Pride, The Abcynians Book Two, Available Free!

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope your weekend was good and the first touches of fall have leaves beginning to change.

Some news to share! Pride, Abcynians Book 2, is available free for a limited time at Amazon for Kindle. As with Persuasion, Book 1, Redemption, Book 3, Scandalous, Book 4, and the finale, Valiance, it’s also available at Kindle Unlimited. If you like reading on a Kindle or Kindle app, check Pride for free!

A little about Pride, featuring Dante Luciano, the adopted son of the Abcynian king, and Rhiannon, the oldest daughter of Sir Brandon and Judith Matthews, who has been missing and presumed dead for years:

Pride: The Abcynians, Book II
Plagued by headaches and memory loss after a life-threatening injury, Rhiannon has spent years confined behind the walls of a decrepit castle. When a loathsome earl attempts to earn her favor with an extravagant painting, she is inexplicably drawn to its depiction of an ancient, mythical race. Believing the Florentine artist could be the key to unlocking her past, she and her maid escape, hoping to enlist his aid. Upon reaching the Piazza della Signoria months later, she is unaware that the handsomest man amongst the lavish merchants is the one she seeks.
Dante Luciano is considered the most renowned artist of his time. His patrons are wealthy and powerful. His charm and prowess with women legendary. Yet, as the adopted son of the king of his kind, he must guard his secrets. For he possesses the heart and soul of a panthera prince, therefore, able to shift into a lion. Taken by the discovery of a rare Abcynian female nearby, he recognizes her as his destined mate. Discovering Rhiannon is stricken with debilitating pain, he takes her home, providing the remedies, protection, and knowledge she needs to survive.
While she heals, they fall in love, beginning to plan a future together. However, when her memory returns, imminent danger looms. It’ll take all of Dante’s abilities and the Abcynians to save Rhiannon from a vicious, beastly foe.

The Abcynians: Books 1-5

Good morning everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and if you watched the Olympics like I did, hope you had fun.

In the spirit of a New Release: Valiance, The Abcynians Book V, I’d thought I’d share the links and cover blurbs for Books 1-5, in addition to the links, which are also available on Amazon, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, and so much more!

Persuasion, The Abcynians Book I

As an Abcynian Elder, Garrick Forrester has survived wars, plagues, and arranged marriages. Nothing he’s experienced prepares him for the discovery of his mate living in his demesne, or for her resistance.
While aiding a child, Aisley Reeves is rescued by the Earl of Danford, whom a village healer should never dare approach without being summoned. At first, she is fascinated with the dark, mesmerizing lord who tempts her in a way no man has ever done. After he claims she’s to become his betrothed, she balks.
Already fearful her work and red hair might cause some to brand her as a witch, she believes it is best to keep her distance. When Aisley suffers a near mortal injury at the hands of his enemies, Garrick must gain her trust so that he can protect her. But can she trust her life to a man who is far more than…human?https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_54NR3rll2Jg6Uv&asin=B01IG0OW90&tag=kpembed-20

Pride, The Abcynians Book II

Plagued by headaches and memory loss after a life-threatening injury, Rhiannon has spent years confined behind the walls of a decrepit castle. When a loathsome earl attempts to earn her favor with an extravagant painting, she is inexplicably drawn to its depiction of an ancient, mythical race. Believing the Florentine artist could be the key to unlocking her past, she and her maid escape, hoping to enlist his aid. Upon reaching the Piazza della Signoria months later, she is unaware that the handsomest man amongst the lavish merchants is the one she seeks.
Dante Luciano is considered the most renowned artist of his time. His patrons are wealthy and powerful. His charm and prowess with women legendary. Yet, as the adopted son of the king of his kind, he must guard his secrets. For he possesses the heart and soul of a panthera prince, therefore, able to shift into a lion. Taken by the discovery of a rare Abcynian female nearby, he recognizes her as his destined mate. Discovering Rhiannon is stricken with debilitating pain, he takes her home, providing the remedies, protection, and knowledge she needs to survive.
While she heals, they fall in love, beginning to plan a future together. However, when her memory returns, imminent danger looms. It’ll take all of Dante’s abilities and the Abcynians to save Rhiannon from a vicious, beastly foe.https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_aoZK8Ma3ExdniI&asin=B0744196VX&tag=kpembed-20

