Book Updates, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal, The Tarlisian Sagas, Writing News

The Cross of Tarlis: The Awakening

Book One

A TARLISIAN SAGA

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

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

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…

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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.

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Tannith

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?”

Skylah

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.

Etan

“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.”

Audiobooks, Book Updates, General Musings, The Tarlisian Sagas, Time of the Wolf, Writing News

‘Time of the Wolf’ Audiobook Sample

Please enjoy this FREE SAMPLE of ‘Time of the Wolf’ Audiobook.

Written by Julie A. D’Arcy

Narrated by Matt Haynes

Buy NOW! AT~

Audiobooks, Book Updates, General Musings, The Tarlisian Sagas, Time of the Wolf, Uncategorized, Writing News, Writing Tips

Dipping my toe into the world of Audiobooks

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.

https://tinyurl.com/t27cyfrt

Book Updates, General Musings, Uncategorized, Writing News

Today I would like to introduce the very talented author Catherine Greenfeder as my guest~

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.

https://www.catherinegreenfeder.com/

Follow her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Catherine.Greenfeder.Author

Blurb~

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.

Amazon

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angels-among-us-catherine-greenfeder/1007837978?ean=2940161510018

Available now in print and e-book.

Excerpt

Excerpt: Angels Among Us by Cathy Greenfeder 

“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.

“Gift?”

“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!”

Amazon

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angels-among-us-catherine-greenfeder/1007837978?ean=2940161510018

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/932600

Available now in print and e-book.

Time of the Wolf

Almost There.

Almost there.

Time of the Wolf, a novel I originally wrote around 20 years ago, has been submitted and accepted by The Wild Rose Press. I have completed a complete overhaul of the novel to bring it up to scratch for today’s market. Things have changed a lot over the years in how books are written. Especially in regards to Point of View.

Once you were able to hop between character POV’s mid scene, now, not so much as this pulls the reader out of the novel too much. Nowadays, the preferred way is one POV per scene. So, this was something that had to be rectified when getting Time of the Wolf ready for republication.

This old dog is learning some new tricks.

But, I have now completed the edits from the publisher and have sent them to be checked over. Hopefully, it will not be too long before you see Time of the Wolf, a Fantasy Romance with lots of story, action and romance, on the virtual shelves of your favourite online bookstore.

General Musings

Bringing It Home

I wrote two books. And, well, I don’t know how I did it. But somehow, I did.

I suffered a marriage breakdown and spent the past several years battling with depression and anxiety.

Add to that, my old doctor had me take valium every day for four years. Do I need to say those years were spent in a daze?

During that nightmare time, I managed to write 2 novellas.

The Shape of Destiny and Encounter in Paradise.

While all the time plugging away bit by bit on my full-length manuscript, the sequel to The Cross of Tarlis which I began writing in February 2007.

The Cross of Tarlis is currently out of print but will be submitted to a publisher when the sequel The Guardians of the Underworld is finished.

After ten years I can finally see an end in sight. I have a medication that allows me to see and act like a normal person and has allowed me to write again.

I only need to write around four more scenes and my book will be finished. I always have trouble writing at the end of the novel. I don’t know why that it is? I know the end, basically, every word is written in my head already but I have trouble putting pen to paper so to speak. That is why I wrote the end scene two years ago.

But now I am procrastinating about the last few scenes leading up to it.

But with my daughter urging me on and giving me a good boot up the backside when I need it I am certain I will finally bring it home.

Wish me luck!

 

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maroon flower on top of brown book
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

 

Book Updates, Silverdawn

Silverdawn – Julie A. D’arcy #UrbanFantasy #romance #fantasy

Silverdawn350Silverdawn, daughter of Mikkasah, born to the magick.

Mikkasah, King of Rastehm is forced to send his only child into the unknown future of the 20th century Australia, where she grows to maturity and moves to London with her adopted parents. She has no knowledge of her origins nor that she holds the key to the safety or destruction of both her new world and her old, until one night, she is stalked by a lion and a griffin, and cast into an adventure that will change her life.

