Monday, 30 June 2014

SENTINELS OF VARNUSE ~ When The Walls Come Tumbling Down #18

# 18.
Quinlan stood at the edge of the camp. He’d insisted on taking his turn at guard duty. They hadn’t brought a lot of people with them on this mission. As Quinlan hadn’t wanted to let the enemy know they were coming, or how many was in his group. If he’d done things the proper way a full battalion would have taken them forever to get mobilised. Calder, the Pard of the Panthean sentinels wasn’t happy about his decisions, but Quin didn’t care one bit. As it was he had listened to Talon and just taken a few. From his inner circle and some of them weren’t even guards or sentinels. The truth was Quin just wanted his husband back.

The fact wasn’t wide known that Brayden was missing and quite a few times he had had to pretend that Brayden was just indisposed in that moment, or resting due to the child. Truly, it amazed him how the citizens of Panthea had taken it so well when they found out exactly what Brayden and Javier were. Some of the older citizens who remembered the tales of old were damn near ecstatic about the reintroduction of the shifters into their society saying it was an honoured privilege to welcome and protect them. The amounts of gifts that had been showered upon them both proved just how much they were loved, and all their attention had made Brayden feel like less of a freak. But one of those same citizens had done the unthinkable and betrayed their king by kidnapping the King’s Consort. If Quinlan ever found out who that person was, they would rue the day they had ever been born.

How dare they put their hands on Brayden?

How dare they take from Quinlan, their king?

Taking a moment he remembered back to the strange message that had been left in the throne room. Three words: Ormand has them. The question was—who was them? Who else besides Brayden was taken? Doing a search no one had turned up missing. Maybe they’d been trying to tell them Ormand had raided and stolen members form other communities in the known world, but for what purposes?

Quinlan stilled as he heard a noise behind him, he waited as Lord Dalziel approached him. No matter what the others though Quinlan still didn’t trust that he was telling them the truth. There was something else going on inside the man, and Quin had every intention of finding out exactly what he was hiding.

“You still think I’m a part of the group who took my son?” Fane Dalziel stated.

Quinlan heard the sadness in his words but he held his tongue.

“I can see I have much to prove to you before you see that I’m telling the truth.”

“Only one man can verify if you are being honest, and that man is dead. So forgive me if I’m having a hard time swallowing your tale.” Quinlan turned away and scanned the darkness looking for anything that might be out of place. He had a niggling in the back of his brain that something was going to happen. Something that was going to change the way Panthea was ruled.

“I can help you if you let me. When I mated with Thayer, I was gifted certain powers, I’m sure you yourself have felt you are changing... better senses... your getting stronger. Even your intuition will become clearer. These are part of mating with an ancient one.”

“What are you talking about?” The truth was Quinlan had suspected for a while now that he was changing. The further into the pregnancy Brayden got the stronger the sense prevailed.

“Thayer explained it to me like this: being mated to one of the ancient ones, we needed to change just enough to balance them out. We were the string tethering them to all that exists. He told me how most times if one dies so does the other, but in our case I guess that wasn’t true.” Fane shook his head. “The funny thing is, at night when all is quiet, I can almost believe Thayer’s still alive—it’s like I can still feel his heart beating inside my chest.”

Cold dread raced over Quinlan at these words. As he listened he realised that is exactly as he felt. He could feel the double heartbeat inside him. It was the one thing keeping him sane. Knowing Brayden was still out there somewhere waiting for him to come and get him, was tearing at his soul. If Fane Dalziel could also feel the double heartbeat, what did that mean? Did it mean that King Thayer was still alive? Or did it mean he wouldn’t ever know if Brayden was dead unless he saw the body with his own two eyes? He didn’t want to believe it was the latter because that would mean he would soon be mourning his heart, as well as the loss of his child. For safety reasons his other children had been sent to stay with Ingrid’s family well away from Panthea. None but he and Ingrid knew this detail.

“What do you think it means?” Quinlan asked, all the while dreading what the answer might be.

