The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pick Me Up Monday - Bringing in the New Year with Soul Fire Snippet

Have a wonderful New Years!
As we look back on 2013, with memories both good and bad, it's time to move forward. Striving to make 2014 a banner year for achievements, both personal and professionally.
For my own agenda, I am pushing harder to be more than just another author among the million to choose from. Like any writer, I want to see my stories succeed. Which means trying all  areas in the publishing business to put my name and work out there, build my fan base and begin a street team. These are my goals for this year, which means I will have many more books releasing in 2014. Some are just ideas right now, while others are continuing series books, all are familiar with.
In January, my latest endeavor Soul Fire goes to my editor to be self-published. The difference with this series is you will get a teaser chapter from the next book coming, and I'm working with a company called A eBook company Jade Lee hooked me up with. Between their marketing department and my own, I believe it will prove a good partnership.
Now, for the good stuff. Here is a snippet from my historical paranormal of old gods and villains and the race of dragon shifters caught in-between an age-old  war. Welcome to Soul Fire, book one of the Warriors of Drakkan.
Chapter One:
The sun sank beneath a restless sea casting the heavens in a glowing nebulous of reds and gold. Dark shadows swallowed the thick forest leading to the sheer cliffs plunging into the sea. Draghar Keep rose up to touch the jagged outcroppings of rock, reaching to the heavens like the arm of some ancient Titan. Built into the side of the mountain, high, arched fenestra windows stared down upon a small fishing village at the base of the great mountain. Torches flared to life looking, weaving and darting like an army fireflies in the gloaming.
An undercurrent of excitement carried in the air, anticipation for the night’s festivities. The sound of a bodhran beat out a lively rhythm while the sweet undertones of a lute carried the melody. The melody, slow and sensual stirred the blood with thoughts of the upcoming communion between the goddess Flora, the May Queen and the God Jack-of-the-Green.
The lighthearted nature and irony of the holiday were not lost on Egan. The air pressed down on him, heavy with the impending doom, he could not advert, even with his wisdom, and power to heal, there seemed naught he could do to prevent a tragedy from unfolding.
 “‘Tis not right! The gods are displeased I tell you.” The aged woman muttered, her gnarled hands worrying the fabric of her rough wool apron.
“Still your tongue old woman!” Egan admonished gently, taking her arm in a firm grip and led her down the stone hallway toward the servant’s quarters. “Now, get you to bed while I attend to Lord Crispin.”
“Aye, I will be going Egan Thorne,” The woman grumbled, narrowing her rheumy stare on him. She thrust one bony finger into his face. “Best mark my words, all is not well with our King, and his downfall will be the end of us all.”
Egan ignored the superstitious warnings of the old crone; her mutterings regarding their King and their demise was her favorite ill omen to recite. They were an ancient race of beings humankind called dragons. Their ability to shift their shape, a gift given to them by their deity Drakkan, who watched over them before humans walked the earth, but in their hour of greatest need no sign of Drakkan could be found.
Egan hustled the frail woman to her room and heaved a mighty sigh once alone. Standing among the many colorful tapestries adorning the walls in the winding hallway, he never felt so helpless. Unease fell heavily about his shoulders.  His worry over their king a dark pall he could find no escape from. Time stopped for no man, or in this case, no dragon and precious little of it remained.
The agonizing truth facing Egan with sharp clarity mocked him. Remembering Crispin as a new hatchling, his bright, multi-hued eyes far too old for one so young, Egan loved him as his own the instant his stare focused on him. He vowed to Crispin’s father, he would protect the prince with his life if need be.
Alas, ‘twas the last vow he would give to the King as he passed only days later. He followed his mate in the afterlife hours after her untimely passing. Tomorrow would denote the three-hundred-year anniversary of Crispin’s birth. ‘Twould have been a joyous event, if the al-matar, or mating fever in human language, did not lie heavily over their King.