A dark knight becomes her saviour.

Faren Malaan, Knight of Paladia, is sent forward in time to track and retrieve the Crystal Pyramid. The king’s astronomers have learned that the pyramid, which shifts through the portals of time, is cracked. And, if not restored, the sorcerer, Isanti’s demons will escape.

Through sheer luck, Istani was not imprisoned by the Goddess, when she created the Pyramid to banish him and his demons.

Istani travels through time, taking over the bodies of innocents, then casting them aside.

But this time he is trapped in the sickly weak body of Peter Waymer. His only escape from the cancer eating away at him is to find the Pyramid, release his demons and have them in turn heal him. With one thought in mind after his escape, to wreak destruction upon mankind.

Celtic Mythology, Dark Urban Fantasy, Time Travel, Lust and Romance!  

The fate of two worlds rests in the hands of a banished Princess of Rastehm and a Knight of Paladia who is battling his own personal demons.

They must join forces with three friends they meet along their way to restore the Crystal Pyramid to Deharna, and battle the tormented mind of Iraj who will stop at nothing to gain his prize.

‘SILVERDAWN’

AMAZONSMASHWORDS|KOBO|BARNS&NOBLE|iTUNES|

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EXCERPT

He was waiting. Leaning against the outside wall by the door, he loomed large, dark and dangerous. Still dressed in black, he had added a leather coat in the same shade that belted at the waist and fell below his knees to meet his ebony boots. All this Silverdawn noted at a glance before she passed him by.

It was late. She had not really expected him to be there. In fact, she had deliberately stayed late in order to avoid him. He straightened and fell into step beside her.

Silverdawn had not shared company with a male since high school. Those embarrassing attempts at fumbled passion by the captain of the hockey team, and his rumor spreading the next day, were enough to cure her of men for a very long time. She felt uncomfortable in their presence.

“You don’t have to do this,” she said, descending the marble stairs.

“But I do,” he returned, his voice like the rumble of distant thunder.

“It’s cold, it’s late and I wouldn’t think any less of you if you were to leave now.”

“But I would.”

They crossed the road toward the darkened park in silence. Chills feathered up Silverdawn’s spine and prickled her scalp, but her gaze never left the darkness beyond the gates. The grounds seemed even blacker than the night before—more intimidating, as though whispering her name. She stepped up onto the curb and hesitated.

“Is there a problem?”

Silverdawn flinched at Faren’s words. Despite the cold, perspiration beading her forehead, small rivulets of sweat ran between her breasts. “No. No, of course not.”

He knew she was afraid, and he knew she knew. She could sense it. She didn’t understand what game he played, but it could not be all bad, since he had rescued her the night before. Hadn’t he?

She raised her chin, stepped through the gate, turned left as always, and screamed as something leaped at her from the bushes. A second piercing scream ripped from her throat as she fought off her attacker. Then she was in Faren’s arms, and he was laughing.

His chest rumbled against her cheek, and the warm deep sound sprinkled the night. With as much dignity as she could muster she pushed away from his arms.

In the light of the streetlamp, she could see that in one hand he held a trembling ball of fluff. A kitten—frightened and shivering. She closed her eyes, breathed deeply to control her shaking then smiled up at him hesitantly. “May I?”

Faren nodded and placed the tiny animal in her hands.

She stroked its small damp head with one finger, realizing as she did so that the kitten was shaking nearly as much as she was. Murmuring soft words of comfort, she attempted to tuck the kitten down the neck of her coat, but her hands were cold and stiff and the kitten refused to cooperate.

Faren, seeing her dilemma, moved to help.

Silverdawn glanced up, and their gazes met in the dim light. The clouds parted, and the moon shone down, revealing his solemn, handsome face. Their bodies were but a whisper apart. He lowered his head. She could detect the sparkle of his eyes. His aura wrapped itself around her body and cocooned her in the knowledge that this man was safe, dependable.

