#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 – 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.

#ExcerptWeek & #giveaway – DESPRITE MEASURES, #UrbanFantasy by Deborah Jay

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DESPRITE MEASURES – a Caledonian Sprite Novel

Genre: Urban Fantasy

DESPRITE MEASURES (yes, you read that right) is the tale of a Scottish water sprite who’s quiet life is jeopardised by a magician intent on using her natural powers to fuel his dangerous experiments in energy production.

A reviewer recently described it as ‘an eco-urban fantasy’ which sums it up pretty well.

Excerpt

The drive into town seemed to take forever.

In truth, it took no longer than any other time, but I was impatient. I’d chosen the Audi Quattro this time—no point making things easy for Liam—and I was frustrated that I could not use all the power the sleek little beauty offered me. Every driver who delayed me by even a fraction of a second had me fuming at the wheel. By the time I turned into the club’s paved driveway, I was as near boiling point as it is prudent for a sprite to reach. A discreet parking attendant, whom I suspected doubled as a bouncer, pointed me to an empty bay, and then directed me to the head of the stairs leading down to the basement club. Not wanting to arrive looking flustered, I paused to gather myself.

Hair still caught in pony tail band. Check. Dress neckline showing equal expanse of skin either side of cleavage. Check. Hem straight and not quite riding high enough to show that I hadn’t wasted mass on fashioning underwear. Check.

Ready to go, I stepped one well-shod foot onto the first step down. And froze. Involuntarily, my body ceased to function. My mind blanked and a chill of fear iced my veins. I gazed numbly at the slender, dark figure lurking at the base of the stairs until he glanced away, freeing me, permitting life to return to the lifeless.

My paralysed brain shot back to working order. Recognition of the figure chilled me all over. Vampire.

Not something you see every day in downtown Inverness, but I’d encountered enough of them in the distant past to know one when I saw one. And to know the horror of being trapped by their gaze, unable to move or even to think.

This one, darkly handsome and with more than a passing resemblance to a youthful Bryan Ferry with his ever-present hint of a sneer, glanced at me again but without interest. Vampires prefer their blood more full bodied than the pseudo-stuff that runs through my counterfeit veins.

Somewhat troubled at finding his sort here, I was, however, still determined to continue with my evening’s plans. I descended, brushing past the cold figure in his immaculate Armani suit. A body-wracking shiver ran down my spine, even though I knew I was in no danger from him.

I wondered what he was doing here. Perhaps it was simply a good place for him to get a carry-out meal.

Find it on Amazon

FREE to Amazon Prime members and on Kindle Unlimited

hobbit hole Author Deborah Jay, seen here posing with her own hobbit hole, can be found at:

http://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

http://www.pinterest.com/debbylush/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: http://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

For your chance to WIN an ebook copy of DESPRITE MEASURES, or one of 5 ecopies of the short story SPRITE NIGHT you can enter the contest today or tomorrow:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway
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#Excerpt Week – Epic #fantasy – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay

Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN

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Epic fantasy ~ Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings…

 

Chapter 12 – TUNNEL CREEPERS

Rustam squeezed past Nightstalker, and scrambled up behind Elwaes. He had no idea what tunnel creepers were, but the fear in the elf’s voice was all too apparent.

“Go Risada, go!”

The grey leapt forward, kicking loose stones from beneath its feet to clatter away down the mountainside, adding to the horses’ rising panic. Sickly pale, bloated creatures swarmed out of the holes, and Rustam gagged on the mephitic stench that preceded them. Risada’s mount spooked sideways and jumped half a length up the left bank to reveal the pallid, segmented body of a creeper blocking the path ahead.

The nightmarish thing, which stood as high as the gelding’s chest, shifted its weight rapidly between its six legs, threatening great speed although the huge body merely quivered up and down with the multiple joints clicking loudly. Tiny eyes glittered from behind its mouth-parts, vanishing as ragged fronds waved under its pincers. Those pincers with their wickedly serrated edges and pointed tips held Rustam’s horrified gaze, and he felt his empty stomach constrict even further: the monster’s exoskeleton looked as tough as armour, probably impervious to steel, except perhaps at the joints. Not that he had any desire to get close enough to test the theory. Continue reading

#Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN – prologue

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Risada tiptoed across the darkened bedchamber and felt behind the tapestry for the hidden niche. Her tiny fingers located it and she grinned as the lock tripped with a faint click.

