It’s been a September of new-book postings by authors whose specialties range from paranormal romance to horror to YA. And next up is my prolific author-friend Sandra Cox, who makes everything possible in her writing from mutant teenagers with dolphin DNA (read my reviews here and here) to buying ghosts on ebay, as in her new novel, Ghosts for Sale, from eKensington.
Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast. Find Sandra on the web : Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook .
I love YA novels: from the drama and angst of high school to self-conscious protagonists longing to fit in to gossipy cliques and the always-present yearning to be loved and admired.
And even though it’s been years (decades!) since I negotiated a high-school hallway—eyes downcast, avoiding the mean kids—to the relative safety of my locker, YA books always bring back an onslaught of memories, some happy, some frustrating, and many totally cringe-worthy.
If you, like me, have a soft spot for young adult stories then author Krysten Lindsay Hager should have a place on your bookshelf.
Ms. Hager brings the teen years to life with absolute perfection in Next Door to a Star. Handling multiple plotlines with an expert touch, she’s crafted a young adult dramedy that on the top layer is a story about Hadley Daniels, an average teen whose only ambition is to fit in, have a few friends, and find her place in the world.
And when she finds herself vacationing, and eventually living, next to a former television actress, she thinks this is her opportunity to finally become part of the popular crowd. But beneath that top, superficial, layer rests a meatier story about acceptance and being true to oneself, regardless of the consequences.
I’d been wanting to read one of Ms. Hager’s novels for some time now, and Next Door to a Star certainly didn’t disappoint with characters that felt familiar, as if they were people I’d met before, and plot twists that kept the story moving at a brisk pace.
And, as with most YA novels, the ending will make you smile, satisfied to have spent several hours with Ms. Hager’s charming characters.
After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.
Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.
It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.
To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…
He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.
So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.
The school year should end right after spring break, because all anyone can focus on is summer vacation. You can’t learn anything new, because all you can think about is all the fun stuff you’re going to do once you don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Summer always seems full of possibilities.
Nothing exciting ever happens during the school year, but maybe, during summer vacation, you could run into a hot celebrity and he’d decide to put you in his next music video. Okay, it wasn’t like I knew anybody that happened to, but my grandparents did live next door to a former TV star, Simone Hendrickson, and Simone was discovered in an ice cream parlor one summer. Of course, she lived in L.A. at the time and was already doing plays and commercials, so the guy who discovered her had already seen her perform. But hey, it was summer, she got discovered, and that was all that mattered.
Amazing stuff didn’t happen to me. You know what happened to me last summer? I stepped on a bee and had to go to the emergency room. They’re not going to make an E! True Hollywood Story out of my life. I didn’t go on exotic vacations—like today, I was being dragged along with my parents to my cousin’s graduation party. Most people waited until at least the end of May before having a grad party, but Charisma was having hers early because she was leaving on a trip to Spain. I was dreading this party because I didn’t want to listen to everybody talk about how smart and talented Charisma was—making me feel like a blob in comparison—but my mom RSVP’d even though I said I’d rather die than go. My death threats meant nothing. But still, for some strange reason, I had a feeling this summer was going to be different.
About the author
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
I’ve always had a hard time reading horror: it’s too real, too terrifying–my mind swallows the images and replays them in an endless obsessive-compulsive loop. So it wasn’t easy for me to agree to read a novel by horror author Brick Marlin, whose kind, friendly emails seem the antitheses of the wicked imagination behind his writing.
But read it I did… Surprising myself by actually enjoying the novel, even though I couldn’t sleep for several nights after finishing it.
And so I’m very pleased to share the following review with everyone, particularly now as Brick embarks on a blog tour to promote his writing.
Shadow Out of the Sky begins with a deceptively innocent scene: a young girl, looking for comfort after experiencing a bad dream, wakes her mother in the middle of the night. But what the girl wants is anything but innocent, and the reader is soon off on a journey of horror as author Brick Marlin reveals one terrifying event after another.
The suspense builds as the narration moves between characters, keeping the reader turning pages to see who will survive the demon possession that has consumed the children of Woodbury. Marlin also increases the tension by slowly revealing the backstory, providing just enough information to keep the reader grounded but still wondering why this particular town has been targeted. By the end, all loose ends are woven together, and a gun-toting 70-year-old is left to save the town–one of my favorite aspects of the story.
As with all good horror stories, this frightful tale will keep you up late into the night, and, like the little girl from the first chapter, will leave you with nightmares. Recommended… but definitely not for the fainthearted or squeamish.