Redemption, The Abcynians Book III

They have lived for centuries. An ancient, secretive race of were-panthers faced with near extinction. To assure their survival they must conceal their identities and abilities, while protecting mankind from an unimaginable, primordial evil.
Redemption: The Abcynians, Book III
Her ship overtaken by pirates, Jocelyn Kincaid is rescued by Captain Don Adriano de Montoya. Initially afraid of the privateer sailors call El Fantasma, she discovers he is not the ghost some have portrayed him to be. He claims to be part of a mythical race—and her mate! Fascinated, she’s brokenhearted when he makes plans to sail her home to Boston.
Haunted by the memory of his murdered family, Adriano has sworn to ruin the man he holds responsible for their deaths. When he unexpectedly finds his mate aboard an enemy ship, he saves her life. Despite their unprecedented attraction, he keeps his distance until he learns a secret about Jocelyn that could potentially endanger her and Abcynian kind.
Determined to keep the woman he loves safe, his mission changes. But when she discovers the truth he’s guarding, will she forgive him, or set him on a path of destruction?https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_nSrFNpeCd4E8dI&asin=B07CB1F9ML&tag=kpembed-20

Scandalous, The Abcynians Book IV

The Royal Advisor to the King of the Abcynians, Nicholas, Duke of Arrington, is inscrutable, lofty, and elusive. A widower with two grown sons and no intention of remarrying, he never expects to meet Miss Regan Saunders while walking through Parade Gardens. Aware that she’s his destined mate, he’s fascinated. For not only is she prepared to push the boundaries of society’s expectations of a gentlewoman to become a doctor, she’s an Abcynian Guard, therefore, capable of protecting his and his family’s secrets.

Due to horrific betrayal by his first duchess, he believes it’s best to court her with the utmost discretion to avoid a scandal that could lead to her ruination. Nevertheless, when Regan becomes the target of a macabre killer, Nicholas will stop at nothing to protect her, including marriage.

Despite the rushed circumstances, it isn’t long before they open their hearts, falling in love, neither aware that an assassin has been plotting with an ancient adversary to destroy the Abcynians for centuries. To expose the truth, they’ll risk everything they hold dear to stop a predator before it’s too late.https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_L0UMSiVihMjl6i&asin=B08H183BDG&tag=kpembed-20

Valiance, The Abcynians Book V

Cast into the belly of an enemy’s ship to die, Valiant Montgomery seeks absolution for failing to keep his promise to Mary Ainsworth, his fated 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. Aware that the heir to the Abcynian throne has a long row to hoe, he invites Valiant to put down roots in Dare, Arizona. In truth, however, he can’t stop thinking about his feisty neighbor Izzy Patterson and worries that his nightmarish past might frighten her away.

During the voyage to America, Valiant and Gabriel vow to reunite with the women they love while a new ally with the heart of a jaguar 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 malevolent foe threatens to unleash unimaginable losses upon their families and the 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.

Persuasion, The Abcynians Book I, Available Free!

That’s right! Persuasion, the first book in the Abcynians series is available free for a limited time! This was the first book that had been accepted and published by Ellora’s Cave. It has been significantly revised, revisited, reimagined, and some characters/situations have changed from its original version.

Find out more about my big cat shifters by taking a chance on the Abcynians. The entire series is available on Kindle Unlimited, but as there are five books, I highly recommend starting with Book I, as characters introduced play key roles throughout the series, including Garrick and Aisley Forrester.

Available Now from Amazon: Lions, Tigers, Leopards & More! The Abcynians

Welcome back! I’m pleased to announce that I’ve enrolled Persuasion, The Abcynians Book I, Pride, The Abcynians Book II, Redemption, The Abcynians Book III, Scandalous, The Abcynians Book IV, and the series finale, Valiance, The Abcynians Book V, at Amazon for KDP Select. More so, starting Monday August 30, 2021 Persuasion will be available for free for a limited time! Likewise, if you’ve subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, each book is available to read. Enjoy!

