If you’ve been waiting for this title, I have good news. The release date has been moved up to February 11, 2013. Want a sneak peek?
Here’s an excerpt:
No one was sure how it started, but King Kendrick had stopped aging. He made no secret of his condition, and for a time, he nourished himself by feeding on the life force of the enemies of Minra.
There hadn’t been any battles nor secret plots in centuries. It was the people of the kingdom who decided to offer up Initiates to keep the king strong. Even though there hadn’t been any negative experiences in living memory, the elders of each village handed down the tales of how things were before Kendrick took the throne. Life had been good under Kendrick’s rule, and no one was willing to return to the hardships of times past.
None of that mattered to Ashland as she took determined strides. She was a little breathless as she approached the door to Cirian’s carriage. She looked up at the side of the hood on the Ritual Master’s head through the window with a ball of venomous ire rising up her throat. “I hope I become a Companion just so he can choke on me and finally die!”
Cirian didn’t move. When he spoke, it was with a controlled tone. “Are you finished?”
“What?” The anger she felt before transformed into a full-on rage. Her blood churned, filling her with the urge to leap into the carriage and scratch the arrogant man’s eyes out.
“Are you finished with this little display of yours?” He remained still and continued to face forward as if she wasn’t there.
Just who the hell did this man think he was? There he sat, ripping her away from everything she knew, and he had the nerve to sit there as if she was an inconvenience. Ashland’s disgust removed any remaining filter she might have had.
“Are you finished being a jackass?” She put her balled fists on her hips and narrowed her eyes at the man who’d decided her fate. She knew her words were inappropriate, but she didn’t care. She wasn’t raised to back down from a challenge. She blew out a breath of frustration. Despite her upbringing, she was also raised to respect the royal court.
“Get in your carriage.” The Ritual Master was unaffected by her anger, and he leaned to the opposite window and called out in a firm tone. “Callan, let’s go. I want to be back at the palace before midday. Baan, see to it this Initiate makes it to her carriage.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “If she speaks out of turn, find a gag to silence her.”
Ashland couldn’t decide if she was about to scream or spontaneously combust as she stared at Cirian in shock. How dare he!
Before she could open her mouth, Baan was at her side, and he gripped her forearm gently. “This way, Initiate.”
She blinked several times before she felt him tug her along. Allowing herself to be led away, she turned her gaze to the man guiding her toward the farm. He was taller than she was, with hair the color of a field of sunlit wheat. He wore it long, the golden strands pulled back and tucked into his robe. His face was youthful, but he carried himself with an air of formal reserve.
A small smile pulled the corners of his mouth, and he spoke in a quiet voice. “It’s okay to be nervous, but I assure you, everything will be just fine.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not on the menu.”