Mages By Fortune: Algardis #2 – First Two Chapters

Time for you get an idea of where Maeryn ‘Mae’ Darnes is going on her journey and who she’s taking with her. I was excited to see Rivan step up to the plate in the book and be more open with Mae. It turns out his alliances may not be so firm as it all seems, and the foreigner he travels with should be wary—because his bite is worse than his growl.

Check out the first two chapters of Mages By Fortune: Algardis #2 below and get ready for the release of the full book in the Algardis series very soon. P.S. – Reminder these chapters haven’t been seen by my editor yet, they’re just for your viewing pleasure.

Also, if you haven’t read book one yet, what are you waiting for? It’s in Kindle Unlimited!

It wasn’t every day that someone walked up to Maeryn Darnes and told her that they could change not only her life but her entire families’. Today was that day and it felt like all of the emotions she had building up inside of her because of it would force her to burst.

Frustration at being forced to make a choice.

Temptation at the possibilities being dangled in front of her—not just for herself but for others.

Fear…because she couldn’t take back the agreement once made.

Mae wasn’t stupid. There was a lot that the foreign woman wasn’t telling her. There was a gleam of anticipation in Donna Marie’s eyes that Mae didn’t understand and made her wary to the core. But the hope she held out in its place was almost too much to bear.

Mae swiped her tongue over her suddenly dry lips and opened her mouth to speak.

“I—” Mae croaked out.

She intended to say ‘I agree’ but the words stuck in her mouth like a piece of fruit lodged down her throat. She couldn’t get it out and for a moment of panic she couldn’t even breathe. It was as if all her normal bodily functions stopped working and she was left just trying to resume speaking, breathing, and smiling, all of which naturally came as second nature to her so it was disturbing to be without.

As for Donna Marie, she looked at Mae with impatience growing on her face. As she looked down on the less tall Mae, for a moment her face transformed. Not literally but almost imperceptibly, as Mae saw something else in that moment. The tight smile on her lips didn’t reach her eyes. And the frown lines radiating from her tear ducts weren’t ones from a life of joy, but one of stress. It was as if the persona she put on for the public was a mask and if Mae waited just a minute longer the entire façade would crack into a hundred pieces to reveal the truth underneath.

So wait she would.

“I–I just need more time to think it through,” Mae stammered—looking for an excuse for why her mind froze when her heart was telling her to go ahead with the best option she had.

Realistically it was the only option she had.

Donna Marie glanced up at the sky with an exaggerated look of boredom.

“If we’re going to do this now would be the time,” the foreign woman said in a sarcastic voice.

Easy for you to say you’re getting exactly what you want, Mae thought caustically.

Meanwhile Mae was limited by her current circumstances, the fact that the children of the greater holding were violently ill, and let’s be honest—some of her own relatives might be out to kill her as she deliberated.

It was a lot to think about at the moment. She’d gain an ally by giving the foreign woman what she wanted—for however little time this played out, and more importantly she’d gain something for herself in the process. Magic.

A weapon to use both to attack and protect. It would be hers to use as she willed, just as one of her many cousins had used his wind magic to try knock her off a steep ledge so that she would plummet to her death.

That was supposition. We don’t know he meant to kill us. Maybe he would have captured us and brought our hovering bodies back through the window, she thought to herself stubbornly—trying to think the best of the events that had proceeded her being here.

But even she wasn’t that naïve. The force of his power had been deliberate and had quite the chance of being fatal if she and Ember hadn’t spied a balcony to dive down into at the last minute.

Which left more questions than answers for Mae. Who were these mysteriously murderous relatives? What was it that they had been doing to the girls? And what would they do once Richard told them just who it was they’d caught spying from the second floor?

In fact they could be torturing him for important information right now! Mae thought horrified at the prospect.

She didn’t know Richard that well. He was one of the dozens of younger generation cousins that roamed the halls of the Darnes greater holding. She saw him in passing at breakfast, and again at noon’s meal before the ‘children’ were separated from the ‘young adults’ of marriageable age for the last meal heading into the night. He didn’t share any of her studies and their parents weren’t that close. So she couldn’t say that he would keep their secrets or even try to. So instead she wondered just what he had said and what the cloaked figures would do with that information.

Hunt her down like a deer to kill? Or bring her before the elders like a recalcitrant child? Mae wondered in her head.

She was fairly sure which of those options would leave her alive for another day but neither were ones she could say she preferred.

The thought of it all made Mae’s stomach knot in turmoil and that was just one of the aspects that she had to be careful of before making her call. The others? Were both better and worse than anything else she’d ever been faced with before.

Mae bit her lip in indecision. She wasn’t going to rush into this. She just wished she had someone to discuss it over with. Someone she trusted. But she was alone in this and the choice was hers alone. Which made it even worse not better. Because make no mistake, if she did this, if she went through with what the foreign woman wanted…there would be repercussions.

Mae took a deep breath as she thought about it. Thought about what Donna Marie was asking, which on the surface wasn’t much, and if you stirred the pot…was everything.

Mae didn’t want to be one of those foolish people who leaped before they looked, but from the female mage’s own words…this was as much of a fishing expedition for her as it was a learning process for Mae.

“But to do this,” Mae whispered to herself as she clutched her right elbow and tried to think it through.

It remained to be seen why her family, her elders even, had locked away the gifts—supposing they actually were there—in the first place. What made the power of women and girls so undesirable that they were outright forbidden? Nothing justified it Mae’s head and even as she thought about what had been done to her when she was very young, Mae was simmering with rage. It was all she had wanted as a child, to be special. To be unique. And to think that these gifts were hers to claim all along but because of a decision made long before she was born—they had been cut off? She couldn’t fathom the reasoning and she didn’t think those who had made the decision long ago could understand her pain.

Not that she could ask them.

The methodical placement of the tattoos along her collarbone had been decided generations ago and was something her sister, her stepmother, her grandmother, and even her great-aunt had gone through. As far as Maeryn Darnes knew, it was something generations of the women in her family had been subjected to.

She had never learned why.

Heck, she had never asked why.

It just was.

Only brief memories of the process from her childhood flashed in her mind at any time. It was a room filled with light and female faces surrounded her on all sides. They bent down over with rings of light about their crowns like halos and she looked up at them in confusion from where she lay flat on her back with something cold and hard underneath her.

She’d been five.

Or four. She couldn’t precisely remember what age it’d been done at but she didn’t remember words…just flashes of movements and all those faces. It seemed all the women of her clan old enough to marry had been present. And from what Ember had told her the one time she’d opened up about it with her sister, she too had had the same experience. Although Ember remembered more than her…suggesting that perhaps that she had been older than Mae when it happened?

Ember had talked about smells which Mae couldn’t remember.

Scents of sandalwood, a rare and costly aroma that Mae had only smelled once…when she’d been taken to one of the city-states with her father for trade. The idea of it being present here, so far into the rural shadows of the Nardes kingdom was preposterous. One thimble was worth more than an entire season’s production of vegetables.

Which left the question of how Ember had encountered it when she was so young. But Mae didn’t know much more than that because as soon as she had started to open up her sister had closed down. It taken her years to realized that was Ember’s defensive mechanism. Only being vocal when she knew absolutely everything there was to know about the subject at hand. As a eight-year-old being snapped at by her older sister though, Mae had simple taken offense and endeavored to not speak or do her mean sister any favors for the foreseeable future. Which had lasted all of a few weeks until there was something else Mae wanted and only Ember could provide.

But now all I want is answers, so many mysteries in a family that I thought I knew like the back of my hand, Mae thought as her eyes drifted over to Ember’s still form.

As her memory was triggered, Mae struggled to remember if she had ever gone back to Ember. To insist they talk about that strange fateful day that they both had shared…if only because their recollections were so similar. But she never had. Because the look in Ember’s eyes when she had first brought it up was one Mae recognized all too well—it was one that was haunted.

Funnily enough except for this almost disturbing episode Mae had thought her childhood was idyllic. Oh, they had their struggles. With so many bodies and babies to feed in the family, they had to stretch their food to feed everyone. That meant weeks without meat as the hunters drifted further out to find something that would stretch for them all or when they did find a few hares or even a deer, it was chopped into thick finger-length bits to put into a pot of stew for everyone to partake. But no one died of starvation and everyone who was family was blood. They stood by one another. The secret that sat at the heart of them was simply unspoken of.

But then the children started dying again. In large numbers and what had once been a generational curse now seemed never-ending. Nerves were frayed and boundaries broken. Not the least of which was her own. It was how she’d started doing research into the cure in the first place and ended up breaking into her grandmother’s private sanctum to receive the grimoire.

Even just thinking of the tome that she’d risk so much for made Mae flinch.

It was gone…in the hands of people she’d rather it not be and what was worse—they’d destroyed it with fire. She hadn’t seen what they’d done with the incantation on the ripped off page itself because by that point she’d been running for her life. But Mae couldn’t imagine the group of mad cloaked individuals had done much good with it.

Without that page Mae had to wonder if they could even do what needed to be done. Which meant she had to get it back. But first things first, she had to get out of her latest scrape in one piece. So she stood up and looked around the clearing with a firm face. It was the same as it had been before. The air was a little stiller. The gloom about them all a little heavier. But it was still her, three strangers, and her sister—at once all alone in the forest and together. These strangers clearly had kidnapped them but they’d also saved them from a deathly fate. So Mae stood on the cusp of a choice, to trust them, to work with them and in the process—make a deal that would shake the very foundation of her family’s core. But also save the ones who needed help the most—the children.

It wasn’t as hard a call to make as she would have thought.

Mostly because she was on the black list for a large grouping of her closest relatives at the moment and the idea of coming to them with her idea for help was worse than foolish, it could spell the death warrants of not just the children, but herself and Ember.

For knowing too much in a time it would seem that it was best to know nothing at all.

Decided she nodded to herself, turned back and stepped forward. As she did a chill wind blew into the clearing and directly at her—leaving her cold all over. If she was all superstitious, Mae would have taken the ghost that walked over her grave at that moment for a warning.

But she wasn’t.

Instead she put on the charm as much as she could and directed a compelling gaze to the woman who held her future in her hands.

Hers and her entire family’s it seemed.

Mae just desperately hope that her faith in the foreigner wasn’t misplaced…for all their sakes.

 

Upon release the 2nd book in the Algardis series will be live at http://terahedun.com/magesbyfortune

“Have you made up your mind?” Donna Marie asked in a commanding tone.

“I have,” Mae replied warily.

Donna Marie raised her eyebrows and looked at her. She wasn’t going to ask a second time.

A brief smile flashed over Mae’s face. The foreign woman’s imperious nature sometimes reminded her of Ember…in her most annoying habits.

“Alright, what’s next?” Mae asked with a heavy sigh. She was going in, whether she liked it or not.

Donna Marie’s eyes brightened as she smiled.

She didn’t waste any time in replying.

“Now, I take a look at what makes you and other females like you, so very special,” Donna Marie said in an encouraging voice. “Once my study is done, I can aid you in invoking that incantation you’re so desperate to see succeed.”

Mae’s voice stiffened as she said, “It will succeed.”

It has to, she said to herself.

Donna Marie shrugged, “It will or it won’t. But you’re on a strict timetable from what I gather and I…am not. So it’d be in your best interest to cooperate promptly.”

“I already said I would!” Mae snapped—bristling. She didn’t like being threatened.

“How long will this take anyway?” Mae said as the woman just watched her. Figuring she could move this along Mae started to unlace her front and prepared to be examined.

“A few hours at minimum,” the foreign woman said in a casual voice as she inched forward with predatory eyes.

Mae paused the moment those words uttered from Donna Marie’s mouth.

“Hours?” she said with a shocked gasp. “We don’t have that.”

“This isn’t just some etching I’m going to do on your chest girl,” Donna Marie replied quickly. “I need to not only to use my gifts to study your inked collar but I need to do it with your aid.”

“Why?” Mae said uncomfortable.

“Why what?” Donna Marie asked with irritation.

Mae stopped fiddling with the buttons that held her vested overcoat tight at her waist and stared at the foreign woman.

“Why do you need my help?” Mae said in a voice that was unshakeable. “You’re just studying them right?”

“Well—” Donna Marie started to say in an uncomfortable voice.

Mae squinted at her and looked over at Rivan to see if he had anything to say about this. But his gaze was narrowly focused off in the distance and unreadable in any case. As for Dot, he was looking directly at her with what Mae could only characterize as an avaricious look that immediately made her cringe.

“Just look at it and get on with it,” Mae complained.

Donna Marie flapped her hand as if to wish away any tension in the air and prompt her to move on.

“It’s a little bit more than that,” Donna Marie said in a weasely tone. “But I promise it won’t hurt.”

That wasn’t what Mae had asked and it stalled her movements even more than their prior conversation.

When Mae didn’t make a move to continue unveiling what Donna Marie so desperately wanted, the foreign woman begrudgingly added, “There’s something about that tattoo about your collarbone. It doesn’t react to coercion—”

And how would you know that? Mae wondered to herself as her hackles raised.

Who else had this woman approached to get what she’d needed…and what had she done for the access she obviously so desperately wanted?

“—in fact, your ancestors were quite devious about it,” Donna Marie said in an envious tone that Mae didn’t like. “They made the tattoos invisible to the naked eye unless you’re a mage—”

“Well, that explains why the girls in the village never really asked about what was right in front of them,” Mae muttered.

“—and resistant to inspection without the express approval of the bearer,” Donna Marie concluded.

Mae raised a curious eyebrow, “So you just have to ask and it can be studied?”

“No,” Donna Marie grumbled. “It’s rather more complex than that.”

Donna Marie frowned as she continued, “How can I explain this to one so ignorant to the complex intricacies of a mage warding?”

“You can try by using small words,” Mae said a bit incensed at being referred to as an idiot in her viewpoint—just not in so many words.

“I didn’t say that you were—,” Donna Marie started

“It’s a binding on your body,” Rivan interjected before Donna Marie could put her foot in her mouth any more than she already had.

The foreign woman turned to him with a look of almost relief on her face and Mae obliging turned her focus to the other young man, only to notice that he was staring directly at her with an intense she was startled by. Mae almost reached up to her face just to make sure she didn’t have any mud on her cheeks but that was just silly because she knew that she was in fact dirty, one didn’t race through an attic and get logged through a forest and stay clean throughout the process, but also he wasn’t looking at her face, but at her body.

And a rather inappropriate portion of her body if anything her grandmother had taught her was right, Mae thought annoying.

He was staring directly at her chest when he said it with narrowly focused eyes. Mae almost covered her top with her hands in affront until she noticed that his look wasn’t lascivious, it was concentrated.

He was studying it, she realized as she recognized the same look that had been on her own face countless times.

But how? Mae continued to wonder. Her skin was still covered by her clothes but that didn’t seem to matter to him.

Rivan continued in a methodical voice, “That binding makes it so your flesh hides the very well written layers of the spell written within it.”

“Spell, what spell?” Mae asked genuinely shocked.

Rivan sent her scorching look. “The tattoo,” he said in a disbelieving tone.

As if she was the fool for not realizing it in the first place.

And maybe she was but he didn’t have to take that tone with her. She was new to all of this!

Apparently deciding to take pity on her Rivan explained further, “The inked tattoos on your collarbone, and I suspect this is true for all the women in your commune—”

He paused there to glance over at Ember’s prone form resting against the tree. Mae resisted the instinctive urge to step in from of her sister’s body and instead let him continue his examination from a distance, a distance of several feet away from both Ember and herself. If he could study the tattoos from that far away and while she was covered, Mae was tempted to just tell Donna Marie to let Rivan do what needed to be done.

Jolting her from her reverie, Rivan continued as he said, “—this is the same. It’s more than just a design, representative marking of your family. As Donna Marie stated it binds your powers and precludes you from using them.”

“And how does it do that?” Donna Marie asked in a smooth leading tone.

She clearly already knew she was just trying to lead his explanation back to her original path of inquiry.

“By using spellwork to do so,” Rivan said through gritted teeth.

He even briefly balled his fingers into fists. Which Mae didn’t miss although Donna Marie was assiduously looking the other way at the moment, so perhaps it was as much for himself as it was for her.

Still the foreign woman nodded in appreciation as she said, “Thank you Rivan.”

“Don’t thank me,” the young man muttered. “Her family may have done a shitty thing but that spellwork is absolutely gorgeous. It’s alive in her skin.”

And this time both Donna Marie and Rivan were staring at the hidden ink with what Mae could only characterize as want.

“Well,” Mae said while clearing her throat and trying to break up their stares. “So you want to study how they inked the design?”

“That and more,” Donna Marie said eagerly.

Rivan shrugged. “It’ll take careful unlayering to see just how they laid down the spell framework I’m guessing. Starting with a bare look at your skin and moving into the field of aural divination as we descend into the realm of strictly mage sight.”

Mae stirred but she didn’t really have any knowledge what they were planning to do and how it would affect her, and from the looks on their faces—they had done just about all the explaining either was prepared to do.

Reluctantly, she said then “Okay, let’s get going then.”

She eyed Rivan warily as she did so while wondering if she had been keeping a tense eye on the wrong person all along.

He knew far too much about this ‘warding’ when even Donna Marie couldn’t definitely state such details. So how did he know it? Mae openly wondered with a question in her eyes as she looked at him.

Of course, he was now back to being silent with an interesting gleam in his eyes, his hand folded in front of him, and no more.

Donna Marie proceeded to begin.

“Well, as my fine traveling companion has so aptly stated,” Donna Marie said. “Your tattoos are composed of more than meets the eye. I will not only have to visually study it but dive into my magic to unravel the layers that make it a composition.”

“But you’re not going to…permanently remove it or anything?” Mae nervously stated.

“What?” Donna Marie blurted out caustically. “Oh no, I don’t believe that will be necessary.”

Mae let out a slow sigh of relief.

“That’s good,” she hurriedly replied. “I mean—not that I wouldn’t want it removed, but it would make my life easier if you could just…make the tattoo bend to your will for a moment, show me how to proceed with the incantation as a third in the mage triangle and then…we’ll all be on our way.”

“I’m sure we will,” Donna Marie replied with a bit of darkness in her tone.

Mae couldn’t precisely pinpoint on what part of their conversation had tripped her up though so she let it go as just a fanciful part of her imagination as Donna Marie continued to speak.

“Now that I have your verbal permission to assess your tattoos you must do one more thing first before we begin?” Donna Marie said.

“What?” Mae asked immediately with apprehension.

To be fair Donna Marie had yet to ask something of her she couldn’t easily physically give…but there was always something more on the horizon, which Mae didn’t like. But she had to play her gains to get to the cure to win.

“You must believe inside yourself that this is the right decision,” Donna Marie said. “Or it won’t work.”

“What won’t work?” Mae asked mystified.

“I won’t be able to access your ink,” Donna Marie said in a final note.

Frustrated at the delay now that she was finally ready to move on, Mae pulled aside the top of her collar and said, “What do you mean—it’s right here!”

“If you had a mirror in front of you right this moment, what you see and what I see would be very different,” Donna Marie explained.

“But you’re a mage!” Mae complained.

