Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday's Book Past Betrayals, Past Loves #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Paranormal @Egypt #China #Britain

Past Betrayals, Past Loves

A curse sends Astrid on a journey to ancient lands. She meets deceit and betrayal searching for true love and to break the curse. The search begins in Egypt. When she touches an ancient Egyptian necklace she is hurtled through time into the turbulent life of another woman. She discovers the words spoken in anger holding her spirit captive. Seven more times she finds a piece of jewelry and returns to a distant past. In each of these lives she encounters and falls in love with a man who seems to be someone recently met in her present as do the enemy man and woman. The heat between Astrid and Duncan is instant and becomes incandescent. Her dislike of two characters grows. Eight realms await her. Eight chances break the curse holding her spellbound and to end the cycle of past betrayals and find love. Eight chances to foil the evil man and woman who follow her and Duncan from era to era.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books by Kate Hill #MFRWAuthor #Paranormal #Demon hunter #Magic


 Mysti and Starr (Wild Witches of Beaver Bay 1)
Wild Witches of Beaver Bay: Mysti and Starr
A blazing trail only he can see leads demon hunting biker Starr Johanson to his destined mate. A blessing placed on her family’s ancestral land summons Mysti Wild to the cabin where she’ll meet the man fated to share her life.
Each fears the other will be frightened by magic they don’t understand, but they quickly learn to trust each other, because no one can resist the person they were born to love.

Wild Witches of Beaver Bay: Trinity and Jeff
Denying her love for her childhood friend, Jeff, Trinity visits her family’s ancestral land, believing the Wild family magic has called her there to meet her soulmate. Instead she finds danger at every turn, but she won’t have to face it alone.
Jeff has loved Trinity his whole life, but settled for friendship after she broke his heart on prom night. Now this soldier turned firefighter faces the supernatural to protect Trinity and convince her once and for all that they belong together.

Wild Witches of Beaver Bay: Spirits of Christmas
On Christmas Eve twenty-five years ago, a brutal murder was committed at the house where Christa Wild works as a live-in maid. When the other servants leave for the holiday this year she stays behind, hoping that any spirits dwelling there will help her regain the psychic power she lost. She’s surprised when the intriguing but disturbed owner of the house appears several days before Christmas.
Action star Joel Connor has kept a terrible secret for most of his life. Despite his success as an athlete and actor, he is plagued by flashbacks of a gruesome attack that destroyed his family. This Christmas, Joel returns to the house where it happened to face the ghosts of the past, but finds he is not alone.
Joel and Christa are instantly attracted, but will his psychological state prevent them from finding peace and love?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday Join Kate Hill as she Talks about Panster or Plotter #MFRWAuthor #Panster #Plotter #Romance #Writing



1. Are you a panster or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both?
I'm a bit of both. I always work with a loose outline. Before I start writing, I need to know the beginning and the end of a story, and also a few major plot points in between, but I leave wiggle room for the changes that always happen.

2. Which comes first - characters or plot for you?
Usually the characters come first, but when I think of them, they're involved in a particular scene that usually, but doesn't always, end up in the final story.

3. What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new?
Right now I'm working on Amelia and Orion, the next book in the Wild Witches of Beaver Bay series. Amelia and Orion have appeared as secondary characters in other Wild Witches stories. They have been co-workers and friends for years and have feelings for each other that they keep hidden. A mix of demon, human, and vampire, Orion in particular fights his romantic feelings for Amelia.
4. Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I use gems a lot, hospitals and caves.
Many of my books take place in New England. In the Wild Witches of Beaver Bay series, the Wild family's magical ancestral land is located in New Hampshire.

5. Do you write everyday or just when the spirit hits?
Usually, I write every day. Some days I write more than others, but I generally try to write at least 1000 words a day. I also work on edits and promotions daily.

