Michelle Miles, Romance Author

In the Tower of the Wizard King #TuesdayTeaser 4

IntheToweroftheWizardKingAnother Tuesday, another Teaser! Here’s another little snippet from the book. Enjoy!

EXCERPT:

It was in that instant she understood why Cian didn’t know who she was. In the flickering half-light of the dank dungeon, she could see her reflection in a pool of water on the stone floor. Her face had been beat almost to beyond her own recognition. She had two black eyes. Her cheekbone was swollen, red, with a large gash down the center. Her bottom lip was also cut and swollen. She remembered Cian kicking her in Winnie’s chamber, but she did not recall such a brutal beating.

Had she been unconscious for that? She hoped so.

Cian grabbed a handful of hair and yanked her head up so she had no choice but to look at him.

“You call me a filthy liar when you’re the one who has been lying all along. I’m done playing with you. You refuse to give me the truth so you will give me your life instead.” He released her and stepped back. “Take her to the gallows. She hangs today.”

For Cian, it wasn’t enough she was beaten. Two of the guards hauled her to her feet and started for the open door. She reached for the silvery thread of magic that resided deep inside her, but she couldn’t find it. It was as though it had been snuffed out.

Panic set in. She had to find a way out of this mess but what could she do? She had been so dependent on her magic she had no idea how to fight back. If she only had been able to get the Tears of the Dryad, she could have made it out of this wretched place.

They took her up the stairs and paraded her through the castle. Along the way, they collected more spectators who followed them toward the courtyard where the gallows awaited. They bound her hands in front of her, the rope biting through her already raw wrists, and positioned her on the platform over the trapdoor. A guard behind her placed the noose around her neck.

Prince Cian stood in front of her, the crowd cheering behind him as he looked at her with triumph written all over his face. Several people threw rotten vegetables, rocks, and whatever else they could get their hands on. All Fiona could do was stand there and take it.

At last Cian lifted his hand for silence and a hush fell over the mob.

“This prisoner is a threat to the crown and a traitor. She is single-handedly responsible for the death of my beloved’s family.”

The crowd shouted obscenities as she released a snort of derision that was lost in the noise. Cian waited for them to quiet again.

“Those who defy the crown are given a fair trial. A trial that will determine their guilt. This prisoner refused to cooperate time and time again. She has been punished, as you can see by her face. But she will also die today for her sins—for killing and for her traitorous actions.”

As he spoke, Fiona scanned the crowd. The dirty faces of the commoners who lived within the castle’s domain, the guards who stood with stoic expressions on their faces, the nobility who looked at her with a mix of pity or amusement. And then she saw them. The couple moving along the back of the crowd, the man’s gaze fixed on Fiona. The girl standing behind him as though he were a shield. The girl with auburn hair and bright green eyes.

Hot tears clouded her vision and her eyes fluttered closed. Sean, by the gods, had come to find her. He must have the compass. She’d only just remembered the tracking tattoo on her shoulder. And Aoife—her daughter. Her beautiful, magical daughter who’s skin had a hint of a glow. Fiona knew then her magic had manifested.

Her eyes flew open and she pinpointed Sean with her gaze and then glanced between him and Aoife. If her daughter’s magic had manifested, then that could mean only one thing. The fight went out of her. At least she could leave this world knowing that Sean loved Aoife, that he would take care of her, that he would protect her.

Drums rolled, signaling her impending doom. She held her head up. If she had to die in front of her child, she would do it with dignity. She would die knowing she had failed in her quest to change history. And she would be glad of that.

She waited for her fateful drop with the noose around her neck, the beat of her heart matching the pounding of the execution drums. She kept her gaze on Sean and Aoife, wondering why they were there. Wondering if their appearance meant she would not die this day after all.

And then she had her answer. An explosion rocked the entire courtyard. The ground shook, the gallows vibrated and the next thing she knew she fell. The rope around her neck caught. She gasped as it choked her, her arms flailing. Her wrists still bound, she tried to pull the noose away from her throat.

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In the Tower of the Wizard King #TuesdayTeaser 3

IntheToweroftheWizardKingTime for another Tuesday Teaser! And this one happens to be one of my favorite parts of the book. All her life, Aoife has been forbidden to go into the attic. It was her mother’s sacred place and no one was allowed up there. But now, something strange calls to Aoife and she finds she cannot resist the pull.

 In the Age of Wizards, Time is a commodity more valuable than gold.

When Aoife (EE-fa) stumbles upon an antique trunk in the attic, it calls to her with an ancient magic. Inside she finds a stairway leading into darkness and cannot resist stepping onto that first stair. It leads her to dark truths her mother never wanted her to uncover and love so powerful she walks through time to save it.