When Fane answered his voice was filled with emotion. “I don’t know, but I can tell you this. Since Brayden has been taken, the feeling of Thayer keeps getting stronger. I think maybe Thayer’s spirit sees I didn’t do a good job looking after our sons. I didn’t protect them like I’d promised. I think maybe Thayer is telling me my life is now destined to join his. Maybe I’m not meant long for this world anymore.” A sad smile crept over his lips, “And honestly I can’t wait to be reunited with my Thayer. I’ve lived alone in this world and mourned my husband for too long.”

Quinlan reached out and placed his hand on Fane’s shoulder and squeezed it gently. “Maybe this is your reward for keeping Bray safe until he could be returned to me.”

“I should have prepared him for what was to come. I was too afraid he wouldn’t believe me, and then I acted like a crazy man while trying to keep him safe. I honestly didn’t want him going through what I did. If you never mated then his cat would never manifest. He wouldn’t have to fear losing you like I lost Thayer.”

“You denied your son what he needed most. You denied him love—my love.” When Fane went to interrupt Quinlan silenced him. “I know you must have loved him in your own way, but you denied him me. I have always owned his heart as he has mine.”

“I’m sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing.”

“Yet you let Ormand run free. Allowing him to gather whatever followers he has. You should’ve been preparing us all for what was to come. Instead you hid Brayden away from the world, and now we have no clue as to where to find my husband. This information we’ve been given might not even be correct. But I can assure you of one thing.” Quinlan turned his cold gaze on Fane. “When I find Ormand and his associates, they’ll pay. If any harm has come to my husband and child I will destroy them all.”

Fane nodded. “And I’ll be standing at your side helping you kill them all.”

Friday, 27 June 2014

Just Found Out...




Just found out I have to go back in on 10 JULY 2014 and have more of the same Basal Cell Carcinoma removed... Third time lucky I guess.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The End...Now What's Next?

I'm still not feeling 100%. Every time I think the virus is going away it comes back... The doc says it just has to run it's course.

Well yesterday it took 12 very long hours for me to finish typing up Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing... it came in at 34,110 word count. It's now been sent to one of my beta readers, James A for his opinion.

So what do I do next? I really still need to get my shit together for Wayward Ink Press on The Gaean Prophecies 1: Admetus Gaea... and the same for Fireborn Publishing on... to be honest I'm not sure I have 4 stories in mind. 

They are as follows:
1) Taking Chances 1: Lie to me
2) The Diamond Rose 1: Undiscovered Hearts
3) Day Walkers 1: Real You
4) The Soul Guardians 1: Loving Callum McKenzie

Feel free to chime in if you have a preference... sometimes the easiest thing for a writer is asking someone else to choose.

PS: Em says it better be The Diamond Rose 1: Undiscovered Hearts, or she's kicking my arse... Seeing as she has the series name tattooed across her sternum.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Guest Blogger ~ EM Lynley

BOUND FOR TROUBLE by EM Lynley
BDSM/Mystery from Dreamspinner Press

Buy Links

Blurb:
Daniel “Deke” Kane is a broken man, facing the end of his career in the FBI. He’s on desk duty after a botched drug raid left the suspects and two children dead. He’s got one chance to prove himself, or the only thing he’ll be investigating is the Help Wanted ads.  

Ryan Griffiths has been on the run for ten years. Forced onto the streets when his father kicked him out, Ryan earns his living in other men’s beds. Finding his john dead in a hotel room drives him under the radar until a favorite client gives him a chance at a safe, clean life. But Ryan’s relatively stable new world shatters when Deke Kane catches up with him.

When Deke’s tasked to take down a drug dealer with terrorist ties and a taste for the dark side of BDSM, his only chance to get close is the suspect’s interest in Ryan, and he convinces Ryan to become a confidential informant. In return, Deke offers Ryan immunity from his past. As Ryan falls under the drug lord’s domination, Deke finds himself falling for Ryan. 

Excerpt:
 Five minutes later there was a knock on the door of the private playroom. Then Ryan opened it and came in. He was still wearing those see-through plastic shorts, and up close in the bright lights, Deke got more than an eyeful.