6. Where can we find you?
My website is https://www.kate-hill.com. There you can find info about my books, links to my social media, a newsletter sign up, and occasional giveaways.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday's Fifth Scene Lines of Fire Challenged #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Fantasy #Swords #Duelists


Lasara’s thoughts filled with the things Misa had told her about being Petan’s prisoner. Her stomach curdled. How had the man who’d once been almost part of her family gained control of so many men? He desired women for their vivid lines of fire and he didn’t care if they died.
Her hands tightened on the reins sending Daro into a restless dance. She drew a deep breath. He and the men he’d corrupted had a secret lair. They raided farms taking what they needed for survival and any young woman who would serve Petan’s need to service the man he called Master.
When Misa had spoken about the pale lines, Lasara had thought of her mother‘s after a visit to the Swordmaster’s quarters. But her mother hadn’t died though days passed before her lines regained their scarlet color. Another thought occurred. Did her father meet this man and service him?
Shudders shook her body. She had to do something but she had no idea what. Returning to the Defender’s Hall was impossible. As long as her father ruled as Swordmaster all she could do was stay low. She refused to consider bonding with Petan.
Slowly she grew calmer. What could she do alone? Her goals had changed. She would find Petan’s lair and find some way to let the Defenders know. From all Misa had said there were at least two dozen renegades. Most were banished Defenders.
Trees rustled as she rode past. Soon she would need to stop for the night.
Her thoughts returned to Misa’s story. The presence of a stranger who appeared and disappeared at will chill her. Who was this man with ice blond hair and glacial gray eyes? Where had he come from and what control did he have over Petan? These troubling thoughts made her ill.
Stories she’d been told as a child flowed into her thoughts. She had always thought they were myths. What if they were real? The tales full of mystery and danger had kept her awake at night. What if there was a truth buried in the stories? Her ancestors had used some magical means to cross time and space. Their god had built the Citadel and the four Halls as refuges.
No on knew how the massive stone walls had been erected or the four Halls built. Defenders, Healers, Artisans and Justicars were the clans.
Slowly some people had left the refuge to establish farms and villages. Patrols were sent from the citadel to spend two years visiting those outside the walls and gleaning those with talents for the Halls.
Dueling had been established as a way to solve all quarrels when the people protested the Justicar’s rulings. From her early years, becoming a duelist had been her goal.
Lasara frowned. Had this man called Master found the way his ancestors had brought people to this land?
The sky darkened. She saw a pyramid of stones with no feather marking it as occupied. She pulled a gray feather from her pack, dismounted and set ir as a marker. Finding a campsite meant food for Daro, water and she hoped safety. She cared for Daro and started a fire in the pit. After erecting her tent, she prepared a meal using water from the stone basin. Then she carefully set her traps.
On the next day she continued the journey. Could she find a full patrol and tell her tale? Only if she saw tents showing the presence of Justicars with the Defenders dare she take a chance.
She had one other choice and thinking of meeting Petan in a duel brought a rush of uncertainty. As a duelist she had bested more experienced men and women. If Petan would fight fairly she believed she could win. Except he would cheat. If she found no other way she would challenge him. This decision felt right but she still worried.
She glanced at the sky. Dark clouds gathered. A change in the air boded a storm. Finding shelter for the night became her goal. Though she had a tent, summer storms were often downpours filled with thunder and bolts of lightning.
She noticed a spiral of dark smoke shooting into the blue gray sky. She slowed Daro and moved him from the road into the trees. The amount of smoke troubled her. Was there a forest fire? Then she and Daro reached a fence surrounding a grain field. A farm. What burned? Could she help? She rode along the fence and was about to enter a lane. She halted. Shouting and raucous laughter reached her. She turned Daro and retreated. What even happened at the end of the lane she didn’t want to barge in.
She dismounted. If there was trouble, she needed to know what to do. “Stay,” she commanded.
After climbing the fence, she crawled along a path between two rows of the tall stalks of grain. A view of the farmyard showed her the source of the fire and much more. The flaming thatched cottage burned. In the glow from the fire she saw men. A scream rose above the shouts of men. How many were there?
She counted nine saddled bihorns. Frustration filled her. Seven men and she was alone. She might be able to down two. Her hands clenched. She couldn’t draw her sword and dash into the fray. When the men mounted, a sense of relief filled her. Then she saw a young woman seated before one of the riders. Misa’s story came to mind. A scream died in her throat. The girl’s lines were a vivid scarlet. In this instant she knew these men were among Petan’s renegades.
Quickly she scurried back to the fence and pulled Daro into the shelter of the trees. She slid her sword from the back scabbard. If discovered she would fight.
An explosion of laughter followed by loud voices grew nearer. The string of mounted men reached the road and sent their steeds galloping away.
Again, she repeated her vow. She would find where they laired and somehow find a way to destroy Petan. Her honor as a duelist called for a confrontation. She shivered. Though she knew what she must do she wasn’t convinced she would win.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wednesday Murder and Poisoned Tea - Book 2 #MFRWHooks #BWLAuthor #Cozy mystery #Maine Coon Cat #Hudson Valley