Even better, if you’ve got a Kindle or a Kindle app on your favorite tablet or iPad, you can enroll in Kindle Unlimited and each and very book in the Abcynians series is available. It’s my sincere hope that you’ll check them out.

First, let me introduce you to Garrick and Aisley Forrester!

As an Abcynian Elder, Garrick Forrester has survived wars, plagues, and arranged marriages. Nothing he’s experienced prepares him for the discovery of his mate living in his demesne, or for her resistance.
While aiding a child, Aisley Reeves is rescued by the Earl of Danford, whom a village healer should never dare approach without being summoned. At first, she is fascinated with the dark, mesmerizing lord who tempts her in a way no man has ever done. After he claims she’s to become his betrothed, she balks.
Already fearful her work and red hair might cause some to brand her as a witch, she believes it is best to keep her distance. When Aisley suffers a near mortal injury at the hands of his enemies, Garrick must gain her trust so that he can protect her. But can she trust her life to a man who is far more than…human?

The Abcynians: Books 1-5

Good morning everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and if you watched the Olympics like I did, hope you had fun.

In the spirit of a New Release: Valiance, The Abcynians Book V, I’d thought I’d share the links and cover blurbs for Books 1-5, in addition to the links, which are also available on Amazon, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, and so much more!

Persuasion, The Abcynians Book I

As an Abcynian Elder, Garrick Forrester has survived wars, plagues, and arranged marriages. Nothing he’s experienced prepares him for the discovery of his mate living in his demesne, or for her resistance.
While aiding a child, Aisley Reeves is rescued by the Earl of Danford, whom a village healer should never dare approach without being summoned. At first, she is fascinated with the dark, mesmerizing lord who tempts her in a way no man has ever done. After he claims she’s to become his betrothed, she balks.
Already fearful her work and red hair might cause some to brand her as a witch, she believes it is best to keep her distance. When Aisley suffers a near mortal injury at the hands of his enemies, Garrick must gain her trust so that he can protect her. But can she trust her life to a man who is far more than…human?

Pride, The Abcynians Book II

Plagued by headaches and memory loss after a life-threatening injury, Rhiannon has spent years confined behind the walls of a decrepit castle. When a loathsome earl attempts to earn her favor with an extravagant painting, she is inexplicably drawn to its depiction of an ancient, mythical race. Believing the Florentine artist could be the key to unlocking her past, she and her maid escape, hoping to enlist his aid. Upon reaching the Piazza della Signoria months later, she is unaware that the handsomest man amongst the lavish merchants is the one she seeks.
Dante Luciano is considered the most renowned artist of his time. His patrons are wealthy and powerful. His charm and prowess with women legendary. Yet, as the adopted son of the king of his kind, he must guard his secrets. For he possesses the heart and soul of a panthera prince, therefore, able to shift into a lion. Taken by the discovery of a rare Abcynian female nearby, he recognizes her as his destined mate. Discovering Rhiannon is stricken with debilitating pain, he takes her home, providing the remedies, protection, and knowledge she needs to survive.
While she heals, they fall in love, beginning to plan a future together. However, when her memory returns, imminent danger looms. It’ll take all of Dante’s abilities and the Abcynians to save Rhiannon from a vicious, beastly foe.

Redemption, The Abcynians Book III

They have lived for centuries. An ancient, secretive race of were-panthers faced with near extinction. To assure their survival they must conceal their identities and abilities, while protecting mankind from an unimaginable, primordial evil.
Redemption: The Abcynians, Book III
Her ship overtaken by pirates, Jocelyn Kincaid is rescued by Captain Don Adriano de Montoya. Initially afraid of the privateer sailors call El Fantasma, she discovers he is not the ghost some have portrayed him to be. He claims to be part of a mythical race—and her mate! Fascinated, she’s brokenhearted when he makes plans to sail her home to Boston.
Haunted by the memory of his murdered family, Adriano has sworn to ruin the man he holds responsible for their deaths. When he unexpectedly finds his mate aboard an enemy ship, he saves her life. Despite their unprecedented attraction, he keeps his distance until he learns a secret about Jocelyn that could potentially endanger her and Abcynian kind.
Determined to keep the woman he loves safe, his mission changes. But when she discovers the truth he’s guarding, will she forgive him, or set him on a path of destruction?

