Ooh, see that header? That means the cover for A Castle to Keep is humming along quite nicely while, editorially, power couple Halina and Gethen are being put through the wringer by yours truly. (Which is why they look ready to spit nails and kill someone with them.) This is the sequel to The Shadow & The Sun and though I'd hoped to release it in late July, that's looking more like late August.
So, just randomly reaching into that mess of a manuscript, I came up with this scene. Gethen's meeting with a hedge witch, Lauma, who was supposed to trade a herd of deer for a supply of his meads and medicinals but brought coins instead.
Lauma sashayed to his side then hopped up to perch on the edge of the table. He couldn’t ignore the warmth of her skin or the sweet scent of the blue gillam water that she rinsed through her brunette hair. She swung her feet rhythmically and looked around the hall. “The payment’s short,” she said.
Gethen didn’t look up as he stacked the coins. “I’ve noticed. What else have you brought?”
She tossed her hair over her shoulder then leaned toward him and ran her fingers over the back of his hand. “I’ll make up the difference personally. Like I always do.”
Ruh-roh. Moral dilemma?
No final description for this book yet, but you can get the first in the series from Amazon:
Shadow Mage Gethen is a powerful necromancer, keeper of the border between the living and the dead, and brother to the king of Besera. But with his dark powers failing and a vengeful entity attacking, Gethen should be happy when a formidable lady knight appears at his gates. He’s not. The price for her aid is steep—his allegiance in a war against his brother.
In battle or in bed, she’s never met a man she considered her match.
Militess Halina is undaunted by the threat of war between her country and neighboring Besera. She earned her titles by shedding blood and breaking bones. She uses her body to reward soldiers who serve her loyally, and to punish those who don’t. And Halina’s never met a man she couldn’t command or crush.
Passion and power unexpectedly ignite when a blizzard traps Halina at Gethen's citadel. With the evil entity’s onslaughts rapidly deteriorating Gethen’s sorcery, they have little time to understand their unexpected attraction. But could their passion be the key to defeating an ancient enemy that’s hell-bent on obliterating their world?
The Shadow & The Sun combines the sword & sorcery elements of epic fantasy with paranormal elements and wraps them around a romance. It also includes a powerful heroine who makes no apologies for being a woman and a warrior, who uses her body and her mind, and who will never be confused for a damsel in distress.
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Illustrations © 2016 Qistina Khalidah