Murder and Poisoned Tea (Mrs. Miller Mysteries Book 2)

Join the authors at #MHRWHooks here  http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com  for some great excerpts. Mine shows Katherine and Robespierre involved in another murder.

Blurb:
The moment she hears his mastery of the organ, Katherine covets him as St. Stephen’s new Minister of Music. Handsome, charming and vastly talented, the women of the congregation adore him. Even Katherine is swayed by his manners and ability, But Roger not only brought beautiful music, he brings poisoned notes to the choir. Katherine seeks to find the secret of why he has changed churches yearly. She prays the discovery will be in time to prevent a tragedy.

Review
The Mrs. Miller Mysteries series is a sheer delight. Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher would love Katherine Miller. I know I do. ~~ Writer Gail Roughton


Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase



Top international reviews


Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 27, 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase



Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tuesday's Writer's Tip Beginnings #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Writing #Beginnings


The opening of a story isn’t just a clever line or two or a cute meet. There are a number of things you must fit into the opening chapters.

Now the fun begins. You have the characters and where they are set. Now it's time to put all this into action. The general plot is in hand since you know what your characters want and the way they will try to obtain them. So you begin. I don't know about most writers but I usually write the opening scene three or four and sometimes more times. Making sure you begin at the write place. I've read some books that start out with a great first sentence. Then the action bogs down on perhaps description or backstory.

The first line is what's important and considering what kind of story you're writing makes you start and then start again. Does this sound like a romance, mystery, fantasy, action, suspense. My first sentences are usually boring when they are first set on the paper. Then I have to consider so much. After all those tries to have the sentence make sense, show the genre, make the character seem alive, the sentence is finally down.

But a lot of words must follow this first sentence so I sit and write without stopping to think until I have part of a scene, Then I go back and tear it apart, And rewrite and rewrite until this bit seems to flow.

The beginning of a book has many things needed to be shown. The characters and hints to their goals. The kind of story that will take place. A lot of hints as to what will happen next. Hard to get this all done. But finally you have it then comes more fun. Where do you go from here?

The Hook - Every book should open with some kind of hook. An event has happened or will happen or is happening that changes the character's life. There are many events that can shape the book and carry the hook through the story. Let's look at one or two.

The change - The character has lost something important to them. A job, a loved one, a possession. Using this loss as a change in the opening scene, the character must come to grips with the problem and perhaps work out a plan to change the event. Their initial plan may fall apart but they are showing they want to move forward. The plan may undergo revisions or be scrapped for a new one. But the character needs to be shown they"re reacting to the change and taking action.

What if the change isn't immediate. Think of a teen starting a new school, someone facing an coming war or tragedy. The change looms and they must react to what might happen soon.

Perhaps we see the character during the moment of the change, How they act and react are what draws the reader to turn the pages.

