It happened that Rolli did have belongings. He’d left them with his edlak, Bramble, and had been too drunk to retrieve them the night before or to see to her stabling. Luckily, she was smarter than her owner and had stayed near the inn, happily grazing.
Essenin shook their head in disgust as they watched Rolli try to catch her trailing reins, which she kept jerking out of his hands. All right. It was a little funny. But they were impatient to be on their way.
When they finally ran out of patience, they took a tash root from their pouch, held it out, and called, “Bramble!”
Her ears pricked forward. Ah, she remembers me. She picked her head up and trotted over eagerly to accept the treat while Essenin caught her reins.
Rolli heaved a sigh and snatched the reins. “You don’t have to be so perfect all the time.”
“You need to say that where my aunties can hear you.” Essenin backed Sidle up so Rolli had room to mount. “Are you ready? Will there be angry people chasing us out of town?”
“Not this time.” Rolle squinted in the sunlight, his expression uncertain. “At least I don’t think so.”
No one did shout, chase or throw things after them as they rode off, something of a small miracle. They both rode in silence for an entire mile, but neither of them were naturally taciturn people, and Essenin realized they weren’t that annoyed with Rolli.
Curiosity finally got the better of them. “Why were you trying to drink yourself to death?”
“Not to death. Goddesses no. Just to kill the pain.” Rolli let out a tragic sigh and Essenin kept quiet to give him space for his story.
“I’d found the most wonderful situation with a titled landowner. In exchange for music when he required it and several nights a week in his bed—not a chore since he wasn’t bad looking—I had a lovely room of my own, food whenever I was hungry, and a comfortable stipend. Perfect. Everything was perfect. I thought my wandering days were finally over.”
Essenin knew the pause for a spot where they were supposed to say something. “And then?”
“And then Loric’s mother badgered him into getting married.”
“That should’ve been good? Two patrons instead of one?” Essenin puzzled this through for a moment. “Is this one of those one exclusive partner human things?”
“I could’ve lived with being kicked out of his bed. We enjoyed each other’s company but we weren’t desperately in love.” Rolli slumped, the picture of abject dejection. “But she didn’t like me.”
“Imagine that.” Essenin’s voice was devoid of expression.
“I could’ve been an asset to the household! Entertained guests. Played for the ladies at their sewing. Taught the children.”
“There were children?”
“Well, eventually. One assumes there would be.” Rolli gave a dismissive wave. “But no. Loric told me to pack up and get out. Kicked me out of my cozy, sunny room and my safe, easy life. To keep the peace, he said. Sorry, my dear, you understand. I cracking well did not. But he wouldn’t hear any arguments, so I got tossed out on my lovely ass.”
Essenin did not fall for the shameless compliment fishing. “I see.”
“There. I’ve told my story.” Rolli turned his sewa around on its strap and began tuning it. “Now let’s hear yours.”
Careful to leave out bits that Zie might feel were too personal, Essenin told the tale, from first spotting Zie at the inn to them splitting up to confound the Shadows and find an elder mahk. By the time they’d finished, Rolli was staring at him in horror.
“These monsters are following you?”
“No. Rolli, you don’t listen. The monsters are following Zie. He went the other way so he wouldn’t lead them to the sylvas.”
“Oh.” Rolli put a hand to his chest and blew out a slow breath. “Yes. Sorry. I got stuck on the formless unstoppable monsters part.”
“Sorry.” Essenin cringed inwardly. It’s a lot to take in and I dumped it on him all at once, someone who’s never even held a weapon in his life. “But none of that will get near you, Rolls. You take me to the sylvas and then you can head in the opposite direction.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to run away with me?” Rolli sighed when Essenin glared at him. “No, no, I wasn’t serious. Mostly. But this does seem like a sylvas problem, doesn’t it? Generally ignoring humans, possessing but not otherwise harming selaks. Shouldn’t they be solving this?”
“The one that survived is trying his best to do just that.” Essenin shot him another dark look and Rolli flushed. “I’m not asking you to approve and I’m not asking you to be even a little bit of a hero.”
“Right.” Rolli’s laugh had a pained, brittle quality. “That would be absurd.”
“Now we’re all caught up and everything’s been explained. Where do you suggest we start?”
“Oh, probably best to start at the Tzak compound.” Rolli pointed up the valley to the east. “They’re centrally located and talk to most of the clans here.”
“And they’re still speaking to you.”
