I’m celebrating the release of Fuery and Shaia’s book in my Eternal Mates paranormal romance series with an amazing giveaway plus sharing the first four chapters here at my blog. Read on for chapter three, and details of the awesome giveaway you can enter!
UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE, book 15 in the series, is out now. It’s time to catch up with what has been happening in this world of dark elves, shifters, fae, demons and angels…
Lost to the darkness, Fuery wages a daily war against the corruption that lives within him, constantly in danger of slipping into the black abyss and becoming the monster all elves fear. Work as an assassin gives him purpose, but what reason is there to go on when he killed the light of his life—his fated mate?
Shaia has spent forty-two centuries mourning her mate. Tired and worn down, she agrees to wed a male of her family’s choosing, following tradition that has always bound her as a female and hoping she will be able to gain just a little freedom in return. But as she resigns herself to being the mate of a male she could never love, fate places an old friend in her path—one who tells her that her lost love is alive.
Will Shaia find the courage to break with tradition and leave the elf kingdom in search of her mate? And as a ray of light pierces his soul again, can Fuery find the strength to win his battle against the darkness or will it devour him and that light of their forbidden love forever?
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Eirwyn droned on about something. Shaia tried to pay attention to him as she re-tied her long wavy black hair with trembling fingers, gathering the twin braids that hung from near her temples and joining them in the silver clasp at the back of her head.
It became impossible as they entered the main semi-circular marketplace of the village and she whirled back through time, the mixture of two-storey thatched and tiled detached grey stone buildings that lined the curve of the square changing around her to grow sparser and the people transforming into those who had occupied the market that fateful day almost four thousand three hundred years ago.
The light of the portal beat down on her, making her dark blue dress uncomfortably hot. She tugged at the tight bronze metal corset as best she could while clinging to the heavy wicker basket she held tucked in her left arm. The fruits and vegetables she had purchased with her mother jostled back and forth, threatening to leap over the edge.
“Shaia,” her mother called and she looked her way, nodded to let her know she was coming and hurried after her as she bustled down the lane in the busy market, disappearing into the throng as she moved from stall to stall.
The noise of the people rose around her, growing more animated, and snagging her attention.
She glanced up from wrestling with her dress as she walked, wanting to see what had caused the commotion.
A tall male dressed in the figure-hugging black uniform of the army filled her vision and she barely had time to gasp before he turned and collided with her, knocking the basket from her arms and sending its contents spilling across the dirt. She staggered backwards, the force of him slamming into her sending her off balance.
Her back hit a passing male before she could fall and the male who had knocked her muttered an apology and moved on with the rest of his group, laughing and pushing at each other as they weaved through the crowded lane. The male behind her righted her, grumbling about her being clumsy, and walked away without as much as a backward glance.
Shaia huffed, crouched and began picking up her scattered belongings before the people visiting the market began stepping on them. The last thing she needed was her mother discovering what had happened and finding her at fault. Things had been strained at home, her family’s desire for her to make a good match wearing her down and putting her in a foul mood.
She was only two hundred. Who found the one they would spend the rest of their life with at such a tender age?
A shadow came over her and she covered her eyes with her right hand and looked up at the owner of it.
A male loomed before her, darkly handsome, his face set in a scowl and strands of his long black hair dancing in the breeze to caress his cheeks.
He smoothed it back into the ponytail with a huff and she half expected him to demand she move out of his way.
Shock rippled through her when he directed the full force of his anger over her head. His violet eyes were bright with it as his pointed ears flared back, and then he crouched in front of her and began helping her with her fruits and vegetables. She stared at him as he worked, carefully plucking each fallen item from the dirt, inspecting it for marks and dusting off the earth, and then placing it gently into her basket.
“Are you hurt?” he said, and her insides trembled, unfamiliar heat traveling along her limbs and curling in her chest as his deep voice sounded in her ears.
He lifted his violet eyes to meet hers and all the anger that had been in them was gone, drifted away like storm clouds in summer, leaving only warm light behind.
She couldn’t find her voice to answer him.
He had stolen it together with her breath.
He was gorgeous.