I've just begun a story where the hero realizes a change must be made but he isn't sure of what to do. The first scene ends just as he decides where the road he needs to take will lead.

Remember, the first paragraph is what leads the reader to move to the second. So how do you make this bit so intriguing they can't resist reading on?

It's a matter of presentation.
You can make this opening unique. I started a book with She was the first woman to turn him down. Starts matters buzzing doesn't it?

There is also something unexpected. One of my books starts with the villain hiding in a cemetery across the street from the hospital. I didn't realize that this was both unique and unexpected until I had an editor remark that she never heard of a cemetery across the street from a hospital. Well, the burial groud was and is still there.

Show a deviation from the routine. Most mornings, John ate a hearty breakfast. Not this morning. Once again the curiosity if raised and the reader wonders why this has happened.

Show a change is about to take place. Suppose you're writing a story where a flood, a storm, something like this is about to change the lives of the characters. The dark clouds rolled across the sky like a giant run unfolding sending chills along Mary's spine.

Or begin with a lot of detail about a mundane object. I began a book when a heroine in the high meadow making a wreath of wild flowers that were known for their healing properties. Immediately this raises questions.

So that opening paragraph is the rope for the reader to catch and be drawn into the story.

Other things to be sure to have in the book’s opening scenes.

This is the time to introduce the main characters and perhaps some of the secondary ones. Don’t give too many or you’ll confuse the reader.

Give a good but not long description of where and when the action takes place.

You need to at least hint to the characters’ desires, especially the main characters and give clues to their reasons for wanting such things.

Once you have established the characters at the end of the beginning of the story is a good time to show if there can be a change in their goals.

The assignment is to write the opening scene of your story. I’ll show you a part of mine.

Lasara pulled a leather vest over her linen tunic. From the shelves in the changing room, she took two tunics, several sets of undergarments, stockings and a second pair of leather breeches. She bundled them into a tight roll. She listened to the sounds from the bathing room and stepped toward the door leading to the outer passage ways. Her hands shook as she released the lock. She prayed no one would discover the unlocked door until she was far away.
All the things Kalia had told her this afternoon rolled in her thoughts. Her sister’s help was welcome but she dare not be the one to be present this evening. Rila would meet her and lead her to the gate. Lasara’s stomach churned and she hoped she wouldn’t collapse. What if something went wrong?
She pressed her forehead against the cool surface of the door. Move. She straightened. The copper bracelet she had found hidden inher room’s closet pressed against her chest. A bonding bracelet. Someday she might find her heart bonded mate. Facing the unknown was better than the man her father intended to be her mate. She would rather die than be bonded to Petanof the tainted lines of fire and erratic temper. Seeing the darkness of his lines made her ill.
She opened the door just wide enough to peer outside and make sure Rila had arrived. Her trembling hand rattled the knob. She drew a deep breath. Once in the hall she eased the door closed and pressed the bundle of clothing against her chest.
Rila waved the torch she held and indicated a dark passage. Lasara followed. The torch cast eerie shadows on the walls. The air held a musty odor. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling. Lasara prayed they weren’t inhabited. Spiders made her think of evil. Another thought occurred. Would their footsteps be seen on the dust covered floor?
Rila turned. “Slide your feet. The dust raised will settle and hide our passing.”
Lasara adopted the gait. This narrow hall was new to her. She knew of other passages and many unused rooms. The population of the Defenders had dwindled over the years and years since their arrival in this land.
Rila halted. “I must snuff the torch, Four paces will bring you to the door. We’ll enter the courtyard and glide through the shadows to the gate where we’ll be met.”
The light died. Lasara’s breath caught. Four paces and she would leave this gloomy passage. Her heart thudded. Would she really escape?
As she stepped through the open door, she inhaled the night air. Dark clouds obscured the moon and stars. While slipping through the shadows, she listened to the night sounds. Except for the aroma of Rila’s perfume, she noticed no new scents.
Rila paused. She whistled the call of a night flyer. Two men stepped from the shadows. Though Lasara trusted Rila not to betray her, she prepared for flight. Her stomach churned and her arms tightened around her bundled clothes.
One of the men moved away. “I’ll keep the gate guards occupied.”
The second man opened a narrow gate. “I’m Gamon. Rila and I will guide you.”
One by one they slipped through the narrow opening and scurried past the massive gate. They reached a hard beaten path leading to the pasture where bihorns grazed.
“We moved your mount from the stable,” Gamon said. “Call him.”
Lasara pressed against the fence. “Thank you. I hope I can manage this escape.” She didn’t want to tell them how little she was prepared for flight or that she dreaded thoughts of being alone. She didn’t want anyone to think she was a coward.
He grinned. “Don’t fear. Rila and I are on detached duty. We’ll be with you for two days and show you how to make camp and find food.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Poem #Spring #Writing

