Welcome back readers! I hope this post finds you well, especially after such a difficult year due to the pandemic. I’ve big news to share, my next book, the finale of The Abcynians series, is coming soon! Currently, it’s in the hands of my editor for preparations needed to release it across various vendors, including Amazon, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, and a lot more! Stay tuned for a release date.
That said, I’d thought I’d share a book teaser and an excerpt. And, of course, the FABULOUS cover.
Hailed as demigods from a fallen realm Abcynians and their panthera guardians protected humankind. Over the centuries, perpetual war with their malevolent adversaries exacted a heavy toll, forcing Abcynians to evolve, becoming monarchs, warriors, lords and ladies, artists and voyagers. Centuries later, war between the Abcynians and Saturians has crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Cast into the belly of an enemy’s ship to die, Valiant Montgomery seeks absolution for failing to keep his promise to Mary Ainsworth, the pretty maid fated to be his queen. Needing a miracle, he prays she is somewhere safe with a family of her own. He never expects his prayer to be answered, much less to be rescued by a crew of Abcynians. When he discovers the Saturians used his marquisate to stage the slaughter of his species and left his father for dead, he questions if he is worthy of his beloved.
Gunslinger Gabriel Blakemore returned to privateering to search for his sister’s lost prince. Relieved Valiant is found alive, he realizes the heir to the Abcynian throne has a hard row to hoe and invites him to put down roots in Dare, Arizona. In truth, however, he can’t stop thinking about his feisty neighbor, Izzy Patterson, and worries his nightmarish past might frighten her away.
During the voyage to America, Valiant and Gabriel form a pact, vowing to reunite with the women they love and new ally Caine Sinclair promises to heal Lucien Montgomery’s shattered soul. Once home, Valiant and Mary fulfill their fate and Gabriel wins Izzy’s heart. All the while, a malicious foe threatens to unleash unimaginable losses upon their families and townsfolk of Dare. To save them, the destined King and Crown Prince must lead the Abcynians into a showdown between good and evil…or humanity itself will become extinct.
South Pacific Ocean—January—1881
Deep in the belly of a prison ship reeking of rotting corpses, Valiant struggled to ignore the emptiness in his belly and his soul. Creator knew, he had many regrets and sins to atone for, but none so much as his failure to return to England to marry Mary Ainsworth.
Even now, he couldn’t forget the first time he’d seen her in a St. James’s Square courtyard. It mattered not that she’d worn a borrowed gown that was way too big for her. To him, she’d been pretty, shy, and sad because she’d recently lost her parents in an accident.
Oddly, he thought of the scruffy dog that’d followed her everywhere. Charlie had been loyal, friendly, often guiding Mary because she’d frequently misplace her spectacles. Where was she now, he wondered? Was she still in England with the Blakemores? Was she still alive?
Unable to breathe, he tried to sit up just as cannons blasted the ship. God’s teeth, pain ricocheted through his broken body, the lick of saltwater burning his torn flesh. Certain he was about to die, he prayed for a miracle.
He never expected the roars of Abcynian panthers to be the answer.
How could it be? As far as he knew, he was the last of Abcynian kind on earth after their mortal enemies, the Saturians, slaughtered his family, friends, and Abcynian Guards.
Confused, he crawled from beneath the body he was chained to, becoming aware that the screams of his Saturian captors had faded behind voices he recognized.
“Gabriel, Caine, break the lock,” his brother commanded from above his prison.
“Adrian?” Valiant called out, hating that his voice was so weak, but needing to believe salvation had come.
“Valiant! Thank the Creator, you’re alive. Brace yourself, we’re coming for you,” Adrian warned a heartbeat before the hold was flooded with sunshine.
“Please tell me you’re not a ghost, brother,” he cried, having to shield his eyes from the bright light flooding the hold.
“I am real. Hold tight, Val. We’re almost there.”
“Not going anywhere.” Despite being blinded by sunshine, Valiant was certain his brother had been joined by two others who worked to remove bodies and chains.
“What the hell happened in here?” came a gruff voice that sounded like Garrick Forrester.
“Ryder Sanborn, but close enough. Easy now. Gabriel and I need to get these chains off.”
“Gabriel! Is she alive? Is Mary still alive?”
“My sister’s alive and well. Long story. We’ll get there, pal.”
Pal? What did that mean? “She’s safe?”
“Wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. Here, wear this. It’ll block the sun from your eyes.”
Some sort of hat came to the top of his head, the softness of it unexpected, yet it felt as right as the crown of blond hair he’d once worn to signify his heirdom to a throne he’d never thought he wanted until he couldn’t have it anymore.
“Gabriel, last chain, right here. Shoot it, but don’t let the bullet hit my brother.”
“Trust me, Adrian, my aim is true.”
A shot pierced the shackle around his ankle, freeing him. Opening his eyes, he braced himself for the sting of sunshine, relieved when the hat blunted the impact.
Finally, Adrian knelt beside him, lifting Valiant into his arms. The jostling hurt like hell, but the pain meant he was alive. “My God, what have you been through?”
“Deaths, more than you can know—including yours.”
“I’m not dead, Val.”
“What of Elena and Mercedes, and Matias and Ricardo? The children?” he demanded, desperate to know the fate of his sisters and their mates.
“I’m sorry. They are gone.” Adrian’s voice was gruff.
“Alive, but not the same. He’s with Garrick and Aisley now.”
“How can that be? I saw Garrick’s head on a Saturian pike. What of Hayden? I saw him, too.”
“It was probably Grayson, who could’ve been his twin. You were not wrong about Hayden. Come on, let’s get you somewhere safe.”
“I am now, Adrian. Thank you for not giving up on me.”
“We never did, and neither did Mary.”
Turning his head slowly, he saw familiar faces. Ryder Sanborn still had the sleek musculature of an Abcynian with the lineage of a leopard. Behind him, an unfamiliar man with shaggy russet hair stood ready to assist.
It was Gabriel Blakemore who stunned him the most. Gone was the attire of an English lord. Instead, he’d let his hair grow to his arse, wore an aged coat that fell to his ankles, and had a long gun strapped to his back.
“Why aren’t you dressed like a lord, Gabriel?”
“English titles are no longer my concern, nor my father’s.”
“What Gabriel’s trying to say is he went West after the war and became a cowboy,” Ryder rumbled.
Aware that they were moving, he clung to his brother, as part of him feared he’d wake up to find himself bound to dead bodies again. “Adrian, how long have I been gone?”
“Better part of ninety-five years.”