This week’s Saturday Snippet is brought to you by author Stacy Bennett and her new release, Quest of the Dreamwalker. This is the first book in her Corthan Legacy series. This is one I’ve read and recommend. If you enjoyed Dragon’s Call, and if you enjoy fantasy with a dash of romance, you will enjoy this book. It’s available in both soft cover and ebook. Find it at Amazon.
A perfect captive, Cara didn’t know her will had been taken until she escapes with borrowed courage.
Cloistered in the Black Keep with only her father for company, Cara is forbidden to explore beyond the walls. More than that, she lacks the courage to. Her days are empty except for one task: to restore his deteriorating power, just like the prisoners stolen from nearby towns.
When the latest shipment of captives arrives, unusual curiosity leads her to the dungeon and a mercenary captain who kindles a spark within her. But he is to die with the rest. Unable to endure her father’s cruelty any longer, she vows to help him escape.
Now, as she flees to a world she’s only dreamed of, she finds defiance has a steep price, endangering everyone she cares about. Who is she that her father refuses to let her go? To uncover the secret of her past, she must unravel the mystery of her dreams and claim the heritage of her magical blood—before her father claims her as the last sacrifice.
Though the southern wood would be a hard trek for Outsiders, Falin didn’t want to risk the easy paths. If caught, the men would be slain on sight, and maybe the rabbit, too. Falin was fairly confident they hadn’t been followed but history reminded her not to underestimate Rebeka.
Her mind wandered back to her last meeting with Sorchia, bringing a sadness Falin never expected. For years, she’d thought of little except leaving to see the world. But something inside ached when she realized she’d never see the priestess again. She sent out a soft prayer for Sorchia’s safety. Though it was almost certain Rebeka would lay the blame on Falin, the chief scout liked trouble, and Falin didn’t trust her.
Footsteps approached, and she glanced over her shoulder to see the captain.
“You have to slow down. We can’t keep up this pace.”
“Sure you can,” she teased. “But if little Rabbit is tired, we can rest.” As she stopped she noted his lips twist slightly at the nickname, though she wasn’t sure he shared her humor.
“Thanks,” he said and turned back to the group. “Time to rest,” he called. She watched as Bradan lumbered to a halt, followed by an exhausted Cara. Archer slowed, grabbed the captain and pulled him toward the rear. Falin perched on a nearby fallen tree and watched them put their heads together. She turned her head to stare off into the trees, though she could still make out their mutterings.
“We’re not making good time,” Archer said.
“They can’t go any faster.” Khoury glanced at the girl and the old man slumped against the trees.
“Five days’ walk to the mountains and then four more east to Iolair?”
“If we can’t pick up the pace.”
Archer sighed, looking up into the trees nervously. “But we are safe here.”
The captain snorted. “Safe enough. Unfortunately, the more time we spend, the better Sidonius can set his net and then whatever comes after will be that much harder.”
“And after Iolair?”
“Depends on what news Wallace’s Islander can give us. If it’s bad,
head for Cortland and run out to the Eastern Isles.”
Archer nodded thoughtfully. “As good as anywhere I suppose. Let’s hope for good news.”
“Always.” The captain clapped a hand on the Northerner’s shoulder, his face heavy with the weight of command. To Falin, he looked like he’d love to be anywhere but in the middle of this mess.
Then why is he here? He didn’t seem like the kind to be easily swayed. He dropped his pack and dug out his waterskin for a drink. As he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, Falin watched him scan the little group. There was a moment as his eyes lingered on the girl when a shadow rippled through the stormy blue, and Falin knew where his weakness lay.
Archer cast a surreptitious look at Falin who feigned interest in her own pack. “Thoughts on our guide?”
Falin kept her eyes focused on her hands.
“As brutal as any Huntress I’ve ever met.”
He’d known other Huntresses? Shock and a twinge of jealousy thrummed through her. She’d never been even as far as the Nest since coming to the Haven.
“Why the interest?” Khoury’s eyes narrowed.
Archer shrugged. “We’re gonna need all the help we can get.”
“We don’t need her kind of help. That one’s trouble.”
Falin scowled. What was he talking about? She’d been absolutely saintly.
“How much farther?” Cara interrupted Falin’s thoughts with a whine. She watched the captain bring her the waterskin.
“At least a week, girl. So get used to walking.” Her lower lip pouted until he sighed indulgently and sat down next to her.
Falin considered the Outsiders for a moment longer. She’d been right about the old Northerner; he was their Sorchia, praying and whispering as he trudged through the brush. Archer and Khoury had the easy camaraderie of long-time companions she so envied among the Sisters. And the girl was soft, not just physically but mentally. She fawned over the captain like a foundling pup until Falin squirmed with embarrassment. Sure, he was handsome, in an overbearing sort of way, but he was only a man after all.
Also available from Stacy Bennett is her Urban Fantasy novella, Son of Anubis which offers a fresh twist on shifters. Available in ebook on Amazon.
Jake is the best bomb dog at Newark International, the pride of the force and his partner, Becca Carter. But when he accidentally ferrets out an ancient artifact, their routine sniff-and-search goes horribly wrong. His heart has always belonged to Becca, but Jake never realized what losing her would mean until the night he found the Egyptian jar and tasted the wine of Anubis. The night they were attacked by werewolves…in Newark.
Injured and hunted, Jake struggles to understand the strange cascade of events that follow the attack. The one certainty is that only he can protect Becca from the antiquities smuggler who would do anything to keep his secrets hidden. Plagued by violent dreams and hounded by werewolf assassins, Jake must find a way to help Becca solve the mystery of the jackal-headed god’s elixir before she ends up dead…or worse.