EXCERPT:

She halted mid-reach, gasping for breath and shoving back against the wall. She couldn’t. She’d been forbidden her entire life to go into the attic. Her mother made that painfully clear. She was not allowed and neither was Sunnie.

So why then did she have the uncontrollable urge to pull down the attic stairs and go up?

Do it, Aoife. Go up into the attic.

The voice whispered inside her skull. She had no idea whose voice it was. She didn’t think it was her own. She was compelled to open the attic and take that first upward step.

So she did. With her heart pounding in her throat, she ascended and paused in the darkness listening to her ragged breathing. She stood on forbidden ground.

Now what?

The trunk.

Again that voice. She scanned the darkened room, only barely able to make out shapes. There were the holiday decorations on one side. An old desk on another. She headed for the desk.

The trunk. The trunk.

She pressed her palm against the side of her head and rubbed. She was hearing things.

The desk was coated in a thick layer of dust that had been disturbed not so long ago. There were several cubbies with papers sticking out of them in a chaotic and untidy way and two books that had finger and handprints left behind in the dust.

“Hidden Dimensions and Fae Time Travel,” she read aloud.

She picked up the second book, A Hypothesis of Fae Magic in Other Realms, and flipped through it. She understood none of it as it was written in a language she couldn’t comprehend. She dropped the book and reached for one of the scrolls when her fingers brushed one that felt different than paper. Curious, she pulled it out and untied the faded red ribbon, letting it roll open. Despite the flawless handwriting, the words were of a language she couldn’t understand. Except for the two words in English scrawled across the top.

“Eradication spell?”

She dropped the scroll and shoved it away as something dark gripped her. Like she’d touched something forbidden or evil.

With her heart pattering a quick beat, she reached for another scroll. The parchment fell open on the desk revealing a drawing of an ancient map. The ink had faded. When she peered at it closer she couldn’t make out the words, which were in the same language as the book. Something flowery with lots of squiggles and she had no idea what it said. A small compass was drawn in the lower left hand corner with north pointing to the right.

Aoife reached for a second piece of paper. It had been folded and looked as though it was a page that had been ripped out of a book. Again, the language was strange. Like nothing she’d ever seen before. As she stared at the faded ink, the words and letters re-arranged and morphed into words she could read.

A wizard of both Fae and Wizard blood will come into power and rule from a silver throne.

“A wizard of both Fae and Wizard blood…?” Her voice was quiet in the darkness.

Something behind her glowed. She dropped the paper and turned to see a symbol on the top of the trunk had lit up, like a beacon in the darkness.

The trunk. The trunk. The trunk.

It called to her. She was certain she had heard her name coming from it. In a fog, she walked toward it and dropped to her knees. It was an old steamer trunk. She had never seen it before in the house. Where did it come from? Was it her mother’s?

The glowing symbol on the top was an intricate Celtic knotwork circle with a sword through it. The light pulsed, beckoning her.

The trunk, Aoife.

“Yes,” she heard herself say. “The trunk. Of course.”

Her fingers brushed over the Celtic knotwork and suddenly the interior illuminated. Light pushed out around the lid. She gasped and opened it. When the blinding light faded, there in the trunk was a stone staircase leading down into darkness.

“What the heck…?”

Downstairs, she heard a door slam and then Sean’s voice. “Aoife? Are you here?”

Step into the trunk, Aoife.

“Yes, I must.”

She stood and stepped onto the first stone step. Her racing heart thumped a wild beat and the next thing she knew she was on the second step. Then the third.

“Aoife, wait!”

Glancing up, Sean appeared at the top of the attic stairs. She sucked in a sharp breath, grasped the lid and slammed it closed above her head. She was instantly plunged into total darkness and hunched down on the step, waiting for Sean to open the lid and come after her. She heard nothing. No sounds above.

Panic seized her. She reached above and her hand brushed against smooth, cool stone. She pushed and pushed and pushed but the stone would not give. She flattened her trembling hands against where she thought the lid was but again met cold stone instead of smooth wood. The lid had disappeared. Where did it go?

A cold tingling sensation went through her as she realized she was trapped. Gasping for air, she banged the side of her hand against the stone until it hurt, shouting Sean’s name as hot tears stung her eyes. Her voice bounced off the stone walls around her, echoing through the shadows. It was useless. He couldn’t hear her. Sean didn’t follow her because Sean couldn’t follow her. She was trapped.

There was no going back and there was no way she could get out. Her only option was to go down. With her pulse racing, she descended into the shadows.

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Christmas in August

Charming SantaIt’s August. That means it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.

What? You don’t think about Christmas in August? 😉

One of my favorite things to do when I’m not reading or writing is cross-stitch. And I’ve discovered I love these little projects because I have a short attention span (ask my husband) and I can get them done quickly. AND I can see progress right away. I like progress.