“I didn’t say the ink would be invisible to me,” Donna Marie snapped. “It just convolutes my study in a way we don’t need. You can thank your bull-headed ancestors.”

Mae grumbled and then said. “Fine, I believe you should see it.”

“Not just in your head, but in your heart,” Rivan said forcefully as he interjected again. “If you don’t it won’t work.”

Mae narrowed her eyes. “This is a lot of layers of security for some pretty ink…even if it does lock away my gifts. Even the male relatives in my family don’t have naturally intense gifts, just enough to set bone or encourage crops.”

Donna Marie nodded eagerly, “Now you see my conundrum. Why work so hard to lock something away that is essentially meaningless in nature.”

“I wouldn’t call it meaningless,” Mae cried—a little offended.

“Please,” Donna Marie said wryly. “There are toddlers in my cities which display more magic than the greatest of your elders. I am not boasting, it is a fact.”

“And yet the gifts needed to do what these backwards commune-dwellers have done outstrips more than the mage adepts at your fabled school,” Rivan murmured.

What school? Mae wondered as her ears perked up—not wanting to interrupt now that they’ve told her something.

“Nevertheless,” Donna Marie said firmly. “They individually are not so gifted which begs the question what are they hiding underneath these layers of spellwork.”

“And why hasn’t anyone discovered it before?” Rivan added in an echo of Donna Marie’s interest.

Upon release the 2nd book in the Algardis series will be live at http://terahedun.com/magesbyfortune

Catch up to the series on Kindle Unlimited today, Mages By Chance: Algardis #1.

The entire Courtlight series is in Kindle Unlimited

Hi all,

It’s time for a MASSIVE summer sale! The entire Courtlight series has been put into Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and if you’ve been waiting to catch-up on the adventures of your favorite heroine now’s your time! Grab all the books you want, speed read, and take them with you to the beach. ^.^

But this will not last. So if you’re looking to catch up on the series, download a copy today. Click the cover to get yours!

Seventeen-year-old Ciardis Vane grew up in a small village on the edge of the realm. But then her life changes when a strange woman appears with the key to Ciardis’s escape. Ciardis knows that this is her one opportunity to change her life. But what she does not know is that she will soon be at the heart of intrigues and power struggles, and that her new life in luxury demands a high price, perhaps even the life of a prince.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Eighteen-year-old companion trainee Ciardis Weathervane has won the friendship of the royal heir and saved his claim to the throne. Yet her interference in the inheritance rights leaves more harm done than good. The inhabitants of the forest, magic-wielding non-humans, are defiant. They have not forgotten their long struggles nor are they content to watch as the last of their lands perish. With enemies closing ranks in Sandrin, Ciardis can little afford to leave the city’s nest of vipers to take on a new task. This second novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Raise.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

A threat to all she holds dear lies in the North and her heart is not the only thing she might lose. A massive army awaits in the mountain pass, surging closer to the gates of the southern lands. As Ciardis Weathervane faces her greatest fears on the battlefields and her heart is torn between her love of Sebastian and loyalty to her family, she must choose her fate carefully. For in her path, lies the destiny of the empire. This third novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Transfer.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

In the heart of the Imperial Court, Ciardis Weathervane knows that death is coming for the empire. She must do her best to unite kith, mages, nobles and merchants under one cause – the fight to prevent a war. Throw in a daemoni prince who is showing interest in the youngest Weathervane, a jealous prince heir, and a irritated dragon with her own designs on Ciardis, and you have an imperial court in turmoil. This fourth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Conflict.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Ciardis Weathervane returned to the imperial court of Sandrin to unite her foes. She never thought that before rallying an empire, she’d have to fight the emperor himself. Ciardis hasn’t survived assassination attempts, torture and really bad luck to be taken down by her own ruler.Butting heads at court isn’t Ciardis’s only problem, it is up to her small group to stop the destruction of the entire city while heading a rebellion that could foment a revolution. This fifth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Secrecy.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Ciardis Weathervane is officially engaged to one man and bonded to a second. She should be planning the wedding ceremony, instead she’s spending her engagement on the lawless oad to the western lands. If the unscrupulous bandits don’t make short work of them, Ciardis knows that when they return she and Sebastian will have to a face and unmask the man who has stolen the imperial throne. This sixth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Defiance.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Ciardis Weathervane is nothing if not resourceful but she and her friends are running out of time and options.  In their way stands thousands of people trapped inside a walled city for half a century. Now the city and its people want retribution and the only thing they will accept is the sacrifice of the empire’s most famous son – Sebastian Athanos Algardis. It will take more than diplomacy for Ciardis to win his freedom, before a reign of fire comes down from the wyvern and the dragon to burn them all. This seventh novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn to Ascension.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

 

Ciardis Weathervane has one simple rule – win the first fight, then move on to the next. When she returns to the imperial capital city, she finds that nothing is as she left it. Only a week has passed and yet chaos reigns. Ciardis is faced with the predicament of saving an empire and sacrificing a revolution, all while facing down a clock that has run out of the time. The gods are here and there’s nothing that she nor anyone else can do to stop them.  This eighth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn to Vengeance.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

 

Ciardis Weathervane is facing a war on two fronts. One with the dragons. One with the deities. She knows that the very foundation between ruler, nobility, and commoner had fractured down to its core. But the citizens of the empire need more than a speech to believe in the rulers that betrayed them just days before. With Thanar trapped in purgatory while they fight to resurrect the city that gave them life—Ciardis and Sebastian are in a battle to the death against a god bent on living forever. This ninth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn to Sovereignty.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Ciardis Weathervane must forge a new path. Through the madness and chaos. With the imperial palace in ruins, and the coalition between the nobles and the rebellion falling apart, there is no more time. Ciardis faces her most challenging assignment yet. Picking up the pieces, mending the coalition and winning the hearts and minds of Sebastian’s people. The people she could now call her own.The heavens have come to earth. It remains to be seen if the earth will fall before its might. This tenth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn to War.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Ciardis has seen the goddess for what she is  a bloodthirsty deity bent on breaking them before eliminating everyone Ciardis knows and loves. A plan in motion that will unleash a wave of magic across the land in quantities not seen since the Initiate Wars. But the battle has begun and she’ll do what she has to protect the people she cares about – her family, her friends, her empire.  In a battle between an immortal and a mortal, the humans are coming to win. This eleventh novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn to Quell.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Ciardis Weathervane is finally facing off with the goddess she’s been preparing to face for years. Together she, the daemoni prince, and the new Emperor of Algardis will have to use their alliance to save all those they care for…while hoping the enemies they’ve left behind don’t stab them in the back in the process.

This twelfth novel continues the story of Ciardis Weathervane from Sworn To Restoration.

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

Mages By Chance: Algardis #1 on SALE! One-Day Special ^.^

I’ve been dreaming of this moment for so long, that its hard to believe its here! Mages By Chance: Algardis #1 is now live on all retailers. When I first started the Courtlight and Crown Service series there was an inkling in the back of my mind that I would eventually have THREE series which would be the main ‘tentpoles’ of the Algardis Universe. But to see it publish is just such a beautiful moment!

More on that later – since I have some exciting compilations and crossovers planned for these main characters in 2019/2020, but for now WELCOME to the eponymous Algardis Universe. These books will be mainly set at the Algardis school for mages, but as you see when you start reading Mages By Chance – it takes a long time for a young person to get to become a mage, especially when they have no magic in the first place. Enter Maeryn ‘Mae’ Darnes, wild child and spitfire of the Darnes clan.

Mae has always wanted to be a mage her whole life, but that particular honor is reserved only for the males in her family. What does she get instead? An inked tattoo on her collarbone and a lot of lectures about her place in society. Well, Mae is all for upending the status quo and if in doing so she can save her siblings and children near-and-far from an illness devastating her clan and then she’ll do that as well.

I encourage you to read the new blurb on the MAGES BY CHANCE: ALGARDIS #1 page but if you’re just eager to dive into my latest young adult fantasy release, without further ado – say a big hello to Mae, Ember, Richard, and all the characters which make this exhilarating adventure so much fun!

Buy Links

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AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY

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Mages By Chance Blurb and first two chapters are here!

If you are a member of the Guild you saw the original first chapter weeks ago, but today everyone gets to see the new book and series I’ve been working on! Please note that these chapters haven’t been seen by my editor yet and as always content can change between now and publication!

It’s been such a breath of fresh air to start a new series with a new main character. Maeryn Darnes is woman set apart from those who came before her. She’s feisty and surly, vulnerable and touchy-feely, she loves her huge family and would do anything for those she calls friends. She’s also an untapped mage. Untapped until now that is. Check out the blurb below for Mages By Chance: Algardis #1 and read on for Chapters One and Two. The release date may be coming sooner than you think – so keep your eyes peeled and make sure you’re signed up to get my blog and newsletter emails!

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The first book in a new series that follows a young woman destined to destroy every edict her people live by and the boy who would do anything to be accepted by his. Journey along in a spellbinding story of conquering fear and overcoming love as they become Mages By Chance.

Maeryn ‘Mae’ Darnes is a young woman torn between two worlds…life or death. She has watched her siblings slowly wither away just like all the others blighted by the cursed Darnes bloodline. Now its the two youngest that will be dead within days.

Desperate to find a cure Mae does the unthinkable and breaks her family’s code of honor to practice dark magic. If she can find the cure and convince a band of rogue relatives to join her cause, she might even be able to activate the most powerful casting ever seen.

But in her attempts to circumvent her elder’s powerful rulings, Mae stumbles upon a plot to prolong the suffering of the afflicted. Now she not only needs to throw off the yolk that bounds her to her family, but carve out the darkness that is hiding within.

Blood and family have always been a constant in Mae’s life, but as the wasting sickness is being masterminded for other’s desire, Mae becomes determined to risk everything to reveal the truth. No matter the cost.

 

Mae’s chest felt so tight—it was like she was going to burst from the inside-out. That was because it was decision time. And this one wasn’t a decision she could make lightly. Confront her parents or walk away. She had already broken the covenants of the commune by even considering using dark magic to save the two lives that hung in the balance. But according to the useless soothsayers they didn’t have long left to live and the little magic her family did have on its own…wasn’t enough to save them.

So dark magic would have to do.

It was a desperate ploy and uncertainty roiled through her. Even a little rage that she needed to go this far…but mostly she was filled with weariness. She had been tossing and turning over what she would do for almost a full week and now that the moment was here—Mae hesitated.

Biting her lip as she stood in the hallway, Mae was trying to pull it together, but found herself unable to put anything past a semblance of grief on her tired face. Mainly because she only had a hope and a prayer of her illicit effort working, and if it failed…not only would she be punished but they would all be heartbroken once more. She feared the latter far more than anything else. Everyone in the greater holding had already been through so much that one more failure on top of the dozens of other desperate attempts they had made over the last week was a blow she herself wasn’t sure their close-knit family could take.

Still she had to try. So she kept looking. Because even though she was nearly at peace with doing whatever it took to save them, she didn’t yet have anything in place to make it happen. So Mae sighed, tilted her head back while ignoring the misery threatening to cloud her mind, and aimlessly reached down by her side to pick up the heavy tome once more. Through weary eyes she blinked down at the grimoire of her family. One of many forbidden texts she wasn’t supposed to have her hands on—proven by the fact that the text had singed her fingertips the moment she’d touched it. She remembered like it had been yesterday, because it had been. The day she’d decided to take a leap from worried sister to defiant sibling. She was putting a lot of her own goodwill on the line. Goodwill she had meticulously stored up over the year by doing chores without being asked, running to the market whenever her older relatives needed it, and even cleaning unbidden. Which for Mae…was a minor miracle in and of itself. Of course, she hadn’t done any of those things without a goal in mind. Namely her parent’s permission to go to the midsummer’s fair with a certain someone without supervision. She had imagined winding ribbons in her hair and wearing a pretty courting dress Instead she was now sitting in a dark hallway with illicit materials in her hands while she prepared to spend all that hard-earned favor in one fell swoop and not for her own enjoyment. But right now something mattered more than that. Lives were in the balance and it was up to her.

Because if anyone else was capable of solving this death spiral, they would have stepped up already wouldn’t they? Mae thought bitterly.

It wasn’t that Mae thought anyone in her commune was holding back. Quite the opposite. Each of the families, Mae’s being the largest, which made up their collective holding had something to fear from the deaths—past and present. And they also had a vested interest in finding a cure as soon as possible. Before Mae’s siblings died. Before more lives were taken.

Because this wasn’t over, not by a long shot. Not if they didn’t end it with the two girls now. Thinking of the future risks, it made Mae sick with anger just thinking about the possibilities of others suffering the same fate that was currently meeting her sisters—draining their life forces and leaving them in agony at the same time. It was hard to watch, it was even harder to listen to as their intermittent screams bounced across the holding walls and echoed down hallways like some macabre morning bell. Even though she had to. They all did. Every day and every hour the illness kept up its scourge. Even now the howl of a distance scream rose up. Mae knew it was them even as far away as she was. It was hard to mistake the howl as anything else. The sound rose and peaked into a sharp staccato and Mae shuddered in commiseration. It was as if she could feel their pain, the pain that was carried in every harrowing gasp and cry.

Time began to slow and Mae felt the beat of her heart slow as she listened to it start up again. She thought it might be the older of the two victims this time. And as they joined together in one cry, it was as if the world stood still while she listened. Mae couldn’t escape it, it was as if she was living through it for those moments. But the strength of the cry faltered when one voice dropped out abruptly. A rest period that she knew would have the girl slumped down from where she had lain almost unnaturally arched off the bed and family members frantically reaching over to wipe off the cold sweat on her bed. Finally after what felt like eons later but was only seconds, the second of the two screams trailed off. It was sickening but also a relief.

They could rest together, just like they did everything else together.

Miserably Mae wiped away some wetness from her own eyes as she said, “Though no siblings should have to do this together.”

She wasn’t just referring to the suffering illness either. Her older sister and the rest of their family were all participating in this haunting wait, their lives on hold, and their actions strained while they hoped and some prayed.

Most cried at some point. Whether it was the beginning when they realized that the blight had struck the most innocent of them all or when they were weeks into watching the progress of the debilitation. Or just…whenever they heard a pain-filled scream that echoed in their hearts.

It could be cathartic to cry in sympathy. Like Mae was doing now.

But she refused to admit that it was an emotional response to the pain. No, it wasn’t just that.

She was crying because she furious, frustrated, and damned tired.

They all were and the physical toil was hard on a body. It didn’t help that her stomach was turning into knots as she waited to see if the two girls would pick up screaming again. Sometimes they did. Sometimes they waited, giving all of those around them a slight respite. If you could call it that. For Mae, the tense wait in-between the screams was just as horrible as listening to it in an echo.

It made her so upset she might just hurl all over the floor.

Instead she forced back her nausea and tightened her jaw. Willing back both tears and rage. Neither would help her here and screaming wasn’t something Mae did—not unless she had a damned good reason. Licking her suddenly dry lips, Mae looked down at the vellum that was creasing under the grip she had reflexively tightened when she heard the screams.

She only said one thing to the object in a voice hoarse with hurt, “You’d better work.”

But she meant that with all her heart. Because if it didn’t, she was out of options. They all were. And that didn’t sit well with Maeryn Darnes. It made her ballistic just thinking about it, a fury she was desperately trying to control so that it didn’t control her. She had the legendary Darnes’ propensity for a temper. It came out in different ways but for Mae, it had always been with fiery consequences.

As if it was reading her mind and didn’t like the anger it felt in her emotions, it heated up so hot and fast that she had barely had time to yelp before dropping the tome on her bare feet. Making her one of the only people in the commune most likely howling at the top of her lungs while hopping on one foot and sucking at her burning fingertips simultaneously.

“What did I do that has all the demi-gods in the kingdom trying to break my foot?” she howled as she leaned back against the wall clutching her abused foot.

As the pain of the heavy hit died down to a throb in her big toe Mae glared down in offense at the grimoire lying on the floor innocently as if it hadn’t just wounded her twice—once on its way up and another time on its way down.

But that wasn’t the last of her troubles by a long shot. Mae heard a step down the hall that had her hastily straightening up and hoping whoever was coming up the back stairs didn’t look too closely in the shadows.

Seconds ticked by and no one emerged.

Slight relief began to filter through Maeryn’s imagination as she said, “Maybe it was just my imagination.”

Then she heard another sound…like a step. But she wasn’t sure. Still better to be safe than sorry. So she reached down to frantically put out the candle she’d been hoping to read by with her left hand and kicked back the grimoire against the wall with her opposite foot.

She may have been hoping, but she was no fool. Besides—keeping the candle going would only attract attention not turn it away.

Not a few seconds later Maeryn’s worst possible nightmare was confirmed.

An explosion of light hit the corridor as a young woman’s voice screeched down the hallway, “What is going on here?”

Instinctively Mae willed the dropped grimoire to be silent and stay hidden behind her. She hoped it would choose to be passive seeing as she wasn’t touching it anymore. As the fiery text did nothing for the moment, she could assume it worked.

Then she let out a curse as she knew who the voice belonged to from the first word. Now the only thing she could do was wait for her odious sister to come down the hallway seeking confrontation. It was after all the family way. Fight each other like rats within the holding and tear up anyone who sent any of them an errant look outside of it.

Mae sighed deeply as the figure which came into focus through the bright light confirmed her suspicions. It was none other than her older sister and outright pain in Mae’s behind—Ember ‘Emes’ Darnes.

The only one worse person to come down the hallway would have been the grandmother Maeryn stole the grimoire from, but Ember would most assuredly tell their father’s mother of Mae’s misdeeds when she got the chance. That was part of the reason Mae didn’t like her.

The other reason?

Well, they were like oil and water. Her and Emes. If Mae liked juice, Ember liked water. If Ember loved riding, Mae loved walking. If Ember hated her family nickname—it was a diminutive form of their names assigned by their elders on their first naming day—Mae loved hers. They’d been like this since childhood and almost every conversation ended in confrontation. It was well-known that if you heard a shouting match in the Darnes household, there was a three-fourths chance it was the two oldest siblings going at it.

Mae flicked her thick braid over her shoulder and assumed a confident expression. If there was one thing Ember always sensed like a predator in the water…it was fear. And Mae did fear something—discovery. Knowing she had something to hide if she was going to have any hope of pulling off her plan, she eased herself forward—careful to hide her illicit goods behind her in the shadows and plastered a smile on her face. Maybe if she set Ember off balance from the beginning, this would go the way she wanted…for once.

So Mae grinned and waited like a fool in a dark hallway as her sister kept coming forward. Except now Ember was uncharacteristically silent. Mae wondered if it was trick to make her nervous but it wasn’t long before goosebumps had risen at the base of her neck as she wondered if it was something much more disheartening.

What if it was the worse thing she could imagine?

What if it had already happened while she stood foolishly in a hallway like a limpet?

Still Ember came on silent as a shade and Mae had to drop her smile and act.

Confidence cracking Mae quickly said, “Tell me quick—its not the girls is it?”

Ember’s approach paused for a moment before she kept going.

“No,” her sister said. “They’re the same as far as I know. I just left them an hour ago.”

Mae nodded quickly…in thanks.

