Welcome back, C.A. Szarek! We're delighted to have you back with us. Some of our readers want to hear about your fantasy romance book "Sword's Call", Book One in the King's Riders Series.
Opening of book:
Heart pounding and fists clenched, Cera sat in the Dragon’s Lair’s darkest corner. By choice, the candle on the table was unlit. The bowl of stew half eaten, food the last thing on her mind. The door to the tavern swung open. Her white wolf growled low and deep beside her. Cera glanced up, squinting in the sudden flood of sunlight. As the door slammed shut and her eyes adjusted to the renewed murkiness, she took in the newest arrival. Then she focused on Trikser. She couldn’t have him going for anyone’s throat.
“Shhh, Trik, it’s okay.” She ran a hand through his fur, smoothing his hackles along the length of his spine. The big wolf looked up at her and licked her hand. One corner of her mouth lifted and she bit back a sigh.
The only reason the owner of the tavern, Marshek even let him in was because no one else was allowed to enter the Dragon’s Lair if she was inside without him. No one according to Trikser, that is. He’d almost taken the hand off the last guy who’d tried.
“What’ll ya have?” Marshek barked, revealing his instant dislike of the newcomer.
She fixed her eyes on the bartender. Then she took a closer look at the man sitting in front of him. His pointed ears betrayed his heritage, but his height suggested he was not of pure blood.
Marshek was known to be tolerant of elves but he hated what he called half-breeds. Cera could imagine what the grumpy, middle-aged tavern owner was thinking, and it wasn’t friendly.
She rose, Trikser also immediately rising, awaiting her move. The white wolf was her bondmate and had been since he was young.
Relax, she thought-sent. Trik sat, but his body was tight, tense. He didn’t respond to her mental order. Moving to the bar, her wolf followed, slinking close to the floor, moving in a slight crawl. His belly probably touched the filthy planked flooring of the tavern.
Cera made a face but forced a breath. Detached control. Sliding onto the stool next to the half-elfin man, she was just in time to hear his order. His voice was clear and deep.
Marshek filled a mug with ale and started to put the jug in its place on the shelf.
“Wait, Mar,” she said with a wave of her hand, “I’ll have some of that, too.”
With a curt nod, the older man poured her a mug. She brought it to her lips, glancing nonchalantly at the stranger. His coal black hair brushed the collar of his hooded gray cape, giving him a rather unkempt look, but rugged rather than messy.
Cera couldn’t see the hue of his eyes from her seat but his high cheekbones made his profile appealing, his sleek tapered ears adding to the attraction. His powerful jaw line was clean shaven, an oddity in these parts. She could tell he was aware of her perusal. He was young, not much older than her, and had the stunning beauty of the elves.
His chest heaved as if he’d taken a breath, and he finally glanced at her. Blue. His eyes were a deep, sapphire blue. Her heart skipped a beat but she ignored it. The man said nothing, not that she’d expected him to.
“Tell me about it,” Jorrin encouraged.
“I pictured our magic as a rope and wrapped it around us. I stepped into him, making us one. I concentrated and I saw you. But then I saw me, too. My eyes were closed, and I felt like I was sitting beside myself. It was…unsettling, at first. But then Trik must have moved his head, because I saw into the woods…he turned, right?”
He grinned at her. “Yes, he did. You did do it.”
“His eyesight is so sharp. It was a wonder to see.” Their eyes locked and held. Air ruffled her hair, causing gooseflesh to rise on her neck as a substantial breeze kicked up.
Trikser made a noise in his throat but she ignored him.
Jorrin looked so wild and beautiful with the wind in his dark hair, his high cheekbones flushed with color to the tips of his slender tapered ears. Her heart skipped as his blue eyes darkened and she read intense heat there.
Last night he’d been in her dreams. Try as she might, Cera could no longer deny that she was attracted to him. That she’d liked that kiss he stole what seemed ages ago.
Would he kiss her again? Heat crept up her neck and burned her cheeks.
The way he was looking at her right then made her lose her train of thought and her worries.
“Tell Trikser to move.”
“What?” But Cera already sent the mental command. Her bond slipped off her lap with little encouragement. He’d caught sight of a rabbit, and took off after it.
Jorrin grabbed her hand and tugged forward. She fell onto his lap, moving to him instead of away, ignoring mental cautions that this wasn’t a good idea, despite her dreams, her admitted attraction.
Their lips met in heated rushed. Cera’s arms shot around his neck and she pressed closer. His body was hard against hers and a tremor shot down her spine.
Her breasts pressed into his chest as he pinned her against him. Jorrin shoved his tongue into her mouth and groaned. She clung to him, moving her mouth under his
When she touched her tongue to his, he moaned, his hands shooting down to cup her bottom.
Cera wiggled in his arms as an unfamiliar warmth enveloped her like an embrace. Jorrin’s erection pressed into her hip and she clutched his tunic with both hands.
When he kissed her harder, her head spun. Feeling his urgency, confusion rushed her. She moaned, fighting the sensation of his warmth, his strength as he squeezed her against him. Her desire for more. Her desire for him. She couldn’t lose control.
Yanking back, she panted against him.
Jorrin’s chest heaved into her breasts as they both struggled for breath. “What’s wrong?” he croaked.
For generations, the Ryhans, ruling family of the Province of Greenwald have been keepers of a sword rumored to possess enough magic to defeat kings. Lord Varthan, a former archduke and betrayer of the king, covets the sword and invades Greenwald.
Lady Ceralda Ryhan, daughter of the murdered duke, gains the sword and flees, trusting only her white wolf, Trikser—magically bonded to her. Cera needs nothing more to aid in her fight.
Jorrin Aldern, half elfin and half human, left his home in the mountains of Aramour to find his human father who disappeared twenty turns before, but finds Cera with Varthan and his shades on her tail instead. His dual heritage and empathic magic will tempt Cera in ways she never thought she’d desire. But can he convince her trust and love can pave the path to redemption or will the epic battle end in tragedy and evil conquer them all?
COMING SOON!!!! Love's Call, Book Two in The King's Riders Series