#ExcerptWeek – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

For excerpt week, I’ve decided to share a final sneak peek at book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series before I release it early November – yay!

And here, for the first time anywhere, is the beautiful cover…

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Here’s the blurb:

Nessa Haddo has been raised to seek what every well-bred young lady desires: a suitable husband. Unfortunately, as a younger twin in a land where superstition deems her cursed, that dream seems unattainable. When she sets her sights on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, Nessa’s romantic fantasies entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last escapade, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s commission sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding.

Meanwhile, Rustam’s former covert partner, Lady Risada, finally has what she needs, though not what – or who – she wants. Struggling to adjust to life outside the game, all her carefully honed assassin’s instincts are screaming warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Now for the excerpt:

(To put this into context, Risada is heavily pregnant at the time of this incident. Oh, and it’s UK spelling.)

Small tapping sounds drew Risada’s attention back to the stairwell. About two thirds of the way up, the crouched figure was driving something into the wall. Without fully straightening, he moved across to the spindle opposite and wrapped something around it before tugging it taught.

“You promised no one would get hurt!” Bel protested. “If they trip over that they might break their necks!”

“That, my sweet Bel, is the idea.”

Risada’s maid took a step back, and although she faced away from the corner where her employer hid, her horrified comprehension radiated from her stiffened back all the way down to her shaking knees.

“And now, dear Bel, it’s time for your reward.”

Bel turned and fled, straight towards the entrance beside Risada’s hiding place. Risada caught the glint of steel in the assassin’s hand and barely stopping to think, thrust out a foot and tripped the running girl. A hefty dagger whistled through the space where Bel’s torso had been a moment before. Bel squealed and scrabbled along the ground, stumbling to her feet as she vanished around the corner.

Risada peeked around the shoulder of the statue shielding her, and her eyes met those of the man on the stair. He shrugged. “Oh well, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen, but I suppose it will do as well.”

Lowering her estimation of her opponent’s professionalism for wasting time on speech, Risada slipped her small dagger from its concealed sheath beneath her breast, and assessed the situation. Screaming for help would do nothing. As Bel had stated earlier, the guards were all outside at this time of night, and the bedrooms were towards the back of the house, so too far away for anyone to hear. Bel had vanished, but whether she would raise the alarm was doubtful; she would probably think only of herself. Risada’s sole weapon was her small dagger, and she was hardly in peak physical shape for this sort of work.

On the other hand, as she watched the cocky son-of-a-whore swaggering down the staircase towards her, she realised she still possessed an element of surprise. He clearly had no idea she, like him, was a trained assassin.

“Please,” she added a small quaver to her entreaty. “You don’t have to do this.” Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek – PUCK’S CHOICE (Shifters & Mages, Book 1) by Skye Hegyes

Puck's ChoicePuck’s Choice by Skye Hegyes

Puck Dupree moved in with her sister after spending over a year trapped in the form of a fox. She had hoped to move on with a normal teenage life; however, trouble seems to have followed her.

The Council wants her to partner with a mage or forfeit her life, a friend of hers has a stalker who may or may not be trying to destroy her, and a boy at school keeps watching her. If only she could decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her.

Hello there! I’m glad to be back for #ExcerptWeek! I’m once again posting an excerpt from Puck’s Choice. It’s the first novel in the Shifters & Mages series. Book two, Jenna’s Story comes out in December, and I’d like to have some more reviews on the Puck’s Choice before it comes out. It’s a NA paranormal romance, and if that’s something you’re interested in, feel free to let me know. I’m willing to give away free copies in exchange for an honest review. So, sit back and check out this excerpt from Puck’s Choice!

Excerpt

That was when she felt it. The anger. The hatred. The suspicion. Like a bite to the brain. She couldn’t feel it until the poison really sank in, but as soon as she did, she stiffened. Next to her, Jay glanced at her, his frown asking what was wrong.

It was something she couldn’t explain. She was being watched, and the eyes watching her were not friendly. Not in the least.

Her eyes wandered over the sea of tables, waves of faces both standing and sitting.

And there it stood. The source of her unease. The bitter anger she felt seeping through her; a projection of something she didn’t quite understand.

There he was dressed in jeans and a white undershirt, his skin tanned from working in the sun and dark hair shaved close to his head. He stood across the cafeteria, watching her with his arms crossed, his brown eyes dark with anger. She wasn’t sure, but there was only one time she’d felt anything like it. There are times when you know, without knowing exactly how you know, that someone hates you. This was one of those times.

