If you enjoy Fantasy, Paranormal, and Vampire Romance novels with plenty of story, action, love and lust, including sexy flawed heroes and beautiful spirited women that don't mind getting a little blood on their hands, you have come to the right place.
Author: Julie A. D'Arcy
Hi, I live in Wangaratta which is in North East Victoria, Australia.
I have been a writer for over 20 years and an author for almost as long. My first novel Time of the Wolf, won the 1999 RIO (Reviewers International, Dorothy Parker Award) in the Fantasy category for Women’s Fiction and came runner up in the prestigious Australian, R*BY Award run by the Australian RWA.
I have been published by ImaJinn Books, Mundania Press, Double Dragon Press, Eternal Press, Noble Romance Publishing LLC, Secrete Cravings Press,Sweet Cravings Press and am currently with iHeart Book Publishing.
Watch for Julie’s the re-release of the Tarlisian Sagas. The Dragon and the Rose, Elven Magick, and of Tarlis-Book 1 and Book 2, and The Realm of the Wolf.
Her single titles include: Silverdawn, Night’s Eternal Vow, Whisper of Yesterday, Mine by Moonlight, A Whisper on the Wind and Encounter in Paradise.
You will find Julie A. D’Arcy at: http://www.julieadarcy.com/
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This is the second book in The Cross of Tarlis series.
What is it About?
Caught up in a prophecy…
Only by the hand of Princess Tannith of Ellenroh can the last part of the famed talisman, the Cross of Tarlis be joined to restore peace to the world. With her companions, a bastard prince, a white tiger, her bodyguard, a tiny warrior faerie, and an ancient mage, she continues the quest to uncover the remains of the only relic that can rival the Dark Sorcerer, Sernon’s power.
The journey will change them all in different ways. Will they find what they are looking for and will it be enough to save them?
Princess Tannith is given the seemingly impossible task of finding four pieces of an ancient cross that holds the magic to bring back the god, Magus. If she cannot find a way to accomplish this quest, all her people, and the entire world as she knows it, will fall to the evil sorcerer, Sernon. Luckily the gods have seen fit to send her Kaden, the warrior prince from a kingdom that is also being decimated by evil’s vast forces. Their journey takes them into the heart of danger on every turn, and the evil quickly grows faster than they can keep ahead of. However, the stakes or too high to allow defeat!
As the third book in the Tarlisian Sagas, it immediately dives into the action and suspense! Readers not familiar with the first books in the series might find it a bit difficult to immediately catch up. But it doesn’t take long until enough clues are given and one is so immersed in the story that time fades and pages fly by! The evil is gruesomely portrayed, which adds urgency to the plot, as the characters race to save their world. It is edge-of-the-seat, chew down those nails fun! The tale is expertly written and succeeds in keeping the reader smack in the middle of the action and emotion. The climactic fight between the brothers does stretch believability with a few twists and turns that don’t quite make logical sense, but one is too engaged in what the outcome will be to truly worry. And the ending is so beautifully satisfying, that one will sigh and smile as they close the book!
I have just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press to publish my Historical Paranormal Romance “Whispers On The Wind.”
What Is It About?
An American scientist is willed a castle in Cornwall. To inherit he must arrive on All-Hallows-Eve.
He soon learns of the tragic tale of Aidan and Alyssa d’Morgan …
The ghost of Alyssa d’Morgan burned as a witch for refusing to wed her dead husband’s father in 1644 haunts the castle where she died. She has sworn not to rest until she is reunited with her husband and soul mate, Cai.
A cry for help, echoing through the ages, inspires a young nobleman to rewrite history– and rediscover a passion he had only dreamt of…
Aidan d’Morgan, the re-incarnated soul of Cai d’Morgan, is reborn in the 1800s and wins back Castle Thornwood on the turn of a card. On entering the castle, he cannot shake the feeling of being watched and soon learns that the castle is haunted by a beautiful woman who speaks to him in his dreams. However, these are not simply dreams, but a past life, which he must revisit to find an answer to an age-old curse…
What transpires is an interwoven tale of chilling betrayal and a haunting love story that traverses three centuries…
Hi , I would like to announce that my new release ‘THE CROSS OF TARLIS: THE AWAKENING’ published by The Wild Rose Press is now Available for pre-order. HERE
This is Book One in my The Cross of Tarlis series. Book two has received a contract and it is currently with my editor and should be released in a couple of months. 2022
Five-hundred summers have passed since the Great Mage War. Sernon of Asamos is dead. While his bones rest at the bottom of a glacial lake, his spirit roams forever in the Void. Tarlis is at peace. Or is it?