They may have despised each other but neither was willing to play around with the others emotions when it came to the possibility of death in the family.

There were some things you didn’t joke about or hold back information on. And that was one of them. They all were on tether hooks about the girls’ fate anyway. Anymore drama would be like setting a tinderbox on fire with no water nearby to douse the house in flames.

And Maeryn Darnes wouldn’t be the one to see her family put through more pain than they already were. So she uncrossed her arms and held out her hand in greeting to her most odious sister.

It was up to Ember if she wanted to take it.

Stepping forward in a greeting so quickly, Mae would have missed it had she not felt the responding pressure of her arm being gripped and released by Ember as her sister met her halfway.

Mae licked suddenly dry lips but she made an effort again and said, “Morning sister.”

Ember stared at her with suspicious eyes but she gave the traditional greeting back.

“A good day’s dawn,” she replied.

Swallowing anything she wanted to say about her appearing where she wasn’t wanted, Mae instead asked “What brings you this far into the backways sister?”

Mae managed to say it with a smile on her face even though it hurt to keep it up. Dealing with her sister was already giving her a headache and they hadn’t even said more than a few words to the other.

“Passing by,” her sister replied softly with a mysterious air as she studied Mae’s face with a sharp look that belied her tone’s casualness.

Mae knew that look well. It told her that Ember had found whatever she saw particularly interesting and she pretty much would have zero desire to move on. Not without getting whatever it was she came for.

Which was just Mae’s luck. Ember’s favorite game was to hassle her and unfortunately asking her to just leave wouldn’t work. It’d just egg her big sister on. So Mae had to hope that by being as dull and uninteresting as possible that would make her move on instead.

It was going to have be a day that the stars aligned to make that work though.

As the silence stretched on too long, Mae asked “A bit out of your way though, no?”

Ember gave a soft snort and said, “Not really. I like to study the architecture of our holding when I get the chance and as you know…our home is the oldest on-site which makes it a particularly beautiful subject to wander around in.”

Mae’s mouth twitched but she couldn’t really say Ember was wrong.

That was the other disturbing reason they didn’t get along.

Ember could speak and it was like honey dripped from her mouth.

She’d be lying straight to your face but she did so matter-of-factedly and with such truths woven in that it was hard to see the lie…unless you knew her.

And Mae her knew her so well. They were only two years apart but it might as well as been a decade. Different personalities and approaches to living even though they’d been raised from the time they could walk by the same set of parents.

Mae wanted to give her sister the benefit of the doubt at times but she had learned over the years that sometimes even that was too much. Still—people in glass houses really shouldn’t throw stones and Mae certainly was in her own bit of predicament right now.

She couldn’t confront her sister about her shadiness when she herself was desperately trying to hide a forbidden tome she had lifted from their elder’s sanctum without permission. No justification in the world would work to explain away her ill-gotten gains.

Mae elected to divert attention more and perhaps get her sister to move on.

“So you’re looking at the architecture,” Mae asked nervously. “Find anything interesting?”

“Very,” chirped Ember with the beady-eyed gaze of a bird swooping down on its prey.

Meanwhile Mae’s back was still to the wall and she felt sweat begin to roll down her neck. She was still trying to project confidence but it was hard to do when your older sister was starting at you as if she could pull your secrets out of you by peeling off your skin bit-by-bit. As if noting Mae’s nervousness and reveling in it, Ember flicked her hand holding the lantern, making light momentarily flare in Mae’s eyes and throwing her off balance just a bit again.

“So sorry,” she heard her sister say as Mae quickly turned her head away to get the glare out of her eyes. When she had turned back after blinking away the spots dancing in her vision, this time Mae watched Ember warily.

It was another piece of movement that seemed like it could have been a mistake. But Mae would be a fool to think it hadn’t been intentional.

“Also,” her sister said in a too cheery voice. “I’ve got a bit of work to do myself.”

“Oh?” Mae asked weakly—knowing the trap was closing in but not quite sure how to maneuver around it.

Ember didn’t hold polite conversation for just any reason.

She had something on her mind.

As if to answer her question, Ember jiggled a basket that Mae only now noticed was on her back. The shoulder straps were cleverly hidden by the folds of her outercoat.

“Just some washing,” Ember said lightly with a false sincerity.

“Taking the shortcut through the backways to get to the old washroom?” Mae guessed.

“Yes,” Ember replied. “It’s less crowded than the new one by the sickrooms.”

Mae’s eyes flickered once more to the basket on her sister’s back. It looked barely half-full and she’d eat her shoe if dear Emes hadn’t come this way in search of her. But she couldn’t prove that. She just knew her sister’s favorite game was to hassle her and Ember’s eyes always lit up with an eagerness for trouble when Mae was around so it wouldn’t have been too farfetched to assume the worst.

But that’s all it was—an assumption.

Wanting this interrogation that to be over Mae said as meekly as she could, “Well I’ll just let you be on your way.”

“Hmm, yes,” Ember replied. “But I haven’t yet asked you…”

She trailed off—leaving her words ominously unfinished.

“Asked me what?” Mae said suspiciously.

Ember followed up with a smile, “What brings you this far off the beaten path?”

Mae looked around as she thought about an acceptable answer.

“Well?” Ember said—pressing the matter.

Finally Mae replied with a shrug, “I was just looking for some solitude…you know with all the healers in our home plus the family…its’ getting crowded out there.”

“That’s true,” Ember said slowly.

Then she began to tap her foot on the hollow wood floors and Mae practically jumped out of her skin. She had to wonder what was next.

When would she move on? Mae thought desperately.

Apparently not that soon, because Ember continued to study her with all the patience of the world and cornered Mae couldn’t stand it anymore.

Changing her tactics, Mae sucked her teeth and then said, “What do you want Ember?”

Ember cocked her head with a suspicious look in her eyes.

“I can’t just stop when I see a sister?” Ember pointedly asked.

Mae’s mouth curled in resentment.

Then she firmly said, “Drop the act. You know and I know that you’d have no time for me unless you were up to something.”

“What?” Ember asked with a politely shocked gasp.

“Spit it out,” Mae barked in a command that even she was surprised by.

Ember’s eyes narrowed into a glare as she responded, “You don’t talk to me that way you little brat.”

“Ah there’s the sister I know and love,” Mae said dryly.

Ember huffed and responded, “Well, then if you’re going to insisted on dropping pleasantries, and I was just beginning to enjoy having a civil conversation, we can do that.”

“I do,” Mae snapped. “Insist that is.”

Ember shrugged and let a smirk drop on her face.

“Fine then,” Mae’s older sister said in a sing-song tone. “I want to know why you’re standing alone in a corridor like a cockhead with your foot over a book like that will do anything to hide the fact the you’re up to something.”

“What book?” Mae instantly said as she stood as tall as she could and tried to look imposing.

That instantly brought a laugh from her sister.

“Don’t play with me Maeryn,” Ember said amused. “You’re not very good at lying and my eyesight is just fine.”

Mae felt her heart freeze and then she groaned. This was why she hated her sister.

Nothing was ever let alone. Nothing was private. And she’d dance like a chicken in a wire trap if she thought she’d caught her younger sister up to no good.

Trying for diplomacy Mae complained, “For once in your life Ember—let it go.”

Her sister just kept giving her a superior stare and Mae realized that as long as she was appearing to shrink from a confrontation, Ember would feel like she had the upper hand.

So Mae straightened up and stepped forward to glare eye-to-eye with the young woman who was practically preening in front of her. Ember, of course, was unphased by any look of ire directed at her. Instead, she smirked and stared her down. And Mae did the same.

The female tempers of the Darnes line ran hot and none more so than in the youngest women in the holding. Ember and Mae had never really gotten along, but they hadn’t come to blows either—yet. Mae was waiting for that day to come though. They fought over everything from who’s turn it was to do the laundry in the old room to who it was that had stolen the last ripe blueberry from the bowl in the cold storage.

Neither was willing to back down.

Which was why even though Mae’s back was literally to the wall, she wouldn’t give sour-faced Ember the satisfaction of an answer…or turning her in to their parents and the elders for fun. Besides all that there was a fine point between responsibility and obedience in sibling rivalry, and Ember wasn’t the boss of her.

“Oh Mae,” Ember said in a mock sympathetic voice.

“What?” Mae snapped—her temper was already high, she didn’t need any mockery from someone she despised.

Ember rolled her eyes. “Have you ever considered that I might just be trying to aid you?

“Aid me with what? I’m just standing here on my lonesome,” Mae said piteously.

“Now who’s playing the dumb one?” Ember said pointedly.

“Alright, well what do you think it is I’m up to?” Mae asked.

She wasn’t expecting Ember to guess, just hoping to run down the morning so her sister would get hungry or summoned and have to leave.

“Something that’ll get you in trouble,” Ember replied with narrowed eyes.

“I’m not always into something you know?” Mae muttered.

“Yes, you are,” Ember said simply.

Then she hesitated a brief second and added, “But if its to help the girls…this time it could be justified.”

Mae almost choked on her tongue. Ember never, ever approved of anything she did.

“Well, this is first,” Mae said with semi-amazement. “You agreeing to something I did?”

Ember waved a dismissing hand. “Let’s not go that far as I still don’t know what it is exactly that you’re doing but it has to do something with that book under your foot I’d wager and it’s illicit if you’re hiding in a back hallway to do it.”

“I’m not hiding,” Mae said indignant. “I just wanted some privacy.”

“Right,” Ember said slowly.

Slightly offended at her sister’s implications, even worse that she was right, Mae said, “Oh just piss off.”

That apparently was the wrong thing to say.

“What was that?” Ember asked sharply—her voice rising an octave into a range that irritated Mae and usually everyone else in hearing distance. It was early morning in a deserted corridor though, so there was only the two of them to hear it.

It didn’t stop Mae from changing the subject by telling Ember, “You know you’re disturbing everyone three rooms away right?”

Ember sniped in response, “Stop deflecting—I asked you a question.”

Mae wondered if she was referring to her insult or the original big inquiry as to what she was doing here.

As if reading her sister’s mind Ember added, “You may think you’re clever by pushing me away but I know you—you’re up to something. Maybe even something I would want to aid in.”

“So?” Mae said—stalling.

“So, tell me. What is it?” Ember said in a cajoling tone with an interested look.

Briefly Mae was tempted. To give in. To answer. Perhaps it would be nice to have some help after all. But it was Ember and the tone in her voice was still the objective know-it-all who thought she was better than her.

So instead of giving in, Mae double-down with a firm answer as she said, “I don’t have to tell you.”

Then Ember rolled her eyes. “You’re acting like a child.”

“Better a child than a busybody,” Mae retorted back.

For her part Ember kept staring into Mae’s face as if she could command her secrets from her with just a look.

I don’t know who she thinks she is, but that look only works with father, Mae thought to herself. Ember’s got nothing on me.

As if realizing that Mae had settled in for a fight from the beginning and nothing would budge her, Ember’s nose went into the air.

Then her voice hardened into a threat as she said, “You’ll tell me what it is you’re hiding Maeryn Darnes!”

For a moment Mae was actually impressed. Her sister was a stubborn as goat. But Mae could kick like a mule and right this moment, she was more than willing to show her sibling just how physical she could get when pressed.

Keep an eye on the Mages By Chance: Algardis #1 page for buy links!

 

New Year, New Pre-Order: 4th Courtlight Series Boxed Set is LIVE

Happy Holidays all!

I hope you had a lovely time so far over this winter season. Just a brief note that my next boxed set is now live on pre-order! If you’ve been dying to read the next chapters in the Courtlight saga and haven’t read Sworn To Quell: Courtlight #10, Sworn To Restoration: Courtlight #11, and Sworn To Justice: Courtlight #12 this is the perfect set for you!

What makes this set a brilliant new addition to the rest? As one of my beta readers said, Hi Emily *waves*:

“Each of the triumvirate is evolving in their own way to fit into the new present where they are both dependent on each other and fiercely powerful individuals in their own right.”

This set highlights the complex changes in the relationship between the three members of the triumvirate, forces them to a reckoning about not only what it means to love one but to love enough to be a unified front, and throws an empire in turmoil, a regicide, a deity bent of destruction, oh and couple of angry mobs.

One thing I love about Thanar, Sebastian, and Ciardis is that even through personal conflict eventually they always realize that the needs of the bondmates come before the needs of the individual. The Courtlight Series Boxed Set (Books 10-12) is all about the growth and divisions of the triumvirate so that nothing will stand between them.

If you’d like to see the three progress as they never have before read Pre-Order the Courtlight Series Boxed Set: Books 10-12:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | IBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY

 

Sworn To Justice: Courtlight #12 is LIVE!

12 Books, 1 Romance, 15 Dozen Adventures and Ciardis, Sebastian, and Thanar are continuing on strong! I hope you’re ready for the next in the Courtlight series because its here today! Merry Christmas one-and-all! My present from me to you is here: a brand-new novel in the Courtlight series launches today!

P.S. If you haven’t already read my blog post, don’t forget that I laid out all the information on how/why/when the Courtlight series was extended from 12 books to a possible 13-14! Go into Sworn To Justice with the expectation of adventure, exhilarating romance and even more books to come. 🙂

Ciardis Weathervane has come to face what she always thought was a myth. A legend. A goddess bent on destruction.

But it turns out that while the goddess wants to kill all those she loves and cares for, at least her motivations are pure. Ciardis quickly learns however that the Emperor’s conclave don’t hold to that same ethos. While Ciardis is destined to defeat Amani, she must first navigate the perils of an entrenched court balking against interlopers challenging their very existence.

The conclave will they take things further than could ever be imagined, forcing the daemoni prince, the Emperor of Algardis, and the Lady Companion to renegotiate the building blocks of their alliance. Ciardis once thought she had everything in the world – two individuals who loved her, a home in a palace, and power unlike any other. But as she learns – nothing is permanent and everything is up for grabs.

As Ciardis finds herself surrounded by traitors direct from the Imperial Court themselves, she has to wonder-if she’s fighting to save the empire, who is fighting to save her?

Enjoy Sworn To Justice: Courtlight #12 today on all retailers and remember that the series continues in Sworn To Victory: Courtlight #13!

 

The wait is over, a Courtlight series update (Spoiler: its been extended!) :)

Hello all,

I’ve been working hard on Sworn To Justice: Courtlight #12 and it’s DOOONE! OMG yay, I’ve never been more excited to type this out. We’re priming the book and checking it twice to get it ready for your eReader downloads. In the meantime, check out these awesome reader reviewers as Guild members have gotten an advanced look at the book in preparation for the launch –

“This is the best in the series yet!”

“This next chapter in the Courtlight Series has it all – action, adventure, and romance! I loved every moment of it!”

“Terah has done it again. Action packed from chapter 1 and heartache that everyone has come to expect from the Courtlight series.”

“You made my heart stop 😉”

“NEVER EVER let it end!! ❤️”

“Terah I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! This has been the best news ever. I will be sleeping with the biggest cheese grin. Lucky #13!!!!! Oh wait until everyone sees this!”

Now on to all the updates on my writing. My sincere apologies for the radio silence. I can’t believe its been nine whole months since my last publication date. That is unusual for me and trust me it wasn’t deliberate. Just a factor of writing this next adventure for Ciardis & Sebastian & Thanar, wanting it to be perfect, and realizing I was cutting scenes that made me so happy.

So now that I’ve figured out the focus on Courtlight #12, I’m back to writing other books in the Algardis Universe, and ready to keep you entertained for the foreseeable future. Which means your 2019 Year is going to be delightful with fantasy, magic, romance, and adventure once more! So I hope you’re ready to buckle in and get even more excited for a hyped new year!

Courtlight #12 will be the first release, perhaps in time for a little Christmas cheer *hint, hint* ^.^, then I will be going on to more books in the Crown Service series as well as some new spin-offs about the dragons of Sahalia and the school for Mages. But I did want to give you a head’s up before you started reading Sworn To Justice because there will be surprises in store, twists & turns, heartbreak, peril and of course – the continuation of the series!

What – you say? More Courtlight books? YES! That’s right. Now, when I started writing this book nine months ago I was sure it would be a simple matter of tying up loose ends, answering all the questions readers had (who is Ciardis Weathervane’s father!?), and making it a riveting adventure.

Turns out that was a huge undertaking to include all of that in one book. So I started writing and kept writing and kept writing. I’m now staring at 150,000 words of magical goodness…and I’m nowhere near done.

Oh, we have a battle with a goddess. A wedding of epic proportions. A father introduced. But so many scenes in between and after each of those momentous occasions need their time to shine.

So here’s what I’m doing – I’m extending the Courtlight series! After you pick up Sworn To Justice: Courtlight #12, now there will be a new title forthcoming – Sworn To Victory: Courtlight #13. I haven’t titled book #14 yet but at least half of it will be filled with more dragons than you could ever ever imagine. And both will have the wedding that will put Harry & Meghan’s to shame. 🙂

So I hope you’re ready! Courtlight has just a little bit more in store for you! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled and those one-click fingers primed! I’ll be announcing the release of Courtlight #12 quicker than you can blink.

Sworn To Justice – the final Courtlight book – Chapters 1 & 2

So I spent Saturday crying my eyes out, Sunday furiously typing, and here we are one week later with the first glimpse of the latest-and-final Courtlight novel! I am so ready to see what you all think of this next chapter in my original series. 🙂

First let me say how excited I am to be working on the final book of Ciardis, Thanar, and Sebastian’s journey. Every time I open up the manuscript I let out a little squee of delight because let’s face it – these three have been with me so long that its almost like saying goodbye to long-time friends.

As I’ve been writing Sworn To Justice: Courtlight #12 I’ve also been working together plot threads all the way back to Sworn To Raise: Courtlight #1. So you’re getting many answers about different subjects including Ciardis’s father, you’ll see a imperial wedding that I’m also still sobbing over, and a celestial battle that’s been years in the making. Among many other things.

So without further ado, I give you the first two working chapters of the last Courtlight novel. Please keep in mind that this has not been seen by my editor team and even my betas are in the dark, but I hope you enjoy and look forward to the full read!

 

Ciardis Weathervane looked up, up, and then around with wide eyes.

Her mind was trying to comprehend the screeching, howling figures descending down from the sky in massive numbers. It was almost impossible to tell how many were coming at them now. Although she had conservatively estimated the number at hundreds before, she now saw thousands. All because the sky portals weren’t closing.

Instead they were widening and the creatures falling through kept coming without ceasing in a mad dash to enter the mortal realm at their mistress’s bidding. If she wasn’t partially scared and totally infuriated, she might have been impressed. The goddess of death and destruction had found a way around the slaughter of her minions. It was simple and effective and Ciardis had to wonder how long she’d been gathering these creatures in another realm as a back-up force.

But that wasn’t necessarily what mattered at the moment. What mattered was how were they going to fight them? To do that, she had to know what they were and at the moment—she could only guess from this distance. But they looked like scraggly black dots with membrane-like wings as they fell on the winds and swept through the sky.

Beside her, Ciardis heard the daemoni prince say grimly, “This doesn’t look good.”

“Does it ever?” she heard Sebastian say right back without taking his own eyes off the sky.