She was reminded of Warren, her ex-boyfriend, and bit the inside of her cheek until it bled.

“Are you okay?” Jay asked.

“Huh?” she asked, her eyes shifting from the foreign figure in the distance back to the table.

“You look a little freaked,” Iris had been watching Puck too.

“Like you’ve seen a ghost, actually,” Daren chimed in through bites of his sub.

“No,” Puck lied, standing up. “I have to go. See you in English.” She threw her book bag over her shoulder. She’d lost her appetite. There was no way she could eat anything else on that tray. Not if someone forced it down her throat.

She could feel them watching her as she dumped her tray and moved across the cafeteria in a way that she wouldn’t come face-to-face with the guy watching her. She kept her eyes down, afraid to look up at him again. That hatred was so strong!

She bumped into someone.

“Oh,” she exclaimed as she looked up to see who she’d run into. Then she stared at him in a mixture of terror and amazement. It was the same guy who’d been watching across the cafeteria. His eyes, which she’d originally thought were brown, really weren’t. They were the color of molten gold. If she hadn’t known better, she would have said he had wolf eyes, but his eyes were too dark.

Still when she looked at him, how he had his feet slightly apart as if ready to take the brunt of an attack but still poised to throw one himself, how tense he was, she found his air predatory.

About the Author

Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’ home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…

#ExcerptWeek – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay

Marcia, your wish is my command…..

Here is another excerpt from the book I am currently editing – THE PRINCE’S SON, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN.

* * * * * *

Bay Iberian

When Rustam gave a small whistle, the bay stallion ghosted out of the early morning shadows.

Rustam ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest, his fingers sliding through the cascade of black mane to the warm sleekness of the silky hair beneath. “I really hate to do this, boy, but you’ll have to stay behind this time.”

A pair of huge, dark eyes regarded Rustam with reproach before Fleetfoot shook his head vigorously, long strands of mane whipping from side to side to slap Rustam sharply across the face. “Ouch! I’m sorry, really I am, but even you can’t climb a goat trail; I need you here, to keep the others safe. They can’t look after themselves the way you can.”

Fleetfoot heaved a large sigh and rubbed his forehead against Rustam’s shoulder. Leaning into the equine embrace, Rustam caught sight of one of the grooms rolling his eyes to the sky. Crazy, that’s what they thought he was. He smiled privately and kept his silence. It wasn’t their fault they couldn’t see the tiny bit of magic flowing between him and the magnificent animal. When the lads talked to their charges they communicated with tone of voice and a few easy words, achieving a level of trust and affection any human might gain with a horse. But for Rustam’s entire life it had been so much more than that. The ease with which, even as a child, he’d been able to catch the naughtiest ponies; the calmness he’d instilled in the wild black mare no one else could handle, and the way that over the years of their service together Nightstalker had always sensed where he was, and when she was needed.

It wasn’t until they journeyed into Shiva that Rustam understood it to be an attribute of his elven blood; he was a Horsemaster in more than mere words. Now, with a Shivan bred steed, that link was even closer.

“You know they think I’m soft in the head for talking to you, don’t you?” Fleetfoot snorted; horsey laughter if ever Rustam had heard it. He slapped the hard-muscled red shoulder. “It’s not funny!” He shook his head, drawing the dark thread of his thoughts back together. “No, nothing about this is funny.”

He stared into the liquid depths of eyes turned wary. “I need you to keep this lot safe, hear me? I don’t know how long we’ll be gone, or if you’ll be secure here. Watch over them, for me, yes?”

Fleetfoot snorted again, head nodding up and down. Rustam draped an arm over the stallion’s withers and bent forward to bury his face in the abundant mane. With his eyes shut, he inhaled the glorious scent of horse, and felt his muscles relax. He was leaving the caravan with the best possible guard he could arrange, in the absence of a small army.

* * * * * *

For those of you who have read THE PRINCE’S MANrsz_pm-ebook_flat_2 never fear, Nightstalker is only absent on maternity leave 😉

CIMG2427And here I am with another hobbit hole 😉

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Jay’s debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award, and was an Amazon Hot 100 New Release. Second in the series, THE PRINCE’S SON is due out this summer.

Her Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the opening novel of the projected five book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES, and the stand alone short story SPRITE NIGHT is also now available.