Somewhere deep within the depths of Lake Dalen-Gae, evil stirs…
Oblivious to her guard’s presence, Tannith of Ellenroh, Princess of Dragonbane, slammed the heavy shutters and crossed the deep Argeasian carpet. She warmed her hands at the library fire, hoping the flames would instill warmth into her body and mind. Perhaps give her peace…but there was no peace to be had. Like a caged beast—on one hand, anxious to start the quest to free her people from the siege—on the other, afraid to try should she fail.
Although trained as a warrior, she had never tasted real battle until a few days prior. She thought she was prepared. However, the blood, noise—the horror of war—it was nothing like she had imagined—it was worse.
She poured a goblet of wine, took a sip, and glanced up at the gilt-edged portrait of her grandfather hanging above her father’s chair.
Dragonbane, first king of Ellenroh, sitting astride his massive white charger, exuded power—his ash-blond hair, braided at the sides, did little to detract from the sense of strength and purpose that stamped his hawkish features—strength evident in every line of his body. If only she could be more like him.
Her hand clenched the stem of her goblet. Had she taken on more than she could handle? Was she presumptuous to think that she could fill the boots of one so illustrious, and find the ancient icon the Council had said could end this war? All she knew was she had to try. After all, Dragonbane’s blood coursed through her veins.
She fought to conjure thoughts of more tranquil days, times of sunshine and laughter—days when her mother was alive―before the wasting sickness took her. However, those memories were receding further into the past and it was hard to focus with so much recent carnage. She ran a shaky hand across her eyes as the lifeless faces of comrades floated before her. Jakeal, Taybold and Estrial, friends she had grown up with, shared memories with, who would have died for her. Who had died for her, she amended.
She gulped down a mouthful of spiced wine to clear the taste of bile from her throat as the sweet, sickly stench of blood filled her nostrils. She could still see Taybold’s face as he dove in front of her, shielding her body, taking the spear in the side meant for her, and his agonized smile as he whispered goodbye and told her not to blame herself.
Chaffing her elbows, she glanced into the fireplace, feeling like she would never be warm again. The flames leaped and danced in the grate in a hypnotic rhythm allowing her thoughts to wander. Weariness engulfed her, her eyes clouded with unshed tears, but she held them in check. It would not do for the future Queen of Ellenroh to cry. No. She had to stand fast, give her people strength. With her father missing, they now relied on her for guidance.
She strode to the window to push open the shutters. Wisps of blue mist floated through the open portal, filling the library. The mist was magical, a sorcerer’s breath, of that she was certain. For days now, whisps of moist blue air had seeped into every niche and corner of the castle. Even the icy wind blowing outside did nothing to disperse the mist’s insidious presence.
Evil pervaded the very air that she and her people breathed. A dense alien mist blanketed the Urakians, camouflaging them until they were almost atop her men; its icy fingers soaking through the armor and into the bones of the Elisian warriors as they fought. They had defended well, but she could understand why they were demoralized. It was hard to fight an enemy one could not see.
She sought to penetrate the fog with her night vision. She knew there must be at least ten thousand camped across the moat, but she saw nothing. She heard their animalistic chanting as it floated upward on the breeze and crossed herself in the way of her faith—shoulder to shoulder, lips to heart. They must have another prisoner. May Magus have mercy on his soul. She had seen the remains of the other prisoners the enemy had dumped at their gates.
“Father are you out there?” she whispered into the night. “Are you dead or held captive in some dark dungeon?”
No answer came. Only silence and a gentle crackle drifting from the fire in the grate.
She sighed and slammed the shutters.
“It cannot be that bad.” A small lyrical voice spoke into her ear.
Tannith gasped and jumped, and the goblet slipped from her fingers, crashing to the floor. Wine pooled like ruby blood at her feet as she stepped aside for the guard to attend the mess, then smiled when he finished, dismissing him for the night.
A Faerie no more than a handspan tall, with red curling hair and the garb of a warrior, fluttered before her face.
“You surprised me.” Tannith stretched out her hand for the Faerie to step onto her palm.
“Forgive me, Highness.” Skylah pushed her red-gold hair from her eyes. “I have been searching for you throughout the castle.”
Settling into a padded chair by the hearth, Tannith lowered the Faerie to her knee. She glowed with eldritch light.