Rolli nodded. “And most importantly, they’re still speaking to me.”
Happy Friday, everyone! This week, I have an excerpt from a contemporary romance in a historical place! Making History at Crofton Hall is part of Rebecca Cohen's Crofton Hall books - some of which take place in the past and some today. It's the tenth anniversary of Crofton Hall, too. :D Come have a listen!
Making History at Crofton Hall
Modern Crofton #2
by Rebecca Cohen
Crofton Hall is buzzing with anticipation for the filming of the Secret Histories TV special about a scandalous affair that has been hidden for over four hundred years.
The hall's new historian, Dara Callaghan, is drawn not just by the hall's rich history but to TV producer, Nathan Lorimer. Nathan is finally ready to start dating again, several years after the death of his husband. There's something about Dara, a quietly spoken Irishman, and the romance that surrounds Crofton Hall, that makes him want to take a chance.
Meanwhile, Ben Redbourn, 16th Earl of Crofton, is trying to persuade his boyfriend Ashley Niven that he'd like to don doublet and hose and play Sebastian to his Anthony. But Ashley's not having any of it... until someone else agrees to the take the part of the 1st Earl of Crofton's lover.
This is the second Modern Crofton novel, featuring Benjamin Redbourn, the 16th Earl of Crofton and descendant of Anthony Redbourn, 1st Earl of Crofton from my historical series, The Crofton Chronicles. While designed to be read as a standalone, events that lead to this novel follow chronologically from Saving Crofton Hall.
Trigger warnings: discussion of grief and dealing with bereavement
This year marks 10 years of the Crofton universe, The Actor and the Earl first released way back in 2012 and on Februray 24, the newest Crofton novel, Making History at Crofton Hall was released into the world.
Start the journey with The Actor and the Earl
<3 Marriage of convenience
<3 Twins swapping places
<3 A virgin and a rogue
<3 Elizabethan courtly love
<3 Risking it all for a happy ending
<3 Inspired by Shakespeare
Or the first Modern Saving Crofton Hall
<3 Secrets uncovered
<3 Very British Gay Rom Com
<3 “A Modern, Gayer, Downton Abbey” ;)
REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.
With contemporaries, historicals, sci fi and fantasy in her back catalogue, there should be something for every taste in Rebecca's work.
Find Rebecca’s work here: https://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Cohen/e/B007UEFIXS
My social media
Facebook Group: Rebecca’s Ramblings
Get a freebie (Life in the Land) for subscribing
It's almost time! March 8, Ryld gets to meet the world!
To celebrate, Bellora and I have some stuff happening :)
Next week, thanks to Gay Book Promotions, we start our tour - interviews, reviews, Ryld's face plastered everywhere! (He would be quite puzzled, I think.)
There will be giveaways, so visit the blog posts for more chances to win :D
Starting March 1, here's the first week-ish of the blog tour :
Gay Book Promotions
Lily G Blunt - INTERVIEW
Sadie's Spotlight - INTERVIEW
LGBT Book Promotions
MM Fiction Cafe - INTERVIEW
Gay Book Promotions Blog
Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings
The Faerie Review
Ghosts weren’t one thing, but three quite different phenomena, though they all had to do with the memories of the dead.
Most spirit sightings were simply memories of events so traumatic they had left a psychic imprint on the world. Those played out the same scenes again and again, sometimes every night, sometimes on specific anniversaries, and the ghost participants were unaware of the world around them. Shades were spirits unable to leave the world because of attachments of guilt, sorrow or rage, or justice not done, or because they had been cursed to wander. Revenants were the vengeful souls, and those did active harm.
Zie only feared the revenants and Davitts had said nothing dangerous lurked in the old fortress, therefore there was nothing to fear. So he told himself repeatedly as he descended the stairs from their tower room where Davitts slept soundly. Zie had volunteered to take the second watch, the late hours of the night when ghosts were more likely to appear.
Though he hadn’t told Davitts that. Good thing no one was keeping a tally of the things he hadn’t told Davitts.
Knowledge of the island’s history would’ve been helpful, but it wasn’t crucial. He just needed to stay alert and piece the clues together. The alert part would be easy. The excitement of uncovering a ghost history had set his heart racing.
On bare, silent feet, he crept into the central courtyard and crouched near the rubble of the ruined main doors. This had to have been a site of battle. The memories would linger most strongly here, he was sure of it. Though Davitts had said it wasn’t always haunted, which could mean many things. The haunting might occur at a certain point in the moon cycle. Perhaps the attack came during a rainstorm and the weather would have to be right. Maybe it was only on the first day of the month.