The banked heat simmering in his eyes seemed to echo the burning in her veins, a strange and unsettling sensation that lit her up and had the world around her falling away, leaving only the male before her. She stared at him, shaken by the force of the new feelings rushing through her, sensations that skittered over her skin and stirred her soul, awoke something inside her that had her growing increasingly aware of him as more than a person.
She grew aware of him as a male.
Raw. Masculine. Powerful. Handsome. Everything about him stoked the flames licking through her, had her breath coming faster as her pulse accelerated, drumming in her ears.
That heat in his eyes began to blaze.
Someone caught her arm and pulled her onto her feet, jerking her out of the spell he had placed her under and bringing the world crashing back down around her. She heard her mother speak, felt she should look at her but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the male.
He took hold of her basket, his face fixed in a placid expression that concealed whatever he was feeling, and rose to his full height so he towered over her again. He looked down at the basket, and then her, and for an agonising moment she thought he would speak with her again, but then he held it out to her.
She took it in trembling hands, still fighting to find her voice to tell him that she was fine. Better than fine. She felt wonderful.
Her mother pulled her away, into the crowd, and she glanced back over her shoulder to find the male watching her. Her eyes widened. A uniform. He wore the same clothes as the soldiers who had bumped her.
Disappointment flooded her, the light and airy feeling transforming into a cold sort of darkness as she realised he wasn’t a resident of the village or any of those that surrounded it. He was a soldier, and he would pass through her small world and out of her life before she could even get to know him.
“Cursed soldiers. I do not see why we must entertain them by allowing them to stay near the village.” Her mother’s voice broke into the darkness, bringing light back into her heart, and hope welled inside her.
Hope that she would see him again, even when she knew her family would never approve of the match.
She drifted home with her mother, and kept on drifting, through days and the nights that followed, her concentration poor as the male played on her mind and a desire to venture into the village plagued her, tugging her towards it in the hope she would see him again.
Five days after their fateful meeting in the village, Shaia found herself sitting on a boulder on the bank of the stream struggling to focus on her task of washing clothes for her family.
One of the other maidens of the village spoke, but Shaia didn’t listen to her as she stared across the broad swath of shallow water that rippled over the stony riverbed.
At the camp there.
Soldiers came and went from the round white tents, the volume of their voices rising and falling as they talked or teased each other. Sometimes, one would call across to her and her companions. The first time it had happened, one of the more delicate females had almost fainted and another had spouted vile things about how the males would snatch them and hurt them, almost causing a third to join the first in having a fainting fit.
Shaia took it all in her stride, unafraid of the males as they called or whistled, able to see they were simply flirting with them and were harmless. None of them had even set foot in the water. She presumed it marked a boundary, and they had orders to remain in the camp.
The males nearest the bank fell silent as a taller male passed through, his black uniform bearing a regal crest. A commander. She half expected him to make them go back to work, but he rolled his eyes and moved on, obviously uninterested in their exploits.
Were the soldiers here for rest?
Shaia scrubbed the last item of clothing on the ribbed piece of wood she had wedged against some rocks in the bottom of the stream, her focus on the camp more than what she was doing. Her knuckles were sore from repeatedly being banged against the ridges and she was sure she had broken more than one nail, but she didn’t care. Her eyes scanned the tents and the faces of the males as they moved around.
The hope that had burst to life inside her when she had spotted the camp on the banks of the stream began to wane as she finished with the undershirt and rang it out before setting it down in her basket with her other clothes.
She unrolled the sleeves of her light green blouse and tied them at her wrists, rose to her feet and stepped out onto the pebbled bank, the damp hem of her skirt sticking to her ankles as she moved. The light warmed her bare feet, chasing the chill of the stream from them.
“Take the longer route, Shaia. You must avoid the soldiers.” The youngest daughter of a noble family who lived close to hers looked terrified as she said that, as if she was picturing horrible things happening to her.
Shaia sighed and nodded to her, her older sister and the two other maidens, and turned away, heading along the bank rather than following the worn footpath towards the village. She had nothing to fear from the males.
And she hadn’t seen him yet.