Brick Marlin has been writing since he was a child. From an early age he was exposed to older horror movies. The great ones making their mark in history. He also tackled reading the likes of Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Dean Koontz, Charles Dickens, Harper Lee, H.G. Wells, etc. Thus, he decided to engage himself and write horror, dark fantasy and dark sci-fi, scaring readers such as his parents, his friends, neighbors, and even leaving a few school teachers scratching their heads wondering if the boy should be committed or not with his gruesome tales of terror. Short story ideas continued to visit. A book idea or two sometimes stopped by for a sit.
In 2007 he decided to take a more professional approach with his work. Hence, as a member of the Horror Writers Association, already having nine books published by small presses – this you hold in your hand, constant reader, makes his tenth – nearly thirty short stories published, adding to the few anthologies and collaborations with other authors, Brick Marlin trudges onward, hoping to achieve more creations, wallowing in the brain pans of his characters, giving them the choice whether to twist the knob and enter through the Red Door, or enter through the Blue Door where a group of servo monkey badgers are consuming packages of cinnamon-flavored Pop Rock Candy with a Kung Fu Punch of caffeine.
Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn . . .
For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.
These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…
Gripping the chair arms to keep herself seated, Lillian fought an urge to leave and never set foot inside Castle Brendaligh again.
It had been a demoralizing battle and they had lost, but they had lived. They had done all they could, but still the demon master had ascended into man’s world.
“You failed and we are all likely to die because of it. I hold every person at this table responsible for the state of England. You have ruined us.” Lord Clayton’s voice grated on Lillian’s nerves.
Accounts of the battle were clear. Nearly everyone in the room had risked their lives trying to disrupt the ascension, not to mention keep the earl’s daughter, Belinda, from becoming a demon sacrifice. Making such a show of ferocious reprimands insulted their brave and selfless efforts. If not for the fact that he was her best friend’s father, she might have indulged her desire to pull a sai blade from her boot and slice his throat.
As if Lord Clayton, the Earl of Shafton, needed to attract more attention, he waved his hands. “You had one mission, to keep the master from entering our world. All you had to do was kill one demon, but you failed. You should all be shot for treason. Treason!”
His bright red face gave her hope his heart might fail and save her the trouble of killing him.
Other hunters at the table murmured, but no one spoke out.
“Everyone in this room is to blame. You had the perfect opportunity to end this mess. Now the master is free of his realm and living in ours. It’s only a matter of time before he is strong enough to destroy everything we hold dear. When your families are killed mercilessly, will you sit here so unrepentant about failing in your duty?”
“Father, really.” Belinda Thurston rolled her eyes.
Lillian missed Reece’s steadying presence. Reece might have even been able to stop his lordship’s tirade with a few quick-witted remarks. Her partner had nearly died, and now lay upstairs recovering from demon poisoning.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Belinda. You are equally to blame. You were with the master for days and made no attempt to destroy him.”
Gabriel, Belinda’s husband, bristled. It was of course a ridiculous statement. The Earl of Tullering was not used to public abuse of his family. “Just a minute, my lord. You are out of order. Belinda was in no position to defeat the demon master. The information she gathered will be very helpful in our eventual victory.”
Shafton pointed a fat finger. “I do not want to hear about information that will take years to decipher. You, Tullering, are by far the most culpable. You and that woman”—he pointed at Lillian—“made a conscious choice not to destroy the master.”
Lillian reached toward her boot and let the hard steel of her sai blade handle bring her comfort. One second and Shafton’s head could be rolling down the long table and land in Drake Cullum’s lap.
Besides Shafton, Drake and his assistant, Dorian Lambert, were the only ones present who had not been at the battle. Their leader, Drake, had attended to assign new orders to the hunters.
Shafton said, “You could have destroyed the beast as it rose and was weakened. I know you had the opportunity, but you chose to save yourself. It was selfish and stupid.”
Lillian could kill him and no one would be able to stop her. Of course, there were always consequences when dealing with men in power. She’d lose her home within The Company. Yet another arrogant earl would not take her from her rightful place. She was in control. It was nothing like her youth and the titled man who’d ruined her life.
Belinda said, “They saved my life, Father.”
“It was the wrong choice, Belinda. You might have cost us our one chance to stop this.” Shafton narrowed his eyes on Lillian.
Lillian said, “I can imagine your pleasure if we had allowed your only child to become the master’s sacrifice. Perhaps we should have stood by and watched until the master, with his full power rose, from the depths of hell and destroyed us all. As it is, Reece Foxjohn is still recovering from battle and the rest of us might have been sucked into the demon’s realm. But by all means, my lord, go on and tell us how you know we willfully failed on our mission. I do not recall your life being in danger that day at Fatum Manor. You were safely tucked away in your castle while the rest of us faced death or worse.”
