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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Monday Musings: The Crow Maiden--A hero and heroine from very different worlds

The Crow Maiden is a story about revenge and overcoming adversity, but it is also about a romance between two very different people.

Nahla is an Arcadian priestess, and Balin is an Achaean lord. In her world, the Achaeans are the conquerors who forced their patriarchal views on her people. In Balin’s eyes, the Arcadians are barbarians who still practice human sacrifice. There are physical differences, too. She is smaller in stature than his people, with brown skin and black hair. He is tall, blonde, and fair skinned.

Sheltered in her forest temple, Nahla has only viewed the grand seaside Achaean cities from afar. To Balin, the priestesses of Artemis were a complete mystery. And now their very different worlds have collided.

Despite their cultural differences, they share a common enemy. In the ancient Greek world, the Dorians were much more of a threat than the Achaeans who at least allowed the native Arcadians to continue worshipping their own gods. The Dorians didn’t want to compromise with anyone. This unrest in the region began the downfall of the once-mighty Achaeans.

With nothing left to lose and only revenge in his thoughts, Balin forms an alliance with the mysterious priestess. Nahla’s only hope to be free of her cruel master is the champion chosen by Artemis—an Achaean. Gods work in strange ways, it seems.

Despite his dominate ways, Balin shows Nahla respect. She begins to trust him. Nahla’s boldness both enrages and excites Balin. He’s never known such a woman who would dare speak so impudently to him. They may be from very different worlds, but their attraction for one another grows.

It must be true that opposites attract.

(The Crow Maiden is a standalone story in the Arcadia Series)

Excerpt (PG-13)
“Now you know all you need to about me and about Aramon. He destroyed and captured your cities, killed and enslaved your people.” Her lovely mouth tightened into a grave smile. “Do we have an alliance or not?”
Could he trust her? “You can form an alliance with me, someone you know nothing about?”
“I know enough about you, Achaean.”
She offered him that same mysterious smile she’d given him earlier, one that enhanced her remarkable, unusual beauty, even if it was too serious. Aramon had mistreated and tormented her. Perhaps, that was all he needed to know. For now.
“Besides, what have either of us to lose? Arcadia is being destroyed.” Her tone turned bitter. “And everything and everyone we knew and loved is gone because of one man. What more is there to know or think about?”
Her words were so profound and filled with truth. He had his doubts about his ability to do what needed to be done, but he wanted revenge more than anything. Revenge was the only thing keeping him alive.
“We have an alliance.”
She nodded. “Then we must get to work. Aramon could summon me at any time.”
“What do I call you? Do you prefer the ‘Crow Maiden,’ or can I call you ‘Crow’?” He cast her a playful grin, wanting to change her rigid, cold nature. Playfulness was something he hadn’t felt since his crippling injury. He couldn’t explain it. Perhaps it was because she was a challenge, unlike any other woman he’d known.
She didn’t smile. Her eyes took on a reflective light. “Call me Nahla.”
Her name sounded soothing and fit her calm manner that lingered beneath the coldness.
“Nahla, you may call me Balin.” He reached for a clay pitcher of wine that sat on a natural shelf. Some wine might loosen the maiden up. He’d never met such a rigid and cold female. “We should celebrate our alliance.”
She put her hand on his arm to stop him from lifting the pitcher to his lips. “The first thing we must do is get you clearheaded.”
He looked down at the pitcher, his body filled with craving for the numbing drink. “But…”
She reached for the handle. “Give it to me.”
With reluctance, he handed her the pitcher. He watched with rising panic as she poured out the precious wine.
She turned toward him and pursed her lips. “The next thing is a bath, a very long one.”
Impertinent harpy! Bristling, he scowled at her. His changing emotions in regards to this female confused him. One moment, she made him want to smile, and the next, she raised his ire like no other.
Nahla may be the only one who could help him get revenge on Aramon, but Poseidon’s blasted balls! She was infuriating. He clenched his fist and glanced upward. Almighty Poseidon, please give me the strength to not strangle this insolent female.

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She betrayed her goddess for him…
He betrayed her.
Plotting her revenge is her only solace. Until now.

Nahla is the Crow Maiden, an Arcadian, and once a priestess of Artemis. Now she is a captive, a being who lives in the shadows until her vile master the sorcerer-king Aramon summons her. Another releases her from the Shadowlands, and while he might be the champion she has waited for, the gods must be playing a cruel joke. Her champion is crippled.

An Achaean lord who once ruled a great city, Balin is a broken man. He has lost everything—his kingdom and his family. Revenge consumes him. Although wary of the mysterious, cold-eyed female who appears and claims he summoned her, she may be his only hope to exact vengeance on the king who ruined him, the same man Nahla seeks to destroy.

They are bound by revenge, and soon, both learn they are bound by much more, but the secrets she hides might tear them apart and ruin their only opportunity for vengeance—and their chance to love again.

“Ms. Heckart draws the reader into the pages and enchants them with her words.”
Karen McGill, Coffee Time Romance

Kelley Heckart
Otherworldly tales steeped in myth, magic & romance.

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