#NewRelease BLOOD BOND by Susan Leigh Noble

Today, I am releasing my fifth full-length novel – Blood Bond. If you like fantasy, dragons, or just a good book, I recommend you check it out for just $2.99.

It is available exclusively on Amazon.

(Don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can still read Blood Bond. Simply download the Kindle for PC or Kindle for MAC software for free.)

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

Chapter One

Branches tore at his face and arms. Soren’s feet quickly crossed the uneven ground as he ran with his arm outstretched to ward off the blows of the forest underbrush. He could hear the deep voice of one of the men chasing him and the sharp bark of a dog. He didn’t dare slow down as he tried to get his mind to focus. It was hard. His mind felt as if it was in a dense sludge.

He fought to recall what had happened. Soft warm skin came to mind. His lips had traveled over the smooth white skin. The woman’s breath had been hard and fast. He recalled her hand running through his hair, but her face eluded his memory.

Slowly, images of last night drifted through his mind. He lay beside her as his eyes slid closed. He felt warm and content as sleep overcame him. A loud banging at the door jolted him awake. His mind still befuddled with sleep and the effects of the ale from the previous evening, he leapt from the bed. As he rushed to get dressed, the woman bolted for the door. She leaned against it, shrieking for him to hurry. Still her face eluded his memory, though he supposed, it didn’t matter. He would never see her again anyway.

He had been halfway out the window when the door swung open. A huge man roared through it. His eyes bulged as he stormed forward.

The loud voices behind Soren brought his mind back to the present as he ducked under a branch. His head felt ready to explode. He wondered briefly how many men chased him and how far they would take it. Usually once he was out of sight, he was safe. But that point had already come and gone, and this group was still on his trail.

He burst out of the forest, skidding to a stop a foot from the gorge’s edge. He eyed the Thane River flowing forty feet below before glancing to the other side. It was easily a hundred feet away. A crashing sound caused him to swing around. A large black dog barreled toward him. It stopped a few feet away. With his ears laid back, the dog growled. Drool dripped from its sharp teeth.

Soren took a step backwards. He heard pebbles fall and glanced back. His stomach tightened as he stared down the sheer drop. Suddenly, the ground crumbled. He gasped as it gave way. Frantically, he grabbed the cliff side as the dog lurched forward. He let go of the edge, sliding down the almost vertical incline. Rocks dug into his hands as he sought something to grab. He spotted a small tree growing on a thin ledge. Soren grabbed it, holding on for dear life. His feet dangled as the tree bowed under his weight.

Crack!

It snapped. He fell a few feet before pain exploded in his back as he hit another small tree. He twisted, grabbing it. He hung there for a moment as the rough bark dug into his hands. He swung his leg over a branch and pulled himself up until he straddled it.

“Where is he?” a deep growl came from above.

Soren inched closer to the cliff wall, thankful an indention near the tree’s base would provide him cover from the prying eyes of those above.

“Good boy, Bruno,” another voice said, and the dog stopped growling. “I bet he didn’t know the cliff was here and couldn’t stop.” The man’s voice got louder as he neared the cliff’s edge. “Look. Part of the edge has crumbled.”

“I won’t rest until I see his dead body,” the deep voiced declared.

“He couldn’t have survived the fall.”

Soren breathed a sigh of relief as the man with the deep voice was persuaded to return home and not waste their time patrolling the river bank. After a few minutes, when he was sure they would have retreated into the forest, he inched out on the branch and eyed the side of the cliff. He scanned for a way to climb it but didn’t see any hand or foot holds. His gaze fell to the turbulent water below. His hands tightened around the branch.

He heard a whooshing sound as something grabbed his shoulders and yanked him upward. Splinters dug into his hands as he tried to hold on to the branch. The force was too strong, and he was ripped from the tree. He dangled twenty feet above the rushing river. Twisting, he caught sight of a large red wing. He looked up. His eyes widened as took in the golden and red scales of the long neck and the triangular underside of the beast’s head. His mind whirled as his mouth dropped open. A dragon. It couldn’t be. He blinked. But what else could it be? He shook his head. What was a dragon doing this far from the mountains? The beast tilted its wings, gliding lower and closer to the river. Soren squirmed. He pulled at the dragon’s large claws to no avail.

Dragons don’t eat humans, he frantically reassured himself. Or at least not as far as he recalled. But with his pounding head, he could barely recall his own name let alone what history he had learned about dragons.

