Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hi everyone! I'm absolutely thrilled to introduce myself as a new author to Siren-Bookstrand. I've been published one year, and my Siren debut was released on Tuesday. It's a M/F erotic fantasy set in a parallel universe, and I hope you'll check it out!


Ravenna forced away the fear and weighed her options. She couldn’t stay up here indefinitely, and they wouldn’t leave. How long before they simply climbed up and pulled her down? The only way she’d reach the portal was to descend the tree and talk her way out of this. Her cover story firmly in place, she started to descend, hoping her silly skirt stayed put this time. She should have dressed in breeches.
Her pack started to slip again, and as she reached for it she lost her footing and tried to slide down the trunk rather than fall. She landed on her backside, and the men laughed again. Her face hot with embarrassment, she scrambled to her feet and pulled her pack close to her body.
“Who are you, girl? Why were you hiding?” asked the taller man, taking a step toward her.
She backed up a few paces, nearly tripping on a tree root. “That is not your concern, Guardian.” So much for talking her way out of this. They reeked of whiskey, and the lustful look in their eyes didn’t give much hope of reasonable conversation.
Both men advanced toward her, and, as she turned to run, one of them reached out and grabbed her skirt. She tripped while trying to wrench the fabric from his hand, landing on her face. The sharp taste of fear, as if she’d put the point of a blade on her tongue, filled her mouth and nose. She tried to rise to her knees, but the heel of a boot on her ass prevented it. One of them tugged the pack out from underneath her, sending a sudden pain across her left breast.
“Looks like she’s taking a journey.”
She turned her head and watched Rock Thrower pull her satin undergarments out of the pack and hold them aloft. “These are not the clothes of a peasant. Who are you, girl?”
The man above her moved his foot from her ass to the middle of her back and pressed down hard. She bit back a cry. These vermin would not have the satisfaction of seeing her fear. “Let me up. You have no right to do this.”
“We do what we want, girl.”
Leaves rustled and twigs snapped. Two more pairs of boots appeared in her line of vision. Ravenna tried to look up, but the Guardian’s foot held her firm.
“Your Highness,” said the man above her, his voice full of surprise.
“What is going on here?” The newcomer’s voice was smooth and polished, unlike the coarse speech of the Guardians. Ravenna tried to see his face but could only see as far as the tops of his knee boots.
“Why are you dressed like a peasant, Highness?”
Highness? Was this stranger one of King Reginald’s sons?
“Let her go.”
“Why should we listen to you, Prince Dalmas?” asked Rock Thrower, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Dalmas? Crown Prince Dalmas? This stranger was the King’s eldest son? She’d heard the tales of him often enough to know him as a rogue, intent only on intrigue at the castle and his own pleasure. This man would not protect her from the Guardians. He’d take her first then hand her over to them.
“How dare you question me?” he asked, his tone leaving no doubt he expected his every word to be obeyed without argument.
The man above her chuckled quietly. “We wouldn’t question you, Highness, except we’ve heard rumors of certain revelations at the castle this morning.”
The pressure on her back eased up, and she was able to twist around and see past the stranger’s knees. Her gaze traveled over drab-colored breeches that couldn’t hide firm thigh muscles, to broad shoulders and strong arms encased in an olive tunic. One of those arms moved suddenly to unsheathe a sword. The Guardian removed his boot from her back and stepped away.
Ravenna sat up. The Prince held the tip of his blade to her captor’s throat. Rock Thrower held the tip of his sword against the chest of a young man. Both he and the Prince wore calm looks on their faces, as though they were merely out for a stroll in the forest and had come across acquaintances instead of being on the verge of a duel.
What in the name of Gehenna was going on? Ashdowne’s alliance with the Guardians went back for centuries. Why would their Crown Prince pull a weapon on one? Ravenna watched the Prince’s face, admiring the strong set of his jaw and his high cheekbones. His dark, wavy locks fell loose over his shoulders.
The Guardian at the end of the Prince’s blade chuckled. “It appears we have a stalemate here, Highness. I don’t wish to lose my life, and I’m certain you don’t want to lose your servant, so let us strike a bargain.”
“You are not in a position to strike bargains, Guardian.”
“And you no longer have power over us, Highness.”
A brief flash of anger shone in the Prince’s eyes, and his jaw muscles twitched. What did the Guardian mean? Why would he no longer have power over them?
“Give us the girl,” said the Guardian, “and we’ll let you and your servant be on your way, with no word to the castle that we saw you.”
Ravenna gasped. “You have no right to—” The look in the Prince’s eyes stopped her cold. They held a warning she didn’t understand. Was he trying to protect her from them? That didn’t ring true with all she’d heard about him.
“She is not yours to have,” he said, poking the Guardian in the neck with the sword tip. A tiny red spot formed on the man’s skin.
The Guardian visibly swallowed. “And she is of no concern to you. The longer you delay here, the more likely the Castle Guards will catch up with you. Your brother has a price on your head.”


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