one of them—that I was not a real princess, just a stray taken in by a generous king and a queen with a soft heart. “What are you?” 

What was I? What was he? 

His eyes absorbed me in a way no one ever had before. I was largely overlooked in the palace. Except when a whipping was required or when someone felt like ridiculing me for my ungainly height or my unfortunate hair or my dubious parentage. 

Then, unbelievably, the brute lifted a hand.  

I flinched.  

He paused, his eyes communicating something to me. I could not say what, but I eased slightly. He waited a moment longer and then brought his big hand closer, touching a lock of my hair, rubbing it between his fingers gently, experimentally.  

I felt a rumble then, and realized it was coming from me inexplicably, from my chest.

He released my hair. It fell back against my neck in a whisper and the iron bands of his arms came back around me, circling tighter, bringing me closer. My fingers flexed against his leather tunic like a kitten kneading its paws, unable to resist, unable not to move and explore.  

“The question is … do you spy for yourself or someone else?” 

Moments passed before I could speak. “I am … no one.” 

He made a sound: part laugh, part growl. “Oh, sweetheart, you’re someone … something.”  

I shivered despite the heat engulfing me.

“Unhand me,” I ordered. 

Adapted from A Fire in the Sky by Sophie Jordan. Copyright © 2024 by Sophie Jordan. Reprinted courtesy of Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

A Fire in the Sky will be released by Avon Books on Sept. 24, 2024, and is now available for preorder wherever books are sold.

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