The claws released him. He fell onto the gravelly river bank. Tiny rocks ground into his hands and knees as the creature landed before him. Scrambling to his feet, Soren reached for his dagger only to remember he had lost the blade in a card game a few days ago. He turned to the dragon. The creature towered over him. Soren estimated it was three times as tall as he was as he craned his neck upwards to see the beast’s narrow face. Red scales gleamed in the sun as the dragon tucked its huge wings to its side. Its underbelly was golden. The dragon sat back on its hind legs and wrapped its long tail around its front legs as it regarded Soren.

He stepped back, water sloshing into his boot as he entered the river.

The dragon leaned closer. Its head was slim and nearly the size of Soren’s body. Large golden eyes stared into Soren’s as the dragon sniffed him. Its mouth fell open slightly, showing off rows of sharp teeth. Soren scrambled backwards. He tripped over a rock, falling into the river as the dragon leapt forward with more speed than Soren thought possible for a creature so large. The creature’s claws wrapped around his shoulders, and the beast took off, dragging Soren backwards. The beast flew low over the river, dunking Soren into the cold water. Sputtering, he tried to keep his head clear, but it didn’t work. Water rushed over his face and into his mouth. He coughed and gasped for breath as he was lifted out of the water. The next thing he knew he was back on the shore, a few feet from the river. He lay there, coughing. He saw something red sticking out of the sole of his boot. Reaching down, he pulled it free. It was a scale from the dragon. He clutched it as he stared at the beast. The dragon crouched down, putting his muzzle to Soren’s chest. It breathed in, ruffling his clothes.

“Better but not much.”

The voice reverberated inside Soren’s head. He scurried backwards. “W…what? Was that you?”

His mind whirled. What was the dragon doing here? And had it really just spoken to him? Wait. Could dragons even speak? He pushed that question aside. He was sure the voice had to belong to the creature, but he couldn’t concentrate. His head felt ready to split open. He pressed one hand to his forehead, regretting last night’s drinking binge.

With his other hand, he fingered the scale. Glancing up, he saw the dragon watching him with its mouth slightly open. Soren shook as he gaped at the sharp teeth. He had no desire to be anyone’s meal. He scrambled to his feet, wishing he had his dagger. He eyed the forest a good twenty paces from the river. And the dragon lay between him and his freedom. Soren decided to chance it and ran for the trees. He barely made it a few feet when the dragon slammed its tail on the ground before him.

“That’s not nice after I rescued you.”

“Rescued me?” Soren turned, his mouth gaping open. “What? You tried to drown me.”

The dragon reared back slightly, exposing the lighter golden scales of his underside. “You were dangling from that tree. I saved you.”

“And nearly drowned me in the river.”

“You stank.”

“What?”

“I didn’t mutter. You stank. Still do. Maybe all humans smell this bad.”

Soren lifted his shirt and took a whiff. The stench of his clothes turned his stomach. The dragon was right. Then the absurdity of the situation hit him. He couldn’t be here talking to a dragon. Dragons never came this far south. They stayed in their home in the northern mountains. He recalled the time he and his brother had set off to see them. Two days into the trip they had decided to return home but not before spotting the flying creatures in the distance. He recalled staring at them in awe.

The dragons had been banished before his birth. He had never known one to come this far south or to interact with any human since their banishment fifty years ago. And, he reminded himself, they didn’t eat humans. They had at one time been an ally. He felt a little braver and a bit more curious.

“How is it you can talk to me?”

“Dragons speak to whoever they chose. You don’t have to speak aloud. Just concentrate and you can send your thoughts to me.”

“You can read my mind?”

“No. It isn’t so much knowing what you are thinking as it is communicating silently. I am sorry. I am not explaining it right. Give it a try.”

“No.”

“It is easy.”

“I don’t want to try. I want to go home.” He slipped the scale in his pocket and walked around the dragon’s tail. “Thank you for saving me from the tree,” he said over his shoulder.

“Wait. You must help me.”

Soren stopped, turning to face the dragon. “What do you mean help you?”

The dragon huffed. “I am not handling this well.” The beast flipped his tail to the other side of Soren and used it to pull him closer. “My name is Reddex. You may call me Dex. And you are?”

“Ready to go home.”

The dragon’s golden eyes bore into him. The creature lowered his head until it was even with Soren’s. His warm breath ruffled Soren’s hair. He tried to step back. The dragon’s tail blocked his movement. He sighed.

