Join the writers at#MFRWHooks here http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com for some great excerpts. Mine shows the first meeting of the hero and heroine
Angry her father, who has ordered her to bond with a man with tainted lines.Lasara plans to escape. Her ability to read the lines of fire makes her a talented duelist. Friends aid her escape. They tell her to seek the Desert Riders and a man called Jens. The meeting is different than she plans. They duel for hours and end in both collapsing. While she recovers she hears about the kidnapping of girls with strong lines of fire, she decides to act to free them. Then she learns about a strange man who has joined her enemy. The Defenders need to know.
Ever since his duel with a Defender Jens wonders if this man could really be his brother. Traveling to the Defender’s Hall doesn’t suit him. He like his life as a Desert Rider. His band of Riders travels to a village on the edge of the desert. A challenge to see who has the trading advantage is called for. The duel ends in a tie. He is on his way back to the desert when a man from a different troop speaks of young girls being kidnapped. Learning and freeing them becomes his goal. Lasara joins him during the quest. Somehow, they must face the renegades and rescue the young women.
A tall woman whose hair hung down her back in a braid entered the circle. “I accept for the village.”
Jens laughed. He’d never dueled with a female. This duel will be shorter than any he’d fought.
She met his gaze. “I’m Defender trained. Do we fight to the death?”
He shook his head. “Only until one of us is driven from the circle or loses the sword.” He studied her closely. He’d dueled twice with Defenders. He’d won the first and lost the second. Alric had known how to read the lines of fire making them equal. Jens had learned new tricks during the bout.
He walked to the center of the circle and watched the carts arrive. She joined him. He assessed her. She was tall but nearly a head shorter than his height. He had the longer reach and thus an advantage. As he watched her bright lines, a need to touch her rose. He shook his head.
“A problem?” she asked.
“None.” In her green eyes he saw eagerness. “I’m Jens.”
“Lasara.” She cocked her head and studied him. “Alric told me to seek you.”
He arched an eyebrow. “Why?”
“I needed to be away from the Hall for a time.”
Jens sucked in a deep breath. “We’ll talk after the duel.” He heard rumbling and saw the carts and the rest of the Riders arrive. He closed his eyes and sought his center.
“This duel is fought for trading advantages,” the village headman announced. “Let the bout begin.”
Jens touched his sword to hers. They stepped back. Joy filled him. This duel wouldn’t be over after one or two blows. The sound of metal sliding over metal filled the air. Though he had more reach, she quickly countered each of his moves.
He watched her lines of fire trying to determine her next move. Her rapid counters meant she also read the lines.
They fought on. He attempted the tricks he had learned from Alric. She avoided falling into the traps. Several times she used new ploys he struggled to counter. The thrill of the duel fueled his spirits. The sun reached midday and the duel continued.
How long before one of them faltered? He saw no way to drive her from the circle or to disarm her. He refused to yield. The shouts of the crowd changed from encouragement to concern.
His legs cramped. The sword felt like a lump of granite at the end of his arm. His breathing changed to gasps in hoped of sucking more air into his lungs. Lasara’s lines moved in an erratic pattern. Did his do the same? Each time their swords connected and parted eh felt a snap of static electricity.
His vision blurred. Sweat drenched his body. Their swords screeched instead of singing. Was the end near? This wasn’t a death duel. He couldn’t cede the victory to her. He’d only lost one duel. Though his body cried for rest he would not lose.
He staggered. So did she. His knees buckled. Still clutching his sword, he toppled. She mirrored his collapse. All went black.