She could feel the warmth of his breath on her lips and had the distinct impression he was going to kiss her. It was strange; she had known him for no more than a day, yet she wanted his kiss more than she had wanted anything in a long time. She closed her eyes and waited. She yearned to lean into him, wrap herself around him, and just for a moment allow herself this one small measure of comfort. She felt his hands closing over hers, and her eyes sprang open.

“The kitten, ma belle. It is cold and frightened. Perhaps we should see to its comfort.” He guided the kitten into the lapel of her jacket. His large, warm hands closed over hers for a fraction more than necessary. Then he released her and stepped away.

‘SILVERDAWN’

AMAZONSMASHWORDS|KOBO|BARNS&NOBLE|iTUNES|

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Book Updates, Elven Magick, The Tarlisian Sagas

ELVEN MAGICK – Julie A. D’Arcy #FantasyRomance #fantasy #romance

Elven Magick2018largetitle

It has been twenty-one years since the Dragon King defeated the Dark Priest Narokah and condemned him to the Fiery Abyss.

The legendary Sword of Niraz has been stolen!

The elf, Vellandril Ballindoch, sets forth on a quest to find the sword.  Along the way he must confront his painful past including the woman he betrayed, but still loves, and the son he never knew existed.

Her duty to the king!

After forsaking her past and gaining the title of First Knight to the Dragon King, Johden de Danann is forced to undertake a quest with a man she swore never to forgive, but never stopped loving.

Treachery, betrayal, adventure and action, a magickal world of elves and romance combine to bring forth the exciting conclusion to a tale that began with The Dragon and the Rose and finishes with happily ever after—for some.

 

“ELVEN MAGICK”

iHeart Book Publishing|Amazon|iTunes| Smashwords|Kobo

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EXCERPT

 

Clouds fashioned a misty veil around the branches of the Machoann trees, embracing the Elven village of Tarlis-Leah. A lone figure, hooded and robed in gray, to blend with moonlight and shadow, stole across the darkened bedchamber.

Guided by a stunted candle, flickering fitfully on a small bedside table, the thief knelt at the end of the bed, pulled a golden key from her pocket, and fitted it to a lock attached to a carved wooden chest.

The lock clicked ominously into the silence.

The thief tensed and a bead of perspiration trickled down her back.

The occupant of the bed slept on. The sleeping draught she had administered earlier had achieved its desired result.

She lifted the trunk’s heavy lid and again the silence broke.

The thief stilled.

Vellandril Ballindoch groaned, rolled over and mumbled several words, then settled. A sigh slipped between the thief’s lips, and she stroked the handle of the small poniard at her waist. She would not be thwarted in this plan. Revenge was such a sweet word. She could taste it on her lips.

Wrapped in a soft red cloth, buried deep among Vellandril’s clothes, she found that which she sought. Her hands trembled as she claimed her prize. The Sword of Niraz felt light, not at all what she expected from such a large weapon.

Now the elf would pay for all the suffering and lost summers, all the pain and humiliation. Gently, she closed the trunk and crept toward the window where an Elven rope, soft, thin and durable, dangled from a nearby branch. Rewrapping the sword deftly in a dark cloth, she strapped it to her back, stepped into a loop formed in the fine but tough Elven rope, and descended into the darkness of the forest.

 

 

“ELVEN MAGICK”

iHeart Book Publishing|Amazon|iTunes| Smashwords|Kobo

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My Poetry

Eternal Night – By Julie A. D’Arcy

Eternal Night is a poem I wrote for my novel Night’s Eternal Vow. A paranormal romance about a young police detective and the vampire who changes everything she ever thought about the supernatural.

 

Eternal Night

I dwelled in a time long past,

When love a song sweet,

Darkness down inside I weep.

Eternal is the night,

I walk with the dead,

Pray with the living,

That I will find the strength,

To raise my head,

Walk out of the place of the damned,

Find my soul,

Drink my fear,

Raise my face to light.

Eternal is the night.

                                                                                                     By Julie. A. D’Arcy

 

 

Book Updates, The Dragon and the Rose, The Tarlisian Sagas

THE DRAGON AND THE ROSE – Julie A. D’Arcy #fantasyromance #fantasy #romance

Dragon and the rose cover

In the medieval world of Tarlis, Meggahn du Val, daughter of the Low-Lord of Gola-Dah, watches a strange light flare across the night sky.  Little does she realize it is the return of the legendary Black Dragon and she will be immersed in an adventure that will change her life.

