I’m thrilled to announce that Searching the Darkness, the second book in my fantasy romance saga the Erythleh Chronicles, is now available for pre-order here!
Searching the Darkness will be LIVE on 4th July.
Gorren is the youngest prince of a family that rules a nation of shapeshifters. He is forced to marry Elthrinn for respectability’s sake, to please his father, to forge an alliance. She is forced to marry Gorren to protect the people that she loves, because she has no other choice. Her uncle, ruler of her country, will imprison and torture anyone she holds dear if she doesn’t comply with his demands.
Elthrinn, innocent in nature and torn from the chaste life of a priestess, has to learn to live in an entirely new culture, as well as adjust to married life. Gorren has to learn to accept her differences, and the impact that they have on everyone around him.
Somewhere along that journey of discovery, they fall in love, but that love might not survive a treachery that threatens to destroy everything that they know and love.
To keep you going until then, here’s a little teaser…
Elthrinn was dressed much as she had been the night before, in the sort of outfit that could be commonly found in Dorvek. She would not stand out among the natives of the country, at least, not until Dythegg when she would be the only inhabitant on two legs. The leather overdress that she was wearing now was a little shorter than the one she’d worn the day before. That was good, it fit well with his plans. The clothes suited Elthrinn, they highlighted her figure in a flattering way that was quite distracting. Gorren realised he was in danger of staring too hard.
Gorren coughed into his fist to stave off the flush of embarrassment that threatened. “Would you like to see some more of Dorvek? If, of course, several weeks’ riding hasn’t satisfied your curiosity.”
Gorren coughed again. Damn it! He was almost stuttering in the presence of this little stranger.
“I’d like that, very much. Thank you.”
Elthrinn’s voice was soft, and in perfect accordance with the blush that rose from the open throat of her shirt, and up her neck. Gorren turned, rather than be caught staring again, and made room for Elthrinn to step into the corridor. He waited while she locked her door. He didn’t blame her one bit for wanting to maintain her privacy. This might be his family home, but he’d locked his own door.
As they walked through the hall he thought of a hundred ways to try and start some sort of conversation, but he couldn’t decide on one that didn’t sound trite or ignorant. They were silent so long that he began to worry what Elthrinn was thinking, but he’d be damned if he was about to ask, or say anything about that within the walls of a place where anyone might, and probably would, be listening.
When they entered the stables, Elthrinn stopped walking suddenly. Gorren realised that she’d had no idea where he was taking her, but he was no less confused by her abrupt halt.
“I don’t think I can.” Elthrinn looked frantically at the horses that were hanging their heads over their stall doors, whickering or quietly munching stalks of hay.
“Excuse me?” Gorren asked.
Elthrinn seemed to sag. “I rode for a whole moon to get here. I honestly don’t think I can get on a horse again, at least, not today.”
Gorren looked at the rows of horses, as if one of them might neigh out a solution. “We won’t see much on foot.”
“I’m sorry, but really, please don’t make me.”
Gorren paused a while longer, looking around for inspiration. When the idea struck, he wondered at the wisdom of it, but he could not think up any other plan that didn’t involve them walking around town being gawped at.
“I have an idea.”
“What is it?”
He had to chuckle at the suspicion in Elthrinn’s voice. “Do you want to stay in town and have everyone stare at you while they’re pretending not to?”
“No, it’s a most uncomfortable sensation.”
“Is the thought of getting on a horse worse than that?”
Elthrinn paused, seriously considering her answer. “Yes, yes I think it is.”
“I have a compromise of sorts, but you’ll have to trust me.”
“I’ll try,” Elthrinn nodded. She didn’t sound very trusting, which wasn’t surprising considering that they were strangers, but that pointed chin went up, and those tiny shoulders went back.
Gorren set to work saddling a horse. He didn’t need a stable hand to do it for him. He’d always hated standing around, twiddling his thumbs, while someone else did a task that really wasn’t very onerous. He finished tightening the girth on the saddle, and led the horse over to the mounting block. Even though the bay stallion was tall, Gorren didn’t need the step, but Elthrinn was so very much shorter.
Gorren swung himself up into the saddle, and manoeuvred the horse closer to the block.
Elthrinn looked up at him. “So you’ll ride, and I’ll walk, or run behind, or…?”
“No.” Gorren smiled. “Climb the step.”
Elthrinn looked at the horse, at the mounting block, at him, at the horse again, and back at him.
“You don’t mean…?”
“You could ride by yourself?” Gorren suggested with a grin.
A look of actual pain crossed Elthrinn’s face. She stepped up to the top of the block.
“I’m not sure…” Elthrinn’s words were lost in the squeak that she let out when Gorren simply reached over out of the saddle, and lifted her bodily to sit across his lap. She weighed about as much as a drenched rabbit.
“There.” He couldn’t seem to stop grinning. “You get to ride without riding.”
Elthrinn was holding herself stiffly upright, keeping her body from touching his. Gorren took up the reins, effectively trapping her between his arms. “You should try to relax, you’re unnerving the horse,” he advised.
“Never mind the horse, I’m unnerved,” Elthrinn muttered.
Gorren flicked the reins, and kicked the horse forward out of the stable and into the sunlight. “That’s as may be, but are you more comfortable than you would be astride your own saddle? Are you more comfortable than being stared at?”
“We are being stared at,” Elthrinn hissed.
Gorren laughed. “Only until we get out of town.
Elthrinn sighed, obviously resigning herself to her fate, and relaxed, marginally.
“I promise, I won’t bite,” Gorren murmured.
“That’s what your mother said.”