“What is this news that could not wait?” She smiled.
“The Urakians have reinforcements.”
“You have numbers?”
“Five thousand infantry and two hundred cavalry. Siege towers, too.” The Faerie hopped into the air and flew toward the window. Tannith hastened after her to ease open the shutters. Miraculously the fog had vanished, but what remained made her heart plummet. Thousands of campfires lined the banks of the moat and lit up the fields. They wanted her people to see them. They wanted her men to feel despair, and then while her warrior’s spirits were low, they would strike again.
“There.” The Faerie pointed to the left. “I managed to get close before I was seen. Eight war machines,” she said dismally. “How can we fight those monsters?”
Tannith grimaced. “Etan will have a plan. And if not, then one of the generals.”
“Of course,” the Faerie brightened, “Etan will know.”
Tannith noted the wistful note in her friend’s voice. “Did you see him there tonight? He led a raid on the Urakian supply wagons.”
My New Re-Release of Spellbound is Waiting For You!
Read the whole First Chapter
Isabella stretched lazily and opened one sleepy eye. Rolling onto her elbow, she watched Ivan in the dim light of the bedroom. He stood at the penthouse dresser, straightening his black silk tie. Although he must have heard her wake, he didn’t turn.
“Be ready at six.” His cultured voice broke harshly into the silence. “I’ll have the limo pick you up. We’re dining with Vladimir Chevtsov and his wife at the Tatiana Hotel tonight.” He turned and trailed a knuckle from her throat to the tip of her breast, not even looking at her face, then swung away to scoop up his dove-gray jacket from the end of the queen-sized bed. Bending, he touched his lips in a hard, passionless kiss to hers and withdrew a slim black jewelry case from his inside jacket pocket. Snapping open the lid, he placed the case on the bedside table. A glittering necklace of diamonds lay displayed on royal blue velvet. Isabella had no doubt the stones were real. However, she viewed them dispassionately, their cold beauty another symbol reminding her she belonged to Ivan.
“Wear something sexy. Chevtsov has a passion for redheads, and he is an important man.” Ivan threw her a hasty smile that didn’t quite light his steel-colored eyes and crossed the beige carpet. She heard the door close with a soft click and wondered with a sick feeling when it had happened. When had she exchanged her position as Ivan’s fiancée, the woman he loved, for his whore?
Isabella slid from silken sheets and moved to the same mirror, which had moments before held Ivan’s reflection. She was disgusted by what she saw. When had she grown so weak? When had her soul died, and who was this woman who peered back at her with lifeless eyes and the stink of sex on her too-thin body? What happened to the fresh-faced girl from Rhode Island? Ivan Sergeyev, that is what happened—handsome, educated, sweet-talking, and the right-hand man to the Russian Mafia boss in the U.S.
Ivan owned a chain of five star hotels, which he used as a front to launder money for some of the largest crime names in the country. Isabella sighed, running a hand through the dark red hair that spilled down around her face and shoulders, and turned for the ensuite. When was enough, enough? She wondered. When would she grow a backbone and take back control of her life?
She reached for the faucet. Steaming water hissed from the showerhead, slapping at her breasts, stomach, and thighs as she stepped into the enclosure. She could have sworn the shower spray rapped out the tattoo, “never, never, never.” Or was it only her tired mind? She clapped her hands to her ears and let her hot tears mingle with the water that spilled down her cheeks.
Wearing a three-quarter length, white, low cut gown, which clung to her body in all the right places, Isabella stepped from the hotel lobby at six to see a long silver limousine pull up to the curb. She frowned. It was not Ivan’s usual car, but the driver stepped out, spoke her name, and opened the passenger door.
She slid into the limo to rest on the plush, powder blue upholstery and the door closed with a soft click behind her. Isabella looked up with a smile, expecting to see Ivan, and her expression sobered. A stranger sat across from her. “Who are you? Where is my fiancé?” Her voice sounded soft and unsure even to her own ears.
“Allow me to introduce myself, Miss Barton.” He leaned forward in his seat. “I am Vladimir Chevtsov.” The solid, silver-gray haired man with swarthy skin and drooping mustache, smiled widely. The gold in his middle top front teeth gleamed in the overhead light. He took her hand and raised it to his lips.
She smiled briefly and snatched back her hand with a cringe. His hand was hot and moist. His mustache tickled her fingers. She wiped her hand surreptitiously down the side of her dress wanting to wipe away his touch. His smile widened. “Ivan allowed me the honor of collecting you,” he continued in broken English.
