Friday, July 19, 2013
Midsummer's Night Dream
Welcome to the "Midsummer Night's Dream-man" blog hop! It's sneak peak time! Book three of my Wild Lords series, "Catching the Hunter", is scheduled for release on September 24th, and it's so knew, it doesn't even have a cover yet. Lack of a cover doesn't mean you can't get a sneak peak, though! Anybody up for a little elfin mischief?
"Events are spiraling out of control as a Hunt Lord and his lovely elfin tracker scramble to catch an assassin before she strikes again. All Connor wants is one last hurrah before he’s put down as a mad dog too unstable to keep around. All feisty noblewoman Sorsha wants is one grand adventure before submitting to the marriage market and the drudgery of a nobleman’s wife. Neither is looking for love but they have a common goal: find the assassin no one else has been able to catch before she strikes again. They fight their growing attraction as they fight their way through false leads and deadly plots. But the assassin isn’t the only villain out there and the hunters quickly become the hunted. Can they turn the plots of their enemies against them in time to save each other?"
Sorsha tried to think small, uninteresting thoughts as she scurried through the throngs of nobles, hoping it would somehow make her appear small and uninteresting to anyone who might look her way. There were guards everywhere, studying the faces of everyone who passed through the city gates, looking for the escaped assassin. If one were to take a second look at her, they might see through her ruse.
She was not an assassin, of course, but she was not what she appeared to be, either. The political situation in the elfin realms had been tense and uneasy since a noble lady tried to kill the wife of the mountain prince, so any subterfuge might be mistaken for the wrong kind of guilt. She peeked out from under her hooded cloak. When she saw no one looking her way, she stole a quick glance around the bustling city center.
At the far end of the market was an imposing building complex, looking out of place underground. The Citadel, easily the most recognizable part of Bhaithcreig, mirrored the castle façade which wrapped the entrance to both the city’s cave complex though no one remembered which had been built first. It had been the home of the Elfin Royal Guard for more than seven thousand years. Since the trial was being held here and the hunt lords had been the ones to bring in the killer’s accomplices, it was the one place Sorsha figured she might find one of the fearsome law-keepers outside their own home in the forests of Annwn. There was no way she would be able to find a hunt lord and persuade him to help Seraiah in time if she had to go all the way to those distant woods.
She threaded her way through the crowd and took a place in line at the servant’s gate. There wouldn’t be this big of a crush on a normal day, she knew. Though a metropolis like Bhaithcreig likely had a mix of species all the time, most of this crowd had come to watch the trial of two nobles who were accused of aiding and abetting the assassin. With the trial drawing idle nobles looking for a little illicit entertainment, the Guard was likely hoping other conspirators, maybe even the assassin herself, might slink out of hiding.
Sorsha shook her head in amused disgust. Even an incompetent assassin would know better than to show face at the Citadel on the day of a trial. Assassins were like cockroaches. They flourished in the shadows, not brightly lit rooms. Still, it did behoove the Guard to put up a show of strength. However unlikely, there was a small the chance the assassin was dumb enough to show up. One of the nobles on trial was her father, after all.
Sorsha gasped and stifled the urge to shout with joy when she saw a dangerous looking elf making his way toward the soldier’s gate. He was wearing a battered brown leather kilt and boots. A solid black tartan was pinned to his belt with the end thrown carelessly over one shoulder and his long black hair in disarray. She knew what he was instantly—a wild lord of the hunt. She studied him from the corner of her eye with interest. Unlike the guards, he wasn’t bothering to peer into shadows and study strange faces. Like her, he probably assumed anyone who was connected to the assassination attempt would be as far from Bhaithcreig as possible today.
“Papers,” a bored voice droned. Sorsha started and hurriedly turned to pulled her borrowed identification out for the guard’s inspection.
“I’d be careful eyeing that one, lass,” the guard smirked as he glanced over her papers then handed them back without really checking them. “He’ll eat you for breakfast.”
“He’s so lovely, it would almost be worth it,” she sighed and then blushed. She was playing the part of a naive young doe a little too well, though that wasn’t such a bad thing. The guard was buying her act without question and it made a good cover for why she had been staring at the wild lord.
“Aye, I have a daughter about your age who would think the same if she were to see him, no doubt,” the guard replied jovially.
“Who is he?” Sorsha asked, peaking at the hunt lord again. It never ceased to amaze her kind of valuable information a male would tell a female in the interest of keeping her safe. That over-protectiveness might serve her well this time as she tracked her query down, she thought.
“Him? He’s Conchobar, the most beast-minded of the hunt lords, they say.”