“Soren. Soren Blackfist.”

“An army from the south invades Walencroft. We must alert the King.”

“No one would dare to attack the Northern Alliance.” He shook his head, unable to believe someone would attack Walencroft or either of the two neighboring countries. It had been over fifty years, right around the time when the Kings severed relations with the dragons, that there had even been a war.

“I saw this army myself.”

Soren shook his head, instantly regretting the movement as his head pounded. “King Bristol wouldn’t do that.”

“I don’t think it is Bristol of Sholar. Whoever it is has Southern dragons with them.”

“What?” Soren paced away before turning back to face Dex. “This makes no sense.” He glanced at the forest. If he moved quick enough, he might be able to use the trees to help him escape. “You saw dragons with this army?”

“Southern dragons. They attacked my squad, killing them all. I was lucky to escape and report back to Warnox. He bid me to tell your King, but you know a dragon cannot land safely at the palace.”

Soren nodded, his mind only half on what the dragon said. He took another step backward toward the forest. “And who is Warnox?”

“He is our leader.”

“This is crazy. I can’t help you.”

As the dragon settled back on his haunches, he looked briefly to the river as Soren supposed he was composing his argument for Soren’s help in his head. Soren took this momentary distraction and bolted for the forest. He held out his hand, protecting his face from the sting of the branches.

“Wait!”

Soren heard the snapping of branches behind him. He didn’t dare look back. The ground shook, and he imagined the dragon shoving his way into the forest. But he had to believe the thick trees would protect him and sure enough the crashing sounds stopped. Soren ran a little farther before stopping. He bent over, pressing his hand to his throbbing head. His mind reeled. The whole thing seemed surreal. All he wanted to do was forget everything that happened today. He knew just what to do. An hour later, he pushed open the pub’s door.

***

The dish crashed to the floor, shattering into four pieces. Soren cursed softly. That noise was sure to wake his brother. Stumbling, he made it out of the kitchen and to the stairs. His foot missed the second step, and he fell forward, whacking his knee hard on the step. He muttered a couple choice words.

He hadn’t meant to be out so late. But it had taken more than a few mugs of ale to rid him of the memory of the red dragon. And now through his muddled thoughts, he wondered if any of it had even been real.

“Soren?” The hushed voice of his brother came from the hallway above.

He shielded his eyes as the light from Jerrick’s lantern cut into them.

“You haven’t been home in two days,” his brother said as Soren climbed the last few stairs. “Ugh. You stink. I don’t need to ask what you have been doing.”

“Flying,” Soren said.

“Really?” Jerrick asked without any true curiosity.

He guided Soren up the remaining stairs and into his room. He led him to his bed. Soren tumbled onto it.

“I was.” It seemed important for Jerrick to believe him. “I was flying with a dragon.”

Jerrick sighed. “You can’t keep doing this, Soren. You haven’t shown been to the smithy in two days. I am sure Master Smith Ferin will dismiss you.” He shook his head. “I can’t keep finding you jobs if you refuse to work.”

Soren wanted to reply but sleep pulled at him. He mumbled something about the dragon as sleep over took him. It was a restlessly sleep. His dream was filled with the wind upon his face and his feet dangling above the river.

The next morning, the bright sunlight woke him. He sat up, his hands swiftly clutching his head as it reeled from the sudden movement. His eyes focused on the bucket on the table by the door. A bar of soap and a cloth lay beside it. Dimly he recalled his brother saying something about him stinking or had someone else told him that?

Moving slowly, he rose. He shed his clothes and used the tepid water and soap to clean his face and arms before running the damp cloth over the rest of him. He pulled on clean clothes, and with a glance out the window decided he should head to the smithy. He was half-way down the stairs when he heard Lyla, his brother’s wife, in the kitchen below.

“No, I mean it this time.”

Soren couldn’t hear Jerrick’s low reply. He crept closer.

“I know he is your brother, but you can’t, no, we can’t keep doing this. With the baby coming, we will need the room and…”

Soren’s mind reeled. Lyla was pregnant. He should be happy for his brother but couldn’t muster any excitement.

“I don’t trust him,” Lyla continued. “He is out half the time drinking and the other half sleeping it off. He stumbles in at all hours, can’t keep a job. I don’t want him around our child, not like that.”

“Lyla, Soren…you know how hard his life has been since Addie died.”