A flaming arrow sailed over the wall and speared the dirt not three feet from him. Zie choked off a cry of alarm when the flames surrounding the shaft spread. Colorless, lit by a soft, eldritch glow, they were only the memory of flames. The ghost attack had begun.
A figure in old-fashioned scale armor appeared out of the gloom to stomp out the flames and shout toward the main keep, though he made no sound. Soldiers ran to assist and to form determined rows in front of the doors, which Zie saw clearly now, whole and standing, closed and barred against the enemy.
Archers on the wall returned fire as the doors shuddered—silently, all the frenetic activity rendered eerie in that silence. Something was dumped from the wall above the door, perhaps oil or pitch, and the doors stopped their rhythmic shivering, though only for a moment. Taur warriors joined the defenders in the courtyard now, four enormous soldiers armed with swords longer than Zie was tall, prepared to act as the first line of defense. A mixed force of humans, Taur and selak, Zie realized, so it was not one of those times in history or one of those places that had pitted race against race.
He wished he knew more about such things outside sylvas lands so he could pinpoint how long ago the battle had occurred, but it wasn’t a vital bit of information. A number of centuries ago judging by the state of the few remaining bones.
The doors shattered and the attackers poured in, taur matching taur with silent roars, warriors cut down on both sides under the arch of the sundered doors. No matter how many of the attacking force fell, more climbed over the debris and the dead to take their places. Badly outnumbered, the defenders were forced to give ground step by step. Perhaps they had been in the wrong. Perhaps the attackers were seeking justice. But Zie still found it sad to watch such a brave defense fail.
He would have made himself anxious and ill if he’d forced himself to watch the slaughter. But that wasn’t why he’d come. His gaze swept the edges of the haunting, searching for anything…not right.The haunting was an amalgamation of the memories of everyone who had died in that battle. The images blurred and juddered, sometimes flickering back to a particular action several times. One of the taur warriors fell, gored by the horns of an enemy taur, and behind him…
A figure stood in the doorway to one of the partially ruined towers, one hand stretched toward the battle, an ancient wind rippling the edges of their robes. They shone like moonlight through high clouds, their movements smooth and elegant. A shade. Another figure in armor ran toward them, shouting, gesticulating, the meaning obvious. Go back inside! Stay clear of the fighting!
The armored figure fell, pierced through the back with the thick-shafted arrow from an arbalest. At the door, the shade screamed a single, anguished word, perhaps the warrior’s name, before they vanished, only to reappear in a window halfway up the tower, a lantern in hand. They gazed out into the night as the ghostly memories of the long-ago battle gradually faded. When the last dying warrior had vanished, the shade remained in silent vigil.
That would be the place, then, if he wished to speak with them.
Zie turned to head back to the tower where Davitts slept, determined to try the next evening. Perhaps Davitts knew a little bit about the history of the area, and it would be best to go armed with some knowledge rather than none.
In the top room, he bent to check if Davitts had woken, but he remained peacefully asleep, and Zie moved to the window to watch the shoreline for the remainder of the night. While they had views of most of the lakeshore, there was no need to watch in all directions. The Shadows would come on his trail, following whatever senses they had.
The moonlight painted shadows along the shore, but these were harmless, everyday things. No summoned creatures of darkness stalked the banks. Not yet.
Hello, hello! This week, I have queer steampunky goodness for you from R. J. Theodore! A mysterious ring that's already nothing but bad news, an airship captain who just wants a buyer for the darn thing - come have a listen! :D
The Peridot Shift #1
by R J Theodore
Captain Talis just wants to keep her airship crew from starving, and maybe scrape up enough cash for some badly needed repairs. When an anonymous client offers a small fortune to root through a pile of atmospheric wreckage, it seems like an easy payday. The job yields an ancient ring, a forbidden secret, and a host of deadly enemies.
Now on the run from cultists with powerful allies, Talis needs to unload the ring as quickly as possible. Her desperate search for a buyer and the fallout from her discovery leads to a planetary battle between a secret society, alien forces, and even the gods themselves.
Talis and her crew have just one desperate chance to make things right before their potential big score destroys them all.
About R J:
R J Theodore is an author, graphic designer, podcaster, and all-around collector of creative endeavors and hobbies. She enjoys writing about magic-infused technologies, first contact events, and bioluminescing landscapes.