Meander 1 Poem -- Spring Signs --

Dandilions and robins, crocuses and lambs.
Young horse in the meadow kicking up his heels.
Runners on Broadway with long-legged strides
Leap over pothoses, tip slanted sidewalks
Choosing a track that is close to a mile.
Breathing in spring and feeling the air slap
On their faces to stimulate sap rise.
Joggers like horses trotting their mileage.
One mile today, another tomorrow.
The mare in sweatshirt pulled up lame.
She hobbled homeward, a grin on her face
In her thoughts - They shoot joggers, don't they.

Meander 2 - These days life seems to be filled with waiting and waiting. Sometimes I'm not sure what I wait for. The past week it's been in the ER waiting for a room for my husband. Before that it was waiting for news of his condition. Each time he has a new problem and he sinks, he manages to rally. He's also waiting and I'm not sure for what.

Meander 3 - Writing- I should finish the rough draft of Tangled Dreams this week. There's a lot not in the draft but that's the way I write. Then it will be onto the plot draft. That one is a biggie and I'll have to set the time line and see if all works. That will be fun and sometimes hard. But i'll manage and then move on to other drafts. If only I could get the typing done on the already written ones.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday's Book Lines of Fire Challenged #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Fantasy #Romance


Lines of Fire Challenged (The Guild House – Defender’s Hall)

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.


Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
From the first duel to the final declaration, this fast-paced fantasy will keep you on the edge of the seat. Walter's
 vivid descriptions brings you to the world of Defender Hall without overwhelming. Recommend for those who like a good balance of character-driven and plot-driven storyline, romance and action. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday's Blurb featuring a book by Cynthia Terelst "Contemporary romance #Billionaire #Australia

The Cat's out of the Bag: (A billionaire international new adult comedy) (Love Down Under)


Blurb
One van. Two hearts. Thousands of kilometres.
Jesse’s a self-made billionaire who yearns to get away from his empty life and the money-hungry parasites who inhabit it. The plan? Go to Australia, tell no one about his money and find himself. Instead of finding just himself, he finds Evie, who is everything anyone should aspire to be. Now, what he aspires to be, is hers. But to be hers, he needs to tell her everything.

Evie has left her past behind. She has rebuilt herself, and her life, into one of happiness. After she meets Jesse, while volunteering at a cat shelter, memories of her past filter back in. She is stronger now and wants to trust him. But after all she has been through, is trust even possible?
The quest to find a cat a forever home leads them to travel across the country together. Can the close quarters drive them to open up to each other? Or will it drive them apart?

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Cynthia Terelst is visiting and talking about Who She Was Before #MFRWAuthor #Contemporary romance


1.       What were you before you became an author? Did this influence your choices as a writer?
My jobs have all been office based. I currently work full time as a project officer for a company which builds and overhauls trains. I don’t think my jobs have influenced my choices as writer. Although, I have met some interesting people.  Most of my writing is based on my life experience.

2. Are you genre specific or general? I don’t mean major genres but subdivisions or romance, mystery or paranormal. I write contemporary romance. I read more widely than I write.

