Win a copy of Breath of Angel! Details at the end of this post.

The prick of the thorn drew blood, but Melaia smiled. The last ramble rose of the season was well worth a pierced thumb. She carefully drew the blossom from the vine that clung to the side of the temple. As she breathed its rich, sweet scent, she sensed someone watching and looked up, expecting to see one of the novice priestesses. She saw only dry leaves skittering across the flagstones of the walled courtyard, along with a black feather, no doubt from a bird scavenging seeds in the wood pile.

Then a haggard young man stepped through the gate, and Melaia drew back. The chill autumn breeze riffled the edge of his dirt-stained cloak, revealing the corner of a journey pack and the hilt of a dagger.

Melaia gave him a tentative nod.

“I’ve come -” His words rasped to a halt, and he wiped his fist across his mouth.

“I’ll fetch water.” Melaia tucked the rose into her waist sash and headed for the stone urn by the arched doorway. “Travelers are always welcome at our temple. We’ve pallets if you wish to stay the night.” She would have to check with the High Priestess, but Hanni rarely turned away weary travelers.

“My thanks,” the man croaked.

Melaia flipped back her loose braid the color of dark honey and dipped a pottery cup into the cool water. “I’m chantress here, always eager to hear new tales from travelers.”

The young man looked too weary to tell tales. Or too ill. His dark-ringed eyes darted from one afternoon shadow to another, and he cocked his head as if he heard something beyond the walls.

Excerpt© 2011 Karyn Henley

About the book:

In this YA fantasy, Melaia, a young priestess is drawn into a longstanding feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. She joins a band of angels who are trying to restore the stairway, but discovers that it can be restored only if an ancient debt is repaid by “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that will change Melaia’s destiny forever.

What people are saying:

“Karyn Henley’s novel starts with a jolt, grabs the reader by the collar, and doesn’t slow down one minute. This author infuses her text with imagery, suspense, and a cast that will appeal to all ages. In addition, it has a feeling that I can only describe as ‘folklorish,’ with all the best elements that come with that – music, magic, and mystery. I think it’s destined to become a classic.”–Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath, National Book Award finalist, Newbery Honor Book, PEN USA Award

“This lusciously written fantasy has it all: epic battles, earthbound angels, immortal humans, and a bright, engaging heroine. Henley’s young priestess-turned-warrior is forced to put her past together like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces so sharp they cut. Her story is nearly impossible to forget, so readers will be eager for more!”–Louise Hawes, author of Black Pearls: a Faerie Strand, AAUW Juvenile Literature Award noinee; Gold Award, Hall of Fame,

Released: June 21, 2011

About the author:

Award-winning author Karyn Henley has written over 100 titles. Breath of Angel is her first novel. An accomplished songwriter, Karyn has been a Dove Award nominee, and received a regional Emmy Award as Music Composer for a television special.  She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, a jazz drummer. Visit her at or find out more about the book at


Karyn has been kind enough to contribute a copy of Breath of Angel for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

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Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada and ends on June 29th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!