She heard voices in the outer chamber and light flickered around the doorframe.  Heart thudding against her ribs, she dropped to her knees and scuttled forward through the swinging panel into the secret room. This was such fun!

Careful to close the panel behind her—Daddy said you must always lock doors when you were going to have your back to them—Risada wasted no time clambering onto the chair she had positioned beneath the spy hole. Her nose wrinkled at the smell of dust. It seemed like ages since Daddy had shown her how to work the hidden catch. Certainly it had been before that woman had arrived.

At thought of Mistress Chalice, Risada scrunched her face up into a ferocious scowl. How she hated her dancing tutor. Oh, the woman was very polite, and she was very beautiful—all the servants said so—but Mummy didn’t like her so Risada didn’t either. And the maids were saying such wicked things about Mistress Chalice and Daddy. Well, tonight Risada was going to see for herself.

Continue reading

#Excerpt 2 from DESPRITE MEASURES, a Caledonian Sprite novel #UrbanFantasy #ecology #LGBT

Anyone up for a little more elemental mischief?

Yesterday I shared the opening page from DESPRITE MEASURES – a Caledonian Sprite novel. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Today I thought I’d give you a bit from the thick of the action, towards the end of the book, so without further ado

Excerpt 2

“Come on, Wynter, get a grip and get me in there!”

The witch fell to her knees, and for a horrible moment I thought she was going to blubber, but then I noticed the implements on the ground: a small cauldron, some pouches of who-knew-what. The remains of a fire.

Wynter’s hands shook as she tried to re-kindle the fire. For one ironic moment, I wished for Gloria. She’d have lit the charred sticks in an instant.

A tiny puff of smoke wisped upward and Wynter sprinkled dried grass around it, blowing delicately as she coaxed the infant flame. I stopped breathing.

“Find something to burn!” she ordered, and I scanned the hillside, grateful my vision was not as poor as human eyesight in the gloom. I located a cluster of twigs beneath a sheltering gorse bush and scooped them up.

“This do?”

“It’ll have to,” Wynter said, and now I heard steel in her voice. She sounded well pissed off. Finding out that your lover is using you can have that effect.

She poured a portion of oil into the cauldron and set it on a tripod above the little fire. Then she emptied out the contents of her pouches, muttering as she did so. I didn’t listen; I wanted nothing to do with human magic. I stared with laser beam eyes at the invisible spell shield, trying to burn a hole through it. The twined aromas of thyme and lavender swirled around me.

“Cassie, I need your help. Please?”

“What? You know I can’t do magic.” Continue reading

MARRED Excerpt – Sue Coletta

ONE

Sunday

1:30 P.M.

I used to believe people were inherently good, if only at their core. I saw the brokenness of the homeless. The, if only he caught a break. . . I respected the overachiever in the football star, hoping for Daddy’s approval even though he knew he’d never get it. I saw the heart of the sinner. The souls of lovers. The shattered dreams of an abandoned child. I saw good in evil. Spirit in the unholy. The complexities of love, marriage, life. Hell, I welcomed the challenge. I had hopes and dreams and affirmations. I did.

And then, that all changed. My views shattered. Or maybe, my eyes finally opened.

That’s what Niko would say. Though now, devastation also fills his eyes. He no longer looks at me as his optimistic wife who loves life. I miss our blissful marriage. I miss our baby. I miss my blindfold. Oh, how I wish I could put it back on. Most of all, I miss. . . me.

Now, I’m just trying to survive. And so, I go through life on autopilot.

***

Clutching a load of laundry I hobbled down the stairs. A white-hot pain shot to my right knee and folded me in half. The basket of clothes tumbled down the stairs– socks, T-shirts, jeans, shorts and Niko’s sheriff’s uniform strewn about the living room floor.

I fell back against the stairs. Twined my arms around the railing and stared at the white lines on my forearms left by the knife. The thick scar on my neck tugged at the skin as I straightened. Even after three long years and hours and hours of counseling, one small reminder– the sight of my scars– made me relive that night over again. I still could not get past what that man did to me.

The phone startled me when it rang. Continue reading