Ciardis was able to tear her eyes from the teeming mass growing above her only when Thanar began to snap open his larger wings and then close them right back up with unease.

It was like a nervous tic for him but an instant attention-grabber for her.

For reasons she didn’t plan to discuss. Not ever.

For now, she simply turned to him and asked lightly, “Scared?”

She was trying to be humorous in a dark situation but it came out a little tenser than she’d like.

He snorted and said, “Just getting ready, Golden Eyes. You should do the same. They’re coming this way.”

Then he took a step back. Then another. Not in fear though. His stare up at the sky was much too fixed and much too angry. Looking back Ciardis saw that he was right. The flying black dots were gravitating to each other and as their mass of wings and claws drifted lower in the skies it did seem like they were getting closer than ever to her hillside perch.

Ciardis and the others had come up to a higher elevation because it represented a defensive advantage against any enemies. But that only worked if those enemies were on the ground. Instead the goddess seemed to be thinking ahead and her thoughts for strategy were dead on—attacks from the sky and by land.

Grimacing as her eyes swept down from the skies and across the rest of the sweeping forces on the ground, Ciardis had the realization that they sat squarely in the center of a pincer. Even after they had worked so hard to defeat the goddess’s forces with a bold-and-desperate tactic to unleash a wave of magic across the empire so strong that it wiped out the enemies of the Algardis bloodline in one fell swoop, it seemed it still wasn’t enough.

She could see both claws from the goddess’ forces in the air and on the ground coming for her head and Ciardis Weathervane didn’t like it one bit.

Feeling that anger spill over in a mental connection and meet up with Thanar’s own rage only served to stoke the fires of her resentment. Whatever the goddess had planned for a frontal attack wouldn’t work. She was resolute about that. They might have to take a side-step in their plans to face her triumvirate-to-one but Ciardis was quite sure of one thing—they could defeat this group just as they had all those who had come before them. With her lightning strikes and Thanar’s skills in battle, let alone the individuals standing around them prepared to give their own lives for the cause, there was nothing the goddess of death and destruction could do to make them lose.

Ciardis Weathervane would make damned sure of that.

Deciding now was as good a time as ever, Ciardis called up her lighting and let it play between her fingers as it jumped back-and-forth in long, tantalizing arcs.

With a smirk on his face the daemoni prince rose to the challenge as well as he took flight with a strong gust of winds and longswords appearing in both fists.

As anger disappeared from his mental haze, Ciardis instead felt joy radiating from him.

Joy for the coming kills.

Embracing his blasé attitude to loss of life, she even took some of that for herself. If she was to battle against these minions and their deity, maybe it was time that she was a little less emotional and a tad more bloodthirsty.

Just a tad—she couldn’t change who she was after all. But she could certainly show them a side of the Weathervane Companion they had never seen.

She felt Thanar’s approval radiate down even as he rose in the air and her resolve rose with it.

Meanwhile, the mass of black dots was not unaware of their preparations though, and as one the throats of the oncoming beasts let out screeches of raw anger.

It was a challenge for the daemoni prince….and for Ciardis.

Fine, let them vent their anger. She would share her own righteous fury.

They were still far enough away that their focus could be mistaken for a wider target but the chill that went down Ciardis’s spine told her differently. Told her that they didn’t see them, so much as him as their screeching anger seemed to radiate down in a tunnel of echoes that sliced through the air straight towards the daemoni prince.

Looking around Ciardis could see why Thanar would be a prime target. Not only was he a member of the Emperor’s closest circle, but he also happened to be one of the few flying members of the Algardis offensive which could take them on mid-air.

Ciardis frowned.

It didn’t look good that they too didn’t have aerial forces to field as well. That wasn’t for lack of trying though. There were kith members here eager to fight for their homeland just as much as the human contingent was prepared to fight as well. But they were mostly present below on the main battlefield in the flying squadrons, not as personal guards to the Emperor and his retinue who were hundreds of feet away on the mountaintop but might as well have been miles in the distance for all the good it would do with the speed these minions of the empress were showing.

Deciding to not let it bother her, to instead take them on as she knew only she could, Ciardis stepped cautiously to the edge of the ledge where even her weighted cloak began to flap noisily as it was beaten by the fierce winds. Something caught her eyes, not in the sky this time where Thanar took his battle to the air, but on the ground. And it didn’t look too pleasing even from this distance either.

Squinting her eyes as she took a spyglass from her pocket, Ciardis took a good long look at those human and kith mixed together in well-ordered contingents on the fields below. They were packed in tight formation and it would be almost impossible for them to coordinate with the Emperor’s forces up top in time to reverse their positions and flight paths to come to their aid, so she approved when Sebastian conferred with his second-in-command and waved off his request to redeploy forces.

It was the right move.

They were too far off to aid them and would just be gutted from behind by the goddess’s forces lying in wait. This time it would just be up to them to aid themselves.

So like game pieces on a board, she watched from afar as pike soldiers arranged next to battle-ready griffins began to march forward in unison while eager feathered drakes from Ameles took to the skies alongside them with their own bloodcurdling warning cries.

Every one of them focused on the enemy in front, assured that the Emperor and his offshoot of forces could take care of those coming from behind.

Meanwhile high above on the mountain she stiffened in dread as their own piece of the enemy kept coming for them. It took longer because for the moment they were farther away from the area the portals had appeared at, but they would be here soon enough and their offshoot couldn’t back down.

The main forces were taking on the left pincer. She, Thanar, and Sebastian’s deployment were to take on the right. And heaven help either group if the other failed. So swallowing hard and preparing herself for the fury of battle, Ciardis looked up to the skies once more as she memorized every position of the oncoming enemy in preparation.

Their positions of course would change. But it made her feel better. Just as feeling Thanar’s sharp blades cut through flesh as if it were her own arms swinging the longswords also felt invigorating.

Meanwhile she reached out again mentally for Thanar. Almost with unconscious familiarity, hoping that whatever was going through his mind would ease her worry. Maybe he had a plan. He always had a plan after all and since the thoughts currently running through her head mostly consisted of fight and don’t-die she’d take all the reassurance she could get. But instead of warmth and comfort all she got was a blank wall for her troubles.

Glancing at him in surprise, Ciardis noticed that now he wasn’t even paying her the least mind. Too far gone into bloodlust apparently. Which made sense physically, but mentally she felt like a fly swatted away in irritation. This was why even as she spiraled into darkness with Thanar, she knew she could never go all the way. He always had some block, some mental barrier—usually linked to depravity, that kept her from walking into the sunset with him.

At least that’s what she had always felt anyway even if sometimes his block was more her own and as she had learned-and-grown in the court of Maradian, someone’s darkness was someone else’s temptation.

This time she decided to push forward rather than veer away, so she went back up against his blank mental wall and gave him a piece of her mind.

Or at least she thought she did.

But if he heard her, he gave no sign of recognition, which was very unlike Thanar.

Biting her lip Ciardis noticed that maybe it hadn’t been a deliberate attempt to push her away as she thought. In fact, he seemed unconscious to the entire world. Everything except sky above and enemies that would be on them in minutes.

It gave her time to think, if not much anyway.

He seemed to be unconsciously blocking a mental stream of thought from going from his mind to hers, but that didn’t completely prevent her from feeling his emotions.

And from what Ciardis could sense the darkness was only growing in the daemoni prince’s mind. What was once an eagerness to join him as he fought turned to wariness as she felt nothing but bloodthirsty desire. In this ability she almost envied him. His drive to fight and tear apart his enemies was superseding anything else in his mind. He was almost predatory in nature and it was certainly something she she’d never been able to holistically—not naturally anyway.

But did that really matter?

A howling scream distracted her and her eyes flickered from Thanar’s form disappearing in the sky as he was surrounded by a ball of ferocious enemies while more than holding his own to the creature which seems to have locked its gaze on her.

Seeing the drool coming down off its serrated canines as he flew straight for her, Ciardis decided it didn’t matter much at all. She made not have descended into a world of nothing but blood and battle lust, but she could certainly conjure and feast on some anger of her own.

Anger at how unfair the world was—that so many would die today. That they had to battle these minions in the first place. But inside that anger was a core of certainty. Certainty that they would emerge victorious.

She managed to ignore the tendril in her mind that said that they would emerge or die trying.

It wouldn’t do any good to for her resolve to falter now.

No, they had a fight to begin and as her gaze intensified Ciardis would have been unaware that the glint of determination on her face showed in the golden glow of her eyes.

Like sunfire just before dusk.

But the others around her were more than just aware and as they prepared themselves for battle with calmness it almost felt like, to Ciardis anyway, that she embodied more than just a focus point for them.

That she was going to change the world.

She hoped she could. For all their sakes’.

Upon release the 12th book in the Courlight series will be live at http://terahedun.com/sworntojustice

Ciardis and her people, the Emperor’s offshoot, watched and waited.

As the intensity of the fight between Thanar and the dozen or so creatures in the air continued, their brethren seemed less committed. The one that had caught Ciardis in its sights seemed to be hesitating now and they circled in the air like vultures rather than dove towards the ground in search of prey.

Heart in her throat Ciardis realized that even if Thanar had the upper hand now that could swiftly change. It would only take one of those creatures to get close enough to lacerate his wings or—let’s face it—a lot more kills for him to tire enough to be taken down and overwhelmed by brute force.

But there were seemingly hundreds of them in the air and a few dozen of Ciardis’s side on the mountaintop to fight back if the daemoni prince fell.

Licking her suddenly dry lips, she knew they couldn’t wait until the creatures decided to attack. They had cunning eyes, but her forces had ingenuity on their side, and right now they were hovering just out of reach of her lightning or the arrows of the offshoot behind her but that could be changed.

They just needed to force them down.

Turning around to see if they had something, anything that could do that Ciardis instead realized something else. With an uneasy look she acknowledged that they were just as much sitting ducks here as they were strategists with the upper hand.

After all there was no high ground when your opponents could fly.

And at the moment the ledge they stood on was an open flat-top with nothing but pebbles for ammunition, which was great when you wanted an entire group of individuals to get a good look at the battlefield below but left them immensely vulnerable when they needed cover.

The winged creatures realized that just as soon as she did apparently because a call went up and suddenly a squadron of the beasties broke off and dove—straight for the triumvirate and the hundred or so guards who were prepared to die for their reborn loyalists.

She felt Sebastian shift into position by her side and a veritable whirlwind of dust stirred up behind her as he called on the land and air around them to defend his people.

As she watched his suddenly gale-strength winds snatch bodies out of the air and slam them into the ground with such force that their hunched bodies burst, she smiled.

It was good to be emperor, was the only thing Ciardis Weathervane thought as she heard warning shouts go up and she felt a stitch of pride swell in her heart at the composure of those around her. That is before she got a good look at one of the flying beasties faces and seeing them close up—fear overtook her instead.

It was the stuff nightmares were made of and it was coming straight for them as it dove around a hapless daemoni prince and dodged currents of living wind that were snatching the rest of its companions out of air like flies.

Tempering her emotions down she studied its face and body for a weak point. Seeing dark gray skin stretch over prominent bone ridges that erupted into jutting horns told her the face may not be the way to go.

But the caved in hairless chest with its scrawny sternum may have just been the bull’s eye target she needed and satisfied as she stared into its bulging enraged eyes coming for her Ciardis smiled and let rip with her lightning for a direct hit.

It screamed and died mid-air and she was on to the next. Catching three more as she fried them to a crisp before one was able to get close enough to land on the ledge right below her feet. For a moment she stared in horrified disgust at its void of a nose that somehow still managed to throb in time with the pulse of blood in the rest of the creature’s body.

But she wasn’t squeamish enough to be stunned into inaction so she pointed and blasted him off the rock he was standing on with enough lightning to make her hairs stand on end.

Then she looked around for more. Before long she couldn’t turn an inch without seeing a new body to scorch and if she wasn’t throwing lighting, which was rapidly tiring her by the way, she was reaching out to the Emperor of Algardis mentally and physically to check on his stores of power and make sure the winds he was calling up alongside the columns of earth used as sharp bludgeoning tools weren’t exhausting him out either.

So far, so good. At least on Sebastian’s end. The true union of ruler and land had done him good. But it wasn’t doing squat for her as she was relying on her own reserves of power while he and Thanar took out their enemies separately one by one.

As she began to pant with exertion Ciardis didn’t falter but she had to wonder just how this was going to end.

The creatures just coming just like the ones who had gathered in the chasm below the wall of Ban had before…and she had to wonder just how many their enemy had stocked away in a realm unknown to them.

The other gods might have been able to tell them but they were all a little busy to consult with the deities at the moment and surviving—of course—took precedence.

As one particularly brutal flying creature that didn’t seem to want to die even after she struck it with lightning came straight for her, Ciardis stumbled back almost uncertainly until she fell within the security of the wall of soldiers bristling around and behind her with their pikes at the ready.

They had been killing the creatures who had gotten close enough to them all along but as ground forces they were limited in their range. At least within them she could take a respite, catch her breath, and then storm back in ready with more lightning.

She hoped.

Until that is until she heard a voice.

“Scared Companion?” came a taunt from above.

Even if she was, she would have never admitted it then.

“Not a chance,” she snapped back quickly. “Just catching a breather between waves of these…these creatures.”

“They’re gremlins,” Thanar said in between killing strokes. “Not creatures. Subjects of the goddess and pretty low-level scum if we’re going to put them on a scale of things.”

Voice uncertain but trying to be game, Ciardis said, “I don’t care if they’re called sheep, they’re endless.”

“Like ants,” Thanar said suavely as he cut the head and arms off two with almost uncanny finesse. “Just snap the head off, their life winks out of existence, and you’re done with them.”

Ciardis blinked and laughed as he demonstrated just that.

She couldn’t help it. Even surrounded by the angry creatures the daemoni prince had flair. And it was his humor even amid a desperate situation that made her snap out of her horrified state.

Discovering that she wasn’t so tired after all Ciardis Weathervane stepped forward to take them all on.

As she surged up with her energy renewed and began popping wings off the creatures like flies after a while she noticed a dead zone in the air above her. Turning her gaze from one of the falling creature’s dead eyes, she saw that Thanar had decided to use his magic to float about fifteen feet in the air above her. And for once he wasn’t surrounded by bodies’ three-creatures deep.

Instead he hovered in a relatively open space of air as he used his magic to stabilize him in place, almost like a sentry above her. As she watched he casually sheathed both of his swords and called up his magic into his palms. With a dexterity she envied he turned that power into two thin cords of brightly glowing orange fire.

Then he let loose.

The magic whipped out in a high-intensity lash that decapitated every creature that came within centimeters of his little protective circle.

He did it another time and the screams that resulted were music to her ears as their burned limbs fell to the ground if they were lucky, and their headless torsos came next if they were not.

Seeing what he was doing Ciardis Weathervane was at once grateful and incensed.

“I don’t need your protection!” she snapped up at him defiant.

The daemoni prince gave her a grin which flashed his pearly white and sharp incisors as he snapped out a fiery whip with a casual flick of his wrist.

Three more died.

“I just thought you looked a little tired,” he called down.

Ciardis rolled her eyes and threw an extra-large bolt of lightning just to show him she wasn’t.

She heard him say, “That’s my girl” but she didn’t deign to respond to the patronizing, if prideful, tone in his voice.

Instead she straightened her weary shoulders and keep going just as the trained forces around her were doing. She had no choice, because Ciardis Weathervane may have been many things, but she wasn’t ready to die yet.

Not here. Not now. Hell, she had barely lived her life so far and she desperately truly wanted to.

She wanted to relax on a bright summer’s day at the beach.

She wanted to walk down the aisle in a spectacular wedding veil.

She wanted to laugh once more with her friends.

Besides all of that she had fought too long to stay alive to let these minions take her out.

So she waved her hand and tossed lightning in the air. Straight for them.

Not to be outdone Thanar kept raining down body parts from the air and a satisfied smile swept across Ciardis’s features as she backed him up with as much lightning as she could throw, ignoring the subtle creep of ache that swept up her arms as she went for what felt like her fiftieth target and endured.

Then Sebastian stepped up by her side and her concentration was thrown off.

Not fatally, but enough for several guards to have to surge forward with swords and shields to gamely take on those that had gotten around her defenses.

As she turned a head to the side and looked at Sebastian with an arched brow, Ciardis said, “Something the matter?”

He replied with aplomb as if they stood at a ceremony at court all the while.

“As a matter of fact there is,” the Emperor of Algardis replied back.

Then his tone turned grim as he said, “We can’t stay here.”

She didn’t give him time to say more because she had to hurl a blast of lightning so heavy into the air that thunder crackled when it smacked into its intended target. It was more than worth the effort—she caught five of the flying gremlins in one blow.

Panting at the exertion but quite pleased with herself Ciardis shook her head wordlessly at him and stepped forward a bit for better positioning.

As she threw more lightning with maniac glee, she told Sebastian, “It’ll take a lot more than a sore arm and a bit of weariness to get me to back down.”

She looked back at him but his attention was taken up by the captain and a top lieutenant he had turned to confer with.

When he turned back Sebastian shouted at her over the noise, “But don’t you see?”

“See what?” she shouted back as she got into the swing of things and kept up her lightning volley. Her magic was flying so fast and furious through the air now that a distant viewer might be excused for thinking this was an almighty storm bearing down on them rather than one eager and incensed woman smiting a legion of flying beasties from the skies.

The sounds of her lightning blasts becoming thunder were so loud that she couldn’t hear what he said next and to be honest – she sort of liked it that way. The energy flowing though her and out in energy blasts was invigorating. Actually doing something was all-consuming.

Apparently realizing he wasn’t getting through to her and frustrated Sebastian climbed up on to the higher perch behind her. Which distracted her just enough to pull her back from the edge mentally and physically. She had to as the rocky platform they were standing on was barely big enough for one person with wide skirts to account for, let alone a broad-shouldered young man.

But at the very least she could hear him without straining now.

So she listened as he laid out his concerns.

“They’re baiting us,” he said grimly as he too fought off diving attacks from the gremlins who managed to evade Ciardis’s lightning based attacks and the lash of Thanar’s fiery whip.

Ciardis turned shocked eyes on him as her hair blew around her face with the force of the heavy winds.

“What do you mean?” she shouted back as she gestured wildly as the teeming field of soldiers fighting below.

“We’re fighting a ten-to-one battle here Emperor,” she reminded him. “And if we don’t take to the field offensive fast we may not be around much longer.”

He shook his head. “You don’t think I know that? But—“

“But what?” she said back in irritation as she turned back and hurled an almighty ball of lightning at a flying gremlin that got much too close for comfort.

Past Thanar’s defensive lines and almost zooming in so fast that she didn’t have time to kill it.

Listen to me,” Sebastian snarled while motioning to his archers to cover their front.

Gripping her shoulders and turning her to him so that she had no choice, Ciardis was shocked enough to drag her eyes away from the battle in the sky and focus on the irate Emperor of Algardis instead.

Upon release the 12th book in the Courlight series will be live at http://terahedun.com/sworntojustice

Algardis Universe Giveaway – Personalized Gifts!

Congrats on winning the Algardis Universe prize DAWN ROBERTO! Your package is on the way!