Her love of SFF storytelling developed through grabbing for anything-and-everything “unicorn” as a child, but she was subverted by tales of distant solar systems when her brother introduced her to Star Trek: The Next Generation at age seven. A few years later, Sailor Moon taught her stories can have both.
She lives in New England, haunted by her childhood cat. Find more information at rjtheodore.com.
Author Website: https://rjtheodore.com/
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://facebook.com/RJTheodore
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/bittybittyzap
Author Instagram: https://instagram.com/bittybittyzap
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17166271.R_J_Theodore
Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/r-j-theodore/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B073ZLVGMM
To think about conventions. When you go to a convention as an attendee, for many of them, you can make decisions about going closer to the date. When you go as a participant or as a vendor, those decisions have to made months and months in advance.
I'd said in December that I would take this year off. Mostly. But there are a couple of events I'll be trying to go to anyway, despite my best intentions. At least these would be driving conventions and not flying.
GRL (Gay Romance Literature retreat) sign ups for authors are on Saturday. I may or may not get a slot, but Bellora and I want to attend this year regardless. We'll see how that goes.
Flame Con is back in person this year in Manhattan. The vendor meeting for that is also this Saturday. The table's paid for, so I suppose I'll still be going? Not a hundred percent sure on that.
So stay tuned - I should be able to update the Where's Angel? page next week. I hope. :D
Essenin’s morning started with one of the three most unpleasant sounds one could hear upon waking—someone being violently sick. They rolled over and saw with relief that at least Rolli was heaving into the chamber pot.
“Well, good morning to you, too,” Essenin offered at their driest when Rolli had finished.
“Oh no.” Rolli groaned as he replaced the lid with shaking hands. “You’re still here. You weren’t a dream and you’re seeing me like this. If you ever loved me, kill me now.”
“Since I never loved you, I suppose I can abstain from murder today.” Essenin began to climb out of bed, realized they were in only their small clothes, and wrapped a sheet around first.
Rolli clutched his chest. “Ow. Heart torn to shreds already. It’s all right. I can just die on my own.” He curled up on the floor with his head buried in his arms.
“No sympathy from me. You did this to yourself.” While Essenin tried to sound stern, they still poured a cup of water and set it by Rolli’s elbow. “Drink that. Slowly. Give me a moment and I’ll go down for morning-after necessities.”
The ragged moan might have been gratitude. Essenin chose to pretend it was. The contortions they performed while getting dressed behind the sheet might have been interesting under other circumstances. Right then, it was annoying. Dressed and braids untied from their night scarf, Essenin hurried to the kitchen and procured bitter root for the headache, tea for the near-death feeling, and some thinly sliced, buttered tubers that would soak up the worst of the nausea.
Playing nursemaid to a drunk. This is part of the reason we didn’t work.
Still, Essenin reminded themself that they needed information. All for a good cause. They sat with Rolli while he pulled his sorry self back from the brink, then marched him down to the bathhouse to get him presentable. Maybe not for high society, but at least for Essenin’s poor nose.
His clothes…Essenin was tempted to have them burned, but they sent them to the inn’s laundry instead and let Rolli sulk in the room wrapped in a blanket. If he had belongings, and therefore a change of clothes, goddesses only knew where those were.
“So why are you here?” Rolli finally managed coherently and almost civilly.
“It’s a bit of a story, and not all mine to tell.” Essenin went to the window to stare at the view of the mountains, lit up in gold and blue on this bright, clear day. “Do you know where the sylvas are?”
“Yes.” Essenin turned, narrowing their eyes. “Small, dark-haired people. Generally pale. Lovely, tufted ears.”
“I know who they are, Ess. But why in all watery hells would you be looking for them?”
“No, no, no. You’re very bad at this. You answer my question first.”
Rolli twisted the blanket in both hands, exposing an expanse of lean leg. “On your side of the ocean, they live in the northlands. Here, they live in the mountains. Everyone knows that, generally.”
“Uh-huh. And do you know anything more specifically about the sylvas here?”
“Ah, you haven’t come to rescue me at all.” Rolli pulled his feet up onto the bed and rested his head on his knees. “Not even a hint of, Rolli, how have you been? or, Rolli, why are you in such a sorry state? Lovely. Everyone just wants to use me.”
