by A. Katie Rose
Saga of the Black Wolf Book Three
Raine has discovered that he is not just gai’tan, the werewolf, he is the direct descendant of the wolf god, Darius, and the Chosen One of the wolves. In accepting his wolf self, and merging both halves - man and wolf - he also accepts his role as the wolves’ savior: he must slay the monster that keeps Darius a prisoner. Unless Darius is freed, wolves will die out as a species. But Raine has had a vision, and has foreseen his own death. In order to keep his love, Ly’Tana, safe, he abandons her and all those dear to him. With only Darius’ voice in his head for company, he leaves behind his blood-brother, Rygel, his newly adopted wolf son, Tuatha, and his loyal Tarbane, Tashira, to travel to the frozen north alone and heartbroken.
Angry and bewildered, Ly’Tana resolves to follow him north. Yet, her divine enemy makes another attempt to kill her. Under Rygel’s guidance and protected by a pack of enormous wolves, Ly’Tana, her kinsman, Kel’Ratan, and her warriors ride in search of a monk who can save her from divine retribution. High King Brutal hasn’t given up his chase to marry her and seize her beloved country, nor has the Shekinah Tongu turned aside from their Blood Oath to slay Rygel. Hunted by both men and gods, Ly’Tana rides in search of answers, before she can ride in search of her one true love.
Princess Iyumi caught between them, two lands at odds over magic, centaurs and minortaurs, Prince Flynn abused by his father, First Captain Vanyar disgraced but seeking redemption, Flynn commits a great evil for power, condemns his own soul, Iyumi the legendary "She Who Hears" the voice of the gods.
Will Raine escape the evil wizard Ja’Teel’s traps? Can he stave off starvation as he learns to hunt as a wolf? Can Ly’Tana survive the wrath of a god and outwit a murdering King? How will she endure treachery from within her own camp?
Genre: FantasyPurchase link(s): Amazon
Content/Theme(s): Shifters, Werewolves, Gods, Action
Release Date: February 24, 2016
Excerpt & More
Stunned, I watched Raine wink out of existence.
I staggered, unable to feel my feet under me. He left me. Just like that. He left me. Cold settled into my bones, deepened into an ache in my heart. He left me. I couldn’t stop the numbing refrain inside my head. He left. He left us all. He left me. Without a backward glance he left me.
My anger drained away, leaving behind a hollow gourd where my heart used to be. I felt no fear, no hate, nor love. I felt nothing but the pain that centered itself in my chest and spread its evil fingers through my body. He left me.
Rygel’s bitter cursing broke through my mental tail-chasing at last. Tuatha’s anguished screams overrode the hurt and angry growls of the wolves, the confused mutters of my boys. In a daze, I turned around, still trying to find my balance. Arianne slumped to the ground, sobbing, clutching the howling pup to her thin chest. Her midnight hair concealed them both. Her wolf, Darkhan, hovered close, his anxiety clear in his slack ears and lowered tail.
Wolves prowled about the dead camp, hackles raised, while no few snarled at one another. Silverruff growled continually, his ears flat to his head. I had no idea what they were saying and Rygel was too busy cursing and Arianne too busy crying to translate.
“That stupid fool,” Rygel snarled. “I’ll kill him when I find him.”
Numb, I lifted my eyes from the distraught Arianne and Tuatha. “What?”
“I’m going to kick his furry black ass,” Tashira snorted, his ears also flat, his thick tail sweeping from side to side.
“Good luck with that,” Shardon said. “He still has very big teeth.”
Whirling, Tashira lashed out with his hind leg, kicking his silver brother on the shoulder with one very large hoof.
“What the hell?” Shardon exclaimed, leaping sideways, away from Tashira’s wrath.
“Just shut up!” Tashira commanded. “I’m sick of your stupid comments about his teeth. When I find him, he’ll be one sorry wolf.”
“Shut your bloody mouth.”
Turning his back, Tashira stalked away. No one, wolf or human, dared remain in his path. Snorting his fury, Tashira stormed up and down at the clearing’s edge, venting his anger on the hapless earth with his hooves.
“That’s if he hasn’t already killed himself,” Rygel added through his curses, running his hands through his wheaten locks and blowing out his breath in a sharp gust.
His words melted away some of the numbness from my soul. “What do you mean?”
He ceased swearing, and turned toward me, his blood-shot eyes bleak. His hands rose to run through his hair, but dropped to hook his thumbs through his sword belt. “Wizards don’t transport themselves to a place they’ve never been before. How can you know where you’re going?”
Horror dawned inside my thick skull. “Oh, gods—”
“He could have transported himself into the air a few feet beyond a cliff,” Rygel continued grimly, imitating Tashira and pacing up and down. “Or into solid rock. He took off, blind, literally.”
Grief erased the remaining shock from my brain and soul. What have I done? He knew he went to his death and I hurled my hatred into his face. Raine, Raine, forgive me. Oh, Lady what have I done—
“What about your bond?” Corwyn asked, striding forward, his blue eyes under lowered brows filled not with anger, but fear. “Can you feel him? Is he alive?”
