Publication date: May 27th 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Life hasn’t been easy for Aeley since she arrested her brother, and her role as a political leader leaves her feeling isolated and lonely. Days before her brother’s trial, she meets Lira, a quiet and modest scribe who makes Aeley want more than just a professional relationship.
When she attends the trial and leaves with a marriage contract, Aeley doesn’t know what to do. She must choose one of two brothers, marrying into a family she doesn’t know. Then she discovers that Lira is part of the same family–a sister to Aeley’s suitors and the family’s disgrace. And not at all opposed to an intimate relationship.
Except random acts of violence against her people test Aeley’s ability as a leader, and a web of lies and deceit threaten not only her chance at happiness, but her life…
The dreams. By the Four, the dreams. Please don’t make me babble about them. We can’t get into it.
Waiting for the carriage, Aeley watched Lira fan her hair around her shoulders and tug on her shawl. Though it was a cool autumn morning, not all of Aeley’s shivers were due to the breeze. The meeting with Vant inspired her dreams to twist around her desires. Instead of focusing on Allon and her anger, the images revolved around Lira and an intimacy that Aeley could not ignore. She refused to mention the dreams to anyone, including Mayr. He would taunt her without mercy if he knew of her attraction to Lira. It was bad enough she’d woken in a sweat more than once. For certain, she could say nothing to Lira. Anything else would make the ride awkward.
“There it is,” Mayr said.
Aeley turned when he raised his arm, his tattoos and scars hidden by his long sleeve and leather brace. Drawn by two grey horses, the small, closed carriage slowed before them. Mayr opened the door and gestured for them to enter. Lira obeyed without hesitation, climbing the small steps and sliding across the black cushions.
“After you.” Mayr’s hand slid across Aeley’s back and gave her a gentle push towards the steps.
“No, after you. No need to be formal. It’s a meeting, not a ball,” Aeley argued, digging her boot into the dirt.
“That’s fine, but I’m still not getting in.”
“I’m sitting up front with the driver.”
“Why? It’s not like she’s going to bite—”
Mayr rolled his eyes. “I know that.” Turning into her, he lowered his voice. “I’m giving you the chance to bite her.”
Aeley caught herself before she fell back. “What?” What was the proper response? Slap him? Stare like a mortified idiot?
With a sigh, Mayr leaned closer and murmured his words. “I’ve been watching you. Something’s going on. Should’ve seen your face when she walked in on breakfast. Stared at her like any guy would. Nervous, fidgety. Not at all like you.”
“That’s not—I’m not—she’s just—” Aeley bit her tongue and twisted her heel. How could he call her bluff when she did not understand it herself? Her face warmed, the rest of her body feeling hot under her light cloak. If he noticed, had Lira noticed, too? Oh, by the Blessed Four… this could be a long ride if she did.
“If you like her, you like her. Either way, I’m not getting in for the same reason I wouldn’t let you bring the gaffa nectar. This is a perfect chance, so don’t be stupid.” Mayr stepped back. “Now get in.”
Archer started writing stories at age six and became “that kid” with their nose in the books and a pen in their hand, pursuing the challenges of writing novels at age thirteen and conquering the dread of poetry at fifteen. Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged.
When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek who has too many hobbies, keeping busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along, especially if it is in technological form. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.