She sighed. “You are a good man, Jerrick, but you can’t make excuses for him forever. One day, he needs to grow up. Both of you can’t keep using Addie as an excuse.”

Soren crept down the stairs. Instead of using the back door that would take him by Jerrick and Lyla, he stumbled out the front door and onto the cobblestone street. His eyes traveled over the nearby houses lining the narrow road. Clean. Neat. Perfect for families. He didn’t belong here.

The thought of family caused Lyla’s last words to echo in his mind. Her mention of Addie brought the image of her face, so happy and eager, to the forefront of his mind. He pushed away those thoughts, but the image of her bright brown eyes didn’t fade.

With a glance at the sky, he realized the sun was higher than he originally thought. He was late. Again. His feet turned toward the path that led from his village to the city of Ballinger. He covered the distance to the city without even thinking. He barely noticed as the city guard half-heartedly waved at him as he entered the city gates and headed to the royal stables.

As he pushed open the stable door, the smell of hay and manure washed over him. A long row of stalls ran the length of the stable. The first few doors were open, and he knew the horses had been moved outside for grooming. He cut across the paddock to the smithy.

The loud clang of the blacksmiths working made his head hurt. He slipped into the darkened area, his eyes immediately checking the piles of wood and coal the blacksmiths and their apprentices used on the fires. Deciding the piles were significantly stocked, he went to his worktable. He picked up a dagger he had been working on last.

“Soren!” Ferin, the head blacksmith, hurried toward him. “You’re late! Again.”

“I’m sorry, Master Smith,” he began, holding up one hand as if to ward off the blacksmith.

“No. No excuses. You are done.”

Soren put down the dagger. “Master Smith, I need this job. Jerrick will kill me if I lose it.”

“Then start praying to the Gods. It is because of Jerrick, I hired you. Let him find someone else willing to take you.”

The way he spat out the last word, Soren had no problem understanding Ferin didn’t think anyone would be willing to offer him a job. He glanced at his worktable. He didn’t dare take anything with the Master Smith standing beside him. The blacksmith’s apprentices had stopped working and now watched as he left. He stood in the street for a moment wondering what to do. He couldn’t go home. Losing this latest job would only prove Lyla correct. He was a louse and needed to be away from their precious family. He couldn’t face her or Jerrick right now.

Without another thought, he ambled into the closest tavern. It was nearly deserted except for a few royal guards having a drink after the night shift. He leaned against the bar, pulling out a coin from his pocket. Setting it on the counter, he ordered an ale. The grizzled old man behind the bar grunted as he dipped a mug into the open barrel.

“Little early even for you.” He banged down the mug. The contents sloshed, almost spilling.

“Careful!” Soren lifted the mug and gulped the warm ale.

He heard the door behind him open and close.

The old man frowned. “Nina, I told you not to come here anymore.”

Soren swung around to face the door. Nina wore a low-cut dress that hugged her ample curves. Her blonde hair was pulled away from her face. Her half-hearted smile didn’t reach her blue eyes.

“I’m not working, Milton.” Her eyes settled on Soren. “I was on my way to the market and thought I saw you come in.”

He lifted his mug in greeting and took a sip. “Nina,” he said as his eyes traveled over her body. “You are looking as fine as ever.”

She crossed the room, her hips swaying seductively. She leaned a hip against the bar. “I thought you might be interested in having a little fun.” She ran her finger down his forearm. “And I’m bored.” She grabbed his hand, squeezing it. “For old time’s sake.”

His eyes traveled from her bosom to her soft lips. Even after all these years he could remember the first time he kissed them. He and Nina had been thirteen. It was his first kiss. Two years later, he would lose his virginity to her. Their hot, passionate relationship had died after two months but still on occasion they would take a tumble for old time’s sake as Nina called it.

She leaned forward, her hand slipping to his inner thigh. His body tightened. He never liked Nina’s chosen line of work. But at the moment, he didn’t care. He wanted to forget about facing Jerrick for a while, and he knew Nina could accomplish that. He grabbed her hand and led her out of the tavern.

Click here buy and read the rest…

 

 

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BLOOD BOND now available for Pre-order #NewRelease #fantasy

In just one week, my latest fantasy novel will be released. If you want to be one of the first to own a copy, pre-order the book today!

Available exclusively on Amazon. (Don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can still read Blood Bond. Simply download the Kindle for PC or Kindle for MAC software for free.)

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

BUY your copy TODAY!