Rygel stopped pacing and frowned. Shutting his eyes, he concentrated. I ceased to breathe, watching him. The wolves ceased their snarls at one another. Tashira paused mid-step to gaze at Rygel, his huge brown eyes dark red with anger. I think we all stared at him with hope, with grief, with desperation.
At last, Rygel fetched a deep breath and nodded. “He’s alive, but very far away. He’s at least several days ride to the north.”
Tashira continued his furious pacing. Arianne’s sobs subsided into coughs and hiccups, but Tuatha’s grief did not. He no longer screamed, but his whimpering cries echoed the grief and guilt I felt.
Silverruff growled at Rygel. Rygel nodded in response. “Yes, I will.”
My head rose. Something in his firm tone warned me. “You will? You will what? What did he say?”
“He asked if I was going after him. I am.”
“Despite your oath?”
Rygel smiled grimly. “I am already condemned, cursed. What’s a broken word in the face of that?”
Thunder growled in the distance. The breeze picked up, lowering the warm temperature of the sunny morning. I paid little attention, though, as I stalked around the clearing, my hand on my sword hilt. New will forged like iron in my heart, expelling the grief, as I gazed into the eyes of my warriors.
“You all,” I began slowly, choosing my words carefully, “have sworn your oaths to me.”
Around me, all activity halted. Witraz ceased stroking his piebald’s face, the laughing wolf, who no longer laughed, at his feet. Alun, caught amid the necessary packing of his saddlebags, dropped them to the ground beside his saddle. Rannon, Left and Right wandered closer to me, as though instinctively knowing what I was about to say, their hands on their hilts. Kel’Ratan scowled, smoothing his mustache with his fingers.
While I did not look at the wolves, or Bar, or the Tarbane, I felt their eyes on me. My boys, as one man in strict military formation, stepped forward in a line without glancing at one another. At disciplined attention, they stood stiff and expressionless, backs ramrod straight, their eyes blank. Tor stood between Yuri and Yuras, his head not even reaching their burly shoulders, imitating their stance. Like them, he stood as though he’d had the disciplined preparation the others did, his brown eyes staring, not at me, but past. Like any well-trained soldier, he awaited his marching orders.
Corwyn, his hand on his sword hilt, stood protectively over Arianne, yet his fierce blue eyes watched me with approval. Something sank into Kel’Ratan’s head, for his scowl deepened, and he ceased his rhythmic stroking. I heard him step closer to my back, sensed his rising suspicion, but I ignored him.
“You all know I’m not good with speeches,” I continued on, slowly pacing back and forth before them. “So I’ll say this straight and simply. I free you from your bonds of loyalty. You no longer owe me your allegiance.”
Kel’Ratan choked, strangling. “What—“
I paid him no heed. “You know where I’m going and why. You’re all free to go home, swear your loyalty to my father. I’d not ask any of you to accompany me. Though if you do, I’d welcome you with open arms. I go with Rygel.”
I glanced around at the dozen or so wolves. “And with them, should they so choose.”
Barks, growls and snarls greeted my words. Ears perked as tails wagged, the huge pack ringed me round. I glanced from one to another, stepping around to view those at my back, lowering my hands so they might sniff, lick and wag over them. Had I not previously understood their intelligence, loyalty and sweet natures, I might have feared for my safety. Any one of them might kill me with little effort, yet I felt no fear. They loved Raine and I was Raine’s mate.
Rygel smiled slightly as he translated. “They’re going.”
Thunder cracked again, closer this time. The freshening breeze whipped my hair into my eyes. Impatiently, I swept it back, glancing up at the tree branches tossing about, their leaves whipped by the wind. A bank of dark grey clouds darkened the blue skyline just over the treetops. A bloody storm coming. Just what we need, I thought sourly.
Arianne rose awkwardly to her feet, the now silent Tuatha in her arms.
“I’m coming, too,” announced Tashira, trotting back to the group.
“Where Rygel goes,” Shardon said. “I go.”
Kel’Ratan freed his voice and his anger. “Ly’Tana! You will not. He made it quite clear he doesn’t want us, nor does he need us. We – you, the warriors and me, are going home.”
I faced him calmly. “You don’t have a say in this.”
He leaned toward me, threatening, his finger raised to point into my face. “Don’t I?”
“You’ve a choice,” he ground out, spittle slicking his teeth. “Come home with me now—”
While his blue eyes glared down into mine, his finger left me and pointed to my boys. He smiled grimly, his words now soft. “–or don’t. If you choose not to come willingly, I’ll have them tie you to your horse and take you back to Kel’Halla in chains.”
I smiled at my furious cousin. “No. They won’t.”
He straightened, a tiny, evil smile playing about his mustache. “That’s how you want to play, then, eh? Witraz, get some rope. Rannon and Alun, take her.”
Purchase link(s): Amazon
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Be on the lookout for A. Katie Rose's future 2016 release(s): Under the Wolf's Shadow
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