After 800 years in the guise of a black dragon, Garrik le Fey, First King of Tarlis is released from the world of shadow between the pages of an ancient spell book, where he has guarded against the escape of the Dark Priest to the God of Blood. Garrik finds himself a man by night and dragon by day.

To keep from becoming a dragon forever, Garrik must journey to a legendary elven pond, and is forced to lay his trust in the cynical elf, Vellandril Ballindoch, who has no love for humans.

With the elf’s help, he must lay claim to the enchanted Sword of Niraz. It is the only means by which to stop Narokah from steeling the Orb of de Danann, and making the sacrifice that will raise his dark god from the Hell Pit.

A tale of action, adventure, romance, myth, magic, and legend …

 

 ‘THE DRAGON AND THE ROSE’

iHeart Book Publishing|Amazon|Barnes & Noble eBookBarns & Noble Print Book|Smashwords|Kobo

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EXCERPT

A voice from behind the closed door caught her attention.
“So mother, it has come to this. A King without a Kingdom – a man by night and a dragon by day. What advice would you give now to a son who finds himself in such turmoil?”
Meggahn peered through the narrow slit in the door. The room was lit only by the glow of a roaring fire. A figure sat at a large desk, his silhouette carved by the light of the flames, his face resting in his hands. Even in the dim light Meggahn could tell a mantle of despair weighted the man. The feeling was almost tangible. Close by, above the huge library grate, was a painting of a beautiful dark-haired woman. Meggahn surmised it was to she, to whom the man spoke.

She slipped the torch into a bracket beside the door and contemplated the man’s strange words. King? There had been no king in this land for eight hundred years and certainly not of Gola-Dah. And what was this talk of dragons? Her father was murdered by a sorcerer who was able to transform to a dragon. Could Garrik have murdered her father? And if so, why? And why burn the village of Gola-Dah then lead the inhabitants to safety? Was it a trap? She realized she would have to tread carefully.  If Garrik was not who he said he was, then just who was he?

Fortifying her courage, she tapped softly on the door and entered.

He raised his head. “Meggahn?”

She wondered briefly how he could recognize her in such dim light. But she guessed to a sorcerer who could see in darkness, her identity held no mystery. “I could not sleep and intended to seek some air.” The lie slipped smoothly from her tongue. “I heard voices and thought I would investigate. You were late in returning, my lord.”

Garrik eyed her warily as she moved to warm herself innocently, seductively, by the fire. He wondered if she realized how beautiful she really was. Even more so now, with her thick fiery hair spread about her shoulders and the lie still trembling on her lips, than the first time he had seen her sprawled in the dust with her skirts hiked around her thighs. Or the second time with soot smudging her cheeks. He realized she must have heard him leave her room and followed. What a fool he had been. He had not been able to resist a glimpse of her before becoming the dragon in the morning. How much had she heard of his plaintive ramblings? He rose to stand beside her at the fire.

“I would urge you to dress more warmly for your sojourn outside,” he cautioned, curling a lock of her bright hair about his finger. “The air is chill on the mountains at night and the mist is said to seep into your bones.”

His breath fanned her face, and her own labored in her throat. He had cut his black hair, and now wore it short at the neck and sides in the style of the other men at the castle. A shadow of a day’s growth covered his jaw, but it only proved to make him more handsome. “I will do that,” Meggahn whispered. Reluctantly, she lowered her gaze from his face and followed his line of vision. The silken cloth of the nightgown Johden had loaned her, pulled tightly across her breasts, and the reflected light behind her from the fire left little to the imagination. She drew back, folded her arms across her chest, and moved to lean on the desk away from the fire, and the man.

He glanced at her with an unreadable expression. His eyes were such a brilliant gold, Meggahn felt almost mesmerized. He seemed so different from the man she had met on the mountain, the man who had led her from the burned ruins of Gola-Dah; some how more dangerous.