 

 

Today’s Featured Author – Susan Leigh Noble

Today, I am featuring myself as my featured author. I have done this in the past when I have had an author flake out and not turn in their author interview or book excerpt. This time that isn’t the case. I just failed to fill this spot, but don’t worry, I have the rest of July filled up. August isn’t so lucky so if you are an author (self published or traditionally published, any genre) and would like to be featured on my blog in August or beyond, I urge you to contact me.

Typically when I have been the Featured Author, I have done book excerpts but today I have decided to answer some of my author interview questions. If you would like to take a look at my books, click here to find links to book excerpts from all four of my full-length novels and my short story.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I wear many hats. I am a blogger on this website where I post four times a week. I am a fantasy author with four full-length novel and a short story published. I am currently working on another fantasy full-length novel due out in 2018.

I am a mother to two children – Lexie and Jase. I am an officer on the Parent-Teacher Associations for both their schools. I am also a wife and animal wrangler (we have 3 cats and 2 dogs). My husband and I have been married for twenty-two years. I do the bookkeeping for his small law firm. I am sure I am forgetting something else that I do but as you can see, I am one busy lady!

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Maine. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around quite a bit until I was twelve when we settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I attended high school and college in New Mexico before marrying my husband and moving to Texas. We have lived in Lubbock, Brownsville and finally now San Antonio where we have lived for the past fifteen years. I feel pretty confident that we will be calling San Antonio home for many, many more years.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

As you can see from above, I certainly am not a full-time author. I am busy so I have to squeeze in writing when I can. That might mean I spend an hour (or just a few minutes) here or there. It means sometimes I am writing at home and sometimes I am using my iPad while I am taking the kids to their activities.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I typically do what is called headlight outlining. That is where you plan out a few moves ahead at a time. This allows for greater flexibility than outlining the whole novel but doesn’t leave me directionless. It saves me from staring at a blank page and also cuts down on rewriting in subsequent drafts which can happen if you write without planning.

Why did you choose to write fantasy novels?

I love magic and dragons so it just seemed natural to pick a genre that incorporates those two elements.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Yes, I have just completed the first draft of my next book Blood Bond. It is a story about a man (Soren) whose life changes drastically when he meets a dragon (Dex) and becomes “linked” to him. I came up with the idea for the book because I like dragons. In fact, all of my books so far have contained a dragon. The dragons were really a big part of The Elemental trilogy, and I wanted to write another book where dragons played a crucial part of the story. In this one, man and dragon have broken off all communication until an approaching army threatens both which forces them to work together again.

Please tell us about your current release.

My last release, The Heir to Alexandria, begins with Alista, a young woman searching for her parents who abandoned her at birth. She is a bit naive and trusting but also harbors magic that she has kept secret. It is this magic that leads her to be chosen to be tested as the possible heir to the powerful Alexandria family who was murdered many years ago. There is a rumor that the youngest daughter survived and it is her descendants that the Kings are searching for. While the Kings believe the heir will restore peace to their troubled kingdoms, there are others who will do anything to stop the testing and possible return of the heir to Alexandria.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I do most of my writing in my office. Sometime if I want a change of pace, I bring out my laptop and write either on my bed or the couch. With my busy life, I can write anywhere.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I have a black belt in Aikido.

Book Blurb

Believed the descendants of the Gods themselves,
The Alexandria line ensured peace,
Until they were brutally murdered.
But rumor spread a maid escaped with the youngest daughter.

Now as the world rushes toward a period of unrest, the nations’ Kings continue their 200-year-long-search for the Heir to Alexandria – the one person who can bring peace and stability through divine power.

Alista has her own search – for the parents who abandoned her as a baby years ago. When her only lead proves to be a dead end, she heads to the capital with a reluctant escort. Grayson is just following his aunt’s order, but he would rather be on one of his solitary scouting missions for the Landra Guard. However, when Alista unintentionally curses a guard in front of the King’s court, everything changes for both of them.

Now forced to travel to Covington for testing, danger lurks at every turn as a secret society strives to prevent the return of the Alexandria line. Are Alista’s visions of the future enough to save herself and those traveling with her?

About the Author 

Susan  Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also had to throw in a telepathic cat to the mix in her The Elemental trilogy as her short story, The Search, which features Tosh, one of the main characters from the trilogy. She published a stand-alone novel, The Heir to Alexandria, 2015, and just finished the first draft of her latest book, Blood Bond.

In addition to writing, Susan spends her days taking care of her two children, three cats, two dogs and husband in San Antonio, Texas.

