I’m sharing a new excerpt from my latest release, The Captive Shifter!
Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.
In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?
The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?
The excerpt:“There’s to be another spell casting tonight,” said Princess Ylain the next day as they made their way to the palace from an afternoon of healing rounds in the poorer quarters of the City. “You remember you’re forbidden to attend?”
“Yes, your highness. I’ve no desire to be there,” she answered with perfect truth. “I’ll spend the evening in the stillroom, preparing more of the herbal medicines we’ll need tomorrow for treating this new fever. I find it concerning how rapidly the malady is spreading along the river and in the most corwded sections of the City.”
“Good. I appreciate your work more than I can say.” Leaving on a note of praise, Ylain headed towards her own quarters in the upper levels of the palace.
Taking her dinner on a tray, Caitlyn sought refuge in the stillroom, at first trying to work on mixing medications as she’d said she would. Even when she set safeguards with her own powers, the currents of magic swirling in the palace made her restless. She sat in the small, cool space with the dried herbs and flowers, and thought about Kyler. Without a doubt the Witch Queen would have him brought to the spell casting, drawing upon his energies to support her again.
“I don’t want to watch, I don’t. Once was enough,” Caitlyn said out loud, hearing the bitterness in her voice. Clearing a space on the scarred table to pillow her head on her crossed arms, she tried launching herself into the dreamspace, to search for Kyler. I need to see if he’s all right, if I can help him as I did the first time. It’s too soon for them to be drawing on his power again. Her quest met a solid wall. It seemed the spell casting chamber was protected from the outside and try though she might, she couldn’t cross the magical barrier to reach him.
She sent a prayer to her own goddess Tiermalleia, asking for protection for Kyler, as man and leopard and then closed the stillroom, since she couldn’t force herself to work. She sought her bed, traversing hallways out of her normal route, however, attempting to gain access to the floor where the Witch Queen’s chambers were located. She hoped this might be the perfect time to at least examine the door she’d seen in the dreamspace, but there were guards in all the stairwells and pacing in front of every door. She didn’t want to risk the men challenging her or reporting her presence where she had no business.
Tonight wasn’t the night she’d succeed in her quest.