#ExcerptWeek – The Spy and the Lady – a Five Kingdoms short story by @DeborahJay2 #EpicFantasy

THE FIVE KINGDOMS epic fantasy series (think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings) has a new entry!

To fill in some of the gap between books 1 and 2, THE PRINCE’S MAN and THE PRINCE’S SON, I have embarked on a series of short stories that I am giving away FREE to my mailing list subscribers.

THE SPY AND THE LADY is now available.

Ex-spy, Rustam Chalice, never could resist a lady in peril, and this one’s up to her pretty eyelashes.

Getting into the outlaws’ camp isn’t so tricky, but how come the rogues don’t seem that motivated by promise of a rich ransom? And why does the lady not appear enthusiastic about escaping?

Excerpt

“Unhand the lady, you ruffians!”

Was that pompous enough? Exiled spy, Rustam Chalice, slipped into the role of arrogant nobleman with the ease of donning a cloak. When he’d ridden into the forest clearing, he’d had nothing more on his mind than reaching a lower altitude before nightfall. Crossing paths with the motley group of armed men and their captive–a statuesque beauty—was sheer bad timing.

Or was it?

Perhaps the goddess hasn’t finished meddling with my life yet.

Rustam and the outlaws studied each other warily. On foot, the eight men presented a limited threat. Even so, Rustam’s pulse raced. The boredom of days of aimless wandering vanished in a heartbeat, and excitement zipped along his nerves for the first time since he’d been forced to abandon his old life.

A rescue attempt also promised a diversion to take his mind off a certain lady he would probably never see again.

Weapons drawn, several of the men edged toward Rustam. He flourished his sword randomly as discouragement. The magnificent black mare beneath him sidled away from the swishing weapon, and Rustam reassured her with a light touch of his hand. “Easy, Nightstalker,” he murmured. “I haven’t lost my mind, I promise.”

Two men slipped away between the straight pine trunks that rose to majestic heights above the mountainside. Another man grabbed the prisoner by one arm, as though he feared she might try to escape. Quite where he thought she would go, on foot, leagues from anywhere—not to mention the question of what she was doing here in the first place—puzzled Rustam.

One of the bandits, a particularly skinny specimen, stepped in front of the others. “And why should we do that?” he asked.

“I’ll run you through if you don’t, that’s why,” Rustam declared with another wild swing of his blade. “Your weapons are puny, and I am an expert swordsman.”

Rustam winced at his ridiculous claim, but he wanted a moment to think. He could ride away now, follow the group at a safe distance and take time to plan a rescue. Probably the sensible thing to do. But now the outlaws were aware of his presence, they would be on guard, making such an approach trickier.

Working from the inside—now that was more his style.

Nightstalker jigged nervously and bunched her hindquarters, readying a vicious kick intended to maim the two men creeping up behind her. Choice made, Rustam reined her to one side, breaking her concentration. The battle-trained mare’s hooves could be deadly from many directions, and Rustam didn’t want to anger the bandits by dispatching any of them. He wanted to get captured, not killed.

* * * * * *

If you want to read more, sign up to my (infrequent) newsletter HERE and download your FREE copy.

If you already subscribe, I will be delivering complementary copies soon.

About Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she also shares 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.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award and was an Amazon Top 100 Hot New Release.

You can also stalk her at:

http://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://twitter.com/DeborahJay2

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

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

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

 

 

 

Great Interview with our Friend, Deborah Jay

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D. G. Kaye has a lovely interview with Deborah Jay that you really should check out. Both of these Debs are good friends of authors everywhere, and contribute to The Write Stuff on a regular basis, and now I’m planning a future trip to Scotland, for sure. (Be afraid, Deborah Jay. Be veeeerrrry afraid!) 😀

I’ve already downloaded my copy of The Prince’s Son. Very much looking forward to reading it!

http://dgkayewriter.com/guest-author-friday-book-deborah-jay-princes-son/

 

Release day – THE PRINCE’S SON #EpicFantasy #sale

Yay! THE PRINCE’S SON is out there in the wide world!

Or on the internet, at least…

I would be very grateful if you lovely people would share my news

Today is release day for THE PRINCE’S SON, book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series, though as you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been here a while, I can’t abide cliff hanger endings, so once again this volume contains a complete story along with continuing threads of the series arc.

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Think ‘Lord of the Rings’ with a ‘Game of Thrones’ edge

She sought a husband, but found a destiny

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 victims’ strings with expert malice.

* * * * * *

I’ve shared a few excerpts in the run up to this day, and here is one more short snippet from Chapter 1

Excerpt

Nessa flung the doors open and hurried into the pleasantly appointed sitting room. Enya appeared scant moments later through the connecting door from the servants’ quarters.

Nessa pounced. “Enya, who is the delectable young man with the scar?”

The maid’s pretty round face lit with an impish smile. “That, my lady, is Rustam Chalice.”

“No!” A shiver of excitement ran up Nessa’s spine. “The Rustam Chalice? Really?”

“Yes indeed, my lady.”

Enya bobbed her head in emphasis and several blonde curls slipped from beneath her cap. She reached up, trying to stuff them back in, and Nessa stepped over to help her. The young noblewoman sighed in envy of her maid’s crowning glory. Not that she begrudged the girl her doll-like prettiness or her mop of golden curls, but as ever Nessa wished she had been born with something more striking than her straight brown hair and hazel eyes. While her irises had unusual streaks of light and dark colouring—the only visible difference between her and Julin—people had to inspect them closely to notice.

And surely it would take something special to get a second glance from the infamous Rustam Chalice.

Even Julin appeared mildly interested and asked: “Did he come by that mark in the fire? How sad; he must have been very handsome before.”

So Julin had noticed, but she was wrong—the scar made him all the more attractive. Nessa dragged her attention back to Enya.

“… already had it when he was captured. The way I heard it, it was punishment from the goddess for being vain, although some say it was for daring to use magic.”

Nessa pursed her lips. In her opinion anyone who looked that good had a right to be vain. And as to the other, she found it hard to believe the power responsible for saving their kingdom from the vile pretender might be abhorred by the goddess.

Magic! Ugh.” Julin shuddered. Nessa opened her mouth to point out where they might be now if Rustam Chalice hadn’t used magic when something else struck her.

“But how come he’s here? I thought using magic got him exiled, with his life forfeit if he entered Tyr-en ever again.”

“He’s here under diplomatic protection,” explained Enya, who had obviously quizzed the other servants. “He’s a special envoy for the Kishtanian king.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Nessa as a thrilling notion struck her. “Do you suppose he’ll be travelling back to Kishtan with us?”

* * * * * *

Now for the important bit!

You can buy THE PRINCE’S SON for the next few days at the special introductory price of $2.99/£2.44 at the following stores – just click on your choice of store and it will take you to the appropriate site.

AMAZON          B&N(Nook)       iTunes(Apple)       Kobo           Goodreads

So grab your copy before the price rises, and join Rusty and friends on another high stakes adventure.

For those of you who still like to read a ‘real‘ book, the PAPERBACK (a chunky doorstop of a book) will be out in a couple of weeks time, just in time to be a Christmas present, even if it is to yourself…

And just in case you haven’t yet read volume 1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, and you want to start at the beginning (a very good place to start…) it’s currently on sale at $0.99/£0.99, so what are you waiting for?

Amazon                 B&N                   iTunes            Kobo              Scribd

****PLEASE SHARE****

Thank you!

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

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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