Isabella didn’t know why, but this man frightened her. Something about this whole meeting did not sit right. She glanced out of the window to hide her agitation. “How did you know what I looked like?” She asked turning back. She hated drooping mustaches. They had always reminded her of the villains in the old movies she and Gran had so dearly loved. The memory of her grandmother helped lighten her mood. She glanced furtively at the man across from her, wondering what Gran would have thought of this one.
“He showed me your picture. I had to meet you.” Chevtsov’s gaze slid to the low cut neckline of her gown and fixed on the swell of her breasts. Something in his almost black eyes and his tone again made her shiver. What had Ivan been thinking in allowing this man to escort her to dinner? She tugged at the material of her neckline and faced the window, feeling uncannily naked beneath his scrutiny.
She heard Chevtsov rap on the glass panel partitioning them from the driver. The roof light dimmed; the car moved forward, and the bright lights of New York City painted an abstract of unreality as the car traversed the busy streets.
Isabella gasped and reeled back in her seat as Chevtsov’s hand came to rest on her thigh.
She tried to push it away, but his hand grew firmer, more demanding and he was stronger than her. His pudgy hot fingers slid higher, taking with them the soft silky cloth of her gown. He lurched forward and his mouth claimed hers in a wet hard kiss as his free hand grasped and squeezed at her breast. She struggled to drag her mouth free from the bitter taste of Cuban tobacco and bristly mustache.
“What are you doing?” She managed to twist and snatch off her white stiletto. Grasping it firmly in her hand, she hammered the spiked heel into the side of his head.
Chevtsov grunted, raised his hands in an attempt to shield himself as she struck again and drew back into his seat, his eyes wide in disbelief and pain. A dribble of dark blood stained the side of his temple. Isabella brought another jab down onto his kneecap for good measure.
“Enough!” He held up his hand, reached into his pocket and withdrew a folded white handkerchief to dab at his head. “Ivan said you would be nice to me.” His voice was almost petulant. “We had a deal.”
She frowned but maintained her grip on the shoe. “There must be a mistake. There is nice, and then there is nice.”
Chevtsov’s expression darkened. “I know exactly what he meant. He assured me you would be willing.”
Isabella swallowed down the hurt in her throat. Bending, she slipped her shoe back onto her foot and willed the tears beginning to form in her eyes to vanish. Ivan hadn’t only resorted to treating her as his whore, now he was willing to pass her off to others. The last small spark of what used to be love for him began to wither and die, as did her dreams of a wedding and children. She’d thought if she and Ivan could only have children…but she knew now that was a false dream. Nothing could fix what was wrong between them. If this was the quality of his love—if this is what it had now been reduced to—what she was reduced to—she didn’t need it. She straightened in her seat and drew a deep breath. “Stop the car.”
Chevtsov frowned. “Now my dear—”
“I said, stop the car.” Her words were calm, almost deadly. They cut through the silence that had formed in the flickering darkness.
“But we are almost there. Ivan is expecting you; he is waiting with my wife.” As if on cue, the car drew to a smooth halt.
“Yes, you are right.” Isabella raised shaking hands to her hair, smoothing it into place. “I do need to see Ivan.”
“You look lovely.” Chevtsov’s tone was almost apologetic. “Ivan is a fool.”
“No. I am the fool for staying with him so long.” She slipped from the car as the door opened, and then ducked her head to look back at Chevtsov. “Where is he?”
“I believe he said he would meet us in the lounge.”
She nodded and pivoted on one foot to march up the path and through the double glass doors of the Tatiana Hotel. Ivan’s hotel.
Isabella spied Ivan the moment she entered the lounge. How could she not? He wore a dark gray suit and crisp white shirt. Apparently, he’d been back to the penthouse to change, while she visited the hairdressers. Gold cufflinks winked in the light of the overhead crystal chandelier. His fair hair was freshly trimmed to sit just above his collar. Not a hair was out of place. He was the epitome of wealth, breeding and charm, which he was expending liberally on the voluptuous redhead whose breasts he eyed as he leaned over her shoulder to pour a glass of vintage champagne.
“Thank you. Just what I needed,” Isabella said, marching up beside him. She snatched up the glass from the table, spilling several drops over the pristine tablecloth and down the woman’s crimson gown.