“You are out of order, Dellacourt.” Shafton said her name as if it were a curse.
Lillian wasn’t sure when she had stood up, but clutching the leather wrapped steel, she rounded the table toward the earl. “If you have something you want to say about my abilities, my lord, I suggest you do so. I will be happy to display them for you, and we can evaluate them together.”
“Miss Dellacourt.” A warning came from the other end of the table.
“You were not there. You cannot know if we could have destroyed the master. As far as I’m concerned, we made the only choice possible under the circumstances. Maybe if your intelligence had supplied us with the location of the gateway before the master had grown so powerful, we might have been able to seal him in.”
“How dare you imply that I failed in some way? You who completely disregard orders at will.”
She had only ever hated one man the way she despised Shafton, and he too was an earl. At least that one was dead. Steeling her nerves, she slid the sai blade through the pocket cut in her skirt. “You speak of orders that were selfish and almost succeeded in getting your own family killed.”
“You have no right to question me or my motives.” To his credit, he faced her and stared her in the eye.
“I have every right when you point your fat finger at me.”
“Who do you think you are? I know where you come from Lillian Dellacourt. I know what you are.”
Drake Cullum pounded the table. “Shafton, that will do.” The demon hunters’ leader stood rigid, narrow-eyed. He was formidable when he was calm, but enraging him was never a good idea. He was furious now.
Had she gone too far? The idea she might have overstepped her bounds with Cullum was enough to make her relax the grip on her blade. Lillian turned and stormed from the dining room.
Shafton yelled something about not having dismissed her from the meeting.
Once in the hallway, she pulled her second blade and turned to go back in and finish what she’d started. It would be nothing to remove his pompous head from his shoulders.
Cullum stood in the doorway. He smiled at her and closed the door, baring her reentry.
Had she ever seen him smile before? No instance came to mind. She stomped toward the front entrance. She’d leave the damn castle, get her carriage, and ride like the devil back to London. Yet the one person in the world she could really talk to was a resident of Brendaligh. Holding her full skirts with both hands, she sprinted up the curved grand staircase.
About the Author
A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.
A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.
Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Demon Hunters series, the Psychic Mates series, and more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be brining you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.
Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden. Her babies are both rescues and include a demanding dog and a temperamental cat both of which bring constant joy and laughter.
I’m guest-blogging today with Gemma Brocato–author of fun and sassy romances that mix adventure with a touch of mystery and are definitely worth exploring: “I’m thrilled to welcome today’s guest to What I Wrote Wednesday, Erin Fanning. I met Erin right after she contracted with Lyrical Press for her paranormal story Blood Stitches. I love her sense of humor and her business sense. She has so many books out, fiction and non-fiction, but today, she’s sharing a peek at her new work, Deathstalker Two Step. She starts right off with a bang. Or should I say, rattle. Read on…“
“Sitting here with one’s knitting, one just sees the facts,” says Miss Marple in The Blood-Stained Pavement, a short story from Agatha Christie’s The Thirteen Problems.
Throughout her long sleuthing career, the needle-wielding grand dame of British mysteries knits about 47 garments until, toward the end of her mystery-solving days, poor eyesight sadly forces her to give up her lifelong passion.
Yet, her influence can still be seen today as numerous crafty detectives continue to find the soothing influence of knitting helpful while solving crimes from knitting-store proprietresses, like Sally Goldenbaum’s Izzy Chambers, Mary Kruger’s Ariadne Evans, Anne Canadeo’s Maggie Messina, and Barbara Bretton’s Chloe Hobbs (half-human/half sorceress) to knitting clubs as seen in the Maggie Sefton mysteries.
I first discovered knitting in fiction shortly before I learned how to knit through Anne Barlett’s Knitting. Its simple title hides a complex story about loss, acceptance, and an unlikely friendship between two women.
The novel came as a surprise to me, the author unknown, discovered, as are many of my favorite books, at a used bookstore. I devoured it, fascinated as one of the main characters, a textile artist, creates a knitted three-dimensional sculpture of a horse. I had never heard of such a thing, didn’t even realize it was possible, and from there I began to knit, although on a much smaller, simpler scale.
But it was also the beginning of my adventures in knitting fiction, which continues today, and which I’ve decided to share through a Facebook page. It’s all for fun—trivia, reviews, author news, and the like. Take a peek when you get a chance and if you enjoy what you see, a “like” would always be appreciated.
“I imagine you knitting headscarves and that sort of thing,” one of Miss Marple’s clients writes while requesting her services. “If that’s what you prefer to go on doing, that’s your decision. But if you prefer to serve the cause of justice, I hope you find it (the case) interesting.”