 “You wanted to play, sir?” Ryan asked.

 Deke stared at him. The new piercing glinted in the lights, the nipple still swollen and red. The other nipple was peaked and hard in the chilly room.

 “If you’re going to Petrov’s place, you should take another camera. Place it in any room we couldn’t get one in yet.”

 “Okay.”

 Deke handed Ryan the camera; it was small enough to drop into a shoe or boot. Good thing, since there was no way he could hide it in the see-through shorts. “You remember how they work?”

 “Yes, you told me five times.”

 “Fine.”

 “Sit down.” Ryan nodded toward the bench.

 “Why?”

 “You have to do something. I can’t go back out there without a few new marks or people will get suspicious.”

 Deke glanced around at the whips and riding crops and floggers. “I don’t know how to use any of this stuff.”

 “Then just spank me. Leave some good handprints.” Ryan peeled the plastic shorts down and Deke stared, trying to pull himself together. Ryan put a towel over his lap and lay down, completely naked, across Deke.

 The red welts on Ryan’s ass and thighs caught Deke’s gaze. He ran his fingertips across them, feeling the warmth of the skin where Ryan had been caned or hit with the crop. Ryan squirmed on his lap.

 “Sorry,” Deke whispered. A moment later he realized he hadn’t hurt Ryan. Instead, Ryan’s cock hardened against Deke’s thigh. Deke’s cock responded. Ryan could probably feel it against his stomach, and Deke froze for a moment. Then he looked down at Ryan’s perfectly shaped ass and the welts and raised his hand and brought it down on one cheek with a loud slap.

 Ryan’s hips jerked. Deke watched the spot turn pale pink. He put an identical mark on the other cheek, then rubbed the spots like he’d learned. Curious after his session with Roy, Deke had looked up how to give a proper spanking, just in case he had to administer another. He’d never expected it would be Ryan, naked and squirming, ass-up on Deke’s lap.

 Two more strokes and Ryan let out a pleasurable sigh that had Deke hard as stone under him. A few more strokes and Ryan was pressing his hips against Deke. He went for the spots that made Ryan react the most. Then Deke found he didn’t want to stop. He kept going, feeling Ryan tremble and moan beneath him until he finally shuddered and came on the towel.

 Deke rubbed Ryan’s ass for a few moments. The welts made lines across his handprints, and he liked the way the raised flesh felt under his fingers. He wondered how they’d get past this moment, but Ryan straightened up, face flushed, cock still jutting from his body. Deke tried to look away but ended up catching Ryan’s gaze.

 They stared at each other for a moment, sharing something neither would say out loud.


ABOUT EM LYNLEY
EM Lynley, a Rainbow Award winner and EPPIE finalist, has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she'd rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.

She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.

Find EM Lynley Here

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Good News Is...

Well, this is probably only good news to me... but, I'm no longer feeling sick... I'm still not 100% but a heel of a lot better than I was this time last week.

News Ahead: I have two chapters of longhand notes to Type up on Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing before I can send it off to my wonderful Beta Readers.

Did I tell you all that I bought tickets to go and see Queen Ft Adam Lambert on vocals... the concert isn't until 1 October 2014... but Em and I will be in the stands cheering and singing along with the best of them... Okay, so maybe that will be only me and Em will be pretending she doesn't know who the hell I am.

I may be attending the Mid-Summer Festival in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in January  or February 2015 -- I'm not quite sure which month it's in yet.

I've also been invited to participate in a book signing convention up at Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia in May of 2015 it's called Naughty Sinner's Book Bash By The Beach -- so I'll have to organise to have some print books by then at the moment I only have one in print... so I better pull my finger out and get cracking. I'll let you know re as I know more

Monday, 23 June 2014

So Much To Do & No Time To Do It In.

As you can tell by the heading I'm run off my feet, but still as crook as... But I have no time to stop.

Things I need to get done by the end of this week.