Back in July, the place I love to order from, www.123stitch.com, was having a sale on their Christmas stuff so I bought six of the Santa faces kits. I discovered these last year. I loved making it and decided I really wanted to make the whole series.

They’re fun. As you can see, they have lots and lots of beads. I lost count of how many times I stabbed myself, how many beads I dropped and lost. Luckily, I didn’t have to take out any stitches on this one and have a do-over. I managed to get this one down without any mistakes.

Isn’t he cute? I adore it. I’ve finished this one and started on the second one. By the time I’m done, I’ll have a set of six. I can’t wait to see them all done! And then I just might buy more and do them all over again. 🙂

The Accolade and God Speed

Accolade_by_Edmund_Blair_Leighton

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I’ve been at my current Day Job for a little over two years. Since I started, I left all the décor on the walls and hadn’t really personalized my office much. What can I say? I’ve been burned enough to know that sometimes you just don’t get settled.

But things are going well and the boss seems to really like me so I figured I’m as good as there until I die. Works for me.

Anyway.

I finally brought something for the walls. I chose my posters “The Accolade” and “God Speed” both by Edmund Blair Leighton to hang on the wall over my desk. It makes me happy when I look up and see the knight and the lady. I’ve had some people come by and comment on them.

So the following week, I got a little bold and decided Aragorn (movie poster from Return of the King) needed to go to work with me too. I mean, he’s just sitting in the closet doing nothing. And since I have no place to hang him up at home, why not? I spent hours obsessing over the frame and making sure it looked good. I didn’t want to poke holes in the wall so I got some of those command strips with a hook thinking that would work just fine.

WRONG.

I prepped the wall and measured and everything. I hung up the poster. The frame is big – 27×40. It lasted all of ten minutes before it crashed to the floor. It landed on a corner, so it busted the plexiglass. I was so sad.

At least the poster wasn’t damaged.

I am not to be defeated though. I ordered a new poster frame from Amazon and had it shipped to the office. Aragorn will happily reside on my wall. I swear it will be done.

In the Tower of the Wizard King #Tuesday Teaser 2

IntheToweroftheWizardKingToday’s Tuesday Teaser is another snippet from Wizard King. We’re getting closer to release day and I couldn’t be more excited. You can preorder now at one of the links below.

EXCERPT:

In the Land of Faery Past

“’Tis your wedding day, milady!”

The high-pitched exclamation from Lady Fiona’s handmaiden echoed off the stone walls. Thank the gods for the tapestries to absorb the banshee’s shriek. Fiona pressed two fingers against her temple and rubbed at the headache forming. She hadn’t yet managed to get out of bed but she knew the servants had been coming and going since before dawn.

Aye, indeed it was her wedding day. A day she had long been prepared for since she was but a girl. At age six, she was betrothed to the young prince, Cian, heir to the throne of Anatolia. She’d first met the prince on her ninth birthday, which her parents’ thought was the perfect gift. Fiona wanted a pony or a unicorn. Even a dragon would be a better gift than a stupid boy.

Winnie shoved back the bed curtains letting the bright morning light burst inside Fiona’s cocoon. The girl had opened every window covering to allow the sunbeams to slash across the floor. Fiona had to shield her eyes and blink back the sudden tears from the brilliance.

“’Tis no time for a lie in, my lady. We have to get you dressed and ready!”

The girl pulled back the coverlet and Fiona groaned. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to go to Lambridge Castle, the Anatolia royal family home. Cian was likeable in an unassuming sort of way. She liked him. He liked her.

But there had to be more to life than being someone’s wife, even if she would be queen someday. There had to be passion and fire and intensity and…and…something more. She wanted adventure, not marriage to a boring prince. Mayhap that was other girls’ dreams, but it wasn’t hers.

She threw her arm across her eyes to shield them from the morning glare but Winnie was relentless.

“Come on, now.” She pulled at her wrist, trying to force her to get up. “We have to get you in the bath.”

Fiona groaned her reluctance. She was about to tell the girl to piss off—a most unladylike phrase—when the door to her chamber banged open. A rustle of skirts immediately followed and she knew she was in deep trouble. Fiona bolted upright as her mother came striding in, her cobalt silk and taffeta skirts swishing about her and her constant entourage following her. She halted near the bed, fists on hips.

“You’re still abed? You lazy, good for nothing girl. Get up. Get up now.”

Fiona was out of the sheets as fast as she could move and hustling across the bedchamber to her waiting bath. Her mother barked orders to everyone else to get Fiona packed and ready for her wedding. The wedding gown had been specially made with layers of beautiful Anatolian lace over a supple silk material that hugged her every curve.

While Fiona was in the bath getting her hair washed, her mother trotted over and perched on the edge. She looked over Fiona’s naked body with a critical eye.

“You’ve been at the lemon cakes again, haven’t you?”

“No, Mother,” Fiona said.

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