Scandalous, The Abcynians Book IV

The Royal Advisor to the King of the Abcynians, Nicholas, Duke of Arrington, is inscrutable, lofty, and elusive. A widower with two grown sons and no intention of remarrying, he never expects to meet Miss Regan Saunders while walking through Parade Gardens. Aware that she’s his destined mate, he’s fascinated. For not only is she prepared to push the boundaries of society’s expectations of a gentlewoman to become a doctor, she’s an Abcynian Guard, therefore, capable of protecting his and his family’s secrets.

Due to horrific betrayal by his first duchess, he believes it’s best to court her with the utmost discretion to avoid a scandal that could lead to her ruination. Nevertheless, when Regan becomes the target of a macabre killer, Nicholas will stop at nothing to protect her, including marriage.

Despite the rushed circumstances, it isn’t long before they open their hearts, falling in love, neither aware that an assassin has been plotting with an ancient adversary to destroy the Abcynians for centuries. To expose the truth, they’ll risk everything they hold dear to stop a predator before it’s too late.

Valiance, The Abcynians Book V

Cast into the belly of an enemy’s ship to die, Valiant Montgomery seeks absolution for failing to keep his promise to Mary Ainsworth, his fated 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. Aware that the heir to the Abcynian throne has a long row to hoe, he invites Valiant to put down roots in Dare, Arizona. In truth, however, he can’t stop thinking about his feisty neighbor Izzy Patterson and worries that his nightmarish past might frighten her away.

During the voyage to America, Valiant and Gabriel vow to reunite with the women they love while a new ally with the heart of a jaguar 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 malevolent foe threatens to unleash unimaginable losses upon their families and the 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.

Valiance, The Abcynians Book V is Available Now!

Thrilled to announce that Valiance, the fifth and final book of the Abcynians series, is available now at Amazon, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, and several digital book libraries and subscription services.

Hailed as demigods from a fallen realm, Abcynians and their panthera guardians evolved into shifters to protect ancient civilizations from their malevolent adversaries. 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, his fated 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. Aware that the heir to the Abcynian throne has a long row to hoe, he invites Valiant to put down roots in Dare, Arizona. In truth, however, he can’t stop thinking about his feisty neighbor Izzy Patterson and worries that his nightmarish past might frighten her away.

During the voyage to America, Valiant and Gabriel vow to reunite with the women they love and rely on a new ally with the heart of a jaguar 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 malevolent foe threatens to unleash unimaginable losses upon their families and the townsfolk of Dare.

Sneak Peek

“You picked a great horse for Valiant, by the way. Tall enough for an Abcynian male but requires an experienced rider.”

“Figured someone who’d once ridden war horses could handle Gulliver, even though Cynric Forrester sent word that Valiant and Gabriel bought horses from him,” Michael replied, jumping down to the ground.

“It’s a wonderful gift, Michael. He’ll love it,” Mary assured as a scent she’d not detected in ninety-five years drew her attention westward.

Stilling, she turned in her seat, discovering Valiant astride a huge chestnut horse. In truth, it wasn’t the magnificence of a well-bred stallion that caught her eye, it was the former marquess wearing a cotton shirt, denims, boots, and a black Stetson. Beside him, Gabriel rode a tall black horse with a white star on its forehead.

“Go be with Valiant, Mary, I’ll look after Izzy,” Gabriel insisted, breaking away from Valiant to accept the reins of his favorite buckskin from Caleb, only to ride toward town.

As soon as Gabriel disappeared, Mary got down from the wagon at the same time as Valiant jumped to the ground. Goodness, no wonder he’d bought such a big horse! He was enormous, muscled, with tawny hair running down to his back in thick waves.

Uncommonly handsome, his eyes were like liquid amber, his nose patrician, his jaw squared, his teeth white, the presence of slightly extended canines fascinating. His unique scent—sandalwood and something deeper, spicier—reached her.