“Will you please stop feeling sorry for yourself? It won’t work and it’s irritating. I happened to see you in a sorry state and I did help you.” Essenin rolled their eyes when Rolli sniffled. “But I have more important things to do than to keep babysitting you.”
“I don’t give out information for nothing, you know,” Rolli said to his knees, all wounded sulk. “Part of the job. Though I’m willing to negotiate.”
“If you have real information, and you’re not just angling for sex, I’ll pay you as a guide.”
The promise of coin lifted Rolli’s head, sure enough, though his eyes were red rimmed and swimming. Hard to tell what was an act sometimes. Bards.
“All right. I do know where some of the sylvas compounds are. I’ve visited several.”
“And are they going to shoot you full of arrows if they see you again?”
“What? No! What a mean thing to say.” The wide-eyed affront was well done. “There’s only one where I’m not welcome back. That was not my fault.”
“Oh, Rolls.” Essenin rubbed the center of their forehead where the hint of a headache had started. “What did you do?”
“I didn’t know!” Rolli protested. “No one told me you have to clear propositions with the older siblings first! She was an adult, a lovely bit of delicate ferocity. How was I to know?”
Essenin had to bite their bottom lip to keep from laughing. “You could try not going after every single person who takes your fancy? Maybe?”
“That’s not a fair characterization at all. I only proposition the most exquisite people. The most astoundingly beautiful.” Rolli flashed his brightest smile.
“Don’t start. We will not be picking up where we were before and you know why. The suggestions, the pestering, the heartfelt confessions—no more.” Essenin turned and held a hand out. “You take me to the sylvas. I pay you for your time. Done?”
“I get paid and get to look at you along the way?” There. The familiar mischievous sparkle had returned to Rolli’s eyes. That was better. He grasped Essenin’s forearm to seal the agreement. “Done.”
This is probably a mistake, but at least I know he won’t lead me off into the mountains to murder me and he does play the sewa beautifully. If Rolli managed not to be too annoying, Essenin would definitely feel better not traveling alone.
Lots of stuff happening for Ryld prior to launch date (March 8):
Go forth and sign up for stuff! :D
With some mild cursing and smacking of hindquarters, Zie urged his edlak forward to ride beside Davs. He would’ve preferred to stay there, but his edlak was smaller and kept gravitating instinctively to the back to follow the bigger edlak nose to tail.
“No.” Davs reached across and patted his knee. “Don’t say it. We’re not sorry you came into our lives. We’re not sorry we came with you. I’m not angry that we’ve had to separate for a bit. Does that cover everything?”
“Yes. I’m still sorry.” Zie slumped on his saddle pad searching for words. “When I was on my own, I was in a constant state of fear interrupted by moments of screaming panic. But I couldn’t think about much except how to keep ahead of them. Now, I have entire nights when I haven’t been afraid, when I do nothing but think, and I’m worried all the time. This can’t end well. It’s not a child’s nighttime story. You should be home and safe, having normal lives.”
“Our lives haven’t been normal for a long time, sweetling. Ess and I hire ourselves out to protect people from being robbed or killed by other people. In what world is that normal and safe?”
Zie wanted to argue that it wasn’t the same. One had a chance against flesh and blood opponents. One simply had to be better. Against shadows, it didn’t matter how good one’s sword arm was or how good a shot. He’d welcome mortal opponents. It would be refreshing to go after someone with knife and claw.
He wasn’t certain how sane that would sound if he said it out loud, though. Several minutes went by before he asked instead, “Where are we going?”
“To a lake island.” Davs frowned in thought. “No idea if it has a name. But it’s a good place to be if the Shadows catch up. No bridges. Deep lake. A little hunting. Good fishing.”
Davs shot him a sideways glance. “Zie. It’s a lake.”
“Ah. Sorry. The lake water isn’t bad. We boil it, just in case.”
“Does anyone live there?”
Davs’ smile was wistful. “There are old fortress ruins. The locals believe it’s haunted. Ess and I may have made enough noise one night to add to that belief. Ghosts and sometimes bandits. That’s who lives there. The bandits won’t bother us since they go there to hide and lick their wounds. And if they do?” He shrugged. “More fool them.”
I’m finding quiet confidence more and more achingly attractive every day. I have to tell him. I can’t tell him. It would ruin everything. Let me have this for now. Just for a little while longer.