I can’t believe I’m saying it – but the end of the Courtlight series is coming very soon! It’s really hard to imagine but I’ve been writing this particular set of books for five years and now to see it close is just a tad tear-jerking. But it couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m full-throttle into the Crown Service series and opening up a third series in the Algardis Universe that I’ll hope you love this summer as well.

So now – the point of this post. In sincere thanks to you the readers for staying with me so long I’ve partnered with a beautiful merchandiser, Personalized Gifts, to bring a great giveaway to you! You can see the gifts I have for you below and I’m pretty sure every fan of Courtlight can find a use for one item or the other. So enjoy!

 

An Algardis Universe Monogram Necklace and Wine Glass are yours for the taking. Easy entry and the contest is open internationally. Winner is chosen randomly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blades Of Destiny is Available Now!

It’s release day! Blades Of Destiny: Crown Service #4 is now live across all retailers! Grab the latest book in the Sara Fairchild series and meet the mysterious Kade who is fighting against everything she stands for.

~~~~

Sara Fairchild was sure of two things when she killed that Kade invasion leader. The first? That it was a righteous kill. The second? That she would always be haunted by it.

Now she’s shouldering the responsibilities of being a leader, not a follower, in the imperial armed forces while trying to figure out exactly what the Empress’s Representative has planned for her. Whatever the blood of the crown wants, Sara knows that she will suffer for it.

As she launches a mission to re-capture Nissa Sardonien, Sara finds out that she’s not the only one playing a cat-and-mouse game. Apparently the Kades have been keeping a closer eye on her than even she knew, and when Sara meets Gabriel—their enigmatic leader with amethyst eyes—all bets are off.

Blades Of Destiny: Crown Service #4 – First and Second Chapters

Hello readers,

I am so happy to see the chronicles of Sara Fairchild progressing so smoothly in the Crown Service series! I also love the reviews and comments I’ve received from readers saying they love her spunk and drive and I plan to continue writing this amazing woman’s adventures through 2018. Though fans of Courtlight do not despair! I’ve got something for you next. 😉

In the meantime, ahead of the release of Blades Of Destiny: Crown Service #4, here are the first two chapters that I can share with you TODAY! It’s been read only by me and my crack assistant Rachel, so I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into the newest book in the Algardis Universe!

Please keep in mind that this has not been seen by my editor team, but I hope you enjoy and look forward to the full read!

Also please think about grabbing the first three books in the Crown Service series BEFORE book four releases. I promise you will have a heck of a time gobbling down over 300,000 words in a single day otherwise.

Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1

Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2

Blades Of Sorcery: Crown Service #3

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Sara Fairchild took a deep breath. One that was intended to be calming. Because calming herself down was about the only thing she could do at the moment to prevent her hands from wrapping around Matteas Hillan’s throat.

Again.

Face slack with disbelief as her emotions sidled into disgust, Sara looked at the mercenary her father had entrusted with the very secrets that had cost him his life. It was hard to believe this was his choice. As she stared at the man that she could barely believe was a mercenary, let alone a competent one, there was nothing she could say at this moment that wouldn’t turn this situation from bad to worse, so Sara elected for silence.

Ezekiel Crane however was done with silence.

As they all kept wary ears piqued for the signs of close fighting outside her tent entrance, he questioned the man with rapid-fire intensity.

“What do you remember about the layout of the building?” the scholar in a tightly controlled voice. She approved. The tension that echoed in his tones gave her pause, but by keeping his face clear and his hands from doing anything physical, the scholar was showing them both that he had control.

Control that she lacked. Control of her emotions. Control of her actions.

It wasn’t just the darkness rising up that she feared. It was the subtle whispers, the pushes that made her think the transition to becoming a Berserker wasn’t just a sudden change…but rather instead it was a series of cracks in the glass. Too many cracks and the entire panel holding back her darkness would shatter and with it she would lose more than her own control. Instead Sara feared that she would lose the thing that made her who she was as she fell, she would lose her psyche.

As she thought of that it sent a mild shiver down her spine.

But focusing outward on what was important, Sara watched as her friend stepped forward and took control of the situation when she could not. That was what friends were for after all, threatening others when you yourself were close to doing something that would only dig you deeper into the hole you had made.

Though to be honest it was more of a hole that she had inherited.

She’d only begun this quest due to familial obligation. They’d killed both of her parents after all and the least she could do was find out why. Whether it was the imperial representatives of the court or the unsanctioned actions of the mercenary guild was left to be determined and Sara had the feeling that this journal had all the answers. That her father had all the answers.

Her fist bunched tensely at her side as she thought of all he’d accomplished in his sterling career as an imperial officer lastly and as a brilliant gladiator at the beginning. To see it all stripped down to one heinous word, treason, was to feel like her whole life had been a lie. That her father was darkness and she was too, and that their gifts were merely a manifestation of that darkness in their psyche brought to life.

She wished she could brush away those thoughts. Perceptions that she was more worthless than even those who had spit at her feet in the streets of Sandrin had thought, but it was hard to do when the entire empire knew what your bloodline had done.

So she waited and she quietly hoped, that the man who Ezekiel was calmly coaxing answers out of had some for her. Answers that would quiet the ache in her soul and maybe finally allow her to push back the darkness once-and-for-all. Because Sara might have been most combative against the darkness while on the battlefield, but she knew it was always there. Waiting. Watching. Lurking.

And it always had been.

Turning her head slightly from the distant point of the tent corner which had held her focused gaze, Sara’s eyes flicked over to meet another’s who was watching her intensely. So intensely that her hand flexed on the weapon’s hilt whose blade she had managed to start cleaning methodically as they waited in these tense confines.

There wasn’t much better to do and besides…if there were Kades out there and they were coming for her, a ready weapon at her side would do more good than anything else she could get her hands on.

But as she snapped out of her reverie to find Ezekiel looking back at her with concern in his eyes, Sara had the feeling that he didn’t see a warrior preparing for another battle, so much as a friend in dire need of some help.

Not used to that. Not used to anyone coddling her, Sara did what she did best.

She raised a sure eyebrow and barked at the scholar, “What? Has he finally said something of use?”

She wasn’t really upset at Ezekiel. But rather it was this whole scenario, her whole life really. Starting with the memories that kept appearing like grim flashes in her mind—her abrupt-but-necessary beating of the Kade invasion leader into a pulp not even an hour before foremost among them, but she couldn’t tell him that.

However judging by the concerned way Ezekiel was looking her up-and-down he could tell that while she had washed away the blood, the wounds that had been left behind—emotional this time—still lingered.

Still he knew better to bring it up…especially now in front of a stranger.

Sara had always been one to internalize her emotions and feelings first. Muddle them around a bit and only then speak her mind. Her hot springs bath post-execution of the Kade invasion leader had been the first step in that process but it wasn’t the only step. The other part of the process had involved her getting some shuteye…even briefly before Captain Barthis came looking for her, or she had been forced to go to him.

In either case, it was a moot point now as the captain certainly had his hands full and as she looked at Matteas Hillan who gazed back at her with a piteous expression….she had her hands full too.

He didn’t want her to turn him over to the people who had been chasing him.

Which was fair, she didn’t want him going over to them. That however didn’t mean that she was going to protect him without getting some needed answers first.

“What have you given us except some shut out?” She finally spit out furious as she took a step towards the man she finally knew as her father’s confidante and the camp’s, particular the Red Lion guard’s, logistics aide.

He didn’t answer and Ezekiel stood up to shield him a bit with his body as he walked over to her and said in a soothing voice, “He can’t give us anything if we don’t make him at ease first.”

Sara looked at the scholar with her jaw agape, “Do you see the arrows buried in our floor? Do you hear the sounds of people dying outside? We don’t have time to coddle him!”

“Fine, but snapping at him gives us very few results,” Ezekiel said while gesturing at the man behind them. “And he’s—“

“He’s not simple and he doesn’t need your protection,” Sara Fairchild argued with a snarl.

“That’s true,” Ezekiel replied dryly. “But your pacing isn’t helping either. Maybe you should lie down.”

Sara shot him an ironic look, she knew what he was doing.

“To get me out of the way or to get me down?” Sara said slowly while twirling her sword. Not in a threatening manner, more like a habit that was so ingrained that sometimes she didn’t even know she was doing it.

“Now would I ever say that?” he said with a flash of his teeth in a smile—even as he flinched with the sound of weapons clashing grew closer.

Sara shifted her feet and prepared to move.

Ezekiel said in glumness, “I don’t know what you were doing earlier today or with who Sara Fairchild, but you’re too tired to do this now.”

Sara didn’t disagree with him, she felt her very bones aching with the weariness of a woman who had won her fight but at the cost of her own soul, and all she wanted to do was sleep. But she wasn’t wired that way. She couldn’t just back down when it was clear they were all going to be in imminent-and-present danger. Besides, who could sleep over the ringing of shields and clash of swords they all heard outside anyway? Not her.

All she said to him was, “Not now Ezekiel Crane. We can’t afford to falter. Get the information. Get ready to move.”

He didn’t protest, instead he just sighed as he shot a dark look of his own at the tent entrance. They were both like caged animals waiting for an enemy to tumble through the vulnerable flap doors. There was nothing they could do about that however, none of the furniture present was enough to properly blockade a tent entrance and besides, she didn’t want to get stuck inside if a smart opponent decided to burn the damned fabric walls down around them.

So she waited and paced as she watched Ezekiel do what he did best. Question. Discern. Analyze. And even if the answers were more evasive than useful, he at least could keep his anger from showing through when all Sara wanted to do was light up the small tent space with blistering threats.

Threats which would do no good.

The man who was three times as wide as she was, while still being a mercenary somehow, would only quiver and quail as he withdrew into himself more. Though she did note he managed to be as evasive as a snake while doing so. The only other reason she hadn’t gone over there to shake some sense into him was…she saw something in his eyes and it wasn’t cunning. It was fear.

As her hand stilled the sword that she’d been using to put herself through her formalized paces in the small space, Sara thought she recognized that fear. It was the fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing. It was the fear of scaring them off.

While it was true that Matteas Hillan didn’t fear losing the bonds of friendship as she often did, she did see that it was clear he feared for his life and although his eyes jerked towards her every so often it wasn’t her sword his gaze landed on but her face.

He wanted her protection. He might even beg for it. But Sara Fairchild had never been known to back down in front of challenge and this man certainly was one. Not necessarily one she needed but he had fallen into her lap nevertheless. Thinking of how he’d managed to connive his way into the service of the Red Lions—one of the most elite mercenary companies in the empire—she had to admit that what he lacked in courage he most assuredly made up in his ability to be the person everyone needed.

From her father to her father’s enemies and now…her father’s daughter.

Briefly amused as she eyed him askance and Ezekiel continued to question him, Sara had the thought, Matteas must be damned good at his position.

She was very firm in her belief that there was no other way that someone who was both a close ally of her father—accused of treason and executed—as well as a quivering lump of flesh useless on the battlefield would be here otherwise.

Still he seemed to have answers. Answers to questions that Ezekiel was patiently pulling out of him strand by coaxing strand. Questions she would have had asked herself, again had she not been so caught up in her desire to kill the man slumped before them both.

To be fair, he deserved her recrimination. There was no worse place on land or at sea right now for a member of the vaunted imperial armed forces to go, let alone the Empress’s mercenary’s guild, and that was the Madrassa. Fabled as the greatest school for mages ever built in this empire, it only accepted the highest candidates for magical instruction. Those like the weather warden who had died getting their impromptu projectile through Kade defenses and those like the line mage, Arcnus, who had given up his life force alongside him.

The Madrassa didn’t accept fools gladly nor did it take on anything less than the best.

Which was why Ezekiel and Sara were staring at the cringing logistics officer on the floor so balefully.

He’d put those journals in a place no one could reach. No one on their side anyway.

Because the Madrassa was more than just an education institution for mages, by dint of being the best gathering places for magical practice, it also was the home of the Kade’s first uprising.

Although the imperial family had not condemned the whole of the institution for the infractions of one—in their eyes minor, uprising—they had made sure the entire empire was aware that treachery had been first fomented within those hallowed halls.

But just because it was minor didn’t mean it stayed inconsequential forever as the entire empire was learning now. And even if it had, the immediate repercussions of the uprising weren’t something that wasn’t so easy to forget.

Not for anyone Sara knew or for Sara herself. Especially because of what had had happened after the edict from the imperial family had come down.

An edict that no one spoke of. Not because they didn’t know this time, but because they all knew too much. After several more than terse confrontations, the Kades had taken over the institution which had formally belonged to the empire and was a shining example of the exalted progress a former backwater colony of Sahalia had made.

Sara had to admit, losing the Madrassa and it all it represented was like a black eye upon the Empress herself. She had to think the Kades knew that and they also had to know that as such their ruling family wouldn’t rest until it was returned to them.

But that was neither here nor there for Sara Fairchild.

She wasn’t a part of the deployment force assigned to camp outside the Madrassa’s mage-enforced walls night-and-day, waiting for an opening in her defenses.

What she was, was a desperate mercenary who needed to get through those defenses when even the imperial armed forces had failed.

Upon release the 4th book in the Crown Service series will be live at http://terahedun.com/bladesofdestiny

Eyes shuttered as she rubbed her forehead in deep thought, Sara groaned aloud as she imagined the impossibility of getting through her own forces, here and there, past Kade defenses, and to the journal.

When she opened her eyes even Ezekiel Crane looked glum.

The scholar was crouched down clearly trying to think of a simple solution to their problem and she saw him visually discard each idea that he came up with as he searched for another. He had either given up on questioning Matteas directly or was taking a breather.

Either way Sara knew what Matteas was requiring of them would be impossible. They  had to retrieve the journals from inside the Madrassa’s hallowed halls. It just couldn’t be done now that the Madrassa was walled off behind Kade protection spells the likes of which the world had never seen. That was on top of the fact that it was supposedly where the eight foremost mages of the Kade rebellion— the ones who had actually caused this civil war—planned their assaults from, which meant even more people to be watchful for.

Maybe they would have had a chance when the school had been just that…a school. But not now when it was the lair of a uprising.

He might as well have just given those journals to the Red Lions, Sara thought in distress.

Their only goal had been to keep them out of her hands, which this did just as well as them burning them.

With a deep sigh, Sara rubbed agitated hands through her head of tangled curls and paced—for once thinking as deeply as Ezekiel Crane. This, after all, wasn’t a situation she could fight her way out of with swinging swords. Not yet anyway. As she turned on the thinly carpeted floor of the tent, Sara thought about what she knew for facts and what she didn’t know…which was a lot.

A boom sounded not too far off and her entire body tensed at the sound of the blast and the screams that followed. But it was a singular boom, not multiple so she unstuck her feet from their stiff stance in the rug on the tent floor and resumed pacing.

The Kades obviously had specific targets in mind, and running outside like a hen with her head chopped off without knowing where to go would have been foolish. After all if they wanted to attack the commander’s tents further after the hail of arrows they would have done so. No, for now they were finished here which gave Sara Fairchild the desperate few minutes she needed to sort out the strands of deception running through her head.

She couldn’t prove that the journals were in fact what the Red Lions had been after when they’d slaughtered her mother, but they hadn’t come over for tea either and she and her mother had owned nothing of value otherwise. For them to kill an innocent woman and use a necromancer to raise her dead body in her own kitchen was just overkill…or a sign of desperation.

So thinking of those journals sitting right under Kade noses was just irony. But only so much. Because she’d much rather they’d be in her eager hands. She fought so hard for them. Shed so much blood.

Which was why she wasn’t giving up. Not yet anyway.

Pushing away her pensive thoughts, Sara tuned her inner turmoil out and struggled to focus on Ezekiel Crane’s words.

“When you say you left the journals at the Madrassa?” she heard Ezekiel question quietly. “Are you sure you meant the Madrassa?”

Matteas peeked up from where he crouched down on the floor trying to make himself as small as possible. A poor attempt considering there was so much of him and so little floor space to disappear into. If the arrows came through the tent walls again, they’d find their target easily and Sara wasn’t feeling charitable enough to drag him to safety again.

“Is there another?” squeaked the man from between his hands covering as much of his head as he could.

Ezekiel frowned and looked away before he spoke in the far-off tone that Sara had come to recognize as his ‘scholar voice’. The one that said he was mentally diving into the research library he stored in his brain and searching the archives for the answer as he spoke.

Aloud Ezekiel Crane said, “No, this is the only one and damn it all to hell that you chose the Kade enclave to store them there.”

His words were scorching with censure and yet…Sara heard something else in his tone. Hope maybe? Wonder even. Sara almost groaned. That was the scholar in him. The scholar itching to get through the doors of the fabled institution and feast his eyes on the all the texts and scrolls the Madrassa had managed to gather within its vaults in the decades since its foundation.

That wasn’t why they were going.

Feeling fed up with both of the men, Sara stepped forward with folded arms as she said harshly, “Don’t tell me you admire his tactic.”

Ezekiel glanced up at her briefly before going back to staring into the air at nothing as he said, “Admire? Maybe a bit. You have to admit it was a brilliant move to store them there. The empress’s traitorous courtiers may have gotten to your father through whatever defenses he was able to muster, but they’d never get through the Kades.”
“Let’s not forget that neither can we,” she shot back.

Ezekiel shrugged helplessly, “Hence our current predicament.”

“So,” Sara said darkly as she kept a keen ear out for more thumps. Thumps that meant explosives were incoming. They couldn’t stay here forever but she’d be damned if she’d run out onto another battlefield without a plan.

“So?” Ezekiel said pointedly.

She rolled her eyes at him but she answered, “So we need a way through the defenses.”

Ezekiel nodded, “Unfortunately I don’t see how an hour’s ruminations is going to solve the problem that we’ve been trying to find a solution to for ages.”

“No, not we,” Sara said softly as she tapped her fingers on the hilt of her sword in a rhythm.

“What was that?” Ezekiel said while looking over at her.

“I said not we,” Sara replied with emphasis, “The empire has been trying to find out how to get into the Kade’s fortress for ages but we haven’t.”

Ezekiel frowned, “Not to be snippy here but does it really make a difference? We’re still screwed if we think we can find out something that has eluded the finest minds this empire has seen yet.”

Sara snorted, “That would be true except for the fact that the finest minds aren’t at court are they? They’re in the Madrassa.”

“And so?” Matteas Hillan actually interrupted and said this time in an odd echo of Ezekiel’s earlier query.

But Sara didn’t mind, instead she mused.

“And who do we have that counts as among those minds?” she said.

It didn’t take long for at least one of the men to get where she was going with this.

Shaking his head Ezekiel quickly replied, “Not to demean your epiphany or anything but I do think you mean had. The rumors strongly suggest that Nissa Sardonien escaped when the Kades attacked.”

Briefly Sara deflated but she wasn’t through yet, she could still get to Nissa. As she thought about how she heard Matteas speak up again.