If the signs were accurate – and in Crispin’s case, they held true – his bouts of irrational rage, restlessness, high fever and lack of appetite marked the stages of mate fever. The urge to find a mate would burn away all logic and humanity, reduced to a ravaging beast bent on destruction and death. Lost for all time to an unholy rage. None ever came back from the madness, going on a rampage, laying waste everything in their path until death claimed the beast. Either from the fever or by the hand of a slayer mattered little, the final result never changed.
None of their greatest healers, or soothsayers could determine when the mate fever would strike down their males and indeed, most thought of it as a curse from the great Wyvern for Drakkan’s actions.  Whatever the truth the old legends held interested him naught. Only the reality of their dilemma remained chillingly accurate. Their unmated King would die by fever or blade within a fortnight if he did not find this true bond mate.
Egan wept for the impending loss. Any search for his quiv-etal was an exercise in futility. The only mate truly compatible must hold the blood of the Wyvern. He flinched inwardly as memory threatening to rise to the fore. He pushed it back. There were no females of the Wyvern’s blood left in this world. Pondering upon the loss would do nothing to aid his ailing King.
The firm pounding upon the door pulled Egan from his dark thoughts and brought him quickly to attend the unannounced visitor.
A tall imposing figure stood against the backdrop of the darkening twilight. He dark cloak flowed about his long legs in the gentle breeze filled with the scents of burning wood and blooming wildflowers. The dying sun illuminated the man’s dark, hawkish looks, amber eyes glowed with inhuman brilliance, searing into Egan with unspoken sorrow.
“I came as soon as I heard the news Egan, where is he?” He strode into the hall with an inhuman predatory grace.
“He is presently in his rooms Lord Rogan. I can only hope seeing you will bolster his spirits.” Egan sighed, leading the way into the great hall.
More tapestries in vivid hues of reds, blues, greens, and gold covered the walls depicting dragons in various poses among armored knights astride their steeds. A large oak table occupied the center of the room, and woven rugs spread nearly the length of the room. A massive stone fireplace dominated one wall. The hearth decorated in sprigs of Ronan and Hawthorn. Bright colored ribbons weaved between them for the Beltane holiday. Birch chairs covered in soft hide were arranged around the fireplace. Coals from the dying fire still sent warmth through the room chasing away the slight chill in the air.  
He studied Rogan, who draped his cloak over one of the chairs and stood watching the embers deep in reflection. The same age as Crispin, the two were inseparable. Egan witnessed his growth from young hatchling to the imposing figure before him, The tall and broad shouldered leader of Crispin’s elite cadre of warriors accomplished more than any other dragon Egan ever knew. Few who could equal his fighting skills as human or dragon, and the only one who stood any chance at besting him Crispin in a fight.
“Why am I here Egan? Do not tell me it is to distract Crispin from the al-matar, for there is no distraction to be found for the curse. What is the true reason for my summoning?” Rogan demanded, his golden eyes darkening with dread.
“Aye, you know why. I need your oath. You are the only one who could do what needs to be done when the time comes.”
“You ask too much.” He snarled. Hands fisting at his sides as he glared at the older man. “He is like a brother to me.”
“Better by the hand of a loved one than that of the enemy.”
“Nay, I shan’t stay and listen to this.” Rogan rasped whirling to grab up his discarded cloak.
“What better man than you, dear friend to see me to my final rest?” A deep voice queried bringing both men’s attention to the sudden arrival of the man standing at the entryway.
As tall as Rogan, Crispin Fin Auld Napp, Lord of Draghar Keep and King of dragon kind raised a golden eyebrow. Multi-hued eyes swirled with blue, green and silver, holding his friends gaze. “You will do what must be done, even if I have to make it a royal decree.” The firm resolve in his voice brooked no argument.
Egan lowered his head in a sign of deep respect. “Majesty how do you fare this e’en?”
Crispin gave him a weak smile. “As fair as the circumstances allow. ‘Tis good to see you Rogan, alas, I wish it were under better circumstances.”
Rogan strode to his long time friend and clasped his arm. “Well met my friend, though I am disturbed you are so willing to succumb to the damnable al-matar without a fight. This is not like you.”
“Oh, I will fight have no fear. I need only your word to do what is necessary should I fail to succeed.”

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