Excerpt from Promising Light

Today, I decided to share a short excerpt from Promising Light with you lovely folks.

Grace began a secret courtship with Dar for the thrill of doing something against her father, the king’s general. She hadn’t planned on falling in love with him. When Dar suddenly leaves her, she searches for answers, reluctant to let him go.

Everyone seems determined to keep the truth from her—until she’s kidnapped by Dar’s family. They’re shape changers who claim she can break a curse set on them ten years ago by the Protectors, a group of noblemen determined to stifle magic in the name of safety.

Torn between two worlds, Grace isn’t sure who to trust. If the curse endures, Dar’s family could die out forever. But to help them, she’ll have to leave behind everything she knows.

***

Grace tried to keep her eyes away from Dar as they got ready to leave. She watched as the prince’s advisor directed the servants with their trunks. The horses were soon connected to the carriages, and the prince said farewell to the politicians.

Grace said goodbye to the different governors and barons, giving her special thanks to Governor Peter and his family for their hospitality. Governor Alastor and Dar stood at the end of the line. She lowered in a curtsy. “Governor Alastor, Sir Dar.”

Dar inclined his head and met her eyes before she turned away. Her heart pounded as she thought of last night and wondered when she’d see him again.

She got into the carriage, and a servant closed the door behind her. She heard men yelling, and the prince went to the front carriage. A moment later, her carriage lurched forward, moving away from the manor and away from Dar. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. She still had feelings for him, whether it was right to or not. Six months couldn’t be erased in only two weeks. She was determined to find out more about the shape changers Dar was so closely involved with.

A couple hours passed before the carriages stopped for a break. Grace stepped out to see they’d stopped on the side of the wide path. The servants were watering the horses from a small creek that ran alongside the path before it vanished into the forest to their left.

Prince William approached her, smiling. “I hope your morning has been good.”

“Yes, your Highness, thank you.” She’d slept for most of the time, and found her dreams full of shapes that changed from men into tigers, snakes, and other frightening creatures. “I think I’ll step into the forest with Thurma.”

Thurma was the only female servant on the trip. The two of them took breaks together in the woods when they needed to relieve themselves. After searching a few moments, Grace found Thurma feeding sugar cubes to the horses.

“Need to go?” Thurma asked, raising her eyebrows. She was an older woman and looked just as muscular as the men.

“I’m afraid so,” Grace said.

They went into the forest, deep into the foreign plants. Grace held her dress up as they went a fair distance. “Go behind that tree,” Thurma said, motioning to a large tree a few feet away.

After Grace went, she stood up and turned back to Thurma. “Stop,” Thurma whispered, lifting her hand.

Grace followed Thurma’s eyes to a spot on the ground. A bright green snake lay in front of her, the body curled up, but the head gazing at Thurma. Grace gasped and stepped backward. It was louder than she intended, and the snake sprang at Thurma. Grace was about to let out a scream when someone grabbed her from behind, clasping a hand over her mouth.

She fought against the arms frantically, but then they were suddenly changing. The skin bristled, the bones grew smaller, and the hand was now rope twisting itself around her, forcing itself into her mouth. The ropes caught her wrists and her ankles. Stumbling, she fell, and her chin barely missed the ground. She screamed as loudly as she could with the rope in her mouth, but someone grabbed her again. She thrashed against him, feeling miserably helpless. He picked her up and threw her over the back of a horse. She ended up on her stomach, her face toward the ground. The rider grabbed her dress and set off in a gallop.

The horse tore through the dense forest, leading them away from the prince and his carriages. Grace screamed as she jostled around on the horse, the rider’s hand holding onto her back. She struggled against him and the ropes, but she was too afraid of falling off the horse and being trampled. Where was he taking her? Had the snake bit Thurma?

Once she gave up screaming, she tasted blood in her mouth. She must have bit her tongue when she fell.

They rode on and on, the forest around them growing thicker and darker. The rich smell of the earth surrounded them. The horse kicked dirt into her face and eyes, and she tried to cover them as they kept going. Her head felt faint after a while, the blood rushing to her head, her back aching from the position she was in.

As soon as the horse slowed to a trot, Grace struggled against the rider. She couldn’t let him take her. She tried to elbow him in the legs and kicked at the ropes on her ankles.

“Stop struggling!” he shouted, shaking her by the shoulders.

Just as she began to understand her struggling wasn’t going to do anything, the man stopped the horse and stepped off. Her body started to slip, and he grabbed her by the waist and lifted her off the horse. She tried to step away from him, forgetting her ankles were tied, and he caught her before she fell over.

Grace only got a glimpse of the unsaddled horse before he began to change. His back legs grew while his front legs shrunk, his nose recoiled, his torso twisted in shape, and then a man stood in front of them. Grace stared at him, her eyes wide. Her knees suddenly felt weak. It couldn’t be. . .it couldn’t. How. . .but he’d just been a horse. He’d changed forms in front of her very eyes.

Everything she’d heard about shape changers over the past week ran through her mind. She hadn’t truly thought it was real, but now that she’d seen it, she couldn’t deny it.


***

If you’re interested in reading more, check out Promising Light on Amazon, B&N, or any other ebook retailer! The sequel, Promising Hope, will be coming to stores this September. And check out that awesome cover!

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