3. What is your latest release? The Cat’s out of the Bag is the first novel I have written and published. It was published on 31 December.

4. What are you working on now? My second novel, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. A second chance romance involving a million dollar scavenger hunt.

5. Does your reading choices influence your choice of a writing career? I don’t think so. I read quite widely, romance, mystery, young adult fantasy and dystopian.

6. Where can we find you?
Twitter @CynthiaTerelst


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday's Fifth Scene - Lines of Fire #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Fantasy #Swords #Duels


Kalia watched the stranger walk to an empty table. The few moments when their gazes had meshed filled her with a need she couldn’t express. Who was he? The lines of fire on his skin glowed. During the short time she’d felt a connection she wanted to explore, yet she was afraid. He was a Defender, a man who dueled with sword and knife. Just like her father. Did the stranger also revel in causing death? She couldn’t live with such a man. Was he the one chosen as her bondmate?
Her hands tightened. Why would the Swordmaster choose a man she could gladly accept? Though she had mastered the knife and sword skills, she had refused to join a patrol and be forced to duel.
She wanted to explore the tricks she had discovered. Stopping a wound from bleeding, drawing blood away from or to an area of the body where it was needed and how once she had changed a clot to flowing blood, saving a man’s life. Her mother had warned her not to tell her father how she used the lines of fire. Only Lasara had known and had also succeeded in halting the flow of blood.
“Dreaming of Ingathering Day?”
With a start her head jerked up to meet Petan’s leering stare. His knowing smile raised an anger and fear she dare not express.
“No.” She turned to her brother. “Walk me back to the Women’s Quarter.” Her tolerance for another moment in Petan’s company flew like birds migrating in the autumn.
“I’ll do the honors,” Petan said.
“Kalia stared at Robec. The thought of being alone with Petan roiled her stomach. Would her brother agree?
“Not today.” Robec rose. “Being alone with my sister would compromise her. I’ll see her back. Meet me in the salle. Must practice in case I’m challenged tomorrow.”
The burly man ran a finger along Kalia’s arm. “Won’t be long before we’re together.”
Her skin prickled. She stared at the lines of fire on her arm. They had faced just like her mothers appeared after a visit to the Swordmaster’s suite. Petan’s words chilled her. She watched him swagger away.
Robec rose. “Why were you in a trance earlier?”
“That man.” She pointed. “Who is he?”
Robec grasped her arm. “He isn’t anyone you want to know.”
“Why not?”
“Our father dislikes him. Tried to get him banished on several occasions but couldn’t prove he’d done anything wrong.”
“Why?”
“Does the Swordmaster need a reason? I’m afraid it’s my fault. During our training days, he was the best with sword and knife. Father didn’t like me to be second so he set Petan and me against him.”
Kalia whirled to face him. “Not fair. I don’t like Petan. There’s something wrong with his lines of fire.”
Robec grasped her shoulders. “Those aren’t to be mentioned where someone might hear. Seeing other people’s lines is forbidden. Didn’t Mother warn you?”
“She did but you and I both see them. Petan’s are almost black. I know he’s your friend, but open your eyes.”
“Kalia, put your dislike aside.”
“What do you know?” Her throat tightened and she could barely choke out the words.
He stared at the ground. “Father has promised you to Petan as his third mate.”
Her legs buckled. She pressed her hands against the table for support. “I’ll refuse.”
“Can you? Father will force you. He has his plans for us. When I’m the next Swordmaster Petan will be my Right Hand. Lasara’s bondmate will be my Left.”
Kalia pushed away from the table. “And you’re happy with the plans?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
She rubbed her arms. “What you’ve been promised goes against tradition. I found some forgotten records from the early days. The best dueler among the Defenders is to be the next leader. Instead of a duel where Father allows you to win, you should have a real challenge. Petan should be banished. He’s already killed two bondmates.” Though angry her voice barely rose above a whisper.
