Phoenix Fire Now Available!
Hey gang! Before I get started today, check out my post over at The Blue Rose Blog talking about Phoenix more in-depth!
This book literally came to me in a dream. I woke up one morning with a specific image of a girl–a fighter–who had to fight her lover to the death in the Grand Arena. I knew this book had to be written and I had to hurry up and do it. The problem was, at the time, I was working on something else.
Instead, I wrote a ten page synopsis. It was fairly detailed. By the time I got around to writing the book, I didn’t really stick that close to the synopsis. Which is okay. The book still came out the way I wanted. It’s a gritty story of a girl who just wants to be free of the evil Empire and a man who wants his life back. It’s mostly fantasy with lots of sex and violence thrown in for good measure. 😉
Kill, or be killed.
Elena Gaius is Hixyl’s most heralded gladiatrix, catching the Emperor’s eye with her unspoiled beauty and fiery temper. Determined to let no man have her, he forces her into a life of unwanted accolades—for slaughter in the Games. With independence out of reach, Elena knows each day could be her last.
Cassius Antonius is a former general hired by an underground secret order to assassinate the Emperor. When he refuses, they take away the only thing precious to him—his freedom. Forced into servitude, he meets Elena and manipulates her into helping him, forming a shaky alliance and a searing romance.
The two become unwitting pawns in the struggle to save Hixyl from the Emperor’s tyranny. But plans spin out of control with the discovery of their secret tryst, and for their ultimate act of betrayal, the Emperor demands one last entertainment—to be pitted against each other in the Games in a fight to the death.
Want to read an excerpt? Sure you do.
Elena lunged, plunging her sword between ribs, right into the heart. The crowd cheered as the Youngling fell back and Elena reclaimed her sword, now dripping with blood.
The female centaur’s death had been a silent one, but her face had said it all.
It was the faces Elena remembered. Always the eyes widening with surprise. The brow creasing from several lines to none before the light diminished. The tense muscles releasing as life ebbed.
After participating in the Games for years, Elena could no longer smell the familiar reek of blood and death and rot. She could no longer hear the death noises of men and beasts slaughtering each other. The screams of defiance. The splish of blood against sword. Being inside the arena was like home—and hell.
“Elena, look out!”
Heart pounding, she whirled in time to block the sword. Holding it two-handed, her muscles contracted to ward off the attack. Fatigue had slowed her reaction, turning her limbs into sweat-soaked noodles. The seedy-looking fellow grinned, showing off decaying yellow stumps of teeth.
Their swords clashed and he threw all his weight behind his, pushing her backward. Energy failing, she stumbled, giving him enough opportunity for his stumpy fingers to latch onto her throat and squeeze.
Marcus—the Serpent—had given her the warning and now came to her aid. He stabbed the man in the back of the neck, severing his spine. The man dropped like a lump in the dirt to the boisterous cheers of the crowd. Her chest heaving, she gave a nod of thanks to her fellow fighter.
They were the only two left standing. Elena didn’t want to see who had been lost to death today and who had been merely wounded.
Instead, she turned toward the stands, waiting as the Emperor rose from his cushion. He stood at the railing for all to see as he stuck out his arm, his hand fisted. When he gave both standing gladiators a thumbs-up, the crowd cheered louder. Some threw roses and streamers to show their appreciation and adoration to the gladiators.
Accolades for slaughter.