And then she realized Valiant was close enough to touch, his hands extended. If she were still sixteen, she might have flushed and looked away. Instead, she launched herself at him, catching him off-guard. He caught her all the same.

“Mary, I am sorry, so very sorry,” he apologized, for what, she didn’t know.

“Don’t say anything more until you kiss me, Valiant Montgomery. After all, I’ve been waiting all my life for you to do so.”

Aware that they had witnesses, she didn’t care about anything other than having his big hand cup the side of her face that’d once been scarred. Today, it was nothing but a faint crescent-shaped line that he caressed with his thumb before brushing her glasses to the top of her head and bending forward to press his mouth to hers. On a sigh, her lips parted, his tongue delving deep, tangling with hers in an intimate dance she’d never experienced before.

If she’d been standing, her knees would’ve given out, for surely the earth shook from the impact of her first genuine, heart-pounding kiss with the man she loved. And, still they kissed, clinging to one another, his taste as sweet as molasses.

Mary, we keep this up, Michael’s gonna geld me.

He’d have to go through me first. Oh, Valiant, I am so relieved to know that you’re well, but please forgive me for my moments of doubt that you’d be found.

You owe me no apologies. I broke the promise I’d made to you the day I left Regan and Nicholas’ wedding breakfast.

Valiant! You didn’t break it. You came home.

I’m not the same man anymore, Mary. Much as I wish otherwise, I am not.

Nor am I the same girl, my love.

Easing up, he lifted his head. As her vision had improved since her conversion, she didn’t need her glasses to appreciate the regal beauty of his features. Then she saw him, the face of the Crown Prince etched upon his countenance, the lion’s head bowed, as if in shame.

“Kahari is sad,” she said.

“What?”

“The Crown Prince, that’s his name, right?” she asked, as it’d come to her as surely as he stood there.

“It is.”

“He’s ashamed for not detecting that you were in danger long before you’d reached Calais.”

“It wasn’t Kahari’s fault. I’d become so high on the instep that I failed to realize my own valet led me into a trap.”

“Might I speak to the lion?”

“If I can hear you, he can.”

“Thank you, Kahari, thank you for protecting Valiant, for bringing him home to his family, to our kind, to me,” she whispered to the lion, touching her hand to Valiant’s face, stroking the lion’s countenance reflected upon his skin.

“Mary, I feel him, I feel the return of his pride simply because you are near.” 

“Thank the Creator. I had a vision of you once, in a mirror,” she confessed.

“Tell me of it.”

“I was tasked to say the name of the man I loved. You came to me. You were hung from some sort of contraption, beaten, bloody, your back shredded. Your hair gone. Your inner strength to endure had been tested due to punishment you’d wrongly believed you deserved, and I worried you were just going to let it all go.”

“The only reason I didn’t end my life was you, for it was your face that I kept in my mind, your name in my heart.”

“Are you saying you still love me, Valiant?”

“I have loved you from the moment we met, though I pray your vision of me in prison then didn’t frighten you overly much,” he said, looking sheepish.

“The punishment was real?”

“One of many, I suspect, though it was likely when I’d tried to escape an opium den that’d been overrun by vampires. After I’d been punished, I was placed on a prison ship, where I was put in the hold with the other prisoners and forced into hard labor until they all died, save for me.”

“Goodness, that must’ve been terrible.”

“The yellow-bellied Saturians wanted me to subsist on the bodies. I couldn’t, for as many sins as I’d committed, I would not, could not do such a thing.”

Smiling, Mary imagined Gabriel had taught Valiant a thing or two about the West during their voyage home. “Been spending the last few months with my brother, haven’t you?”

“He’s my best friend. Without him, I might not have survived the nightmares, though I should warn you that they remain.”

“I’m glad Gabriel was there for you, as I will be should you wake to such horrors.”

“Thank you. May I kiss you again? You taste of ambrosia and sunshine.”

“I’d rather kiss you,” she answered, using her great strength to lever herself up and take his face between her palms. “Welcome home, Valiant, welcome home.” Pressing her mouth to his, she brushed her lips back and forth, experimenting, learning, tasting. 

