I’m so excited. The final book in the Realm of Honor series, Her Fierce Knight, will be released August 28, 2014! So mark your calendars for release week because I’ll have all kinds of fun stuff happening here on the blog and over on Facebook.
To celebrate, here are the opening lines from the book. Enjoy!
Princess Laerwen emer’Aranhil Bloodfire stood on the dormant volcano and looked down into the ruin that was once her kingdom. Her gut clenched into a tight knot. The charred black earth still smoked from the recent fires. It still smelled of death. Homes had been burned to the ground. Some had stood centuries including that of the royal palace.
She had climbed this mountain numerous times as a child. She knew every handhold. Every foothold. Every nook and cranny. When things had gone to hell, the safest place for her—she knew—was here on the mountain. She’d paused halfway up to turn and watch the horror play out in front of her. Helpless, all she could do was wait for the sun to come up.
Now it had. The burning dawn revealed the loss of life and devastation.
Looking at the destruction below, one would expect such a result from a volcanic eruption. But the Hin’Dar Rhule had not exploded in thousands of years. This destruction was not from the lava that had once flowed. This was from the bloody Fomorians, a race they thought long imprisoned in the Sorrow Lands.
Laerwen wore the voluminous skirt and blouse, both bejeweled with shimmering stones against the red and green silken material, that she’d worn to the previous night’s ball. The matching sari was tossed over her shoulder, though she’d lost her veil somewhere in the fray. Glancing down at her attire, she seemed rather out of place in the aftermath of the attack. She jerked off the jewels on her head and flung them to the ground.
Hiram, her father’s advisor, trudged up the hill with a slow careful pace. He wasn’t as agile as he used to be and she was surprised he’d found her. His long cobalt tunic was smeared with a black streak of blood. The knees of his trousers had a mixture of blood and mud, as though he had knelt by someone’s side who might have been dying. His black hair stood in tufts about his dirt-smudged face. It was clear he had been running his long fingers through the thick locks over and over. Worry lines wrinkled his brow and around his mouth. Seeing it etched on his face so prominently did nothing for her nerves.
He paused next to her, his chest heaving as he tried to catch his breath. They stood together to survey their ruined realm. He emitted a little gasp of horror and she knew it was the first he’d seen it from this vantage point. It looked far worse from this distance than on the ground in the midst of it. Tension emanated off him in waves. Tension and distress and sorrow.
“So many lost.” He whispered the words, but she still heard.
“Aye.” It was the only response she could force past the lump in her throat. She swallowed it hard, regaining her composure. “How did you find me?”
“Every Fire Elf knows this is your favorite place when you want solitude.”
And here she thought it to be her secret place.