“Let me introduce myself.” She leaned over, her face mere inches from the woman’s face. “I am Ivan’s fiancée.”
The redhead swore in Russian and tried to stand, but Isabella pushed her back into her seat and tossed the rest of the drink into Ivan’s face. His expression would have been comical had the situation not been so grave. Champagne dripped from his dark eyelashes, down his clean-shaven chin, and a large damp patch stained the lapel and groin of his Gucci suit. “Pig!” Isabella swung away.
She gained five steps before his hard hand clutched her elbow and he snapped her around to face him. “What the hell was that?”
“You sent me to that man like a whore, and you ask me that question!”
“Lower your voice,” he hissed. “You are causing a scene.”
“Causing a scene?” She hammered her fists into his chest. “You use me as a harlot and I’m causing a scene?”
He grasped her wrists to fend her off. “Stop it, you crazy bitch.”
She tried to knee him, but he raised his leg, and his thigh deflected the blow. She pushed him back and he stumbled and tripped over a freshly laid table. Crystal glasses and silver cutlery crashed and scattered on the floor, the sound echoing through the room. It was as if the whole world was reduced to slow motion.
With dread, Isabella peered around to see who was watching, and in that instant, she did not see the blow coming her way, but she felt it. Ivan had climbed to his feet. The slap rang in her ears, and she reeled, pain exploding in her head. She lost her footing and almost fell, but he caught her.
She dragged her arm free and ran, knowing now she ran for her life.
He was behind her. She could imagine his breath warming her nape, and she heard his shout.
“Isabella, come back here! We can work this out!”
She broke into the night and saw the large figure of Vladimir Chevtsov standing on the curb. His eyes widened in recognition; then, he frowned as he took in her appearance. Momentarily, he blocked her way. The curls the hairdresser had taken so much time in arranging had tumbled down around her face and shoulders, tears streaked her makeup, and the bruise she felt forming on her face throbbed even as she stared at Chevtsov. His gaze shifted over her shoulder, and she knew Ivan stood behind her, Ivan, the man who had brought her to this, Ivan whom she had loved, and to whom she had first given her body. Ivan who had abused her trust and turned her into the wretched creature she now was. Slowly, she turned. His gaze raked over her in cold hostility. His fingers bit into her arm. “How dare you act like a common tramp in my establishment?”
“How dare you?” she snarled. She closed her eyes, pulled back her arm and with all her might, powered a punch into his perfect square jaw. He grunted and toppled into Vladimir who was now standing behind him. Vladimir’s arms wind-milled. He lost his balance and lurched backwards from the curb into the path of an approaching Yellow Cab.
Isabella had no time to spare Vladimir or Ivan more than a cursory glance. She spun to flee. With a sickening crack, she heard—then felt—the heel on her stiletto break. Her ankle buckled to the side and pain shot up the back of her leg, but she didn’t stop. She could not make herself. She kicked off both shoes and left them where they dropped. Crying tears of self-recrimination, guilt, pain and remorse, Isabella limped quickly into the night along the New York footpath and mingled with the faceless crowd of humanity that frequented the streets.
However, even as she disappeared into the masses, she wondered if she could ever run long enough, or far enough, from the man who had called himself her fiancé for she knew no one had ever left the Red Mafia knowing so much and lived.
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This story deserves 6 stars! The author and the narrator make this story come alive in a way that is not often found in audiobooks. Listeners are pulled into this story from the start, and there is no escaping the fast pace until the end! The peripheral characters add interest to this story, fleshing it out beautifully. Actions are visualized easily; the narrator does an amazing job of describing everything that happens as the tension builds steadily. Listeners can almost hear the battle scenes and smell the stench of the dungeon. The action is non-stop until the end, and then listeners receive some surprising and welcome revelations. Wow! This narrator takes a wonderful story and infuses the protagonists with courage, conviction, and self-sacrifice. Keilah is a strong female lead, and is perfectly matched with the strength exhibited in Radin, and Matt Haynes makes listeners believe everything that is said by every character. The sound quality and production are both excellent. This is a story not to be missed!
Well this was certainly an experience~ actually quite a good one. I had no idea how to go about arranging to have an Audiobook made of my novel “Time of the Wolf.” I am published in eBook and Print with The Wild Rose Press, quite a large U.S based publisher. However, I own my audio rights, and first checking with my publisher to make sure they were fine with me doing it I decided I may as well join the newest rage. I for one love audiobooks!