You can purchase her books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and anywhere e-books are sold.

May is Short Story Month #FreeBook

May marks Short Story Month.

I had heard this for the past few years but didn’t know where it started. I mean there is a day or month out there for everything – Donut Day, Naked Gardening Day, Breast Cancer Awareness month, Autism Awareness month and so on.

According to Poets & Writers webpage, The Emerging Writers Network kicked off the Short Story month in 2007.

They felt we should showcase short stories – as in stories that could be read in one sitting. Now there isn’t an official number of words that constitutes a short story but the general consensus online is that a short story is between 1000 and 7,500 words.

Hmmm….this means the “short” story I published in 2012 is not really a short story by this definition. I wrote The Search as a prequel to my fantasy trilogy The Elemental. It is 12,200 words. According to the internet, my story is a novelette which is between 7,500 to 20,000 words. (To find out more about the length difference in a short story, a novella and a novel, click here.)

Of course, I have found sites out there that list a short story as anything between 1,000 and 20,000 words. So I guess I will go with this definition because when you compare The Search to my novels which are 81,000+ words, 12,000 is definitely short in my book. It is after all 15% of the length of a full length novel.

In honor of Short Story Month, let me share with you an excerpt of my “short” story The Search.

You can get The Search for FREE from Barnes & Noble, the Kobo StoreiTunes or Smashwords where it is available in all e-book formats.

You can also purchase it for 99 cents on Amazon.

Book Description

For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those with power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task.

But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?

Excerpt 

The horse’s hooves thundered across the ground. Tosh dug his claws into the saddle as his back legs threatened to slip off. A firm hand pressed against his side, pulling him closer toward the young man behind him. Feeling safer, Tosh leaned out to see the terrain up ahead. He blinked his eyes in disbelief at what he saw.

You can’t be serious.

“We can make it,” Nolan said, speaking directly into his mind.

Tosh looked up at him, but Nolan wasn’t looking at the ravine. He was looking over his shoulder at the three men on horseback chasing them. Tosh caught a glimpse of a hefty man with a red beard leaning forward, urging his mount to run faster. He clearly was gaining on them. Tosh looked at the ravine before them.

It is too far for her to jump.

“Ah come on, Tosh. She’ll do just fine.”

Tosh sighed. Nolan rarely listened to any advice he gave him unless it coincided with something that Nolan already wanted to do. Knowing there was no way and no time to change the young man’s mind, Tosh curled up against him. He dug his claws deeper into the saddle and wrapped his tail protectively around his body. He felt Nolan lean forward as the mare’s hooves left the ground. He closed his eyes, counting the seconds until he felt the mare land on the other side. She stumbled slightly, and Tosh opened his eyes to see a small section of ground at the ravine’s edge fall.

Nolan reined in the mare and turned to look back at the ravine and the approaching men. Tosh glanced up and saw the look of concentration on his face. Suddenly, the ground shook. The edge of the ravine crumbled. Rocks and dirt fell until the gorge was three feet wider than it had been moments earlier. The men pursuing them pulled their mounts to a halt at the edge of the gorge.

“You won’t get away from us,” the redhead yelled.

Nolan raised his hand and waved before urging the mare toward the forest. Tosh glanced back to see the men swearing as they eyed the ravine which now was clearly too wide for them to jump. As they entered the forest, Nolan slowed the mare to a walk.

“That was amazing,” he said with a chuckle.

You’re lucky the mare made it.

“Oh, Tosh, you worry too much,” he said ruffling Tosh’s fur.

Tosh turned to glare at him and then proceeded to lick the fur back into the correct direction. We wouldn’t have had to find out if she could make it if you just learn to control your temper.  

Tosh didn’t really expect Nolan ever to learn to do that. He had been trying to drill that lesson into him since he was a headstrong teenager but to no avail.

“I know. I know. And stop using my Elemental power in front of others,” Nolan said with a sigh. “Why shouldn’t I use it?”

I have never said you shouldn’t use it. You just need to decide when it is wise to do so.

“So using it to defend myself isn’t wise?”

Defending yourself is one thing. Picking fights is another. Tosh sighed. I guess this means we are moving again.

“But first we have to go pick up our belongings.”

They circled back toward the town. When they entered it an hour later, Tosh kept an eye out for the men, but the streets were nearly empty. No one paid them any attention as Nolan stopped before the boarding house where they had been staying. Tosh remained on the mare as Nolan ran upstairs to gather their things. Within minutes, the young man had returned, and they were on their way out of town.