1- Finish Typing up the last three chapters of: Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing.
2- Finish building my new filing cabinets: well the hubs is doing that so that I can finally rearrange all the files and separate: home, work, and writing.
3- Finish setting up spare room for: my stepson to come and stay for the school holidays (we haven't seen him in about 6 years so I'm excited).
4- Finish catching up on: all the household chores that never got done while I've been ill. 
5- Think which story I'm doing for: Fireborn Publishing and get started on it... I'm thinking about The Diamond Rose 1: Undiscovered Hearts... mainly because it's already half written.

Mind you this whole list depends on when I receive edits from MLRPress, and Totally Bound publishing... as they come before everything else.

Friday, 20 June 2014

My Day Today...

Managed to get the first edits done on The Connelly Chronicles 1: Family Connections. I even managed to get them sent back to the wonderful Faith B-B at Totally Bound. I just hope they make sense.

I also got around to sending in the line edits on Toowoomba Boys 3: Dancing With Demons to the amazingly patient Christie N at MLR. Apparently I forgot to send them when I did them--I'm blaming it all on still being sick.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

I'm Sick...




Just letting you all know
So if you don't here from me for the next little bit
It's because I'm sick
I finally succumbed to the virus my whole family has
So not fun
I hope to be back soon

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Guest Blogger ~ Lisabet Sarai

The Eyes of Bast by Lisabet Sarai

Paranormal/shapeshifter erotic romance
Approximately 54 pages
Published by Books We Love, Ltd.
May, 2014


Serial Love

The Eyes of Bast was an experiment. I created the novella as a serial, writing and posting a chapter each month as part of my regular website update. I've never tried this approach before. Although I'm usually more of a plotter than a pantster, I had very little idea about what would happen next. Each month, I'd reread the previous installment, to help me maintain continuity, and then I'd just sit down and write whatever came to mind.

The process was remarkably liberating. I could set my imagination free.

The bulk of what I write is targeted for a particular publisher and often, a specific call for submissions. I usually have a predefined theme and both a minimum and maximum word count. These constraints shape my creative process. My internal editor is constantly active. Would the publisher object to this language? Was I taking too long to get to the clinch? Was my take on the theme close enough to satisfy the requirements?

With The Eyes of Bast, I was writing for my own pleasure – and of course that of my readers. The story could be as long (or short) as it needed to be. I could write sweet or raunchy, depending on my mood.  I could introduce plot twists as they occurred to me, without worrying too much about plausibility.

I was writing purely for the fun of it. What a novel concept!

I'm actually pretty pleased with the way the tale turned out. I especially like the dramatic ending, which borrows a bit from horror tales. And I'm delighted by the depths my villain ultimately revealed. I have a problem writing bad guys (or in this case, bad girls). Delphine Montserrat is one of my better evil-doers.

I hope my readers agree.

Blurb

Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.

Shaina Williams' grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot's tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she'd set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice, She discovers she's caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape - the tomcat she'd rescued.  

Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate – even though it might mean losing him forever.

Excerpt 

 Go check the old elm. I swear, the voice was clear as crystal in my mind. Lack of sleep, I told myself. Or stress. The cage is still in my apartment. There won’t be anything there. But the urge to go back to the park just wouldn’t let go.

 Trust your instincts. With a sigh, I turned and headed for the park, pulling my mace out of my purse as I walked.

 The sky was still light enough for me to see shapes and shadows, even under the trees. As I’d expected, area beneath the elm was empty, the grass trampled from my previous visit. Of course no cats revealed themselves. If there were ferals around, they’d be hiding in the underbrush, wary of my scent and the sounds I made, despite my attempts to move quietly.

 Tom wasn’t afraid of you. The thought made me ache. He’d been such a gorgeous, affectionate cat. I hoped he was okay.

 “Hello.” The voice was male, low and throaty. I jumped and whirled around.

 A man stood behind me, a fairly young man with sleek, dark skin and a wide, shy smile. Although his body appeared to be fit and muscular, he held himself in an awkward manner, as if he had some subtle handicap. His arms hung at his sides, his hands clenching and unclenching as though he didn’t quite know what to do with them.