First I knew I needed a Narrator. I either wanted a man who could do female voices or a woman who could do male voices. I thought I would look on YouTube. I was lucky. I actually found Catherine Bilson who is also Australian, which is good because so am I. She has a set of 4 videos about the start to finish of getting an Audiobook made from your novel. Audiobook Basics for Authors 1 – 4.
From watching her videos, I learned that I needed a distributor, and also that the big one was ACX. However, ACX only takes on American Canada, Ireland and Uk.
For a moment there I felt quite dishearten, but she went went on to tell me that Findaway Voices is the place I needed to assemble and distribute my audiobook once all the files were completed.
I also found Narrator Matt Haynes on UTube. He actually teaches voice narration and how to do different accents.
So I had a decision to make. They were both very talented. So I counted how many men and how many woman and decided on that factor. My novel had three prominent females, and six male characters. So I chose Matt.
He was very professional and very helpful.
First I had to send a couple of scenes from my novel for him to do a sample.
There is no way to discribe the feeling of excitement and wonder of hearing your written words acted out in narration for the first time. It is amazing!
So we began. Each week Matt sent me 4-5 chapters to listen to and make sure I approved them. All of the chapters are sent in separate files to dropbox and I downloaded them onto my computer.
When all the files were finished he then made a sample piece that goes with the cover that people can listen to and decide if it is something they wish to purchase.
Then all I had to do was go to Findaway Voices, sign in, fill in the Metadata, and upload my files. It was so easy, even I being slightly technologically challenged found it really straight forward.
Now that is my story, but you can log into Findaway and they can help you find a narrator, some work with Findaway. You get to listen to several samples of your book and you pick the voice you like best. The staff are really great and very helpful and they will walk you through all the processes. You will pay a little extra for this but you can also ask if your narrator will do royalty share with you.
Taking Catherine’s advice I opted to pay Matt all upfront. Half just before he starts and the other half when Findaway excepts my audiobook. That way I get to keep 80% royalties.
Catharine Bilson writes beautiful Historical Romance novels as well as narrates them and she has quite a large following for her Audiobook narrations. However, she is also very versatile and could narrate any genre you wish.
Writing is a passion for Catherine Greenfeder. Born in Greenwich Village, with its artistic influences, she enjoyed the library, Central and Washington Square Parks, and the art museums. Her earliest influences were the children’s books she read, her Irish grandfather’s ghost stories, and encouraging teachers.
After receiving a B.A. in English, Catherine worked in advertising and promotion before returning to college while her son was a toddler. She acquired her M.A. in Teaching and taught language arts for twenty-five years.
Catherine enjoys researching and writing about what she discovers. Her interest in angels, ghosts, the American West, and reincarnation led to her writing five romance novels and a novella.
Some things even a clever artist and psychic can’t know. When Kay Lassiter returned to New Jersey to make peace with her past, she didn’t count on meeting her guardian angel. He leads her in the investigation of her parents’ death. Along the way, Kay learns that she can love again and that despite the problems in the world, there are angels among us.
“Come here, Baxter,” Kay called the dog. He obeyed, but stood between her and the stranger.
Blood glistened across the ridge of the man’s nose. “Yeah, that’s right,” the stranger said as he rubbed the blood with the back of his sleeve, “got this for grabbing this.” He held up a handbag. “It ain’t worth it anymore.”
“Good for her,” Kay said, “Teach you to stop robbing women and scaring them to death.” She stepped further away.
“Right. So you ain’t scared of this?” A silver flash cut the air as the man wielded a large knife toward Kay’s face. “Now throw down your jewelry…the gold watch and that thing on your neck.”
Kay felt her turquoise-studded watch, pulled it from her wrist, and threw it down. “Here.”
“And that too.”
“No!” Kay touched the cross, an heirloom from her grandmother.
“I guess I’ll have to take it.”
Kay backed away and tumbled over a tree branch.
Almost instantly the knife glinted dangerously above her. “Is it worth your life, lady?”
As she choked on the rank smell of tobacco and stale wine, a gray mist descended on them, its intensity covering them and the stranger. The flutter of wind chimes tingled her ears. Kay sat up. Bewilderment replaced fear. Out of the mist came a man in a white suit surrounded by an aura of violet and gold. His soft features reddened with an intense fury as he turned from her to the thief. Anger lit the emerald of his eyes. Words bellowed like the force of a cyclone from his lips and the thief crunched down in fear and confusion.
“Leave her be! Leave her and never come back!”
