This is the third book of a trilogy. Excerpt is PG but the book is spicy. Join me with a group of authors blog-hopping to show you our books. Visit here to find all. http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com
Lorana, sold by her father to the slavers, resides in the harem in the citadel of the wizards. Her desire is to escape before she is given as a reward to one of the two wizard trainees who are competing for a spot on the council. She knows how to brew a cordial from firethorn berries and a poison from the thorns. When Arton, one of the young men is poisoned by the thorns she must care for him. She feels an attraction to him but she must escape. One night she hears the voice of a dragon. She thought the wizards had destroyed all the dragons on this side of the mountains. When the wizards leave to collect men to sell to the slavers, she takes the opportunity to escape with few supplies and a determination to reach the dragon.
Arton is a fledgling wizard and is about to be tested for the council. His mentor has died. His mentor wasn’t his father. The wizard purchased Arton from the slavers years ago. The present chief wizard would like to thwart Arton’s quest because he wants his son and trainee to join the council. Arton and his rival are evenly matched. The escape of Lorana becomes a quest. Which of the young wizards returns her to the citadel will win the competition and gain her as a reward. Cregan the rival decides to search on the desert. Arton chooses the hills. Because of Lorana’s care of him when he was poisoned he is attracted to her and he still craves a seat on the council.
Can Arton find Lorana first and will he make her a prisoner or allow her to remain free?
High gray stone walls surrounded the citadel. The ones around the hareem courtyard where the women spent most of their days were lower. A chill rippled along her spine causing Lorana raised her head to appraise the danger. She glanced at the grilled gate separating the women’s area from the outer courtyard. A burly man leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. Lust radiated from his stare. Moments alter an austere figure joined the first man. Mecador, chief wizard’s sly smile added to her discomfort.
Lorana’s hands clenched. She vowed to find an escape before the day she was destined as a reward for one to the two young men competing for the vacant spot on the wizard’s council.
She had made the same promise since the day her father had sold her to the wizards of Fyre. For four years she had hoped for a way to escape these evil men. She couldn’t wait much longer. Last evening Hag Mother had told her the two senior fledglings would soon fight for the vacant council seat.
A third man entered the outer court and stood at a distance from the staring pair. For some reason the tall trainee failed to cause her as much alarm. From the gossip among the women the husky man had the favor of Mecador. No matter. She had no desire to remain as a prisoner to be owned by a wizard and used as the man willed.
Lorana’s hands clenched. Resentment churned her gut. She hated her position in life. Not forever, she vowed and walked to the work area.
She poured several cups of dried fyrethorn berries into a mortar. She slid the pestle over the surface crushing the berries to a powder to be added to the bubbling cauldron over the first fire. The result would be a cordial.
The acrid aroma of brewing fyrethorn poison rose from a kettle in a spiraling stream. Lorana hated working with the death-bringing liquid. The wizards sold the poison and the cordial to the slavers for supplies. They also sold captured desert clansmen. Her hands tightened on the pestle and grounded the berries to dust.
She added the powder to a simmering pot and stirred. A hand with long slender fingers grasped her shoulder. She stiffened. The chief wizard turned her to face him. The stirring stick clattered on the stones. Her eyes met the cruel cold gaze of Mecador, often called Supreme.
“I’m pleased to see you hard at work. You always seem to be busy not like these other creatures.” He indicated the women seated in clusters in the courtyard.
She kept her gaze steady. “Keeping busy makes the days pass.”
He chuckled. “See that you remember your place.”
His oily voice made her want to look away. She dare not. To do so would court punishment something she had avoided since her first year here. “I do what I’m told.”
His smile raised her to near panic. He stroked her face with a finger. She fought to control her racing emotions. Fear galloped like a runaway burden beast. This man savored fear. She hoped to hide the revulsion she felt.
“So my dear, I hope you’ve made enough poison. The traders find it useful during their travels. If the jugs fetch prime goods I’ll bring you a special gift.” His hand touched her chest.
Lorana willed herself not to flinch. “There are pour jugs of poison. The fifth is cooking. There will be three of the cordials.”
“Not enough. We need six of the poison and four cordials. If you can’t fulfill our needs you will be beaten.” He pointed to a woman tied to the cross. “Like her.”
“There are sufficient berries for the cordial but more thorns are needed. They should be picked before they fall for they have more potency and fewer are needed to make the poison.” She stared into his eyes. “I could leave the hareem and gather them.”
His eyes hardened. “The tangle is no place for any woman, especially one soon to be claimed.” His gaze caressed her body. “You’ll be a tasty morsel. The young wizards who are competing for a seat on the council will be glad to become your master. Which one do you prefer?”
She wanted to say she had no desire for either man. “The choice isn’t mine to make.” His laughter reminded her of the cry of a carrion crow, the huge black birds she’d seen at home hovering over dead animals.