“Mary, Valiant, I don’t want to interrupt, but if we’re to stop Gabriel from killing a couple of men, we need to go, now,” Michael urged, compelling her to ease back.

https://books2read.com/u/me9eEz

Valiance, The Abcynians Book V

Hello everyone! Sorry for being so quiet, but I’ve been on a mini-vacation with family and tomorrow’s my birthday, so life has been busy! Needless to say that I’m extremely excited to announce that Valiance is ready for prime time! Soon, links will be available at Amazon, Nook, Apple Books, and Kobo, as well as digital lending libraries and services such as Scribd.

Here’s a glimpse of Valiance:

Hailed as demigods from a fallen realm, Abcynians and their panthera guardians evolved into shifters to protect ancient civilizations from their malevolent adversaries. 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, his fated 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. Aware that the heir to the Abcynian throne has a long row to hoe, he invites Valiant to put down roots in Dare, Arizona. In truth, however, he can’t stop thinking about his feisty neighbor Izzy Patterson and worries that his nightmarish past might frighten her away.

During the voyage to America, Valiant and Gabriel vow to reunite with the women they love and rely on a new ally with the heart of a jaguar 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 malevolent foe threatens to unleash unimaginable losses upon their families and the 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.

Excerpts have also been posted throughout the last two weeks. Stay Tuned!

Coming Next Week: Valiance, The Abcynians Book V

Woo-hoo! I’m so excited to share that my next release should be hitting Amazon, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, Scribd, and more starting next week. As soon as I have links, I’ll post them here, as well as on my social media cites, including Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not following me on either, here are my links: https://www.facebook.com/francesmstockton and https://twitter.com/FrancesStockton

https://www.facebook.com/francesmstockton

In the meantime, here’s a new snippet from Valiance, featuring Gabriel Blakemore and Izzy Patterson! Enjoy!

“You can’t read my thoughts, Gabriel. It’s intrusive and embarrassing.”

“I’m not trying to. It is the way of mates. If it makes you feel better, you can guard your thoughts whenever you wish. I should warn you, sometimes I’ve thoughts in my head that could frighten you if I’m asleep, struck by a migraine, or having a nightmare.”

“From the war?”

“Among other things that happened a long time ago, yes.”

“Can I ask you something?”

“Always.”

“You and your family are older than you appear, aren’t you?”

“Except for anyone younger than Will, yes, same as the Montgomery and Forrester families. Does that scare you?” Gabriel replied, bringing her so close, her breasts nearly brushed his chest. Taller than any man she knew, broad of shoulder, lean of hip, his muscles defined, he was strong enough to carry her anywhere and not break his stride, but instinct assured her that he was capable of infinite tenderness.

“Even if I don’t completely understand everything about the Abcynians, I’m not afraid. Truth is, I’m looking forward to meeting the Forresters and Montgomerys.”

“You’ll like them, I’m certain of it,” he said, plucking her hat off and setting it on a table next to his. “Izzy, can I kiss you?”

“You may,” she granted, wanting that more than she wanted her next breath.

Tucking his hand beneath her jaw, Gabriel brought her head up, his mouth touching hers. The softness, the sweetness, tempted her to part her lips, their tongues meeting in a deep, sexy kiss she’d only ever experienced when she’d been Ginny’s age.

Mercy, he tasted like cinnamon and spices, with a hint of pancakes and maple syrup. If she could, she’d gladly wake up every day to such a kiss. Sadly, he drew away before they could kiss anew, his breathing heavily. Pressing his mouth to her forehead, he sighed then lifted his head, his blue eyes narrowing, an eerie growl much like Mary’s echoing from his throat.

“What is it, Gabriel?”

“Someone’s hurt. I’m pretty sure it’s Annie. Do me a favor. Talk to me mind-to-mind.” He took the hand she’d placed in his and brought it to his lips, brushing them back and forth across the center of her palm.  

How do you know it’s her?

Because I smell rosewater, which she uses in her bath, same as Rosa prefers lavender, and I’m almost certain Powell and Jenkins, reeking of the women and debauchery are about to walk into the store.

Just as Gabriel predicted, the door jangled and Wyatt Powell walked in, Ed Jenkins trailing behind him, bragging about Rosa. Fortunately, the mudroom gave them an advantage of seeing anyone who’d entered the store before being seen themselves.