And, luckily for readers, she didn’t have to choose, happily pursuing both knitting and justice.
Congratulations to Deidra Eden on the release of Hidden Fire, the second book in The Watchers series! Everything about this book–from the cover to the characters to the plot and theme–screams page-turning summer reading…
Finding your own unique strength and courage is a major theme of The Watchers. The characters in this series are as diverse as they come: different nationalities, male, female, dwarf, human, dragon, pixie, noble, peasant orphan, young, aged. Yet, no matter the situation, whether tragic or triumphant, they find ways to grow and develop into something stronger.
The main character, Auriella (Aura), is born and lives in a society and time when girls, especially of her social status, didn’t have opportunities for education or growth, let alone a chance to be a hero. The Watchers must learn to work together, despite differences, to defeat Erebus and the Shadow Legion, just as we, no matter our gender, race, age, circumstances, etc., are capable of great things.
Strong men and women grow in all situations and become heroes when one is needed. They don’t think about it, they just do what’s right. –Deirdra Eden, author of The Watchers Series
Auriella’s new life as a royal protector is in shambles. The new king ignores her warnings of a Shadow Legion invasion and he is determined to marry her off. Ghosts from her past, the discovery of other Watchers, and a handsome Scottish warrior throw her off guard and weaken her emotional defenses. Caught in a web of secrecy and betrayal, Auriella struggles to control and protect the devastating power of Starfire. A terrible truth and a fateful choice will lead her to her destiny as the fabled Lady of Neviah, or could shroud the entire world in eternal darkness.
Filled with action, romance, drama, and comedy, Hidden Fire is an addicting read that you won’t want to put down.
“Deirdra Eden has surpassed her earlier achievement in this daring tale of struggle between good and evil forces that exist in every universe.” Mark F. Cheney, author of Mark of the Jaguar.
“Thought provoking and full of action, I didn’t want to put the book down! I really loved the symbolism and it was a fantastic read.” Mary G. – age 15
Writing is never easy but trying to capture the teen years on paper is especially challenging, so I’m excited to have author Krysten Lindsay Hager on my blog today with a guest-post about just that.
The Landry’s True Colors Series is all about self-esteem, friendships, crushes, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, values, and self-image. It’s not always easy for me to go back in time and revisit those memories, but it’s part of the process. I knew I wanted to be a writer at a very young age, but I got serious about it right when I graduated from high school. The hardest part for me was finishing a story, but I did that for the first time in college with a novella while doing a one-on-one study. It was then that I decided to write young adult fiction and I started re-reading my old journals and going through old memories. When I got married I thought that even though I had started getting published under my maiden name, it would be easier to write about those teen years if I wrote under my married name. Then, one day after the wedding, I got an invitation to join Facebook and I was all, “What’s this? This looks fun!” Two months later and people I shared crayons with in pre-school were friending me and all possibilities of me using my own actual real-life experiences in my stories were out the window. Sigh. Stupid Facebook. So now I must write Landry’s experiences as her own. That’s not to say my own memories don’t infiltrate and inspire certain plotlines though. My mom saw a lot of things I had been through in a new character in the series.
I may not use my actual experiences word for word, but I channel those feelings into the books. Writing about the teen years means going back and sharing the awkward and insecure feelings I had like wondering why someone who was supposed to be my friend was saying passive aggressive things to me—the whole, “Just kidding!” statement made after a mean spirited comment was thrown my way. Or how I felt while modeling and then feeling expectations to always look a certain way. And, of course, all the boy drama. Nothing like hearing rumors about another girl going after the guy you’re with, right? There’s a part in the first book in the series, True Colors, where Landry has been left out by her two best friends. Landry has to get up and walk across the room and ask another group of girls if she can join them. I remember an editor told me, “My heart was in my throat as I wondered, would these new girls accept her? Would they let her sit with them?” As this woman told me how she felt emotionally connected with Landry, it hit me—that moment I had written about was based on my own feelings. I had done that incredibly long walk back in middle school to another table to see if someone would let me in their group after my own had stopped talking to me for a day (who knows why, but at the time it seemed catastrophic). That awkward, uncomfortable memory that I wasn’t even sure I should write about had brought up something in this woman who was reading it for the first time. It was then that I realized that Landry’s (and my) vulnerabilities were the only way to bring truth and honesty to the story.
