Hi Everyone, Thank you all for helping me celebrate the release of my new book, She Walks in Power!
Without further ado, here are the winners from the past four party days!
(Names were chosen by Random.org)
Signed Paperbacks of She Walks in Power
Grand Prize of Knight Book Ends goes to : Callie Barrett!
Extra paperback for correct answer on Day 3 goes to Brenda Hurley!
I REALLY wish I could give everyone who entered a prize! Thank you all so much for entering and for helping me celebrate my new release. Your enthusiasm and kind comments mean the world to me. I wouldn't be able to continue writing if it weren't for you. THANK you from the bottom of my heart.
If you didn't win a copy, here are the links to buy the book. And below that, I'm posting the first scene from the book for free! (Hopefully to whet your appetites!)
Barnes and Noble
Please visit my Pinterest Page for She Walks in Power to see various scenes from the book and how I picture the characters!
England, the Middle Ages
Alexia D’Clere slid an arrow from her quiver, nocked it in her bow, and drew back the bowstring. Wind whipped through the branches of the large maple tree above her, stirring a whirlwind of leaves and needles across the forest floor. But Alexia’s gaze followed three men atop horses, accompanying a coach down an access road through Emerald forest—the three men who had ventured off the main trail and dared to penetrate the Circle of the Spear. To what purpose? She would have dismissed them as pitchkettled dolts if not for their attire and the magnificent destriers they rode. Now, as they came closer, she narrowed her eyes like a falcon on its prey.
Holding her breath, she tracked the first man with the tip of her arrow. Night was fast approaching as the sun withdrew its light through the maze of trees, making it hard to distinguish his features. She had no trouble, however, seeing the myriad weapons strapped to his hip—all manner of swords, knives, and axes. Not to mention the metal plates protecting his shoulders and arms. The armor of a knight. Oddly, he wore no protection on his chest, save a thick leather doublet. His chin was lightly bearded, his hair dark, and in place of a helmet, a hat sat atop his head, sporting a blue feather. His companions were similarly attired.
In the distance, a gray-haired man exited the stationary coach, nearly tripping on the black robe falling to his ankles. He uttered a blathering gush of complaints, most of which Alexia couldn’t distinguish. Something about heat, hunger, disrespect, and incessant delays. She trained her gaze upon him, noting the gold-embroidered collar and blood-red stole draped around his neck. Potz! A bishop.
She shifted her eyes back to the men on horseback, narrowing in on the crest engraved on their rerebraces. The Royal Crest. Her breath caught. These men must be members of the King’s Guard—elite warriors assigned to protect his majesty. What were they doing so far from court and with such a high-ranking member of the Church?
She pulled the bow tighter. As the Protector, she could shoot them all ere they knew what struck them. She had the right. The hemp whined beneath the strain as the feathers on the end tickled her ears. Still, the men came.
And still she did not release the arrow.
“Prithee, turn away,” she whispered. “Or I shall make thee wish ye had.” One well-placed arrow would bring the leader down and scatter the others.
The horses snorted. The leader sniffed the air as if sensing danger. She leveled the arrow at his unarmored leg.
The friar’s words rose to stay her hand. “Concentrate, my dear. Hear the Spirit within. Let patience prevail.”
A trickle of sweat slid down her forehead. The muscles in her arm ached.
Seek the light in others.
Willing her mind to settle, she closed her eyes and whispered a prayer. Two lights appeared where the leader and one of the men had been—barely flickers, but there, withal. The other man bore no flame. Two of these men knew the Father, one did not.
She opened her eyes. The lights disappeared. The leader turned his horse down a narrow path to the left. Nay, not that way! Still holding her bowstring tight, she stepped from the tree. A twig snapped, the faintest of sounds, barely audible above the chatter of bird and patter of wildlife.
The leader raised a hand. All three men stopped.
“What is it now, Sir LePeine?” the bishop complained as he mopped his brow with a cloth.
But the man made no reply. Instead, he turned and stared in her direction, his gaze weaving around trees, leaping over shrubs, speeding past boulders and fallen logs.
And penetrating straight into her eyes.
Alexia’s heart stopped. Surely, he cannot see me. Not at this distance, and not with her attire blending in with the colors of the forest.
Still, he stared with those eyes as piercing as a wolf’s, silent, unmoving as if he could not only see her, but read her thoughts as well. The intensity of that stare made her wonder at this man, this king’s knight with the barest spark of light within his soul.
The destriers snorted and pawed the ground. The shadows deepened. An owl gave an eerie hoot.
One more step closer and she would be forced…
The leader nudged his mount forward.
Heart thumping, she drew the bowstring tighter, aimed at the man’s leg, closed her eyes, and released the arrow.
It should have hit its mark. Alexia never missed. Yet when she opened her eyes, her arrow vibrated in the trunk of a tree, and the man was galloping in her direction. He pulled out his sword as he went, the chime echoing through the forest.
Flinging her bow over her shoulder, Alexia took off like a deer.
Horse hooves pounded behind her. Shouts echoed from the other men. An angry whine of “Don’t leave me here alone!” screeched from the bishop.
Not looking back, Alexia darted right, then left, around trunks and hedges, deeper and deeper into the Emerald Forest where horses could not tread.
A horse whinnied. More shouts and footsteps followed.
She dashed around a moss-laden boulder as darkness flung a black cloak over the forest. No matter. Her boots were sure and firm, her confidence high, her strength unfailing. She knew these woods like a servant knew the halls of a vast castle. She knew every tree, flower, fern, and pond. Every hiding place, cave, and den.
A battering ram struck her and knocked her to the ground.
A breathing, warm battering ram who smelled of sweat and man. Alexia scrambled away on all fours, but he snagged her leg and pulled her back. Dirt filled her mouth. Flipping over, she kicked his shoulder. He released her with a groan, then leapt atop her. He was but a shadow—a dark, heavy shadow. More footsteps approached.
Fear soured in her mouth. Unusual fear. She could not be caught. She would not be caught!
She slugged him across the jaw. He shoved her shoulders to the ground, pressing her back against her quiver. An arrow bit her neck. She started to kick him, but he forced her legs down with his own.
“Who are you and why did you wish me dead?” he asked. His voice was deep, his breath hot and smelling of spiced wine.
His friends burst through the greenery. “In need of assistance?” one of them asked, his tone taunting.
“I have the matter in hand. ’Tis but a lad from the feel of him.” The man atop her tightened his grip on her arms. Pain seared into her shoulders.
“I asked you a question, lad.”
A cloud moved above him. Wind stirred the branches of the canopy. And for the briefest of seconds, light from a full moon shone down upon the scene.
Though she couldn’t see her assailant’s expression, she sensed his shock. Releasing his grip, he jerked from her and backed away. “’Tis a lady.”
His two friends chuckled.
Alexia leapt to her feet, knowing it best to make a swift escape, but she couldn’t resist a clever retort.
“Aye, ’tis a lady, ye clod. The Falcon of Emerald Forest at your service.” Retrieving her bow from the ground, she swept her arm out before her, not caring that her hood was askew and her red hair tumbled loose. “And you will leave these woods immediately or next time I shall aim for your heart.”
“Forsooth!” The man chuckled. “Any better your aim and you would have hit London!”
She kicked him, intending to strike his thigh but hit a softer part that caused him to double over with a cry of agony that made even her wince.
Laughter from the man’s companions filled the air behind her as she fled into the night.
Have a blessed weekend!