 I gripped my mace more tightly, although he didn’t appear at all threatening.

 “Um – what are you doing here?”

 “Nothing, nothing...” He shrugged and scratched the curly black locks that covered his head. “I heard your voice. I wanted to make sure you were all right.”

 Had I spoken aloud? I returned his smile, still uncertain whether I should trust him. “I’m fine. Just taking a walk.”

 “It’s not safe here after dark, you know.”

 His earnest tone made me chuckle. I held up the can of mace. “I can take care of myself.”

 Worry furrowed his high forehead. “That won’t help against some of the things that come out at night.”

 A chill shot through me. I shook it away. “I was just headed home anyway.”

 “Good. You should be careful.” His smile returned, melting my last vestiges of suspicion. He pronounced his English with a precision that made me wonder if he spoke something else as his native language. It wasn’t exactly an accent, but I could tell he wasn’t a native New Yorker.

 “What about you?”

 “Oh – I know my way around here,” he answered. He ran his fingers through his curls and arched his back a bit, as though stretching. Despite that odd awkwardness, he was lithe and graceful. A brief pang of desire shot through me. “And I have excellent night vision. Exceptionally sharp hearing, too.”

 I couldn’t figure out why, but something about him felt familiar. “Have we met before?” I asked, then cringed, realizing it sounded like a pick up line. “I mean – um – I don’t mean…” Hot blood climbed into my cheeks, though the shadows were probably too dense for him detect my discomfort.

 His bold laugh rang out in the growing darkness. “Maybe we have met,” he said. “I live in the neighborhood. Do you?”

 “Pretty close,” I answered, alarm bells sounding in my head. No matter how handsome and charming he was, I wasn’t about to give him my address.

 “Well, then, you never know. You said you were heading home. May I walk with you?” He took my arm without waiting for my permission.

 “Um – actually—” His touch stopped me cold. It drove out rational thought. As if someone had turned on a faucet, hormones poured into my blood. My nipples tensed and my lower lips grew plump and slick. His fingers on my bare forearm were tipped with fire. I gasped, staring up in wonder at his strong, even features, overcome by his imminent maleness.

 I wanted stretch out in the grass and pull him down on top of me. I was dying to feel his weight on my chest, his hardness probing between my thighs. Skin on skin was what I craved, with an urgency I’d never experienced in my all my twenty-eight years.

 His nostrils flared and I knew he’d caught the ocean scent rising from my sex. I could smell it myself. My saturated panties and jeans were no barrier. He grinned, revealing teeth so white they gleamed in the twilight gloom. I shuddered with need, imagining those teeth tearing my flesh, and stumbled on the gravel path.


About the Author

When I was a little girl, my dad would make up stories for my siblings and me, fabulous sagas about ghosts and monsters, magical races with mysterious powers, heroes on impossible quests, hidden treasures awaiting only the most courageous seeker. I blame him for my lifelong fascination with the magical and miraculous.

Now that I'm grown up, I create my own tales of wonder, weaving in generous portions of human desire with its potent enchantments. In my paranormal tales, love works the most powerful magick.

Find Lisabet Here

Monday, 16 June 2014

Playing Catch-Up

Today I've started on the edits for The Connelly Chronicles 1: Family Connections... for Totally Bound. I can already see how much smoother the storyline is heading and I can't wait for you all to get a chance at seeing the new and improved version.

I absolutely love it when you learn something new off of an editor and suddenly, the whole thing starts making sense... so in case I forget to say so later -- Thank you, Faith B-B. You explain things in such an easy way that I can totally understand.

In other news: I've finished writing Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing (in longhand) I'll type it up as soon as I get the TEB edits done... I've already lined up some beta readers so I get all the idioms right... Definitely no fuck-ups this time around.

Everyone at my house is sick... except me. I hope they all get over it soon as I don't have time to get ill. Did I remember to tell you all I have my stitches out? In two weeks I go back to have a thorough going over to see if there are any more lesions that need removing... fingers crossed there aren't.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Em's Turn



4 Songs that are stuck in my head.
I figure I mose well share them with you. 
Enjoy!!!





Tuesday, 10 June 2014

My Thoughts On Becoming A Writer...