Today’s Featured Author – Susan Leigh Noble

Yes – today I am the featured author on my own blog. So welcome to me! Actually I had an author flake out on me so instead of scrambling to find a replacement I decided to share an excerpt from The Heir to Alexandria. (You can read the first chapter here or check out another exciting excerpt here.)

Excerpt

Alista gasped, her eyes flying open. She pressed her hand to her chest as if to slow her pounding heart. The room was dark. The high window allowed in a sliver of light. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light, she began to recognize the room she was assigned in Aberdeen. The sound of Raynor’s heavy breathing comforted her.

It had only been a nightmare, she reassured herself. But it felt so real. It had been a cool evening. She had rushed forward as someone screamed. The scream was that of a woman. In the woods, she saw someone stabbed in the back. The woman perhaps? She didn’t know as she was grabbed from behind and dragged away. The last thing she remembered was the dragon, its pale body diving toward the ground, toward her.

Alista closed her eyes. She couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that had settled over her. Sighing, she rolled over, trying to push the dream from her mind. Her eyes popped open as she heard a faint creak. Red tinted her vision as she saw a dark figure beside her bed. The figure raised a knife high above her. Someone nearby began chanting softly.

Alista screamed. She rolled off the bed. The knife swished down, missing her by inches. As she fell to the floor, she struck the man’s legs. He stumbled backward.

Raynor leapt out of his bed. She saw his dark frame quickly cross the small room. He grabbed the man’s shoulder, whirling him around. Alista sat up. The dark figure pulled back his arm to ram the knife into Raynor’s gut. Alista rolled across the floor, crashing into the man’s legs. He tumbled onto the floor, dropping the knife. She scrambled back onto the bed, reaching for the lantern on the table beside the cot.

Footsteps pounded in the hall. The door slammed open. Alista lit the candle as Grayson burst into the room. Her attacker scrambled to his feet and ran straight at Grayson, slamming him into the wall before disappearing down the hall. She heard someone shout at the man and more retreating footsteps.

Now that the room was lit, she saw the other man who had been chanting at the edge of her bed. He still stood there, a surprised expression on his face. He looked at her. Their eyes locked for a second before he dashed for the door. Grayson grabbed his shoulder. He spun him, slamming him into the wall. The man struggled as Grayson pressed his arm against the man’s chest.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” he demanded.

The man jerked his head away, avoiding Grayson’s gaze. A bead of sweat trickled down his face.

“We cannot let this monstrosity happen. By the name of the all-knowing Hoc, the redhead must die,” he muttered as he pulled something from his pouch.

“Stop him,” Raynor yelled, leaping forward.

The man plunged the knife into his side. He gasped, his eyes bulging. A strangled sound escaped his lips before his body went limp. With a look of disgust on his face, Grayson released him. The man slid down the wall, landing in a heap on the floor. Grayson pulled the knife from his side. He lifted the blood-drenched blade to his nose and sniffed.

“Poisoned?” Raynor asked.

Grayson nodded. “Dragon’s bane.”

Footsteps sounded in the hall. Suddenly, Sanders appeared in the doorway. Winded, he leaned against the doorframe. His face was already beginning to bruise.

“The other one?” Grayson asked.

Sanders shook his head. “I didn’t expect him. He got a good hit in before taking off down the hall. Asher went after him.”

“Guard Alista,” he ordered as he ran out the door.

Raynor crossed the room to her. “Are you all right?” he murmured as he pulled her into his arms.

Alista nodded, afraid to speak. Her heart raced from the scare, but as she closed her eyes, it wasn’t the knife coming toward her that she saw. It was the look of contempt on the face of the man who had been chanting. The coldness of his eyes would stay with her for a long while.

Book Blurb

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverBelieved the descendants of the Gods themselves,

The Alexandria line ensured peace,

Until they were brutally murdered.

But rumor spread a maid escaped with the youngest daughter.

Now as the world rushes toward a period of unrest, the nations’ Kings continue their 200-year-long-search for the Heir to Alexandria – the one person who can bring peace and stability through divine power.

Alista has her own search – for the parents who abandoned her as a baby years ago. When her only lead proves to be a dead end, she heads to the capital with a reluctant escort. Grayson is just following his aunt’s order, but he would rather be on one of his solitary scouting missions for the Landra Guard. However, when Alista unintentionally curses a guard in front of the King’s court, everything changes for both of them.

