Exclusive Excerpt: The Sorcerer’s Guardian by Antonia Aquilante!

Excerpt:

Loriot hadn’t expected the summons to the princes’ study to go as it had. Or anything close to how it had. And from the expression on Savarin’s face, he hadn’t expected Prince Philip’s edict either.

“I don’t need you to come with me.” Savarin waited to speak until they were out of the study and far enough down the corridor to be out of earshot of the guards stationed near it.

“And nevertheless, I have to go with you.” Loriot couldn’t ignore an order from Prince Philip, even if he thought the action to be an ill-advised use of his time. Any of his guards could accompany Savarin and make sure no one snuck up on him. Loriot was needed in the palace in Jumelle, not haring off after Savarin on whatever his mission was. Loriot’s mission, every day, was to keep the princes and their family safe.

“I don’t need a minder or a protector.” Savarin didn’t raise his voice, but his tone was firm, one that probably intimidated all the lesser mortals the great sorcerer dealt with. Loriot wouldn’t be intimidated.

“Prince Philip believes otherwise, and though I believe I’m needed here to ensure the safety of the royal family, I cannot disobey his order.” Even if he wanted to. He would do his duty to the prince. “The prince has made up his mind. There’s little sense in arguing with him about it.”

He didn’t add that Savarin had tried and hadn’t gotten far. He didn’t need to—the disgruntled look in Savarin’s eye told Loriot he realized that quite well.

“It’ll be a waste of your time. I can protect myself quite well should I need to. But I doubt I’ll need to, I’ve traveled in Tournai for years and never had trouble.”

“Prince Philip wasn’t downplaying the danger of bandits. There have been several attacks and sightings recently. The army is searching for them, but they can’t be everywhere at once.”

“And I can take care of myself, as I said. I don’t need you along to protect me.”

As Savarin spoke, Loriot found himself being pushed inexorably backward. But Savarin wasn’t touching him; no one was touching him. And still the unseen force pushed. Panic scraped along his nerves, and his hand twitched toward his sword, but a twitch was all he could manage. His arms were bound tight to his sides, his legs tied as well. He forced his breathing to remain even, ignored his pounding heart. He knew what this was—Savarin proving a point—and he wasn’t going to allow himself to react to it. His back collided with the wall, the force of the magic holding him against the plaster. He could think of more appealing situations in which to be pushed up against a wall, but he didn’t say that either, not to Savarin.

“Yes, fine. I see your point. You can take care of yourself, but if someone takes you unaware while you’re involved in one of your spells or not paying attention to your surroundings, they could slit your throat before you realize anyone is there. All the power in the world won’t help you then.” Loriot stared hard at Savarin, both because he wanted to get his message across clearly and because he refused to show the instinctive fear that shot through him at the magic being used against him. Even if that magic was only being used to make a point.

 

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Description:

Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.

Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.

 

About the Author:

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

 

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

 

M/M Fantasy Romance

Series: Chronicles of Tournai

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Release Date: November 28, 2016

 

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Dedications, or Exposing My Agenda

photo credit: j l t via photopin cc

Welcome to another installment of my TMI blog posts. This one is timely, because I haven’t figured out what to do with the dedication page of my first novel. I have time, it won’t be released until later this summer, but since i have exactly zero ideas that doesn’t seem like much!

I never know quite what to do with the dedication page—which is a strange way to phrase it since Curious Sustenance is only the fourth book I’ve had this “problem” with—but there it is.

This time I wanted to dedicate the book to my daughter, and that meant I had to talk to her about it first. It can be a little surreal talking to her about my stories anyway, even though she’s in her mid-twenties, but I still do. She’s been my cheerleader, beta reader, and sounding board since the beginning, and even though she does less reading for me in this genre, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now without her.

She also had a heavy influence on this story in particular. Ross Jenson, the main character, has an agenda that’s near and dear to my heart: trans-inclusive health care in the workplace. The City of Portland added trans-inclusive healthcare for all City workers not too long ago but it doesn’t seem to have caught on in the private sector—here or anywhere else. While many activists are celebrating same-sex weddings and the benefits that come along with them, the trans community is paying out of pocket for all of their health care. I try to celebrate every baby step, but that’s a challenge when it’s your child who’s struggling.

Curious Sustenance isn’t too politically-charged, but Ross’s dedication to his agenda is an important part of who he is. He wants life to be fair for everyone, and isn’t afraid to do the work himself. I like to think he gets that from me but he probably gets it from my daughter. The dedication says it all:

To Carin, the bravest person I know—daughter, cheerleader, caller of bullshit, and creator of plots and agendas. Thanks, Kiddo.

Here’s an excerpt that shows Ross’s agenda helping his life along in a surprising way. He’s in Powell’s to get a few books to help with a presentation on trans healthcare and why it makes sense for employers, and gets a little more than he’d expected.

Excerpt:

He found the books on the second floor, in the purple room, and then headed down to the orange section and the cookbooks. Almost everyone he’d met in Weight Watchers had gone to the internet for their recipes, but Ross was old-fashioned in that he preferred to hold a cookbook in his hands. Cooking was such a tactile activity and, if he were to be honest, cooking healthy food wasn’t always stimulating to his senses. Janet knew her way around the kitchen, but he was still getting used to not being able to run out for Thai food or have a pizza delivered any given day of the week. If he didn’t get back into cooking soon, he’d be sure to undo everything.

