My new book, Captive and the Cursed (Heartsbane Saga book 1) launched this week, and the response has been great! I’m so excited to be able to share the beginnings of this world with everyone.
Today’s excerpt is from Book 1: Captive and the Cursed, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. So far we’ve been introduced to Storm Llanfaell, a merchant so confident in his latest exploit that he’s thrown caution to the wind, and of course was promptly caught by the king’s guards. His crime? Stealing the entire contents of their treasury. We’re skipping ahead just a bit to where he’s been taken before the king, Gudrodar.
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“The gold and jewels you’ve stolen from me mean nothing,” the king said. “They are but objects and can be easily replaced. If it were just those things, I would cut off your hand as if you were a common criminal before hanging you.”
The king nodded, and two of his huskarlar moved to Storm’s side. The one on his right grabbed him, one hand at his wrist and the other at his forearm.
Storm gritted his teeth against the agony in his shoulders. His mind was still too clouded with alcohol to devise a plan, so he did what he always did in situations like this: stall. “You aren’t the first to try to hang me, and you won’t be the last.”
“Enough, thief. I have no further use for you if you refuse to cooperate.”
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And here’s the rest of that scene:
Gudrodar stood, moving into the light, and Storm gasped. Angry weeping rashes bulged across the king’s face and hands, interspersed with deep scars. His left eye was swollen shut and his lips so disfigured they could barely move. This must be the curse Storm had heard rumors of. The king gripped the chair’s arms tightly, swaying slightly, and the young man moved closer to his side. Gudrodar waved him away. “Illfuss, what say you about his fate?”
The man who’d helped capture Storm stepped forward. “The god of the Llogerians demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I think he would also find it fair to demand a life for a life. He has taken from you any hope of a cure for your curse. Let him be marked as a thief, and then let him share in your curse as well, before he hangs in the morning.”
“So be it,” the king said.
The second huskarl raised his axe, and Storm struggled to free himself from the first’s iron grip, still not ready to admit defeat.
“Father.” The voice of the young man to the right of the king echoed through the hall, and the huskarl paused, axe in midair. “Might I suggest otherwise?”
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Captive and the Cursed is available now at Amazon, or you can read more of Storm’s exploits in the prequel short story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” for just $.99. Then post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.
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About Captive and the Cursed:
She must choose: follow her head or follow her heart?
Nyah’s merchant father raised her and her younger sister Payton on tales of treasure and excitement, but after he returns home from his latest trip addle-minded, Nyah must put aside her dreams of adventure and focus on more practical matters, like her betrothal to the illiterate son of the village chief. But when a roving band of barbarians kidnap Payton and the village leaders do nothing to rescue her, Nyah has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She offers herself in her sister’s place, doomed to travel with the barbarian army until their price is paid.
The army is led by Brandulfur, a man who suffers from a hideous, painful curse. Although he’s officially in her country to aid his childhood friend in raising an army to support the king, he’s on a personal quest for the book that holds the cure for his curse – a book that Nyah soon realizes her father stole from him.
Determined to return to her family, she’ll need all the allies she can get. But no one is who they seem, including the people closest to her. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants her life to be the same as before – but is that even what she wants anymore?
Captive and the Cursed is the first book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. If you like sassy heroines, adventures spanning the medieval world, and a touch of romance, you’ll love The Heartsbane Saga, E.D. Martin’s new historical fantasy series.