By evening, they had reached the aforementioned lake, though to Zie’s eyes, it was more sea than lake. The shore stretched out to the horizon and there was no sign of the opposite side. A black splotch that struck him as rather far from the bank was the lake’s only visible feature.
“That’s the island?”
“We have to swim out to that?”
Davs shot him a puzzled look. “This should be easy for you, shouldn’t it? You could just walk across.”
“Water walking is never easy for me,” Zie growled. “Fear and need help me focus, but it’s never easy.”
“You don’t have to.” Davs shrugged. “The edlaks will make the swim over easily, and you’re light enough. You could stay on mine while she swims.”
Zie let out a relieved breath. “Yes. Thank you.”
“Worse than a sand cat about water.” Davs dismounted and began fussing with straps to make sure their packs were secure. “Your family didn’t send you out on trade expeditions?”
“We do not swim during those. We have boats.”
After Zie had scrambled up onto Davs’ mountainous, black edlak, Davs stood between their mounts with a headstall in either hand and led them into the water. The sand and river pebbles underfoot remained visible for a good ten steps, and Davs was able to wade for perhaps twenty more before the lakebed dropped off sharply.
Zie gripped the edlak’s shaggy hair tight as both beasts initially fought Davs and tried to turn back to shore. It was all he could do not to fling his arms around the edlak’s neck and cling like a tiny child. Yes, he could swim though not well. No, he didn’t want to since his flailing about in the water would probably cause Davs understandable concern. And me unredeemable embarrassment.
Once Davs got the edlaks pointed toward the island, they stopped fighting him and began to swim in earnest toward the land in front of their noses. While the journey over was wet, Zie grudgingly admitted that it wasn’t terrible. The water here was cool and pleasant rather than the finger-killing cold of the rivers back home, and watching Davs simply being good at things was a pleasure.
An even greater pleasure was watching Davs strip off his shirt and boots once they reached the island’s shore, the play of his muscles kissed by the soft light of the evening sun. And oh, what muscles they were—broad shoulders, biceps the size of small melons. The sunshine was suddenly too hot for Zie and he had to peel off his coat and his boots as well.
They trudged uphill side by side with the edlaks happy to follow and browse the greenery. Zie certainly approved of taking the highest ground possible, preferably a position that gave one a view of what might be coming in all directions. But he was unprepared for what appeared as they came to the clearing at the top of the island. A ruined fortress, perhaps. Yes. Half the gatehouse had collapsed and one corner, possibly once occupied by a tower, had been reduced to rubble, but this had been quite the fortress.
The central tower still stood, along with the three of the outer wall watchtowers, all built of a golden-hued stone that gleamed in the setting sun. It would have been an inviting place to come home to, once. Now many of the windows were missing, with vines hanging down from the casements as if the fortress shed tears.
“If ever a building was haunted…”
Davs handed over a pack and edlak blanket, preparing to turn their mounts loose for the night. Well-trained edlak never wandered far. “It is. Haunted. But not every night and there’s nothing dangerous.”
“Good to know.” Zie followed him to the stairs of the most intact tower. It wouldn’t be his first haunting and sometimes ghosts knew odd things. He just needed the courage to speak to them.
Happy Friday, everyone! Come on in for this week's excerpt! This week I'm reading to you from Aldrea Alien's new dark fantasy, Tracking Trouble, part of her Spellsters Universe, in which we meet Tracker himself. World-weary heroes are some of my favorites. :D Come have a listen:
A Spellster Novel
by Aldrea Alien
For years, Tracker’s life has had two facets: Hunting spellsters and entertaining strangers in his bed. Few doubt he’s good at both, although only one is considered acceptable amongst the King’s Hounds. His trip to Toptower should be just another task in an endless string of routine. Take down any dangerous spellster he finds and send the timid ones to Demarn’s tower prison.
It is a role he was born to play. One he has grown weary of.
But there’s something off about the spellsters he’s encountering. The people he typically finds aren’t usually this powerful or anywhere near as lethal to a man immune to magic. It’s as if something, or someone, is releasing them with an eye to weaken an already harried kingdom. To what end, he cannot be certain of. History is littered with the dangers of magic running unchecked.
He must uncover the truth, and quickly. But with all leads pointing one way, will he be able to uphold the code of the King’s Hounds once he finds it?
Aldrea Alien is an award-winning, bisexual author of fantasy romance with varying heat levels. Born and raised in New Zealand, she lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they're just as human as the next person. Especially the cats. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/aldreaalien
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/314283805670626
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.