She held the heavy wicker basket in both hands, stumbling at times as her bare feet snagged on a rock or she stubbed her toe. She tried to keep her eyes away from the camp, but they disobeyed her and kept drifting back, heeding her heart and doing its bidding.
Was he not at the camp?
She followed a curve in the stream and her step faltered as a new area of the camp came into view.
Males sparred in a clearing, breathtaking as they battled with weapons or barehanded, a startling display of masculinity and strength that had her heart pounding in response.
She had never seen males fighting before.
Her eyes locked on the one who had caught her attention, stealing all of her focus away from the world and narrowing it down to only him.
He fought gracefully, bare feet kicking up dust into the thick hot air as he dodged and blocked each attack the other two males made with their blades, his bare hands swiftly knocking the sword arms of his foes, pushing their attack off course.
She gasped as he dropped to his knees and slammed his right hand up against the arm of the shorter male, stopping his blade at the last second, and his head slowly swivelled towards her.
Gods, he was breathtaking.
“Shaia?” A male voice penetrated her thoughts, shaking her hold on the past.
She tried to keep her grip on it but it began to slip, and despite her fierce struggle to stay in those days where the world had felt bright and beautiful, she came back to one that was dark and dreary.
Or one that had felt dark and dreary until only moments ago, until a ray of light had pierced the veil of darkness and brought warmth and hope back into her heart.
“Are you even listening to me?” Eirwyn snapped and she almost admitted that she wasn’t, that he bored her and she hated him, and she would wish for him to go to Hell if they weren’t already there.
Perhaps she could wish him into a more dangerous part of Hell.
“I am tired,” she whispered and pressed her hand to her forehead, hoping to make him believe her.
He thought her a feeble thing, and if playing on that would keep him from suspecting she had been miles away, centuries ago and reliving a better time of her life, then she would do it. She had no qualms about it either.
Her mind attempted to delve back in time again, but Eirwyn huffed and kept her with him, holding her in the present as he moved closer to her and spoke.
“… Males in elevated positions above their standing speaking to me in such a disrespectful manner.”
Shaia frowned in his direction, for a moment seeing her mother on a night over four thousand years ago, one where she had said almost the same thing about another male.
The only male dear to her heart.
“Bleu is the aide of our prince,” she said without considering the consequences, “his top commander and a male who is respected by all.”
Eirwyn turned a scowl on her, his purple eyes darker than she had ever seen them and filled with a silent reprimand. “Something is wrong with you today. You have been… different… since seeing that male. What is he to you?”
“He is no one to me,” she said and his expression didn’t lighten.
If anything, it grew darker, as if he could read her thoughts and knew that the one Bleu had spoken of meant everything to her though.
Instinct made her move a few inches away from him, a trickle of fear running through her that shocked her. As an elf, she possessed keen instincts, ones that could often warn her of danger before it presented itself, saving her from coming to harm.
Only once in her lifetime had she felt such an urge to move away from a male though, and then that male had meant to harm her, had ambushed and intended to rob her on the path between her home and the village one evening.
Did Eirwyn mean to harm her?
She steeled herself and steadied her heart. He wasn’t like that, had never shown any sign of being the sort of male who would strike a female or even a male. She was just jittery because of everything that had happened and on edge because she feared he would discover why she had suddenly grown distant and would be upset enough that he informed her parents.
Her parents would probably respond by shutting her in her room for months on end and stopping her from being able to leave.
They had reacted that way after she had wandered to the borders of the free realm to find Fuery forty-two centuries ago, hiring a sorceress to place a barrier around her rooms that would prevent her from teleporting out of them.
At the time, she had been too distraught to think about leaving again.
This time, it would drive her mad.
She made polite conversation, not hearing her own words as her mind churned, formulating a plan that had her heart beating harder, a trickle of fear running through her veins but excitement too, mingled with hope that gave her courage and strength to do what she had wanted to for over four thousand years.
She was going to cross the border.
Because she needed to find Fuery.
She needed to see with her own eyes that he was alive.
Ebook available from:
Paperback available from:
Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (Only 99c at all retailers!)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger
Book 15: Unchained by a Forbidden Love