The realization that he was more interested in the club he’d been to last weekend than wondering if Brad was back yet or if he’d been with anyone while he was away—because of course he had been—straightened his back and forced out what he considered his “ah-ha” sound. He moved farther down the aisle and sensed someone to his left. Instead of bumping into them, he turned to look and came face-to-face with the mysterious rope artist. Ross just stood there with his mouth open, suddenly very aware of his torso and points south that woke right up. A strange thought raced through his mind, that maybe he should act as though they’d never met, that it was somehow against the rules to say hello without permission. But the face in front of him appeared to mirror what he felt in that moment. And not only the surprise.

After a few tense moments, Ross was able to close his mouth, and his movement seemed to break the spell.

“Miles.”

Ross took the offered hand and smiled. “Ross.”

They both started to speak at once, but Ross smiled and nodded for Miles to go ahead.

He shook his head helplessly and returned the smile. “I’m looking for a birthday present for my sister. Um, have you found anything good?”

“Well, what does she like to cook?”

Miles frowned the tiniest bit, and Ross waited for aliens to land on the roof or the cacophony society to stroll through the store. Christmas had been almost four weeks earlier, but neither would be any more unexpected than finding the one person he’d been thinking about right there in front of him. And speaking as though they were any two men. Nothing odd about meeting in the diabetic cooking section of Powell’s. Ross tried to be sly and look him over—jeans, a T-shirt, and light jacket would have to reveal more than his suit had—but soon realized he was failing miserably and stopped before he got caught. Although, getting caught might not be the worst thing. Maybe he’d have to be punished—

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It’s a snippet!

Thanks for visiting me on this snippet-sharing weekend! Welcome to the newcomers and welcome back to all the cool kids who make these blog events fun for everyone.

Today’s snippet is from my Christmas story, Toy Run. It doesn’t directly follow last week’s but you haven’t missed much. Ian made his way into a diner, onto the only empty stool at the counter, and exchanged introductions with the guy beside him.

I grabbed a menu from the holder in front of me but my stomach had gone from rumbling to shivering. In the space of one handshake, eating became less important than getting out from under his gaze. It usually took a lot more than a pair of dark eyes for me to give up my full name, but those weren’t just any eyes. So brown they were almost black, and full of the promise of rough sex.

Or an ass kicking.

It was hard to tell. Knowing things like that was not a specialty of mine.

Thanks for reading!

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS

Don’t forget to click the pix to find more snippets!

If you dig free ebooks, swag, and gift cards, click here to find out how to enter the Christmas in July contest.

snip sunday

More weekend fun with Jake!

This week’s snippet picks up where last week’s left off (with a little license to smooth it out & skip parts that won’t make sense until you read from the beginning).

Jake ducked back into the salon and almost ran into Antonio. “Thanks for taking care of him on such short notice, you’re the best.”

“You’re right about that.” Antonio kissed Jake’s cheek and leaned back to look at him. “And it was no notice, but who’s counting. You okay?”

Jake ran a shaky hand through his own short hair which, if he were completely honest, felt just that side of shaggy. “Will be, didn’t expect to see him today.”

I promise, the good stuff is coming soon.  I’ll post 8 sentences every weekend until  A Sunday Kind of Love is released on June 9th!

This snippet has been brought to you by the gentle peer pressure of three groups:

Seductive Studs & Sirens, Weekend Writing Warriors, and Snippet Sundays.

Three wonderful ways for readers and authors to find each other!

Thanks for reading!

 

I am a warrior!

I’ve been meaning to sign up with the Weekend Writing Warriors because they have a linky list—because, let’s face it, peer pressure works—but keep forgetting until I see everyone’s posts.  This week I’ve planned ahead!  (Okay, I wanted to ditch my Rules of Evidence assignment twenty minutes ago.  That counts!)

The Weekend Writing Warriors are a lively group, posting 8 sentence excerpts and then running around and reading and generally having a blast with all the fiction.  So, here’s my contribution.

My excerpt is from A Sunday Kind of Love, my upcoming release from Amber Quill Press.  This is Jake’s story (his POV) and he’s just left the spa with his (grown) son, who he’s hardly seen in the preceding fifteen years.

He pretended not to see Antonio’s look that said it’d been a long time since he’d indulged in a lot of things the salon had to offer.

After a fun couple of hours Jake and Jacob headed for the car. Jacob stopped just outside the door to admire himself in the window’s mirror-like surface.

“You should go on back and talk to that guy whose chair you were in. He was checking you out, Dad.”

Jake watched as the boy turned his head to see his new look from every possible angle.

“Looks good.” Jake resisted the urge to run his palm over the boy’s head, like he had when DJ was two they’d had to give him a buzz cut after he’d gotten into some paint.

 

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to check out more excerpts by visiting the WeWriWa linky list, and then you can hop over to see what the Snippet Sunday and Saturday Seductive Studs folks are up to this week!