I'll soon be starting on edits for The Connelly Chronicles 1: Family Connections... I love this story so I don't mind... Bit of useless information... when I first started writing this book I think it was about 1996... I was a young single mum who had way too much time on her hands

This story started as a conversation between me and my niece Leigh Walker (she's 2 years younger than I am)... any way getting back to the story... at that stage the story was just called Ray & Viv.

I never wrote full time because I had so much going on with my daughter...doctors... sports...school. But, at night when she was in bed I needed something to do so during late-night phone calls with my niece we would start talking about my characters and how I saw the story going... At the time Leigh was also writing a paranormal book, but in the end her life took her in a whole other direction (she became a high school teacher)

After a while I put the book away thinking -- what the hell am I doing? I'm never going to be a real writer so why bother? I wasn't depressed or anything - I just was at a cross roads in my life... I still wanted to do something in the writing area and decided to become a journo... until I realised I really didn't want to be asking people all about their private lives. So I went back to writing.

In 2010 I met someone one line (get your minds out of the gutter) James Adkinson later became my beta reader and we have been friends ever since. I even went all the way to America to meet him. he was the one that talked me into submitting something... instead I wrote my first ever fan letter to Carol Lynne and asked her if she would possibly have time to read one of my stories... The amazing thing was she took time out of her busy schedule to read The Lines Of Marsden 1: Rules Are Meant To be Broken... I then sent that story into MLRPress--Why them I hear you ask? I will not admit to or deny that I may or may not have been stalking Ethan Day. Actually I have many books released through MLR they are an awesome company to work for.

Totally Bound was not the first place I subbed The Connelly Chronicles 1: Family Connections... The story had previously been published by the ill fated Silver Publishing (if you want all the goss -- you'll have to go on waiting as I won't be the one losing my temper over everything that happened.) I'm just thankful that someone else saw the potential in the story and was willing to take me on.

The truth is I love writing... I always have... the best present anyone could ever buy me is biros/pens and loose leaf paper. I dream about my own stories... OR... I dream about future stories I'd like to write. I'm the type of person who finds it hard to plot out a story. I much prefer to sit in front of the computer and write whatever falls out of my head. Writing de-stresses me... I find it calming to forge a new world and new characters.

I'm just lucky to have a family that understands my insane need to write... Hell, when we bought our house the first thing my hubs did was build me an office... since then he has closed in part of the front veranda and added on a library for my many books -- both research and pleasure reading.

I have attended a few author conventions such as Meet & Greet with Mark A Roeder (USA)... GRL (Albuquerque; New Mexico; USA)... OZMMMeet (Sydney; Australia)...  and I'm possibly attending the Mid-Summer Festival (Melbourne; Australia) next year. I'm not a huge lover of crowds, but they were so worth attending because I got to meet so many wonderful and fascinating people.

I think if you're meant to write then it's as easy as breathing -- Do I think I'm the greatest author out there? Hell No! I write because in my mind if my stories touches at least one person then I have done my job. I personally think I get better with each book I write... The depth of my imagination is endless -- who knows where it will take me in the future.

Monday, 9 June 2014

SENTINELS OF VARNUSE: When The Walls Come Tumbling Down #17

# 17.
Brayden frowned at his father. Everything they’d done to try and escape had failed. Now his father had found out the real reason they were still alive. Just the mere thought of the truth was enough to send Brayden into a panic attack—this couldn’t be real… it just couldn’t

“They can’t have my baby... it’s mine” he said as he wrapped his arms protectively around his stomach. “They’re not taking another piece of Quin away from me... this baby is all I have left. I’ll kill them all before I let that happen.”

“They won’t take your child.” His father laid his arm gently around his shoulders. “We won’t let them.” Brayden never protested as his father wiped away the tear that ran down his cheek.

“Quinlan will come for me he won’t let them keep me.” Brayden shuddered. He had to believe that with all his heart. “Quinlan will find me.”