Now forced to travel to Covington for testing, danger lurks at every turn as a secret society strives to prevent the return of the Alexandria line. Are Alista’s visions of the future enough to save herself and those traveling with her?

You can purchase The Heir to Alexandria on Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes and Noble.

Book Sale to celebrate my 3 year blog anniversary

Happy Anniversary!

Three years ago to the day, I began this blog to discuss a few things that are important to me – parenting, writing and publishing.

To read my very first post and why I choose the name “Into Another World,” click here.

I have covered so many topics and easily could spend this time rehashing what I write about or how this blog has changed, but I figure you don’t want to hear about that. If you are new to my blog, I encourage you to click on the topics on the left and scroll through some of my posts. I hope that you find something of interest.

All I can say on this anniversary is that I love writing on this blog and plan to continue for hopefully many more years.

If any of you have suggestions for topics related to writing fiction, publishing or marketing a novel, please suggest away in the comments below.

And if you are an author and want to be featured on my blog – I have had over 175 authors on my blog either in my Featured Author spot or as part of a blog tour or new book release promo – then please contact me.

Now on to the book sale….

SummonedFINALSummoned

Regular price – $2.99

Until August 7th  – 99 cents!

You can purchase it on Smashwords (all e-book formats – use Coupon Code MQ54A) or Amazon.

box setThe Elemental Box Set

Regular Price – $5.99

Until August 7th – $2.99

You can purchase it on Smashwords (all e-book formats – use Coupon Code SU26X) or Amazon.

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverThe Heir to Alexandria

Regular Price – $2.99

Until August 7th – 99 cents!

You can purchase it on Smashwords (all e-book formats – use Coupon Code ML49Y ) or Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author: Susan Leigh Noble #excerpt

Sigh. Yes, it is another Friday, and again I have had an author flake out on me. I went over 2 years with that never happening. Now of late, I have had it happen quite often. I don’t know if it is because I am not following up with authors as diligently as I have in the past or they are just flaky (or busy) authors. When this happened in February, I ran something from my latest novel. Last month, I just posted asking for authors to sign up. (If you are an author and would like to be featured, click here.)

This time I decided to offer excerpts of my novels as my Friday Feature. These have all been on my blog before but thought new readers might enjoy them.

SummonedFINALMy first novel was Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental. It came out August 2011. The Elemental series begins with Lina being drawn from her home by an unknown magic. She is compelled to go North and travels with an odd assortment of allies, each with their own agenda. This excerpt takes place after Lina is kidnapped. While Tosh doesn’t appear in this excerpt, I thought it might be helpful to let you know that he is Lina’s telepathic “cat.”

Escape from Stern Prison Excerpt 

QuietusFINALThe second book in the series is Quietus: Book 2 of The Elemental. Lina has now been joined by other Elementals, people who can control the elements. Lina is the strongest of the Elementals and agrees to train the others. This excerpt takes place when the Elementals first encounter something destroying the Land.

Destruction of the Land Excerpt

DestinyFINALThe conclusion on Lina’s story takes place in Destiny: Book 3 of The Elemental. The Elementals thought they saved the Land in Quietus, but danger still lurked. As they race to find an ancient magical scepter that may help restore the Land, it is stolen. In this excerpt, the opposition make their own plans for the scepter.

The opposition makes their plans Excerpt

The SearchIn between writing Quietus and Destiny, I wrote a short story, The Search, about Tosh, Lina’s telepathic “cat.” The adventure takes place before The Elemental series. This excerpt is the opening scene of The Search.

The chase Excerpt

(The Search is free everywhere but Amazon where it is 99 cents. The other buy links are included on the Excerpt page but wanted to offer the Amazon link here.)

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverAnd my latest book, The Heir to Alexandria, came out this past January. It is a stand alone fantasy novel about a woman who is searching for her parents. Because she shows traces of unknown magic, she is ordered to be tested as the Heir to the Alexandria family in hopes that she may be the one destined to restore peace to the world. As she is escorted to be tested, she is abducted by a crazed man. This excerpt is where Grayson, her assigned protector, finds her at the man’s cabin.

Cabin Escape Excerpt

I hope you have enjoyed these excerpts from my books. And again, if you are an author and want to be featured, please contact me. (I have no problem featuring authors a second or third time as long as you are promoting a different book – preferably your latest one.)