Monday, June 07, 2010

Publication day: SORCERESS is now available!

In an ancient world where magic is within the grasp of every soul, a passionate and forbidden affair threatens the stability of many lands.

The Empress Elishiba has vowed to protect her people, even if it means marrying an enemy. When the mysterious man known as Amshazar arrives as a spokesman for her future husband, her problems multiply. Amshazar is an attractive and powerful man who is rumoured to be a sorcerer, and he is allied to her enemy. Consorting with him would be disastrous. Why then does she let him arouse her and distract her from her goal?

Amshazar is a powerful magi and an envoy of the gods. Lusting after the Empress Elishiba was not part of his plan, and yet he cannot resist. The connection is vital, the desire undeniable.

Their forbidden affair captures them in a web of danger, a web where magic and romance weave their own vibrant and inexorable threads. As the enemy seeks to destroy Elishiba and all she stands for, Amshazar must fulfil his duty and empower her as a powerful Sorceress, whatever the cost.

SORCERESS is now available from Total-E-Bound!

Here's an excerpt:

The court poet recited three new works. Ramsis had risen and moved amongst his guests in the background, chatting to the families of the officers of The Immortals, and court officials scattered at tables, greeting them. Elishiba watched her father fondly.

When two flute players joined the harpist, the dancers took the floor. Elishiba allowed the sensual pleasures of the occasion to relax her, supping on the plum-coloured wines, breathing the aromas of perfumed sweetmeats before tasting them.

It was with surprise, then, that she felt a dramatic shift in the room’s atmosphere, as if a powerful vapour passed through her mind and captured her attention—as if it had entered her body and touched her very soul. Her skin was suddenly alert. Her senses no longer relaxed, but keen and focused. That is how she became aware of the sudden presence of the other man at the table—Amshazar.

She had neither seen him arrive, nor had she seen him take his place to her left, on the other side of Sibias. He was just suddenly there. This must be the man they called the nomad. Somehow she knew it was Amshazar before she even turned to look at him. His presence in the room had altered it completely.

When she glanced over, her breath felt trapped in her chest.

He was a compelling personage—of that there was no doubt. She was surprised most of all by his outstanding looks, for his odd history and reputation had not even hinted at the striking nature of his appearance. His hair fell past his shoulders in a dark brown, mahogany-brushed curtain, trailing into loose curls at its tails. His features were those of the soaring hawk, keen and observant, as if about to swoop on its prey. His darkly fringed and hooded eyes glowed emerald green in the flickering candlelight, his sharp eyebrows echoing the distinct line of his cheekbones. The defined line of his jawbone was clean-shaven, his skin a tawny colour, gently sun-kissed. Devastatingly attractive, he wore it with an unassuming air. Dressed in charcoal robes, he was discreet and set apart from them all in every way, and yet he had affected the very air she breathed, she was sure of it.

His posture was self-assured and yet watchful as he engaged in a hushed conversation with Sibias. Elishiba watched the stranger, unable to take her gaze away from his flashing eyes and his chiselled mouth while he spoke. When he glanced her way, he fixed her with those eyes, and then inclined his head in acknowledgement, a slight smile hovering at the corners of his mouth.

She tried to look away, but could not.

He had a penetrating, unafraid stare. He was indeed a hunter. And she was captured in a glance, as if he had pinned her with one sharp talon. The look in his eyes both tormented and aroused her. She could not drag her gaze away.

In the background she was vaguely aware that Helena had begun another song, accompanying the delicate notes she spun by her slender fingers, with her beautiful voice. Thankfully, her tormentor looked away, breaking the tension.

It was not until then that Elishiba realised she had not responded to his acknowledgement. He had affected her so strangely. Her blood was racing. Her hairline felt damp, the palms of her hands too. She lifted her goblet and drank heavily from it.

When she did, he stood up and walked in her direction.

Her heart beat wildly.

She rearranged herself on the cushions in an effort to regain her composure. His body was tall and elegant, leanly muscled, and he walked with the quality of a man who answered to no one. Bowing graciously before her, he caused most of the people in the room to turn and watch his actions.

“Empress Elishiba of Aleem, as your Father is with his guests, may I present myself? My name is Amshazar.”

Whilst his greeting was polite, he seemed to insinuate himself in some other way. She felt as if he had touched her, intimately. He spoke quietly but distinctly, and the rich tone of his voice resonated through her body. That the Gods had given him their secret gifts, she did not doubt. He had a dark, brooding quality and an aura of knowing things beyond their immediate manifestation. She felt as if he could read her thoughts, for when he looked at her it was as if his very spirit climbed inside her mind and body.

Desire trickled through her blood, heady and seductive. Deny it, deny it, she told herself. She was no stranger to lust and pleasures of the flesh, but she was an Empress and she was able to control it when necessary. It was vital for her to reject the instant curiosity she felt about him, and the attraction. Nevertheless, she was unable to stop herself surveying his fine figure, her gaze returning finally to his handsome mouth. What would it be like to have that mouth on mine? she wondered distractedly.

His gaze locked with hers, and there was such a sense of certainty in his expression that her hands trembled. For a moment the whole room melted away and she was only aware of his presence. Her response was total. In her soul, a sense of recognition. In her body, a kindled fire.

Mercifully, someone coughed in the background, drawing her back to the moment. She noticed that the whole assembly was watching on. Tension filled the room. Enemies were amidst them, and the Immortals were liable to jump to their feet and reach for their swords—and still Amshazar looked only at her.

“Welcome to our home,” she said, with effort. As if it were not difficult enough to welcome these strangers, without the overwhelming nature of this man’s stare. The way he looked at her seemed to absorb her from head to toe.

He smiled, as if amused by a private joke. “It is interesting…to finally see its legendary charms for myself.”

She could not tell if his appraisal was deprecating or complimentary, and her hackles automatically began to rise. “For yourself? I was under the impression you were here to represent Emperor Hanrah of Karseedia.”

His smile was teasing in its intimacy. “I am here to represent the Emperor, but I also have an abundance of curiosity of my own…for various reasons.” He raised his eyebrows. “Is that a crime in Aleem?”

Shocked, Elishiba retaliated. “No, it is not, but tell me this if you will. Is it a Karseedian trait to be forthright to the point of rudeness?”

His eyes twinkled. “I am not a Karseedian.”

She noticed that he had lowered his voice, ensuring that comment reached her alone.....

Now available!

Please note: This book was previously published under the title Unveiling the Sorceress. It has been extensively re-written, revised and edited for release with Total-E-Bound.

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