“Rumors, what rumors?” Matteas Hillan said in a high-note voice that was rapidly getting on her nerves.

Pinning him with a derisive look Ezekiel still explained, “The whispers going about camp before the attack. I spoke to a bath attendant personally who said we’re on high alert. But they wouldn’t say why.”

“Maybe they were just being overzealous,” Matteas Hillan said with a dark look at the tent walls surrounding him. It looked like he wanted to leave the confines just as much as Sara wanted to stay inside. Too bad, he’d snuck into her tent and now he was along for the ride—come hell or high water.

Ezekiel continued unbothered by the interruption as he said, “Not likely. In fact, it doesn’t take intelligence to figure out that the leadership of the imperial armed forces were either expecting another attack soon or they had other problems up their sleeves. Put that together with the fact that all of Nissa’s prison guards were discovered dead but no Sun Mage was trotted out for a whipping in retribution and you have a fact that’s hard to deny.”

Ezekiel may have been speaking to Matteas Hillan but his voice rose the end in a direct challenge to Sara.

She snorted. She wasn’t going to get in a fight over the fact that the scholar knew what she had already found out herself, if only just a few hours ago, and she wasn’t going to deny it either. The mercenaries weren’t fools and none of them having seen Nissa Sardonien in more than three days and nights meant something was up. Captain Simon Barthis, if he was still alive, was a fool to think otherwise.

Shrugging Sara said, “It’s true. She’s gone.”

Ezekiel pursed his mouth grimly and said, “I thought so. The Kades are strategic and they didn’t trap us and fight us to death for nothing. They wanted an important member of their leadership back.”

Sara raised a cocky eyebrow, this wasn’t news to her, however something else was.

“Listen to the outside,” she said softly.

Ezekiel’s eyes flickered between her and the tent entrance but to his credit he immediately did what he asked. She listened as well.

Soon they heard the thumping blast of another projectile hitting its target.

Then silence except for screams.

A minute, maybe three later. Another thump.

“The Kades are attacking,” Ezekiel said with a nervous shrug. “We’ve known that for the past half-hour.”

“Yes, that’s true but listen to how they’re attacking!” said Sara triumphantly with gleaming eyes.

Ezekiel’s eyebrows rose. “You lost me there.”

Hillan spoke up, “Individual projectiles with light, targeted strikes.”

Sara looked over at him in surprise—pleased. Maybe he wouldn’t be as useless as she thought.

She nodded firmly. “They aren’t doing the massive aerial bombardment from before. They could literally wipe us off the map with a single, well-coordinated strike. But they’re not. Instead they’re flushing out individual sections.”

“For what purpose?” Ezekiel demanded.

“I don’t know,” Sara said with a shrug. “Not as long as I’m stuck in here.”
“But you have a guess,” Ezekiel demanded.

She smiled. “I do.”

The scholar blinked warily. “Okay, so will you be sharing it with us?”

Sara turned hard eyes on the one person holding her back from being forthcoming.

“I would,” she said slowly as she eyed Hillan. “But it doesn’t matter what I think. It only matters if our friend here can do his part.”

The focus of her gaze eyed her back and squeaked, “My part? What part?”

Sara knelt down on her haunches and said honestly, “If I can get us through the Kade defensive lines to the Madrassa, can you get us through its walls and to where you hid those journals?”

Matteas Hillan opened his mouth to speak and she held up a halting hand. “The cold, honest truth if you please.”

He shut his mouth and chewed the inside of his cheek slowly as he thought.

Finally Hillan let out a deep breath and said, “I can but I can’t tell you where it is. I’ll have to show you.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

Finally, Matteas Hillan sat up and looked her dead in the eye, for a moment he shed the quivering exterior and she was finally looking at a man with some spine.

He said quietly, “Won’t. I don’t care if you kill me, I’m dead anyway. This way I have leverage. You need me.”
“Ahh, the mouse has teeth,” Sara said finally in a cutting a voice.

“I won’t be a sacrifice,” Matteas Hillan said as the strength in his voice faded to bluster. “I won’t end up left adrift.”

She laughed as another strike hit. This one no closer than the one before, but bigger. The force of the blast was so large that this time shrapnel came whizzing through their tent walls, cutting through the fabric like it was as thin as silk.

They all ducked to avoid the heated metal that passed inched from her cheek in a blur but as she stood up again hesitantly and stared down at the sharpened thin edge of a blown-off axle embedded in her table, she knew that they had lost all time to continue debating.

The Kades were escalating and it was now or never.

“We’ll get you through in one piece,” Sara snapped darkly. “You do the same for us. Do we have a deal?”

Hillan’s gaze was frozen solid on the shrapnel that was currently embedded in his arm. It wasn’t very deep, just a flesh wound as far as she could tell but all the blood had drained from his usually florid face.

He muttered something. Sara didn’t move closer, she didn’t have time to baby them if they were going to be on the move soon.

“Speak up!” Ezekiel said harshly this time. “Or we’ll throw you outside to the wolves were either the Kade armament will tear you to pieces—“

“—or your pursuers will wring your neck,” Sara said while finishing Ezekiel’s sentence coolly.

Matteas Hillan looked up with a pale and whey face as he swallowed deeply, “Protect me and I’ll get you to those journals, I swear on my family’s graves.”

Sara grunted as she pulled him up and he wailed, “Your word will do.”

Then she focused on the wound and ripped the cloth from his arm a bit to see better.

“Ezekiel?” Sara said in a calm tone. “You have any medical tonics on you?”

“Nope,” the scholar said while whistling softly as he poked at the jagged metal in the archivist’s flesh. It was soot-covered and warped from a hot fire. She couldn’t tell what its original purpose had been before but it didn’t matter much anyway, they just had to get it out of him and get moving.

As Matteas Hillan whined, “You do know what you’re doing don’t you?” Sara rolled her eyes and told Ezekiel casually, “Warehouse maneuver?”

He caught her eye and nodded with a remembering grin. “Am I still the flame?”

“Not this time,” she said with a smirk. “This time you get to pull.”

“Warehouse? Flame? Pull-pull what?” said Matteas Hillan in an increasingly frantic voice as he began to stutter as he backed away. That is before Sara grabbed him firmly, then he began sobbing.

“Stay still,” she snapped. “Ezekiel do it before he tears a freaking artery. That’s all we need right about now.”

Ezekiel, quick as a snake, didn’t hesitate. His hand flashed out, grabbed hold of the tip of the metal stuck in Matteas’ arm and yank back. A small yelp from the inflicted patient and a louder scream as Sara didn’t waste any time calling up her mage fire and sealing the wounds seconds later, was all the man had time to process before he slumped over in a faint.

As Ezekiel held the metal in his hand and Sara held the flame in her hand, they both looked down in disgust at the man who had passed out on her floor.

They were at war, no one had time for sleep at the moment, least all the person it seemed that everyone at the moment had reason to kill or capture.

Upon release the 4th book in the Crown Service series will be live at http://terahedun.com/bladesofdestiny

Black Narratives Storybundle + Black Panther Pass Giveaway

For those of you looking for a bundle of binge-worthy goodness, look no further. I’m proud to be the curator for a new collection of narratives that I can’t believe I get to even be a part of. Authors like Nalo Hopkinson, Steven Barnes, and T. Thorn Coyle are here to help you soar through a diversity of stories you may not have discovered before. But only for a limited time!

The titles in the Black Narratives bundle will be available for just three short weeks, and feature Nebula, Hugo, and Crawford award-winning authors, including Nnedi Okorafor—author of HBO’s ‘Who Fears Death‘ series.

StoryBundle is proud to present the Black Narratives bundle, a twelve-book speculative fiction bundle that features an unforgettable and unique collection of authors who bring alive lush fantasies and science fiction stories set in assorted time periods and with thematic backgrounds that draw from American, West African, Caribbean, and black cultural heritages around the globe.

The Authors:

T. Thorn CoyleNalo Hopkinson | L. Penelope | Alicia Wright Brewster

Steven BarnesTerah Edun | Nnedi Okorafor |

L.L. Farmer | Karen Lord

A great perk of the Storybundle format is that it’s pay what you want.

That’s right. You can go to Storybundle.com/blacknarratives and set any amount for all 12 of these fabulous narratives.

In addition, EVERY purchase of this bonus will receive an entry into a showing of Black Panther on Saturday, March 3rd (time and location of your choice).

So go ahead, choose your price, grab a bundle, AND enter to win a Black Panther showing ($35 maximum) while you’re at it.

Remember you only have three weeks to grab this bundle and then it’s gone forever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blades Of Sorcery: Crown Service #3 is LIVE for $2.99 and Blades Of Magic is FREE!

Oh man, I am absolutely horrible at keeping secrets but I managed to keep THIS one. So as the title above states, Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1 and the first book in Sara Fairchild’s amazing series is FREE. Zero Dollars. You can download it today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Play for $0.00. Let me say that again –

Now that that’s out of the way, there is one more announcement pertaining to Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1. I’m having a giveaway to announce the once-in-a-lifetime news (seriously its never been on sale since I published it in 2014) with a simple, easy entry. All you have to do is like and share the Facebook post.

Alright, ready to move on to the pièce de résistance? Then let’s get to the news on the release of Blades Of Sorcery: Crown Service #3! This book is now LIVE.  Yes, you read that right, its waiting for you to gobble down on your ereader, but not only is it live, but for 36 HOURS ONLY – through 01/25 5:00PM EST Blades Of Sorcery will be only $2.99 (or the international equivalent).

I can’t say this without hyperventilating, so I hope you are hearing me, it is live and it is only $2.99 for a day and a half. So I’d grab it up if I were you and tell your friends too.

They need to get Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1, Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2, and Blades Of Sorcery #3 TODAY. There is absolutely no reason not to. 😉

 

 

Blades Of Sorcery: Crown Service #3 Blurb Reveal & First Two Chapters

Hello all,

Here. We. Go. The sequel to Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1 and Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2 is coming quite soon. Release date is pending but all I can say is don’t take your eyes off this website.

 

Blades Of Sorcery: Crown Service #3 Blurb Reveal

The night has lifted and Sara Fairchild is out for blood. But this time, it’s her own. A gifted fighter and a skilled battle mage, Sara is now fighting everything she stands for — her heritage. For too long, she has held onto the certainty that her father was an honorable man.

But what does honor mean when you’re at war and surrounded by corruption from all sides? As Sara Fairchild brings the Kades to their knees and manages to capture a prize that rivals Nissa Sardonien’s worth to imperial intelligence, she has to wonder — how far should she go to extract the secrets her Empress and her empire needs?

As she fights to outmaneuver her growing list of enemies and win a war that becomes more complicated by the day, Sara Fairchild knows that no matter what, the empire will never be the same.

 

Sara’s heart was beating rapidly. Blood was rushing through her veins as fast as if she was running a marathon. But she wasn’t. She was still. She was cautious. She wasn’t afraid, however. She was excited. Against all odds, as fire bloomed in the air above them all and even as the wave of heat coming off it was so hot that everyone had to shrink lower to avoid the flames, Sara still smiled.

She should have been furious. Even scared.

Because as soon as the Kades had seen their shield drop, they hadn’t run through the portal like scared children.

No, not them.

Instead she saw one man stride forward and use an object on his wrist to let a spate of magic fly. Like a blistering comet, it rose in the sky and went off in the distance. It didn’t come back, but what did—within minutes—was initiate a second shield.

Sara watched the shield bloomed across the night sky in a wave of gold like a flower unfurling and she cursed long and loud.

It was stronger than the first, she could feel it. That was never good.

In fact, it just made her night worse as she swallowed harshly and studied their new foe — a dome strong enough to hold them all inside as prisoners, until of course—the Kades elected to bring this one down as well.

It was visible even to the naked eye, which meant mages weren’t the only one cursing around her, as they watched some of their braver compatriots run up against the new dome. Sara guessed their objective was to bring it down by sheer physical will. Maybe even push through its enhancements, but even from here she could tell that wouldn’t work. And as she, they, watched — those individuals were thrown back as soon as they touched it.

Sara stared at the prison dome with revilement. It was the bane of her existence, but she forced herself to look away. She couldn’t focus on it for very long because they were still trapped inside with numerous Kades and, well…it wasn’t going as well as she could have hoped.

A normal person would have worried themselves crazy in a situation like this, boxed in by enemies on all sides with natural flame raining down on her and her compatriots’ heads as well as weapons coming in at them from every angle. She was always on her guard, as were the others, but she wasn’t frantic. And neither were those surrounding her.

Tensing, Sara twisted to the side at the last moment to deflect a glancing blow from a foolish first guard of the Kades, who came at her head-on with only a pike in his offense. She snorted with amusement as she took care of him with a casual swipe of her sword across his neck. He froze for a moment, blue eyes wide with shock as he looked at her in confusion. Sara gave him a small, sympathetic smile, but there was nothing else for anyone to do for him now. He was a lucky one. She’d given him as merciful death as anyone could on the field of battle, and as he opened his mouth in one last reflexive moment of desperation, she knew that he realized that.

A calmness descended in his eyes as his knees crumbled, his bloodless hands dropped the pike in his grip, and a small gurgle of blood bubbled up from the clean line she’d carved into his neck. Then there was no more; he was gone as his spirit left his eyes and his body fell to the ground. Her attention was already elsewhere as she watched for more enemies, but they were already being taken care of by the others. So Sara took advantage of the lull in activity after his death to take in her group. The group of thirteen individuals, originally fourteen, who had stood by her side as they fought their way back from a cleanup crew that had turned out to be a rotation meant to end in a  death sentence. Only together had they survived and only together now would they do the same again.

Her gaze first landed on Karn, the man who — even with his foolish pride and bravado — had to be one of the best fighters in her group, if not the best. Herself excluded of course. His weapon of choice was a double-bladed axed which he swung around effortlessly as sweat poured down his dark brown chest and he laughingly took on the enemies surrounding him.

Sara’s lips twitched even if as she ducked and grabbed a knife off the fallen Kade to throw it directly at one of his many kinsmen surrounding Karn. The knife landed in that person’s left shoulder blade and seconds later as his body arced back in a pain-filled spasm in response, Karn finished him off by removing his head from his body.

The man then had the audacity to wink at her before turning back to his admiring fans. Which is precisely why Sara liked him, even though he could be a bigoted asshole when he so chose, he did so with a continuous joy for life in his eyes. Even now, with none of the enemies being able to so much as scratch him, Karn was swinging that axe back and forth while laughing in their faces.

Marx, who stood back to back with Isabelle, was swinging a long sword with dexterity as she fired arrow after arrow into enemies further afield. Reben, Sanir, and another person that Sara couldn’t quite identify through the heavy smoke around him were fighting their own battles. One large mage creature, an orc that she had never seen before but recognized from a description given to her by a tutor she hated—it had elongated arms and tusks in place of its front molars, and was pummeling Reben and Sanir without mercy. Sara flinched as she saw the orc break Sanir’s arm and throw him off into the distance like a rag doll. She wanted to go to them, but she only had time to catch glimpses of their defensive tactics as she moved to stand with Karn, holding back a different wave of enemies—even though her opponents were human, they were far trickier foes, with the dexterity and the imagination to shift between fighters and tactics.

Cursing as a particularly adept young Kade guard with spinning knives got close enough to her that her weapons were ineffective, Sara stumbled back. Deliberately. She was trying to gain some space. It was quite hard, after all, to cleave someone through with a sword when they were close enough to kiss you. But he seemed to know exactly what she was doing, sticking to her skin like honey with a maniacal gleam in his eyes. Deciding she had had enough of that and the continuous nicks of his knives against her skin, she went on the offensive.

Giving herself no time to hesitate or think it through, Sara lunged forward with all the force she could muster and head-butted him straight on, her unprotected forehead against his armored metal plate. It hurt like the dickens, but it got what she wanted done. She was free, and she put those extra feet of space that he had unwillingly introduced to good use. Sara raised her right hand overhead quickly and brought it down in a smooth sweep. His chest was covered with more armor plate, just like his head, but his collarbone was curiously vulnerable, and that was what she aimed for. Like a hot knife through butter, her sword went in at his throat and down through muscle and bone until it halted mid-abdomen. That was enough for her. She pulled herself and her sword back with one long step. Then, with a smirk of her own, Sara Fairchild watched this human menace crumble to the ground dead, and she stood up, surveying the field again.

She noted that her compatriots were in just as much trouble as before, but with some stunning displays of showmanship, Karn had managed to whittle down his opponents from an overwhelming four to a fairer two.

That had to be good enough, because those others weren’t looking so good.

As the orc lumbered toward Reben and the person Sara couldn’t identify still held back—knowing one of his fellow fighters was down and the other about to be crushed—Sara cursed and shouted at Karn, “I’m going to help them out.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him briefly drop his axe before he flipped a nearby heavy pole lengthwise and use it to shove his dual opponents back like a battering ram. It wouldn’t have worked so well if the pole he used hadn’t been on fire. Flames licked up and down the staff with wicked heat, forcing them to be wary of its touch. As for Karn, the flames didn’t seem to bother him…at all.

Sara filed that surprise away for later.

“Fine, I’ll hold this down,” Karn shouted back without taking his eyes off the armored Kade who had fallen to the ground, and the other that was already maneuvering to outflank him with evil intent in his eyes. Karn just kept his pole lengthwise and jerked it forward, forcing the maneuvering guy away with cautious steps and his friend to scramble backward on his butt. It looked like he could handle this for the moment, but Sara could already see others advancing on their position. They were using the smoke from the multiple fires burning at this point to shield their actions.

“Karn, look northwest—we’ve got more approaching,” she called out.

He glanced over but kept his focus on the two now facing him down.  “Go! I told you I’ve got these ones.”

Sara grimaced. She didn’t want to leave him, but she didn’t have a choice.

With clean slices of her swords, she cut throats where she could and cleared a way to the others in trouble. But it turned out she had spoken too soon. They weren’t flailing now—their opponent was. The orc was stumbling back with ferocious cries as it held up its paw and clawed at its face in pain. Its entire head was on fire.

“Guess they didn’t need my help after all,” Sara said as she flashed a grin at a Kade first guard who had gotten too close for comfort and managed to wallop her good in the face.

She stumbled back, but she wasn’t down. Instead, Sara dropped her right-hand sword and, quick as lightning, jerked her hand to dislodge the knife that she had in her wrist sheath. It went straight into his eye and he toppled like a felled tree.

Smirking in satisfaction, she was surging forward again. This time back to Karn.

Karn gaped at the group she had gone to help and whistled. “Where did that come from?”

As they watched, the orc swung its head back and forth, trying to extinguish the inferno, but nothing helped. Fortunately for the orc, it did have a mage on its team. The invasion force’s leader waved impatiently at an initiate, who stepped out from behind its protective detail and a line of archers.

The initiate, a mage with blossoming powers who had strength in many particular areas but had yet to settle on one above all others, raised a hand, which, even from this distance, Sara could tell was held pompously, and cast a spell to rid the orc of the flames and mute its pain.

“Well, that was quick,” Karn murmured.

“Maybe not quick enough,” Sara replied as she nodded toward the bright fire in the distance. “Look.”

He did, and they both saw what she had finally spotted minutes before.

The person she hadn’t been able to make out was now highly visible and resplendent, lit by the fire surrounding them rather than masked by its smoke. It would have been beautiful, if the look on their face hadn’t been so deadly. As Sara watched and waited for the moment she might need to step in, the male figure walked forward with a slight dip in his stride. Confident but maimed. She frowned, wondering, then as now, what a person like this was doing on the battlefield.

But her doubts were soon assuaged, because it became crystal clear that this person could fight, in their own special way. He stepped forward to take on the orc, walking around it in a wide arc that had Sara wondering if this fascinating individual was just trying to stay out of the reach of its claws or had something entirely different planned. She quickly realized that the orc was tracking him, and as he hobbled in a half-circle around the creature, it followed him, giving the battered Reben time to fall back before those meaty fists could wallop her anymore. Reben didn’t bother going for Sanir, from the way his body lay on the ground unmoving even Sara could tell he was dead from this distance.