The thief scrambled up and took off running as Kay’s astonishment faded.
Baxter hid behind her knees as this interloper closed the gap between them. A smile crinkled the edges of his thin lips, and his palms flew up. “Peace. Be not afraid, Kay.”
She stood immobile then backed away. “Who…who the devil are you?”
Hurt creased his brow and his glow dimmed a moment then resumed its bright appearance. “Do not be ungrateful, Kay.”
“I’m getting out of here,” she said. “First the thief, now you! This must be a bizarre nightmare, one manifested like a Salvador Dali painting.” She turned to run, but a firm and gentle hand held her in place.
“No, please listen to me, Kay.”
“Who are you?”
“Suffice it to say I have known you a long time. And I know your gift did not protect you tonight.” He stared a moment at her neckline. “But this did.”
Kay fingered the cross as she stared up at her strange rescuer.
“A gift too, I see,” he continued.
“Why do you mortals forget what’s precious within, the precious gift God gave you? It is there, Kay. Yet you neglect it.”
“First a thief, now a lunatic! I should have listened to my brother and stayed out of the woods at night. What do you want?”
“I’m not here for material rewards.”
She stared hard at him. “You’re not getting that either, bud.”
He shook with laughter. “Oh, Kay, is that what you think? Here, come away, the danger’s not over. Hold my hand, let the dog go. He will follow.”
For some unknown reason, Kay allowed the being to take her hand. His touch felt like a feather yet carried strength beyond hers. She looked down at Baxter. “Follow me, boy,” she called, and then Kay’s feet lifted from the ground. “Oh, no!”
“Hold on, Kay!”
As they rose above the earth, Kay cringed. “Don’t worry, I won’t let go.”
Over treetops and past the empty playground toward the opening to the park they flew while Baxter, a dot below, chased them through and out of the park. “Please,” Kay begged when they reached its outskirts, “please put me down!” In an instant her feet touched a soft patch of grass. “Whoa!” Her voice echoed the word several times until dizziness and her panting subsided. “Are you an alien?”
“No. Don’t go to the park so late.” He handed her a silver whistle on a black nylon cord. “Here, if you need me again.”
“A whistle? I can whistle for you?” She examined the tiny instrument with its indecipherable scrawl on one side. “Your name?” She looked up and the mist reappeared around the stranger and he vanished before her eyes. Only the dog stood beside her. Baxter nuzzled her hand, and she hooked the leash back on his collar. “Come on, boy, we won’t tell anyone about this!”
This novel holds a special place in my heart as it was the first novel I wrote.
The Cross of Tarlis is now two books because of its length.
Both books will be published this year. 2021 as will the 2nd. Book, “The Cross of Tarlis: THE RECKONING.”
The Cross of Tarlis took me a little over two years to write and it was not until 2010 that it was published for the first time. Over ten years after it was written.
Back in 1997 digital printing had not yet caught on and there was very little online publishing and no print on demand.
All of the traditional publishers I submitted it to in the US and UK at that time told me the book was too long to take a chance on.
I still consider “The Cross of Tarlis” one of my best novels. It is a fast paced, Dark, Heroic, Fantasy Romance and it will be published by, The Wild Rose Press.
“That is enough!” She flushed and crossed her arms over her chest. “I am certain I do not want to know.” She turned from his perusal and stared over the treetops at the mist-shrouded peaks of Dragon Spur. “Who are you?” “I am Kaden of Glen-Dorrach at your service, my lady.” He bowed with a flourish and she realized he was mocking her. She would not rise to his bait. “What are you doing out here? Alone?” His expression sobered and when he searched her face, his eyes were pale green. “I could ask you the same question.” “I asked first.” “So, you did. Traveling. I hire my sword for money.” “A mercenary?” “‘Tis honest enough work.” For several heartbeats, they remained silent, then she spoke again. “Thank you for your help.” “You handle yourself well for a woman.” She straightened to her full height, a little below his shoulder, and lifted her chin. Who did this man think he was? Did he not know she was a Warrior Princess of Ellenroh? Then she relaxed. No, he did not, nor was she about to enlighten him. “Again, thank you.” Her words sounded stiff. “I was outnumbered. Eventually they would have worn me down.” He caught her hand, pressing it to his chest. “If I can be of more service. He arched a brow.” “I am certain that will not be necessary.” His heartbeat, rapid and strong against her hand but she could not allow herself to weaken. She had a quest. She had a mission…