“You don’t know what’s what happened.”
“And you don’t know if what he reported was true. There were no witnesses.”
Kalia ran from the refectory and dashed down the hall. Robec’s friend was a leech just like Father. Petan had sucked vitality from her lines. He had done the same to the two women chosen as his mates. Though the first had died after falling into an icy stream and the other had been killed during a duel, Kalia knew he had been the killer. But there was no proof.
“Kalia, wait.” Robec called.
She continued her frantic race through the winding corridors of the central area of the Hall until the door of the Women’s Quarters appeared. She opened the heavy oak door leaving her brother behind. She wouldn’t listen to his attempt to make his friend’s case.
She dashed across the large lounge and nearly collided with her mother. The older woman wore the clothes she donned when she went to meet her bondmate. Her lines of fire showed health and vitality but when she returned they would be drained.
“Daughter, what’s wrong?”
Kalia grasped her mother’s arm. “Don’t go. This time he might kill you.”
“Roban called for me. My honor is to serve him. He seeks another son should Robec fail. What troubles you? Did you quarrel with your brother?”
Kalia shook her head. “Father intends to bond me to Petan.”
Her mother backed away. “He mentioned he had chosen a mate for you. He said the man would be a power among the Defenders. Why are you angry? Your brother trusts this young man.”
“He shouldn’t.” Kalia grimaced. “I don’t like him.”
“How can your father be wrong> He’s clever at choosing those who are heart bound.”
“This time he failed. Years ago Father ordered Robec to become Petan’s friend. That was before they entered training. Who is Petan? No one knows here he was born.”
“Does that matter? He has shown skill with the sword and knife.”
“Don’t you worry about me? Petan killed two bondmates.”
“Rumors spread by men jealous of the favor this young man has found with your father.” She reached into her pocket. “Since you are to be bonded, this is for you.” She drew out a glittering bracelet.
“Where did you get this? I’ve never seen another like it.”
“My dearest friend passed it to me before she entered the abyss. Her bondmate was your father’s best friend. He fled to the rebels and broke their bond. Your father brought the news to her and offered comfort. She turned away and only spoke to her young children. They were sent to be fostered. There had been a third child who was stolen by his father.”
Kalia felt the weight of the bracelet with its links of silver, gold, electrum and copper. She had read of bracelets of other metals in the ancient records but they had been just made from a single metal.
“It’s beautiful.” She kissed her mother’s cheek and prayed the older woman wouldn’t be drained to death during her stay with the Swordmaster.
She watched her mother walk to the door. Robec had remained outside. Kalia wondered why her mother stayed in these quarters. Many bonded woman whose mates didn’t go on patrol lived with their mates.
A thought occurred. If her mother remained with the Swordmaster she would die. If I am bonded to Petan, so will I. She darted into her sleeping chamber and threw herself on the bed. What am I going to do?
The special knock announced her younger sister. Lasara didn’t wait for an invitation. She crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed. “Are you excited? In three days you will choose your first bondmate.”
Kalia wiped her eyes on the blanket. “Excited, no. Scared, yes. I intend to refuse the man Father has chosen for me.”
“Why?”
Kalia sat up. “Would you bond with Petan?”
Lasara’s eyes widened. “Ugh. Why does Father get to choose?”
“Some plan of his to make sure Robec follows him.”
“What will you do if he tries to force a duel?”
“Saddle my bihorn and ride away.”
Lasara’s shoulders slumped. “Won’t you be afraid? You’ve never been away from the Hall except during the training exercises.”
“I will be frightened. Better scared than bonded to a man with tainted lines.”
“Where will you go?”
Since she had no real plans she shrugged. “Just away from here.”
Lasara stayed for a bit longer. After she left Kalia found the pack she’d used just once when she trained. She’d refused to be part of a patrol and only bonded women were sent with their mates to tour the sectors. She sat on the bed and tried to plan an escape.