“Do I make you nervous?”

She jumped as his question sounded into the silence. “I fear no man,” she responded with a slight tremble to her voice.

“That is not what I asked.”

“Why were you in my room?” She countered, ignoring his question and replacing it with one of her own.

“I wished only to make certain you were well. Business takes me from the castle again come morning.”

He had not denied he’d been in her room. “The same business that took you away today?” She asked softly.

He seemed to hesitate, then nodded. “Much the same, yes.”

She picked up a small bejeweled dagger from the desk and twirled it between her fingers. The firelight caught at the gems, and they showered her gown in multicolored rain as she spoke. “My mother came to this castle once. Or so my father said. She never returned.” She looked up quickly, to catch his expression. “Do you remember her? Her name was Ejinerah.”

Meggahn could have sworn a look of recognition crossed his face as she studied him, but it may well have been the flickering of the fire.

He shook his head. “Sorry, the name does not ring familiar, but I will question Gwayne when I see him on the morrow. I have been gone from the castle many years and have not yet had the opportunity to learn all that has occurred in my absence.”

“And where was it you said you had traveled?” she asked, with a raise of a fine brow.
His smile was strained. “I did not say.”

“And how many years?”

“That also I did not say.”

Meggahn glanced down at the knife with feigned indifference. “And why is that, my lord?”

Garrik closed the gap so fast she did not see him move. She squealed and reared back. The knife clattered to the floor as his fingers dug into her shoulders. “What game do you play here, Meggahn? What do you want from me?”
She struggled, but he gathered her tight and held her close to his body, his lips pressing to the curve of her ear. Then his mouth moved and his breath was hot on the slender line of her throat.

“I want to locate my mother and avenge my father.” Her words came in short sharp gasps. She could feel the hard outline of his body pressing close to hers. He was not as unaffected by her as he would like her to believe.

“I have no knowledge of your mother.” He breathed against her throat. “And I did not know your father. But I warn you, Meggahn du Val, be careful, extremely careful. There are forces at work in this castle of which you have no knowledge. Of which you could not begin to comprehend. So stay out of matters that are no concern to you. Live here as long as you wish, but do not interfere with me or mine.” His grip tightened on her waist and she thought she would faint from lack of breath.

“Understand?”

She nodded, barely acknowledging his words. She couldn’t think. No man had ever held her like this – with such familiarity. Not even the Baron. Her hands tightened involuntarily on his shoulders. She released the breath she had been holding to relax against him, instead of struggling. Whether he felt the slight change in her stance, the acceptance of his arms around her, she had no time to ponder, for he pushed her to arm’s length then released her.

She staggered, righted herself and glanced up at him. Never had she met a man like Garrik le Fey – hard yet soft, strong yet gentle. Any other man, she was certain, would have taken advantage of this situation. But not Garrik le Fey, the one they called the Dragon. His words had meant to be threatening, but she sensed neither danger in the words nor the man.

“Goodnight, Meggahn.” His tone was hard, dismissive.

Meggahn remained as she was, taking in his appearance. Dressed totally in black, with the golden glitter of his unusual eyes and the shadow of a day’s growth covering his chin, he could have been anything from an angel to a demigod. But to her, he was an enigma that she was determined to understand. Momentarily, she contemplated the foolhardiness of throwing herself back into his arms, but instead, raised her chin. For the moment she would do as he asked. “Goodnight, Garrik le Fey, Dragon Lord,” she said meeting his gaze. “May you discover in the daylight the peace which you cannot find at night.”  She pivoted and strode to the door.

It closed with a soft click behind her and Garrik stood in the darkened room. Her words had come perilously close to the truth. Though she had no way of knowing the extent of the torment that cut at his heart and wrenched at his soul. Nothing of what it was to live as only half a mortal, and to have all the longings and frustrations of a man. To be trapped in the body of a beast and have no inkling of what it was to want someone so bad you could taste it, yet know they could never be yours.

 

‘THE DRAGON AND THE ROSE’

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