“Hopkins!” Powell called out.

“Hold on, just finishing up with a customer,” Hopkins replied, returning from the back to draw up short when he spied Izzy in Gabriel’s arms. “Well, this is a surprise. Welcome home Gabriel.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hopkins. Could you find out what Powell wants?”

“Sure thing,” he replied, heading to the front of the store. “What can I do you for, Powell? Jenkins?”

“Is Izzy back there?” Powell asked.

“Yeah, she’s busy right now. Why?”

“Found these banknotes outside. She must’ve dropped them when she left the bank and nearly collided with a buckboard.”

“It’s real nice of you to bring them to her,” Hopkins remarked.

Reaching for her back pocket, Izzy discovered it was empty. Gabriel, the only way Wyatt could know about the buckboard or the bank was if he was watching me.

Easy, I’ve got you, just follow my lead. Go on out there and take Hopkins to the hotel across the street. Annie keeps a room with a view of Main Street. Take the stairs to the third floor hidden by the barbershop.

You know this because she asked you to meet her there, right?

Can’t deny the invitation, but I have never accepted. Believe me?

I do.

Thank you. Be careful, darlin’, if the smell of rosewater wasn’t damning enough that Powell was just with Annie, the stench of blood and foulness akin to an outhouse tells me he did the unthinkable to that girl.

If that’s true, I’m going to kill him.

Much as I am certain you can handle yourself; you don’t want to mess with a man like Powell alone.

I know, and for what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re here.

That’s worth everything. What do you say to meeting by the tree tonight?

What tree?

The ironwood, where you hid while I was in the creek the night before I left town.

And if I stay home?

Then I’ll be there tomorrow night and every night thereafter.

Coming Soon: Valiance, The Abcynians Book V-Valiant & Mary

Good Morning! Hope everyone is doing well. Like many, I’ve been watching the Tokyo Olympics and cheering on everyone who can now call themselves Olympians for a lifetime. And, of course, I’ve some news to share, that’s right. Valiance is one step closer to PRIME TIME. It really is coming soon and I couldn’t be prouder of this book that was planned from the beginning of the series back when I was still writing for Ellora’s Cave. As many know, life can throw you curveballs and I was finally able to write the Valiance from my heart, during the pandemic!

In honor of Valiant Montgomery and his heroine, Mary Campbell, I thought I’d share an excerpt featuring their reunion after 95 years! Enjoy the book blurb and excerpt!

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 malevolent foe threatens to unleash unimaginable losses upon their families and the 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.

* * * * *

“You picked a great horse for Valiant, by the way. Tall enough for an Abcynian male but requires an experienced rider.”

“Figured someone who’d once ridden war horses could handle Gulliver, even though Cynric Forrester sent word that Valiant and Gabriel bought horses from him,” Michael replied, jumping down to the ground.

“It’s a wonderful gift, Michael. He’ll love it,” Mary assured as a scent she’d not detected in ninety-five years drew her attention westward.

Stilling, she turned in her seat, discovering Valiant astride a huge chestnut horse. In truth, it wasn’t the magnificence of a well-bred stallion that caught her eye, it was the former marquess wearing a cotton shirt, denims, boots, and a black Stetson. Beside him, Gabriel rode a tall black horse with a white star on its forehead.

“Go be with Valiant, Mary, I’ll look after Izzy,” Gabriel insisted, breaking away from Valiant to accept the reins of his favorite buckskin from Caleb, only to ride toward town.

As soon as Gabriel disappeared, Mary got down from the wagon at the same time as Valiant jumped to the ground. Goodness, no wonder he’d bought such a big horse! He was enormous, muscled, with tawny hair running down to his back in thick waves.

Uncommonly handsome, his eyes were like liquid amber, his nose patrician, his jaw squared, his teeth white, the presence of slightly extended canines fascinating. His unique scent—sandalwood and something deeper, spicier—reached her.

And then she realized Valiant was close enough to touch, his hands extended. If she were still sixteen, she might have flushed and looked away. Instead, she launched herself at him, catching him off-guard. He caught her all the same.

