Monday, September 28, 2015
Monday Musings: Coming soon--The Wolf Queen
The second book in my Arcadia Series is due to be published by the end of the year. The edits are finished. My editor is tough. LOL I just have to give it another read through and get it formatted. I might have someone else do the formatting this time. I hate doing it.
Here is a sneak peek from The Wolf Queen:
A tormented wolf man… A mysterious girl with a secret…
Alara, a princess from a foreign land, is forced to wed the sorcerer-king Aramon, a power-hungry warlord, who discovers her dark secret and wants to use her to create an invincible army. When she meets Lycaon, she must decide whether to trust the cursed, tormented man wolf who she realizes might be her true mate.
Lycaon, once a great king until he was cursed by Zeus to be a werewolf, is drawn to the mysterious princess and torn between helping Alara escape and using her to gain power over those who despise him.
Secrets abound and old enemies are reunited to battle Aramon before his terrible plan is unleashed on Arcadia. With only a short time left before the dark moon, time is running out. Soon, Arcadia will be overrun with an unstoppable, vicious army unless Aramon can be defeated. To prevent Aramon’s victory, the cost is high. As his affection for Alara grows, it becomes more difficult for him to decide which to save: Arcadia or her.
Later that day, Lycaon stood with his motley but highly skilled warrior band and faced Aramon’s heavily armed warriors at the southeastern edge of his territory. Their armor was meant to intimidate. He sneered at their matching high-peaked helmets, short red cloaks, black leather scale armor tunics, and light brown loose-fitting wool leggings with bold blood-red stripes emblazoned on the sides. Aramon’s insignia of a lightning bolt erupting from a sword gleamed in polished silver against black leather.
Lycaon was well-acquainted with Aramon’s power. A grim smile played at the corners of his mouth. Aramon’s warriors facing him now were dressed the same as the ones he’d encountered 330 years ago except the gleaming bronze helmets, swords, and bronze plates sewn into their leather tunics were replaced by the cold gray glint of iron.
He straightened to his full, towering height and addressed Aramon’s commander, a hawk-nosed man named Veritus. “I have an agreement with your king so you’d best have a good reason for entering my lands.” From within the hood he wore to hide most of his face, Lycaon sent the commander an unyielding glare.
Veritus regarded Lycaon’s warriors with a curled upper lip, disdain darkening his eyes. “A slave has escaped and was seen heading in this direction.”
He was sure the commander looked down on his warriors who lacked the discipline of Aramon’s uniformed warriors, but he decided to ignore his slight this time. “I knew not that your king kept his slaves so close to my lands.”
“He travels with his personal slaves. It was one of his personal slaves that escaped.” The commander spoke through tight lips.
Lycaon shrugged. “A slave is a slave. Why not just imprison another?”
The commander cleared his throat. “This slave is valuable to the king.”
“How valuable?” Lycaon moved his hand to rub his stubbly chin and smiled when Veritus flinched.
“Well, if I find this slave, I will be certain to let you know.” He sensed Beleg tense next to him. “But I would not be too hopeful that she is still alive. This forest has many dangers.”
“I will let King Aramon know, but he will be greatly displeased we have returned without her.” Veritus’s expression hardened.
The veiled warning did not go unnoticed. He wouldn’t have much time to decide what to do with Alara. “Give him my deepest regrets.”
The commander ordered his men to return to the camp just outside Lycaon’s borders.
He waited until the unwelcome warriors left his territory. “I want men guarding this entrance day and night. Tantaus, you are in charge.”
Tantaus nodded, looking intently at Lycaon with his one good eye. “Those cocky bastards will never cross this border on my watch.”
Beleg watched Lycaon with interest. “I thought you were going to turn her over to Aramon.”
“I changed my mind.”
Beleg glanced toward the border. “They will be back.”
“Have you grown fond of the spirited girl? She is quite comely.” Beleg smiled.
His friend’s words were said in jest, but Lycaon considered them. Something about Alara did raise his interest, but anything beyond that seemed impossible. He was a danger to any human. Until he could get a reward for her, she was a thorn in his side and nothing more. “She is nothing but a bartering means for me.”
Beleg shifted his spear to his other hand. “Why do you suppose Aramon wants her?”
“That is a mystery I intend to solve.” The girl was hiding something from him, and he doubted she was a slave. She could have stolen the fine clothing and the sword with the gold hilt, but her proud bearing pointed to noble blood. In that way, she reminded him of himself.
He looked toward the northern part of his territory. Beyond his woodlands, high, sheer rock barriers surrounded Artemis’s forest. How did the mysterious gray-eyed beauty manage to make it through unscathed? Only those invited by the goddess, which was very rare, or animals could safely enter her sacred lands. The shadows stirred, the leaves ringing in the wake of a sudden, unnatural icy gust. A warning.
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author