But as her eyes tracked the man who was baiting the orc, Sara had the thought that Sanir’s death wouldn’t be in vain. For one thing, this mysterious man with a hobble seemed smarter than he looked…and a better strategist than she had given him credit for. Perhaps he wasn’t the coward she had thought he was, but only time would tell if that would be enough for him to defeat the orc.

She was too far away to make any difference in the outcome if the creature decided to swing its hammy fists at his head, and besides—Sara was of the opinion that a warrior should be given the option to stand on their own two feet for first time. Reben had done so and taken a walloping in doing it. Karn had proven his mettle as well.

Let this mercenary, and mercenary he was—she could tell by the bright colors of the clothing he wore and the standard-issue boots on his feet—prove his mettle.

If he could.

Blades Of Sorcery will be available at teedun.com/bladesofsorcery.

 

Wishing him well Sara turned back to the opponents who were determined to take her head off, forget the hobbled stranger’s. She ducked one person’s clumsy throw of a rock while casting them an evil eye for even trying.

Then another person came at her out of the corner of her eye, and she couldn’t duck — only deflect his first blow and position herself to take advantage of the fact that he was thrown off balance. With a swift kick to his upper abdomen, Sara kept him on his guard as she tried to keep her gaze half on the orc and his opponent, and half on her own—the man who was rapidly turning this into a dance of swords. Being distracted wasn’t good battlefield tactics and certainly wasn’t what her father had taught her, but she was learning to think on her feet, and keeping a wary eye out for opponents with the potential to advance on you was a part of that.

At least…that’s what she told herself.

It didn’t take much convincing though. Although this new opponent had seemed capable at first, he kept leaving himself open to attacks that would have end his life minutes before if she hadn’t been half-focused somewhere else. As it was this clumsy lout who had thought to take her own was as green as they came. She was quite surprised at his lack of talent, and wondered if the Kade first guard—and, by extension, the Kade rebellion—was more hard up for actual warriors than they’d first appeared. It wouldn’t surprise her, but that boded well for the empire in the end.

With a surge of pride, Sara jumped wide and came fast on the left side of the guard. She didn’t bother using her weapon against him. Instead, she shoved him toward the rocky outcropping, forcing his sword hand to be pinned uselessly against his side, and then grabbed him by his long, greasy hair with a ferocity that surprised even herself and slammed his head against the rocky outcropping with such force that it split like a melon with the first blow.

Standing up as his body slumped down, Sara wasn’t sorry. She did pity him, though.

The Kades had sent him in with no more preparation than an unseasoned chicken. He hadn’t known enough to never get outflanked, he hadn’t even been wearing a helmet, and his footwork was shoddy. It had been like killing an enemy Cams — the youngest and most vulnerable members of the Mercenary’s Guild. Which told her that the Kades had horrible trainers, because even a ‘Cam wouldn’t make all of these mistakes at once, including allowing themselves to be cornered where no aid could get to them. It had only taken seconds for her to end his life once she had him backed into a corner.

Shaking her head though, Sara didn’t let this imbecile get to her. She couldn’t. Just because she knew he’d gotten the short end of the stick, didn’t mean she could have afforded to cut him any slack. No one got that…ever. Because the single time she did take it upon herself to pity an individual, well she was pretty certain that same person would be the one who ended up stabbing her in the back. Snapping out of daze as she stood over his fallen body, Sara turned away, gritted her teeth and dove back in to the fray. Fortunately for her, the group fighting around her had shielded her back as she wallowed in a bit of disgust at the state of the man-child she had killed. When she looked back over at the orc confrontation, Sara’s eyes widened in surprise to see the hobbling warrior was shining as bright as the sun.

Fire, flames, energy, and magic licked around the hobbling stranger as if he was the source of all that made light in the world, and he responded by standing taller than she had seen him before. As if just by emanating that sort of magic, he absorbed it and threw it back out tenfold.

Sara was astonished, but Karn was not.

“Huh, well, I guess it makes sense now,” he said while staring at the person who had caught all of their attentions.

“What does?” Sara asked as she glanced around, flummoxed. Even the enemy Kades had halted their advance to turn around and watch the fight between one of their orcs and, apparently, a mage on the opposite side—Sara’s side.

This mage had transfixed every single person within viewing distance, and Sara could see why. As the hobbling individual’s power grew around him, magic flowed into the center of them all and was released in waves, and it felt as if they were all being battered by ever-increasing power. Power that was all-consuming and mesmerizing. It wasn’t tangible, and that was the only mercy. It was like drowning in your own mind, as you couldn’t look away even if you wanted, and you would be forced to watch yourself slowly be consumed by what was coming. Sara felt like she was standing in the midst of a tidal pool that was gradually building into a tsunami, and even she was frightened—as a mage whose primary focus was the physical manifestation of her gift, which gave her the ability to be stronger, faster, and, in general, a better fighter than most, this was different than anything she had ever experienced before. She was out of her depth, and mages whose gifts extended to the ephemeral aspects of magic and manipulation of the currents around them—even they had to be in awe of the gifts they all felt here.

Then they had no more time for awe, as the hobbling mage finally completed his journey away from the bright magic he had been building higher and higher, and Sara realized his intent hadn’t just been to distract his opponent, the orc. No, instead he had managed to position himself directly on a nexus point of power, one of the many that Sara knew the empire had scattered throughout the land for times of need. They were wells of magic used to restore the abundance of stored gifts to the people to the land if all else fell. Well, this mage was managing to tap into something only the empress herself should have been able to unlock. Sara didn’t know how, and there was no one to question it but her and the few mages who could also see and understand what he was doing.

Besides, she knew that at the moment they had bigger problems.

Because she could see his aura clearly now.

And she suddenly knew what he was. But she couldn’t say it. That was okay—she didn’t have to, because Kade finally answered her.

“You get it now, don’t you? The orc fears him because of what he is—someone who controls nature itself,” Kade said in a hushed, reverent tone.

“And what’s that?” she asked while leveling her sword out at her side.

She had no chance of using her blade, though. It was a physical weapon in a battle that would clearly call upon magical gifts beyond her knowledge. Even the orc looked afraid.

“What is he?” Sara demanded of Karn with a voice that was ever-increasing in aggression. Not fear. Never fear.

Finally, he answered, “A mage who can call upon the very fires of the earth.”

Sara shook her head. That didn’t give her an explanation. An explanation of how to defeat him, how to hobble him in the same way his physical body hobbled his movements. Yes, she knew he was an ally, but her instincts were telling her something different. Something was off here. His power alone was too great, and with the magic he was drawing from the nexus increasing with every breath they took, she worried that whatever he unleashed next would evaporate them all.

But she couldn’t do anything about it. The only thing she could do was brace herself and hope they were all ready for it. Whatever it was.

Hunkering down as best she could while keeping her weapons ready, Sara grimaced and waited.

She had never allowed herself to be taken by surprise while in battle, and she wasn’t going to start doing so now. He was dangerous, and as he released his gift in a wave they never saw coming, she had one depressing thought: If this is what the imperial army has been fighting with for the past half-year, what horrors must the Kades have back in their own fields?

Even watching it slowly evolve hadn’t prepared her for his mastery. It wasn’t just flames and fire responding to his call. But the creatures she’d only heard about in legend—creatures built of fire and flame that lived deep within the earth where only molten rivers burned day-and-night. She watched them dance around their master with a giddy delight that couldn’t be more beautiful as they danced in the night and their skins shone with a brightness that rivaled the dome imprisoning them all in from above.

“An inferni master,” she said with just as much awe in her voice as there was terror. It wasn’t just the creatures that he was controlling which made her tense. It was the fact to even get down to the ecosystem in which they lived, and survive the encounter himself, he would have to be a high-level adept in his field. Someone the likes of which she had never seen before. As long as he was in control of his powers, this was a good thing. But being a master didn’t always denote skill, just pure power.

Sara could be a master battle mage if she tested for it, but she had no interest in subjecting herself to that battery of assault, and the crimes of her father prevented the daughter for being called forth to do so anyway. No one wanted a traitor’s girl ranked among the best in the empire. Not publicly, anyway. What she had done on the streets of Sandrin was her business, and she had the feeling that whatever she did on the fields of battle would be too.

The fact that he was a master in his gift on top of being able to tap into the nexus of power didn’t bode well for the opposing side. Hell, he was supposedly on her side, and still she had an uneasy feeling about this. Too much power in one person, which could make him almost unstoppable. As for his natural gifts’ inclination to call forth inferni, she didn’t think one had been called forth in more than two decades, but, well it was working. The orc was trembling, frozen where it stood in terror.

Stepping back, Sara looked for the inferni master’s superior officer, the man commanding him to build and build on his gifts, but she didn’t see one. The only thing she knew about him was that he wasn’t one of her group, so he had to be one of mercenaries from elsewhere. Judging by his garments, he was one of the Red Lion mercenaries working for Captain Kansid. She’d just feel a lot better if his captain had taken the field with him as well.

Sara had to wonder where the rest of the mercenaries were, anyway. They should have been by their sides in this encampment field as soon as the warning call went out and the shield wall went down for the first time. Now it was too late, they were fighting an invasion force alone and to top it off the other side could potentially get reinforcements through their portals that she couldn’t. It sucked.

Staring around at the numbers she could count on her side Sara saw no one other than the soldiers and mercenaries who had been caught off guard with her. The ones who hadn’t died, anyway.

They were half-garbed, fully sloshed with too much to drink, and woefully unprepared against the Kades. She and her team and had only managed to hold back the Kades by the skin of their teeth because of the rock formation that had sheltered them at first. Now it was too late to back down, and the field was too tense with magic to move forward.

This didn’t look right. It didn’t feel right, and suddenly Sara knew that her label for this mage was ineffectual. It wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t right, either—it didn’t encompass all that this mage was and would become.

No, he wasn’t just an inferni master.

He was something more. Much more.

She just didn’t want to find out what it was. Deciding that she’d had enough of show and tell, Sara stepped forward, glaring in defiance at the bright energy that was building around them fast and hard, like they stood in the eye of a typhoon about to hit them all.

As the air around her grew warmed and she found herself battered by waves of magic and heat, she realized she need to make a stand.

Raising her sword up in front of her, edge out, Sara Fairchild said a prayer to the gods above and below, and she walked forward.

Blades Of Sorcery will be available at teedun.com/bladesofsorcery.

Teachers & Librarians, Let’s Rock This!

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Classrooms, schools, and libraries are are on the vanguard of opening new doors to readers of all ages by making books available to a broader market. Even with greater interest, there are budget restraints for our libraries and schools – so authors get a lot of requests for free copies of our books. I wish we could send one to everyone who asks! But just because I can’t send you a physical copy doesn’t mean young readers can’t and shouldn’t have access to them! To that end Terah Edun Publishing has reached out, gained connections, and garnered a strong presence in the library eBook market.

We are now proudly carried in eBook Library and Classroom catalogs in 33 U.S. States and 9 countries! Let’s keep that momentum going forward by inviting your librarians, teachers, and education practitioners to join the Algardis Universe!

To keep up with the interest levels we’ve created a notification form just for teachers and librarians! Get a email AUTOMATICALLY when NEW Terah Edun Publishing titles are released on Library or School-related vendors.

Reading was always a transformative part of my life and I want as many young adult readers to have the opportunity to grab hold of my books as possible, which is why I make outreach to libraries and schools a core part of my work. If you would like to join the 200+ librarians with auto-notifications of my new books available specifically to vendors including OverDrive, EBSCO, cloudLibrary, and Ingram please fill out this form. We’ll always send you a simple email with notification that new titles are up and the ISBNs you can locate them under. More information available at teedun.com/libraries!

(Direct Link to form)

 

 

BLADES OF ILLUSION: Crown Service #2 is LIVE – Read the first FIVE Chapters Here

Update: Here are the links to Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1 – AMAZON BARNES & NOBLE KOBO IBOOKS GOOGLE PLAY

Hi all,

With delight I can finally write these words – BLADES OF ILLUSION IS LIVE! I’ve been waiting since October 2014 to come back with a new, fresh saga for Sara Fairchild’s life. Happy to say that this winter of writing has been a success and she is now on the page for you to read with more blood, more battles, and more fight in her than ever.

If you are NEW to the Crown Service series, well you’re in for a treat. These books are set in the same Algardis Universe as Sworn To Raise but take place 300 years in the past, when the entire empire was torn apart by a war between mages and the crown.

In this epic adventure, Sara Fairchild is fighting to clear her father’s name of treason and struggling to do her duty by her empire. She believes in loyalty to her family and to her empire, but when those loyalties are conflicting – which will rise above all?

I hope you enjoy this new chapter in the Crown Service saga and to the readers who’ve contacted me eager to be the first to jump back into Sara’s world I hear you. As this is a re-launch of the second book in the Crown Service series, I know there are questions. First all, Blades of Magic: Crown Service #1 has gotten new cover art but the content of the book has not changed. However Blades of Illusion: Crown Service #2 has been completely re-written with new content, new characters, new destinations, and new cover art. You won’t be able to update the original version of Book 2, so you can choose to delete it or hold on it to but the new version is a completely re-written book which took months to write.

Before you click that buy button, I want you to read what I have in store for you. Here are the FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS of the brand-new Blades of Illusion: Crown Service #2.

To receive your new book you will go as normally to Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. As an incentive the book will be the same price as Blades of Magic, $2.99 (or the international equivalent), through December 2017. If you have any questions, reach out to Rachel Westra @ assistant@terahedun.com.

 

 

Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2 – First and Second Chapters

Hello readers,

Ahead of the release Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2, I’m sharing with you the first two chapters! Some of my first readers have had a crack at it and I thought it was time that you got a sneak peek into the newest book in my Algardis Universe!

Please keep in mind that this has not been copy edited, but I hope you enjoy and look forward to the full read!

On a personal note, as I switch back to the Crown Service series I do so with intense excitement. There are going to be some surprises in store that you wouldn’t believe!

But Sara Fairchild is up for everything as a masterful heroine who doesn’t back down from any challenge – physical or emotional. =) Lastly, this has been a fun and complete re-write of the 2nd book which was released on Amazon-only in 2014. As a reader I hope you’ll enjoy this new take on Sara Fairchild’s adventures and as I finish up the second book in the Crown Service series, I hope you’re ready to go on this journey with me! Here’s a taste of what’s in store for you with the first two chapters of the new Blades Of Illusion: Crown Service #2.

As Sara Fairchild cautiously made her way through the portal doorway in front of her, the victorious shouts of the First Division members behind her did nothing to comfort her.

She was stiff with anger and furious at their betrayal.

Captain Simon Barthis and his mercenaries had proven just moments before that they were everything she had despised as a child — ruthless, uncaring, and most of all — disloyal.

They had not only left their comrades, men and women behind, but had actually knowingly engineered a strategy which all but guaranteed the massacre of hundreds of fellow mercenaries in their ranks. Faces and names flashed before her eyes like ghosts arisen. She couldn’t speak to their betrayals now, but she certainly would when the time was right.

As Sara stared at the living mercenaries who followed her through the summoned portal with jovial claps on each other’s back and jokes as some took the time to poke and prod at their esteemed prisoner, she just grew angrier. Not at their treatment of Nissa, the sun mage, but at the studied nonchalance of a group which had just committed the worse crime one could commit in a warrior’s eyes.

They had turned tail and ran. Now here they stood laughing and Sara could only see red — the red of anger overcoming every emotion and the fury of the battle mage taking its place.

“Don’t let them bait you Sara,” she heard Ezekiel say from a far off distance.

And she was trying.

Trying to listen to the scholarly man beside her, as he was her voice of reason. She needed to hold back the righteous anger of the Fairchild family that was rising in her like molten fire if she wanted any chance of finding out the reason her father was executed.

But that anger was eager.

Eager to burn and consume anyone in her path.

Turning away from the celebrating factions, Sara rolled the coiled muscles in her shoulders carefully. Trying to ease up. Let the tension drain out as her mother had taught her.

Anna Beth Fairchild had meant for Sara to learn to use the tactic as a way to regain inner peace, but Sara’s father had taught her that peace was just another word for tranquility. The inner stillness in a warrior’s heart before they struck.

“And I’m ready,” she said with a fierce grin.

“Ready to let this go?” Ezekiel said in a nervous voice. “Come on Sara, we’re surrounded. Just like in the woods. There’s nowhere to go and more than a few hundred of them against just…us.”

Sara didn’t bother acknowledging his words. They were true. But she didn’t need back-up. She never had and if she was being honest — she wouldn’t consider Ezekiel Crane someone to fight by her side even if she had.

Instead she said in a calm tone, “They made their choices.”

“And we made ours,” he said in a voice that was just above a wheedle. “In the woods, when we handed over the sun mage to the captain.”

“That was before,” she snapped.

Ezekiel moved to stand in her line of vision. Not in her way but certainly not where he could be ignored either. She didn’t really care. She could knock Ezekiel out and keep moving the second she needed to.

“Before?” the scholar asked quietly while opening and closing his hands nervously. He probably could tell from her face that she was very close to making a decision.

“Before I knew what the captain had done,” she continued in a quieter tone.

As they argued, she even tried to rationalize to herself what the captain had ordered done as a practical application in the face overwhelming odds. But as she stared around at more joking faces, nothing about this struck her as tactical. Besides she could see a dozen different scenarios that a proper commander could have implemented to save lives.

Their own mercenaries’ lives.

Standing here surrounded by traitorous mercenaries, Sara was taken back to the visual of the ones who had killed her mother and set her world on fire. Oh, they’d been from a different company — the Red Lion guard but mercenaries were all the same.

Now the members of the First Division, the very same division she had been so unwillingly been elevated to, brushed her aside as they moved to slap each other on the shoulders in congratulations and relieved laughter. But she couldn’t understand how they now held their heads high as they more-and-more division members joined them as they walked through the summoned portal beside and behind her.

It was like being surrounded by a sea of wolves. And Sara Fairchild knew just what to do with wolves. You culled them before they could become a threat to the herd, in this case the rest of Her Imperial Majesty’s troops. Because whatever else she was. Disgraced as she was. Sara was still honor bound to upload her imperial charter.

Matter decided Sara’s lip curled into a contemptuous sneer as her hands itched by her side. She had only one of two weapons remaining — her childhood sword — but that was all she needed to start lopping off heads until the ground at her feet was littered with the round remains.

It would be fitting end to their cowardice after all.  This was no way to honor their dead and she knew that she had been right as a child, mercenaries were the dirt beneath a true soldier of Algardis’s feet.