However, I never could have written this story back then because you need time to process all of those things and realize why they happened and what you can learn from them. While writing the story, it hit me that Landry’s parents could share with her what they had gone through themselves when dealing with self-doubt and insecurity when Landry talks about her fear of failure. As a teen, I never really picked up on what my own parents went through even though I witnessed my mom have “frenemy” moments of her own. It began to hit me how all these things never really stop, they just change a little as you get older. Recently, I’ve had friends share emails that hurt them from other adults and honestly, they could have been written by 14 year old mean girls. I realize now how important it is to learn how to handle these things early on and to know you’re not alone in having to go through these situations. I wrote the books I wished I could have had at that age to let me know I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling and going through and I hope now it helps someone else.
About the author
Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in both True Colors and Best Friends…Forever?
Krysten is an Amazon international bestselling author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
I decided that as palmistry was the initial inspiration for this fantasy romance, I’d offer readers a little something on palmistry marks. The image below shows you the main lines that can be found on a person’s palm.
1: Life line – 2: Head line – 3: Heart line – 4: Girdle of Venus – 5: Sun line – 6: Mercury line – 7: Fate line
These main lines above are fairly well known, but the lesser lines are not quite so well understood and it was these I was studying when I got the idea for Marked for Magic.
There is a mark some people have on their hand, a curved line at the base of their forefinger, the Jupiter finger. This unusual mark is called the ring of Solomon. People who have this rare marking are usually intelligent, philosophical, and tolerant.
Did if you find this mark on your hand?
The witch mark on Nin’s hand is a curse. She has no magic powers, whatever the lore says. But the village believes. The old crone’s wisdom is to see her banished. Ragged and hungry, she must serve the Mage. Alone in his tower, she is his chattel. But Mage Thabit is not what Nin expected—the bright green eyes and supple form under his cloak are not the stuff of nightmares, and kindness hides in his brusque heart. Thabit senses that Nin is more than she seems, too. When true nightmares haunt the land, it is precisely her elusive powers that might deliver them…
By early evening, she’d only found twelve small seeing mushrooms. They rolled around in the bottom of the collecting basket. Her feet ached, for in her search she’d walked farther and farther into the darkened shadowy spaces. Worse than sore feet, though, she stared to find her way through the trees until her eyes burned and stung. She had no clue how to get back to the tower. She recognized nothing here through the welter of close-knit leaves.
Maybe he wanted the wolves to eat her. She’d be a nuisance to no one then. How could he be so mean?
She huddled down at the base of a large ash tree where she ran her fingers over a blade of grass so it squeaked. How would she find his tower before dark? Her empty stomach rumbled.
Anger that he’d sent her out here evaporated with the need to find him again. There was no one else who could help her. The twilight shadows grew deeper, wrapping the woods in their embrace. Tiredness blurred her vision. Even if she hadn’t been lost, she’d have been afraid to go back without all the mushrooms he wanted.
The sun sank lower. The first white stars shone in the deepening night-shaded sky. She curled up, wrapped her arms around the basket, and waited for death.
By moonrise, still the wolves hadn’t come, but her fear continued to grow. Her breath shallow, she darted her glance to the trees, to the dark shadows between them, and back again.
If only he would come to find her, she would do anything, she’d be so grateful. A leaf brushed her cheek, so she looked up as she moved it away. If she climbed the ash tree, perhaps light from the tower might lead her back.
Hope warmed her. She swung up onto the lowest branch of the tall tree, gave the next bough a tug to make sure it would take her weight, then clambered up where she clung tight.
The morsel of hope grew as she searched in all directions, but it withered when she saw only more branches and leaves. She grasped the next branch above.
“What, may I ask, are you doing?”
Relief slid over her. Though he didn’t sound pleased, the Mage had come to find her. She swung down onto the first branch, but caught her lip at his frown. He reached up to yank her down into his arms.
“If I discover you have done this to plague me”—his nose loomed tip-to-tip with hers—“I will renege on my promise, and I will beat you soundly before I turn you into a sparrow.”
The sensation and safety of his arms took the spleen from his words. She didn’t care if he might beat her, as long as he took her back to the tower. “I got lost.”
“Hmm, did you? And my mushrooms?” He still held her. His mouth twitched in a half smile.
“I got some. They’re in the basket.”
To her surprise, he didn’t put her down, but strolled over, bent with her in his arms, picked the basket up, and hooked it onto his elbow. His brow wrinkled in obvious displeasure as the little mushrooms rolled around. She closed her eyes, praying they would double or treble in number. Sadly, they didn’t. She hoped he’d not beat her hard.
About the author
Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the historical, paranormal and fantasy genres. She is an obsessive writer and her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married with two grown up sons. She lives in a converted chapel in Shropshire, England. Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing and she occasionally makes a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.