In 2014 she published the multi-author SFF anthology, THE WORLD AND THE STARS, which features her SF short story PERFECT FIT.

She is also the author of several non-fiction equestrian titles published in her professional name of Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahjayauthor.com/ or follow Deborah on twitter, facebook, Pinterest  and Goodreads.

Seeking Solace | Excerpt Week

Seeking Solace (ebook, ad version)

Seeking Solace

After some gentle persuasion from Marcia, I’ve put together this little post to share a couple of poems from my collection, Seeking Solace, available in both paperback and Kindle formats by clicking here if you are a UK reader and by clicking here if you are a US reader. You can also find it on Goodreads by clicking here. I hope you enjoy, and offer huge thanks to anyone who decides to pick up a copy. Happy reading!

Marionette

Pretty little puppet girl
dead behind the eyes.
They preen you and they pluck you
all of it without a word,
creating their own creature
that is really quite absurd.

Pretty little puppet girl
she sits alone and cries.
They say that you do have it all,
how wrong they truly are.
This life it crawls beneath your skin
and leaves a private scar.

Pretty little puppet girl
her spirit slowly dies.
Flashbulbs mask the silent tears
that swell inside your heart.
You smile at them with big blue eyes
and then you fall apart.

Pretty little puppet girl
no matter how she tries
her body it belongs to them
‘til time does intervene.
The beauty fades, the shackles fall
no better sight you’ve seen.

Continue reading

Now THAT’S More Like It!

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I can see I need to threaten you guys more often. Even the very thought of a deluge of my poetry scared several of you into action. Hahaha. I’m going to work on my STERN face! When I finally got home today, I had emails from folks offering excerpts, and then I see that Kass jumped right in and posted one. Way to go, Kass! I’m heading there next to enjoy it, and then I’ll be helping these other folks get theirs up over the next couple of days.

So, tada! #ExcerptWeek rocks on! Don’t be left out!

Going off now to practice looking severe and threatening. Now where’s my stout stick? 😀

#ExcerptWeek – PUCK’S CHOICE (Shifters & Mages, Book 1) by Skye Hegyes

Puck's ChoicePuck’s Choice by Skye Hegyes

Puck Dupree moved in with her sister after spending over a year trapped in the form of a fox. She had hoped to move on with a normal teenage life; however, trouble seems to have followed her.

The Council wants her to partner with a mage or forfeit her life, a friend of hers has a stalker who may or may not be trying to destroy her, and a boy at school keeps watching her. If only she could decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her.

Excerpt

Cassie looked up at her in shock. Puck could see her eyes were the same blue as her mother’s, but Puck watched them darken to a deep violet. Her own eyes widened in shock.

“Fox,” Cassie whispered in a voice so low, Puck might not have heard her if her hearing had been back to normal. All the hair on Puck’s body stood up and goose-bumps rose along her arms and on the back of her neck.

Okay. There’s nothing scary about a girl who looks at you and knows exactly what you are and says so in a voice that sounds possessed with demons. What is with this girl?

Puck stared at her. The girl shook her Shirley Temple curls until they bounced high and then looked at Puck. “I did it again, didn’t I?”

“What?” Puck squeaked. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Did what again?”

She frowned. “What did I say?”

“Fox,” Puck told her. “You just looked at me and said fox.” She realized her voice was low, and she recognized the fear crawling through her. This girl had looked at her and known exactly what she was without a thought.

What was that all about?

Her brow furrowed. “I’m sorry. That happens every once in a while when people look me in the eye. I can see souls.” Her eyes had returned to their blue state. “At least that’s what I think I can do.” Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek & Blurb – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay

rsz_3pm-ebook_flat_2

Those of you who follow my blog have already seen this blurb, but for those who haven’t, this is the back cover copy for my soon-to-be released sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN (epic fantasy).

THE PRINCE’S SON

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Excerpt

Something moved beyond the picket line.

Nessa froze. Her heart stopped beating, and then thudded so loudly she was certain whoever was there must hear it. Surely it had to be one of their party slipping away to relieve themselves? It could not be either Rustam or Sala unless they had circled around beyond the horses, and why would they?

She stumbled an involuntary step back, gave a little cry as metal dug into her back, then realised she was pressed up against one of the ribs of the wagon.

The shadowy figure stopped, appeared to be sniffing the air.

That made up her mind. No human scented like that. She did not know what it was, but it wasn’t one of them. Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek – USURPER’S LEGACY by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

So this time I am treating you to a teaser excerpt from my upcoming release, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN, titled (probably) USURPER’S LEGACY.