“Mary, I am sorry, so very sorry,” he apologized, for what, she didn’t know.

“Don’t say anything more until you kiss me, Valiant Montgomery. After all, I’ve been waiting all my life for you to do so.”

Aware that they had witnesses, she didn’t care about anything other than having his big hand cup the side of her face that’d once been scarred. Today, it was nothing but a faint crescent-shaped line that he caressed with his thumb before brushing her glasses to the top of her head and bending forward to press his mouth to hers. On a sigh, her lips parted, his tongue delving deep, tangling with hers in an intimate dance she’d never experienced before.

If she’d been standing, her knees would’ve given out, for surely the earth shook from the impact of her first genuine, heart-pounding kiss with the man she loved. And, still they kissed, clinging to one another, his taste as sweet as molasses.

Mary, we keep this up, Michael’s gonna geld me.

He’d have to go through me first. Oh, Valiant, I am so relieved to know that you’re well, but please forgive me for my moments of doubt that you’d be found.

You owe me no apologies. I broke the promise I’d made to you the day I left Regan and Nicholas’ wedding breakfast.

Valiant! You didn’t break it. You came home.

I’m not the same man anymore, Mary. Much as I wish otherwise, I am not.

Nor am I the same girl, my love.

Easing up, he lifted his head. As her vision had improved since her conversion, she didn’t need her glasses to appreciate the regal beauty of his features. Then she saw him, the face of the Crown Prince etched upon his countenance, the lion’s head bowed, as if in shame.

“Kahari is sad,” she said.

“What?”

“The Crown Prince, that’s his name, right?” she asked, as it’d come to her as surely as he stood there.

“It is.”

“He’s ashamed for not detecting that you were in danger long before you’d reached Calais.”

“It wasn’t Kahari’s fault. I’d become so high on the instep that I failed to realize my own valet led me into a trap.”

“Might I speak to the lion?”

“If I can hear you, he can.”

“Thank you, Kahari, thank you for protecting Valiant, for bringing him home to his family, to our kind, to me,” she whispered to the lion, touching her hand to Valiant’s face, stroking the lion’s countenance reflected upon his skin.

“Mary, I feel him, I feel the return of his pride simply because you are near.” 

“Thank the Creator. I had a vision of you once, in a mirror,” she confessed.

“Tell me of it.”

“I was tasked to say the name of the man I loved. You came to me. You were hung from some sort of contraption, beaten, bloody, your back shredded. Your hair gone. Your inner strength to endure had been tested due to punishment you’d wrongly believed you deserved, and I worried you were just going to let it all go.”

“The only reason I didn’t end my life was you, for it was your face that I kept in my mind, your name in my heart.”

“Are you saying you still love me, Valiant?”

“I have loved you from the moment we met, though I pray your vision of me in prison then didn’t frighten you overly much,” he said, looking sheepish.

“The punishment was real?”

“One of many, I suspect, though it was likely when I’d tried to escape an opium den that’d been overrun by vampires. After I’d been punished, I was placed on a prison ship, where I was put in the hold with the other prisoners and forced into hard labor until they all died, save for me.”

“Goodness, that must’ve been terrible.”

“The yellow-bellied Saturians wanted me to subsist on the bodies. I couldn’t, for as many sins as I’d committed, I would not, could not do such a thing.”

Smiling, Mary imagined Gabriel had taught Valiant a thing or two about the West during their voyage home. “Been spending the last few months with my brother, haven’t you?”

“He’s my best friend. Without him, I might not have survived the nightmares, though I should warn you that they remain.”

“I’m glad Gabriel was there for you, as I will be should you wake to such horrors.”

“Thank you. May I kiss you again? You taste of ambrosia and sunshine.”

“I’d rather kiss you,” she answered, using her great strength to lever herself up and take his face between her palms. “Welcome home, Valiant, welcome home.” Pressing her mouth to his, she brushed her lips back and forth, experimenting, learning, tasting. 

“Mary, Valiant, I don’t want to interrupt, but if we’re to stop Gabriel from killing a couple of men, we need to go, now,” Michael urged, compelling her to ease back.