She wanted to act. Her blood and her father’s dead voice was urging her to do right by the individuals she had served with. The ones who didn’t come through the portal with them. It didn’t matter that she had only done so reluctantly. It also didn’t matter that she’d only been marching and riding with them for a few weeks at most.

Sara Fairchild knew that she had hated the majority of the mercenaries on sight as well. It wasn’t personal. It was just professional preference. She was an elite fighter born and bred, and they were the dregs of the martial society in which she’d grown up in.

As one mercenary came up to her with a clap on her shoulder he said, “Well Fairchild — why don’t you wipe that scowl off your face? You’re a First Division now and we made it to the front lines. Smile, celebrate.”

Sara froze. Not out of fear. But out of the body-aching restraint it took to not slice his hand clean off at the wrist…just for touching her.

Instead she did what any good girl would do.

Giving no warning, she ducked down and kicked out with swift force. Taking him off his feet with surprise, Sara didn’t stop there. She used her right hand to push herself back up off the ground and lunged for his neck.

Wrapping her hands around his grungy flesh was the most satisfying she’d done since she’d been delivered so unceremoniously to the fields of war.

Even caught off surprise, she could sense his battle instincts kicking in.

Too bad, they didn’t come close to hers.

He was reaching for his weapons at his waist, but Sara already had her thumbs at the pulse points of his neck and was cutting off the circulation. The oxygen he needed to think, to speak, to act even was being deprived from his desperate brain.

Joy surged in her heart as she pressed harder. She had him just where she wanted him and she felt his flopping limbs, protesting her grip with ineffectual slaps, grow weaker as he went limp.

She took no joy in slow killings. Only in necessary ones.

But still, this one would feel good. She could tell.

“Release him,” came the command from behind her.

Sara stilled. She didn’t break her hold but she didn’t twist and snap his neck like she’d prefer either. She had been trained to respond to authority and whether she liked it or not, she was a member of this derelict band of mercenaries. At least for now.

So with a sigh of disgust, Sara stepped back and released him with look of warning.

He could get up and she would end him. Or he could stay down and live.

Her opponent chose to live. He fell back into the mud, spluttering and coughing while she looked around defiantly waiting for one of his fellow mercenaries to come forward and take her on in his place.

But none did.

Disgusted, Sara said, “Cowards, all of you. You didn’t stand up for your fellow men on the fields of battle and now this. Does none of you have one shred of dignity about you?”

She was furious.

She wanted a fight. And having these mercenaries, all of whom were supposed to be tough as nails, just stand around with fingers up their asses was doing nothing for her curdling blood.

She wanted to punched faces and break bones. She couldn’t do that if they weren’t willing to step forward on the killing grounds first.

So she lashed out at them with her words, “You’re all despicable. Your ancestors’ greatest shame.”

That at least got some of their attentions. A woman with the braids of the Mung people threaded prettily in her hair stepped forward with narrowed eyes and a firm grip on the baton she carried at her waist. Sara was quite aware of her peoples’ traditions and she knew this one would honor her forefathers every night beside the fire she built at camp.

“You think you’re so right, so tough,” the Mung woman said with fire of her own in her voice. “Say that again and I’ll tear your tongue from your mouth.”

Sara smiled and opened her mouth but she didn’t get a chance to utter a third challenge.

Instead the portal behind them all flashed in warning, indicating imminent closure, and the last of the Corcoran Guard stepped through.

As one the mercenaries turned and saluted with sharp military precision.

Sara didn’t bother doing the same. Instead she strode forward as the Captain came amidst them and began conversing with several of his top lieutenants — pointing all the while with animation at something in the distance.

Sara assumed he was gesturing towards the Empress’s encampment and giving instructions for their deployment but she didn’t bother listening to what he said.

As she walked forward the Captain turned to them all and smiled. Several of his mercenaries raised their fists in salute and some shifted towards her ominously, as they remembered what they’d been about to do before their leader walked through the portal.

Sara paid them no mind, because now that the person responsible for those atrocities was here, her focus wasn’t on a fight with them. As she drew closer, discontent and rumbles grew. Mercenaries who might stand by as she disrespected them, but not their captain. But it was the captain who held up a warning hand to the mercenaries who’d put hands to weapons. Stilling as they followed his lead, he just looked at her with a hard gaze. He couldn’t know what she intended to do as she walked forward but the violence anticipated by his mercenaries had them all on edge.

So when she acted — the cold swift silence that swept across the field was brutal.

Sara gathered up a big ball of spit between her lips and then with the deadly accuracy of a person who could aim just as well with the natural weapons of her body as she could with the metal weapons normally in her hands, she spat directly in Simon’s face.

He didn’t blink or jerk away. Instead the spit slid down his face glistening wet like a badge of honor.

For a moment silence wrapped around them all and she waited for his reaction.

Instead the captain of the Corcoran Guard, like the puss-filled coward he was, simply reached into his pocket and pulled out a clean white handkerchief.

Snapping it open with a contemplative look at her while never taking his eyes from her fury-laced gaze, he wiped the spittle from his cheek.

Then he stepped forward and leaned in to whisper coldly into Sara’s ear.

“You’re a little a hellcat, aren’t you?” the captain of the Corcoran Guard asked her quietly.

Sara leaned back and kept her hands at the ready as she said with no remorse, “Not so little, you traitorous scum.”

Upon release the 2nd book in the Crown Service series will be live at http://terahedun.com/bladesofillusion

The captain stepped back with a bit of a smirk on his face as he said, “I serve my empire and Empress. There has never been and never will be the taint of traitor to my name. Unlike some who stand before me.”

Sara Fairchild stiffened. There was no way he didn’t know who her father was — not after that remark anyway. It sometimes felt like everyone she met did. But she couldn’t pull out a weapon against him without provocation. Not here, not now.

She had to be smart about this, so Sara only shook her head as she said, “Keep my family out of your mouth.”

He raised a curious eyebrow.

“Please, Sir,” Sara spit out in a tone which indicated she was being forced to add in the polite entendre…if only for their audience’s sake.

He was the Captain after all. Maybe he even had some remorse for what he’d done. Though no explanation could ever come close absolving what he had facilitated in her eyes.

But if anything Captain Barthis’s next words were even more cutting. “Believe me I would be more inclined to do so, if I had thought the teachings those family members instilled in you went beyond strike first and think later.”

There was no remorse to be had. Not from him and not for him.

Sara felt her ears burn at the casual dismissal of everything her father had worked so hard to teach her. It didn’t help that the mercenaries surrounding them were hearing every word. Listening. Perhaps even judging. They already thought she was a spoiled warrior caste kid, she didn’t need to give them any reason to assume they were right about those assumptions.

She felt her back crawl with the stares but she didn’t turn and look them in the eyes. Her attention was solely on her captain, as his was on her.

It remained to be seen if each was intensely focused on the other so both could see the twitch of a muscle before the other chose to strike.

Taking in a swift calculating breath, Sara decided to give him one more chance.

One more chance to be the man that a leader was supposed to be.

She stared straight into his soul as she said, “Say what you have to say Captain, but I’d watch the words that leach from your mouth next. You’re already on thin ice in my book.”

Barthis’s gaze, if possible, grew even more distant.

“I don’t answer to an underling and certainly not to a Fairchild,” he said in a clipped tone. “Fall back.”

“And if I don’t?” she asked in a firm tone.

“Then you’ll make this a battle you can’t win. You forget that I, like you, am a battle mage. But I have decades more experience under my belt and if my swords leave their sheaths only one person’s head will roll, ” he said softly — so low that she was certain he didn’t mean for the others to hear.

Sara wasn’t so sure about that, but she knew he was right. Mage to mage, they were equal. So it would come down to technique and prowess and with his time on the battlefield, there was no certainty she could come out ahead, let alone victorious.

Barthis didn’t give her any more time to think that over though.

“Fall back mercenary, I don’t fight girls who could learn to do better before they make the same mistakes their fathers made,” he barked in a voice that was meant to carry over many heads.

That had been a direct order. He wasn’t challenging her. He was demeaning her. And according to the rules of engagement, there wasn’t a damned thing she could do about it. They weren’t standing in a dark alley in Sandrin after all. She stood on the field of battle before her commanding officer. A man she now officially despised more than ever but still served under.

Taking stock of the situation Sara let another moment pass, deciding what to do. How to respond.

“Sara!” hissed a voice she was well aware belonged to Ezekiel Crane.

She ignored him. As did the captain.

Her entire focus was on the man before her. Peripherally she was aware of all the mercenaries surrounding them, tense and anxious — if just to see what their captain made of this upstart. They, as well as she, were assessing Barthis’s actions. They wanted to see what to make of the man who was leading them. Maybe they even had their own doubts, hidden deep, about him.

“If only these idiots had a spine,” Sara said grimly.

“What was that?” the captain asked in a clipped tone. “Are you finally ready to give in upstart? I have been more than patient with you. Now and before.”

Sara’s lips twitched. “Feeling backed into a corner Captain?”

“Not a chance. Just…self-aware. You brought me my sun mage after all. I can forgive a lot for that. But there’s only so much forgiveness you’ll get,” he said while ending in a tight voice. He was feeling out her reticence and her willingness to back down.

Sara knew that was what he was doing because she had studied and been studying his moves since she’d met him weeks ago. He was a fighter that was true, but he was even more consummate tactician — on and off the battlefield.

She’d come to the conclusion that he was dangerous. But so was she.

What she didn’t have was the dark streak of manipulation that she saw running through his core every time she tapped into her gifts. It was the positive side of battle magic — being given the ability to see a person’s intent and divine their true self with it. It was like opening a window to a person’s soul every time she used it. She had sensed murkiness in his aura ever since she’d first met him in the fighting yards of the Mercenary’s Guild.

But by the same token, she couldn’t assess everything there was to know about him instantly. Not without making herself vulnerable to his own intrusions as well. Battle mages had natural enemies on the fighting fields, but for the most part their deadliest singular adversaries were each other. They could all divine intent and they could all enhance their abilities both magically and physically on the battlefield.

What differentiated one from the other was their training and their emotional health.

Many battle mages didn’t even live to Sara’s age because the people who surrounded them didn’t realize what it was they had in their midst to it was too late. Too late to help them, too late to guide them.

That hadn’t happened with Sara Fairchild because she had been born into a family of legendary battle mages.

It also hadn’t happened to Simon Barthis because someone somewhere had recognized who and what he was from an early age. Not as she stared at him with hard, contemptuous eyes Sara couldn’t let herself to allow hate to cloud a genuine assessment of the man.

Personal feelings had no place in a fight, it would only get in the way of her necessary actions. So now she studied and catalogued him for who he was.

Scum beneath her feet but devious scum, one she would have to watch her back with. Not as bad as a certain fishery owner, but worse that Sara wanted in the captain she served — reluctantly or not. She knew that as clearly as she’d seen into the mindset of Cormar, owner of one fishery and a warehouse with more illegal artifacts than sense. That particular man would have killed her as soon as look at her if she stole from him, and she had the feeling that she and Ezekiel still hadn’t seen the last of him thanks to a weapon the scholar had purloined from his warehouse.

As Sara stared down Simon though, she sensed that he didn’t want to kill her. Not yet anyway. Which didn’t meant she trusted him either as her hand hovered over but not on the handle of the weapon at her waist.

She wasn’t a fool. She was surrounded by trained mercenaries in too tight of a formation. She wouldn’t even be able to unsheathe her sword and get off more than a few cuts before they quickly converged. But her knife, well that was another matter.

Apparently her hesitance to fall back and her growing confidence in her ability to hold her own in a fight irked the captain. She saw it in the tightening of his eyes as his mouth thinned in displeasure as well.

But for some insane reason, he still didn’t want her dead for her display of misbehavior.

“Oh, don’t get too cocky. I’ll have you punished one way or another girl,” the captain said in a voice that promised retribution.

Sara settled herself into the dry dirt — more sure now that ever. This was going to be a fight that ended with blood on her hands. Her eyes gleamed in anticipation as she waited for it to begin.

Throwing the first punch wasn’t her style, but it seemed that this was the only way she was going to get some justice this afternoon….well, so be it.

Leaning back just a bit while keeping his voice low Captain Simon said in a conversational tone, “Why don’t you take a little look to your left?”

With a flick of his glance he quickly indicated what he meant.

Sara didn’t have to. She knew exactly where Ezekiel was standing. She had kept an eye own him from the moment he walked through the gates. She just hadn’t considered that the captain would be willing to use him as an incentive to keep her in line.

As she noted Ezekiel’s new predicament, she grimaced and had to admit she should have. A man willing to sacrifice his own to get to his destination a few days ahead of schedule was willing to do a lot of things she wouldn’t.

As for Ezekiel, he stood calmly held by the muscle-bound idiots that stood snugly at his side. An overt threat if she ever saw one.

Sara smirked and raised her hands slowly, “This matter should be between you and me Captain.”

“No underling,” Captain Barthis Simon said coldly. “It’s between an officer and his troops. You want to sow mutiny amongst my people, well you should be well aware of how vulnerable that makes you and your friends — the single one you have anyway.”

Sara sucked her teeth as she held back a sentence that was likely to get Ezekiel gutted.

Instead she said, “I didn’t sow mutiny. I merely spoke my peace.”

Captain Simon raised mocking eyebrow, “Oh, is that what you call spittle to the face? Words?”

Sara said flatly, “You shouldn’t have abandoned your own. No leader does what you did and shouldn’t be reprimanded.”

“I’ll leave it to the fair Empress to make that decision,” Captain Simon said while tapping his fingers on his crossed arms. “For now though — whatever shall I do with you?”

Sara said, “Do what you please.”

“Oh, I shall,” snapped the captain. “Starting with punishment for disobedience and assault of a superior officer in accordance to the Imperial rules of conduct.”

Sara shifted uneasily on her feet. Those were a lot of words and very little action. Precisely what did he have in mind?

“Oh and Fairchild?” the Captain said with a spark in his eyes.

Sara raised her chin in acknowledgement, waiting to hear his words.

“Behave,” the captain purred. “Or your educated friend over there will get the same treatment and I assure you…it won’t be pretty. Agreed?”

Sara’s jaw froze and she felt her fingers curl into her fists by her side. But she deliberately relaxed her hands and took a quick look around at the overwhelming odds. She couldn’t get to him if she didn’t want to call upon a battle rage and she didn’t. She needed to get past this challenge and onward to even greater misdeeds. Her father’s among them.

So Sara Fairchild decided to do something she never did in a fight. She was going to stand down.

“Fairchild,” the Captain chided while waiting for her answer.

Finally Sara Fairchild gave a tense nod and with a dark smile the captain took a few steps back and Sara was left standing alone in a circle.

Then calmly Captain Simon turned in a broad circle with arms raised as he said, “What say you mercenaries?”

There was silence.

They weren’t shy. Just wary.

Then a voice spoke up. “She needs to be taught a lesson!”

Captain Simon Barthis chuckled and nodded his head as he said, “You know what I couldn’t agree more?”

So he turned back to a wary and tense Sara. Oh, she knew that something bad was coming. How bad. Well, that depended on how wounded the captain was feeling. He didn’t want to her challenge her to a battle to death, but he wanted her to feel pain.

She knew that and pain she would feel.

Then he stopped playing games and told those surrounding them in a flat breath, “Men why don’t you teach our newest member a lesson in respect?”

Then he stepped back and the group surrounding Sara alone stepped forward with eager hardness in their eyes.

Hands raised.

Swords sheathed.

A world of hurt promised in their eyes.

Upon release the 2nd book in the Crown Service series will be live at http://terahedun.com/bladesofillusion

Announcing the Blades of Magic Re-Read Marathon AND a sneak peek into Blades of Illusion!

Hello readers,

November is turning into an exciting month!

I know that many of you are extremely excited for the next book in my second Algardis Universe series – well, wait no further! We’re getting started on it now and giving you a chance to bone up on the Crown Service series before we launch. So, it’s time to get super hyped for the new material and read along!

In anticipation of a lot of readers who don’t remember precisely what happened in Blades of Magic, Rachel and I are hosting a re-read marathon in the Guild starting TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 1ST!

Every five days we’ll start a brand new set of chapters, discuss the twists and turns, and talk about what we loved about this particular book. November 1st will begin the discussion of Chapters 1-5, so you’re right on time to join in!

If you are interested in participating, then grab up your paperback or ebook copy and join your fellow readers in our private Facebook group. If you haven’t bought Blades of Magic yet then we offering a special free addition only to read-along members so that no one is left behind!

We really hope you enjoy the first book in the series and are looking forward to book two!

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Next, if you’d like a (unedited) sneak peek into BLADES OF ILLUSION: CROWN SERVICE #2 read on for an excerpt of Chapter 1! As soon as I can I will be announcing a RELEASE DAY on this post as well, so happy to be diving back into the world of Sara Fairchild of the Crown Service series. 😀

As Sara Fairchild stumbled through the portal doorway in front of her, the victorious shouts of the First Division members behind her did nothing to comfort her.

She was stiff with anger and furious at their betrayal.

Captain Simon Barthis and his mercenaries had proved just moments before that they were everything she had despised as a child — ruthless, uncaring and most of all — disloyal.

They had not only left their comrades, men and women behind, but had actually knowingly engineered a strategy which all but guaranteed the massacre of hundreds of fellow mercenaries in their ranks.

She couldn’t understand how they now held their heads high as they walked through the summoned portal beside and behind her.

Sara’s lip curled into a sneer as her hands itched by her side. She had only one weapon remaining — her childhood sword — but that was all she needed to start lopping off heads until the ground at her feet was littered with the round remains.

It would be fitting end to their cowardice after all.  This was no way to honor their dead and she knew that she had been right as a child, mercenaries were the dirt beneath a true soldier of Algardis’s feet.

More excerpts for the new book – Blades of Illusion: Crown Service #2 coming soon! Dip into the Blades of Magic re-read discussion while you wait. 😉

Sworn To Restoration: Courtlight #11 is HERE!

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!

I’ve been excited all fall to get this new book out to you and am happy to say that Sworn To Restoration: Courtlight #11 is LIVE on all retailers right now. If you’d like to read the first chapter for FREE check out this link. And if you do read and love the book or the Courtlight series, it would mean so much if you left a review on your favorite retailer! We’re hosting an amazing giveaway just for those reviewers but you have to get it in before Nov. 3rd! Good luck and enjoy the latest and greatest in the Courtlight series!

If you’d like to chat about the series, join us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let us know your favorite lines!

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AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY

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Ciardis has seen the goddess for what she is a bloodthirsty deity bent on breaking them before eliminating everyone Ciardis knows and loves.

She, the daemoni prince, and Sebastian, the sitting emperor of Algardis, have set a trap. A plan in motion that will unleash a wave of magic across the land in quantities not seen since the Initiate Wars.

Ciardis knows this is their only hope to defeat a god, but she can only pray that she doesn’t do the goddess’s work in the process by inadvertently killing the citizens of the empire that she had vowed to protect.

But the battle has begun and she’ll do what she has to protect the people she cares about – her family, her friends, her empire. When all the gods feel free to intervene, you do what you have to make sure that the one which wants to destroy you never makes the same mistake twice. In a battle between an immortal and a mortal, the humans are coming to win.