This is from the prologue, which gives us the climactic scene from the end of the previous book from the villain’s point of view…

“Risada!”

The high voice cut through the crackle and hiss of the burning hall. Mykel spun towards it and saw the one piece of good fortune left to him. When the beam fell, Lady Risada had been forced back from the dais and now stood, wavering on unsteady feet amidst tumbled chairs, two rows over. Mykel smiled. Small compensation, but at least one of Halnashead’s spies would not leave the hall alive. He raised his sword.

“I don’t think so.”

The voice came from right beside him—just before a chair crashed against his shoulder, knocking him off balance. One of its legs caught him along the side of the head and stars sparkled across his vision. The breath that whooshed out of his body was replaced by smoke as he inhaled, and he coughed it back up even as he lashed out at his attacker. His sword swung through empty space as something smacked into the back of one knee, felling him.

He landed in a tangle amidst fallen chairs and smouldering greenery. Heat seared his lungs as he struggled to regain his breath. If he didn’t escape the hall soon he would die, yet he still found his focus drawn to Lady Risada, on her knees now and so tantalizingly close.

Continue reading

Update to Welcome Page (Link at top)

Happy Freya’s Day, Everyone! Hope you are all set for the weekend. Still limping here, but forging ahead regardless, because you can’t just lie down and quit when your foot hurts, dadgum it! 🙂

Just wanted to let you guys know that I finally got around to revising the Welcome Page linked above in the black section, to better reflect what this site is about. I also added my few rules for contributors and readers alike. Not too stringent, but in place to keep this site friendly to ALL writers (and readers), and avoid any conflicts. Please take a minute to read the post, even if you’ve been here from the start, and especially if you are a new visitor or contributor. Don’t want any confusion later.

Also, please rest assured that if I feel like anyone has gotten a bit out of bounds (whether intentional or not), I won’t be tossing you to the side like yesterday’s news. I’ll simply contact you privately to remind you, and that will be that. 🙂

Having said all of this, I do want to reassure you that to date, no one has ever done or said anything here I found objectionable or controversial at all, so I suspect these rules will never be called into play. But they’re officially posted now, just in case.

Now…back to Excerpt Week. You still have 3 days to share your work with us, and we’d love to read it, and share it with our own groups, so what are you waiting for? Get posting. We LOVE seeing what you’re up to. And we WILL pass it along. 😀

 

#ExcerptWeek – Finding Hunter Chapter 4

Final FH Cover Smaller

Pulling out all the stops as we head into the weekend. Decided to share an entire chapter! We last saw Hunter racing for home, leaving a shocked and miserable Willow behind, after a shared kiss in the garden that rocked her world. Willow, probably my strongest female character to date, is not going to settle for something like that, without an explanation. This is what ensues. (Note: Hunter does have reasons for his deep-seated fear of starting a relationship with Willow. But his resistance is giving way.)
***********

Bounced awake, I hold my head against the constant pain.
An arm reaches across me, opens the door.
Sorry, he says, wrinkling his nose.
You gotta get out now …
Go bathe.
~ Traveling Man ~

~~~
Chapter 4
I’ve Gone to China
~~~

Saturday, December 29, 2012

HUNTER GROANED, PULLING his feather pillow over his head not only to block out the world, but just in case he started shouting in frustration.

What the hell happened? What the bloody hell just happened? Everything was fine. It was going better than I ever thought it would, and then suddenly it all went crazy. She kissed me! Why the hell did she kiss me? How the hell was I supposed to resist that?

The memory of that kiss rocketed into him so hot and fast, it scorched a path through his soul. Never in his life had a kiss transported him that way. He could still feel her mouth under his, sweet and yielding, and burning like fire. The raspberry scent of her hair lingered on his hands, and he would never, ever forget the taste of her skin. Every nerve ending in his body felt burned raw from the experience—so sensitive, the slightest breeze sliding over it would cause unbearable pain.

But somewhere in his torment, he also remembered how she had responded to him, moaning into that kiss, and whispering his name over and over as they clung to each other. She wanted him, too, a concept that had never once seemed a possibility in all the years he had loved her.

Doesn’t make it any better, does it, you stupid fool? Still never gonna happen. You don’t belong with Willow Greene, and nothing’s going to change that. All you’re doing here is torturing yourself. Continue reading