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Excerpt from The Coming Storm
At the end of the causeway she turned toward the Hunterâs and Woodsmenâs camp which was nestled between the castle and the river itself. Some were about the chores that such folk needed to do when they were at home â mending tack, honing weapons or training new recruits.
âHai, Ailith, fairest of the fair, sweet rose of Riverford, a delight to the eye and the heart,â a voice caroled. âWere it not for my own fair lady, my heart would be yours.â
Restraining a smile and rolling her eyes, Ailith turned in the direction of the voice.
âOh, Gwillim, go on with you,â she said in mild exasperation.
The leader of the Hunters grinned, sweeping off his hat in an elaborate bow, difficult to do in the saddle. Tall, lean and rangy, as happily mated as any she knew, Gwillim flattered every woman he met, but her in particular, teasing her as always. She was neither fair nor anyoneâs definition of a sweet rose. Which he well knew.
Well used to it, the other Hunters in the party laughed or grinned.
âAh, were I not matedâ¦,â he began.
âLeave off, Gwillim!â she exclaimed, restraining a grin.
She was blushing. Again.
Between the others, coin changed hands.
Sighing with resignation, she guided her horse to Gwillimâs side.
âReally Gwillim?â she said, but he simply smiled and finally she had to laugh. âAll right, are we about this?â
With a quick glance at the others, he nodded, grinned unrepentantly, and led them out to the north and east, sobering somewhat as he got down to business.
âThe reports we have,â he said, ânow speak of more than one boggin. So you know.â
He wouldâve briefed the others as they waited.
Frowning a little, she nodded acknowledgement. âMy father pointed out you were off after a boggart just last week.â
She hadnât ridden out with them then, having been busy in the town hearing a complaint between two merchants. It had been a tedious and foolish argument, but difficult to find common ground between the two to settle. If sheâd had to choose between the two, listening to the querulous people involved or hunting the notably vicious boggart, sheâd have chosen the boggart over the boredom.
Gwillim said grimly, âAye and a nasty one it was. We chased it back into the borderlands, but it gave us a difficult time all the same. It turned on us, going after Viâs horse. She nearly went down.â
Startled, Ailith said, âA boggart? Thatâs not like a boggart.â
Mean and vicious, roughly man-shaped and going about on two legs, a boggart would attack a lone search pay day loans online man with no fear but run from a group unless it was cornered or in a pack. Cornering a boggart was a highly dangerous thing to do, as they were quick, had nasty claws, and even nastier teeth. Gwillim was too canny to corner a boggart in such a way it would turn on them without having everyoneâs bows at ready. A dozen arrows wouldâve pierced the thing before it could have turned on them. It had turned on them, then, during the chase.
âWell I know it. Nothingâs like anything of late,â Gwillim said, worriedly. âSuch things are becoming common. I donât like it, but I can put no name to it.â
Ailith didnât like it either, something about it made her uneasy. It seemed as though, lately, a great many things left her unsettled and she didnât know why.
Of a lighter and merrier nature than either of her parents, such disturbance wasnât her nature. As with her misgivings over the man whoâd ridden in that day. There was nothing overt to give her pause, yet sheâd taken it. That bothered her. Still, there was little she could do about it, save wait to see if a reason presented itself. For now, she had boggins to consider.
Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.
Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.
To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.
A Convocation of KingsÂ (The Coming Storm, #2)
Not Magic EnoughÂ (The Coming Storm, #3 (Novella))
Setting BoundariesÂ (The Coming Storm, #4(Novella))
Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!
Happily married, sheâs companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.
You can find more information atÂ Valerie Douglas Books, or atÂ Alexandria Publishing Group.