Veronica: Today we have an excerpt from AR DeClerck’s new steampunk romance Enchanter's Embrace!
Icarus and Cora Mae have left London in the capable hands of Archimedes Merriweather and Lady Lucia Conti. With peace falling over the land Archie and Lucia are finally able to consider a true courtship. Then, a strange letter detailing dark happenings in Kensington arrives on the Queen’s doorstep. Grand Adept Lucan Orrin and the Queen herself ask Archie and Lucia to take a few of their most trusted friends and ferret out the truth of Summer Ridge Estate. The secrets of Summer Ridge and many and deep, and someone is trying very hard to make sure they stay buried. Forever.
Bessemer’s face took on a ghostly glow as the air around him lit up with magic. Lucia gasped at the prick of it against her skin. He raised his arms and chanted in a thick, heavy voice.
Ardu. Eirigh liom.
Eisteacht liom gloach.
Rise. Rise to me.
Hear me call,
Everything around them went silent. There was no crunch of snow under tiny animal feet, no whistle of the wind through the trees. The sick tearing of the ground had gone quiet and Bessemer’s face split wide with a grin. He looked at Grayson.
“Pull it to you, son. Gather it up like wool to be spun and hold it tight against your chest.”
Grayson breathed deep and closed his eyes. The light aether that twinkled around him, clinging like fireflies to him, grew brighter as he focused.
Lucia looked up at Archie and he was staring with wide eyes at the two men by the pit. Corrigan was leaning against the wagon, Machiavelli in his arms, but his eye, too, were trained on the old man and the young wizard. Bastion cradled Yasmin in his arms inside the wagon, Stella’s head on his shoulder.
A buzz made Lucia wave at the air by her ear. She heard it again and swiped at the annoyance of the sound. Sound. The word made her pause. Bessemer’s magic had quieted the world, but next to her ear there was definite noise.
She concentrated hard. Hello?
Your assistance is required.
Was she the only one who could hear the aether as it spoke? Archie’s eyes never waved from Bessemer and Grayson, and Corrigan was nearly comatose from exhaustion. The air around them was thick, and she wondered how close the convergence point was to opening fully. Despite the aether’s insistence that it wanted to stay on its side of the barrier, the vacuum between worlds might pull it through. What can I do?
Bessemer staggered. His face was haggard and pale as he lowered his hands. “This will take more than we have.”
“What can we do?” Archie was quick to offer assistance. Lucia’s attention was half with him and half with the aether as it buzzed around her.
“There might a way. A spell to siphon up all the aether and return it to the convergence point.”
“What do we need?” Archie asked.
Bessemer’s eyes narrowed as he clapped Grayson on the shoulder. He shook his head, his chin on his chest. “It requires a sacrifice. A wizard will have to give up his body, become a conduit between our world and theirs. Let them travel back home through flesh and blood and bone.”
“That’s suicide,” Archie argued. His hand tightened on Lucia’s.
“I’ll do it.” Grayson’s eyes were ringed in red, his muscles trembling from the exertion of the magic. “It was my blood that opened this portal all those years ago.”
Your sacrifice is now required.
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Author. Mother. Wife. Reading ninja. Food assassin. All-around goofball. Self-proclaimed nerd.
Raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina, AR currently lives by the Mighty Mississippi with her husband, 2 daughters, 2 dogs and a wily cat. She writes adventure romance with a particular love for strong heroines and redeemable heroes. AR believes LOVE is the greatest adventure, and she enjoys writing stories that incorporate ideals of loyalty, honor, sacrifice and personal growth.
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Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org