Thayer hugged him tighter. “I’m sure that he’s out there somewhere right now heading in this direction. Why don’t you tell me about him?”

Brayden knew his father was just trying to distract him from what was happening around them, but a part of him needed to talk about Quinlan; because if he talked about him, then maybe it would work as a homing beacon and bring them back together.

“Quin has always loved me... right from when we were little.” Brayden turned and smiled sadly at his father. “He used to always tell me how when we grew up he was going to take me away and protect me from the world. Protect me from Ormand. Quinlan hated the way Ormand would find ways of hurting me. He always did it in a way that no one would ever find out, but Quin always knew. I never told him, but he always knew.”

Shifting his father rubbed his back as Brayden continued. “Quinlan said I didn’t have to be king when I grew up if I didn’t want to be. He told me we could go away, just the two of us, and live together forever and always.” Brayden sniffled. “I gave Quin my heart from the first moment I saw him in that tree looking over the wall at me. He had heard me crying and wanted to see if I was okay. He climbed down and just held me tight to his body while I cried.”

“Why were you crying?” His father asked quietly.

“Ormand had twisted my arm up behind my body until it was hurting so much. I was only five and Ormand was a lot stronger than me even back then—hell, he’s still a lot stronger than I am. When Ormand came searching for me to hurt me some more, he was surprised to find me with a commoner. We didn’t know at the time that he was Lord Macallister son.” A faint smiled crossed Brayden's face, “Quinlan got so angry, he just stood right up and punched Ormand in the nose. Ormand ran away crying. Then Quinlan told me I belonged to him, and no one was going to hurt me ever again.”

Thayer chuckled, “I remember that day. When asked if he was sorry, Quinlan said no and he would do it again if Ormand continued to be a bully. I was so proud of him for standing up for you.”

Brayden grinned, “Remember when Lord Macallister had to travel and he took Quin with him. Before they left Quin presented me with Ingrid, and told me she was going to be my bodyguard while he was away.”

Thayer laughed into the dank prison cell they occupied. “I remember what a fierce little thing she was. She followed you everywhere, even took to sleeping on your chamber floor of a night. Whatever happened to her?”

“She’s Quin’s personal bodyguard now. She guards him as she once guarded me, except now she sleeps in a room joining ours and not on the floor.”

“Her family were always good people.” Thayer mused.

“Yes, her family raised Javier. He was blinded in the attack. It was only recently that he and I have been reunited.”

“Blinded,” it fell as a whimper from his father’s mouth.

“Yes… but now he can kind of see. After he changed for the first time, his sight came back, but he can’t see any colours. And now, his eyes look like cat’s eyes.” Brayden bit his lower lip in thought. “Javier’s a lot stronger and a lot braver than I am.”

“I can’t believe you’re both still alive. For years they’ve told me you were all dead. That even Fane had been killed upon his return. I thought your mother was now in rule over Panthea. It was only in this past year I’ve learnt the truth. One of the guards told me she was killed on the day that I was captured. She was betrayed by those who had sworn loyalty to her.”

Brayden began to tremble. “I think Uncle Fane killed Mother. I was only half conscious, but I remember him striking her body over and over.” He screwed up his face in concentration. “I think I remember her laughing and him crying.”

“Fane is your father just as much as I am.” Thayer said softly.

Brayden sighed, “It is hard to think of him as such because he has been my uncle for as long as I can remember. I can’t change my way of thinking over night. Remember, he held me prisoner for ten years, which is something that is hard to forget.”

“He was a good man—is a good man. What he did to you, he did out of love. We had promised each other on the nights of yours and Javier’s births that if anything was to ever happen to either of us then the other would take over the care of and protection of the children.”

“I know... believe me, I know that. In my heart I know that, but my head is fighting against that very same knowledge.”

Braden and his father both turned at the sound of the door opening. Brayden gasped as he saw who came to stand before them.

“Hello, cousin... uncle.” Ormand grinned down at them both.

Brayden shuddered at the madness he saw in his cousin’s eyes.