A Valentine’s Day Excerpt

Here’s a little taste of Empire’s Exile (due out late 2018) just for today:

Empire's Exile beta cover

My doubts….were meaningless; they were as unfounded as if he had doubted me because I could shoot a bow, or navigate a sunless sea. I had touched on the truth, the first night at the lake:  the darkness within us both was more than one night, or many, would assuage. The man struggling to control himself last night, his fear expressed in cold, cutting anger, was still the reviled and terrified seven-year old, sent away from all he loved for safety. Too proud, or perhaps, in his child’s mind, too culpable, to beg not to be abandoned; too hurt to allow himself to love again.

And I? Violence done, by me and to me, and my own deep doubts about my ability not to betray. The last was gone, I thought, that decision made. I could not change the choice I had made at Tirvan, but I had not repeated it. But the scars of violence, the revulsion and the fear, would be with me always, and more savagery lay ahead.

In each other we had found healing, but neither of us were whole. If time, and the gods I did not believe in allowed, perhaps, but that grace was unlikely to be given in a time of war. I did not know where need ended and love began, for either of us, and I did not think it mattered.

I turned toward him. The moon was a week past full, but the night was clear, so enough light shone through the shutters that I could just see his face, untroubled in sleep. I touched his cheek with one fingertip. “Käresta,” he murmured, not waking, and reached out, pulling me closer. I settled against his chest, and closed my eyes.

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