Hedda's Sword

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Overview

She's known nothing but pain-but love waits in the arms of one man.
Guardians of the Light, Book 2
Maleta is a true survivor. Attacked and left for dead at a young age, she has traded her heart and emotions to become the ultimate weapon of vengeance for the Grey Goddess, Hedda. She swears to depose Queen Sunniva and restore her ancestral home to her brother, no matter the cost.
Cianan is drawn to the ...
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Hedda's Sword

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Overview

She's known nothing but pain-but love waits in the arms of one man.
Guardians of the Light, Book 2
Maleta is a true survivor. Attacked and left for dead at a young age, she has traded her heart and emotions to become the ultimate weapon of vengeance for the Grey Goddess, Hedda. She swears to depose Queen Sunniva and restore her ancestral home to her brother, no matter the cost.
Cianan is drawn to the mysterious land of Shamar on the power of a vision-the death of a beautiful swordswoman to an army of skeletons. When he meets Maleta, he recognizes two things. She is his true Life-Mate. And she is the woman fated to die this horrible death.
He vows to change her fate.
Cianan must unite the diverse people of a fragmented land to overthrow a vicious despot and convince their true queen to take the throne. Falling in love with a mortal woman who's buried her heart and shies from his every touch-that's the real challenge.
Maleta knows she can trust Cianan to save her country. Can she trust him to help her save herself?
Warning: Take one queen bent on genocide, an assassin nun and a hero convinced he can change Fate. Add a true queen and a mercenary with a secret. Result? Either a rollicking rebellion or a recipe for disaster. Contains murder, drugs and slavery and references to a memory of rape.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605044361
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

"I'm nothing but nerves," she confessed. "I've felt like a bowstring forever, ready to snap." She tucked her knees under her chin and stared through him, into the flames.

Were she any other woman, Cianan had a solution for releasing that tension. If not for the presence of her brother, the scene could have been the perfect setting for seduction. The mere thought made him burn. He snorted to himself at the irony of being with the one woman oblivious to her surroundings. He realized the twisted compliment that she didn't view him in that way, as she still viewed sex as a threat, but it was small comfort when he wanted her so. The few chaste kisses she'd dared return made him yearn for more.

He had to think on something else. "There is hope for your brother," he told her.

"The healers have already been here, on Tzigana's order." She turned bleak eyes to his. "They said there's nothing they can do, that he's beyond all aid."

Cianan stared at Jovan's still form on the bed. Jovan breathed. His heart beat. But his mind and spirit were gone, withdrawn away from the world, hiding deep within his body. Cianan had seen such collapses afore, from overwhelming trauma and stress. "Not all." He turned to Maleta. "Eat. Drink. Get some rest. Jovan is not dead. He is not going to die. Come morning, we shall start looking for a solution. But not now, not when we are both exhausted."

She finished the food in her hand in silence. "Do you think Dara can help him?"

"I think Benilo, our Minister of Healers," Cianan mused. "He is the most powerful spirit healer we have." He felt the king's presence. "Loren?"

"Are you both all right?" Loren asked.

Cianansent his memory of Sunniva's trial and Jovan's collapse. "I hoped Benilo might have a suggestion."

"Let me get back to you on that," Loren said. "I shall let you know what he says by morning. You both should rest."

"Cianan?" Maleta's voice masked Loren's withdrawal.

"What?"

"Where did you go?" she asked. "You seemed so far away."

"Finding the person to ask the right questions," he replied. "Loren is going to ask Benilo and get us an answer by morning."

"Dara's husband? You communicate with him?"

"Always. He worries when his people wander far afield." Cianan smiled. "Now he knows how his father felt all those years while he ran all over the land."

"And you remind him of that every day."

"Well, mayhaps every other or so," he admitted.

Her own smile wobbled a bit. "He's your best friend?"

Cianan nodded. "We grew up together. It never mattered he is a royal prince and I am a nobody. We went through warrior academy, ranger school and were chosen together. Our war mares are sisters. We are brothers by all but blood."

"You've never spoken of your real family," she said.

"I have none," he replied. "I was an only child, and my parents died when I was but a youngling. Lord Elio raised me, Loren's former weaponsmaster and now Minister of Defense."

"I'm sorry," she said. "How did they die?"

"My father Daneal was plain infantry, a regular soldier killed in battle," he replied. "My mother died in an accident a year later." To his shock, she scooted forward to wrap her arms around him. "What is this for?"

"No one should be alone in life," she declared, her voice rough with unshed tears.

"It was a long time ago, elingrena, and I have a new family. Family is not blood ties." He stared down at her. "I am not alone. Lord Elio, Loren and Dara are my family. You and Jovan are also my family. You are not alone anymore, either. We now have each other." He captured her hand to place a kiss in the palm.

She glanced up to search his eyes. Hers shimmered in the firelight. "You came here for me?"

"Aye. You know of the dreams. I was not about to let you die."

"I don't understand. You didn't know me."

"I knew your courage, your spirit." He brushed his lips against her inner wrist. Her skin was so soft. "You were meant to live free."

She gasped at the contact, but did not pull away. Her fingers curled around his other arm, slid up to his shoulder. Her touch was feather-light, hesitant, barely there--it burned to his soul. The warrior gave way to the woman within. For him. Words failed him. He released her hand, searched her eyes. Shock and confusion flared in her eyes, but no fear. Only her fear would have stopped him. He leaned forward to capture her mouth with his, in a slow, gentle kiss. He touched her with his lips alone, giving her every chance to pull back, move away. He prayed for her to stay.

Maleta stiffened for a moment. He felt her tremble with indecision. Then the hand on his shoulder slid up to cradle the back of his neck, and she relaxed into him. Her mouth opened under his, and her fingers tangled in his hair. Her kiss soaked into him like rain after a long drought, heated his blood quicker than a brushfire. Many times in the past had he unwound with a woman after a battle. Now his body burned for release. With his true life-mate's kiss, the vow screamed anew for him to start the binding ritual, not to let her get away. Hedda and Tzigana be damned.

He fought for control, not to let passion slip its tether. Her trust was too new, too fragile. Seducing a virgin was easier--she knew nothing. Maleta was much more difficult--all she knew of sex was horror and abuse. All she knew of soul-binding was Hedda's possession. But in this moment she trusted him to show her a gentler way. They kissed for long moments, until he caught the first hitch in her breath and she moved closer, both her hands anchored in his hair. He stroked her lower lip with his tongue. She started, whimpered into his mouth, then--miracle of miracles--she touched her own tongue to his.

It was like being struck by lightning. Cianan went rigid with the holding back. Slow, dark, sensuous, drugging kisses, over and over, again and again, that had Maleta shaking and clinging to him. He dared not touch her, dared not fall back onto the quilt afore the fire, although he could barely hold himself upright. All he wanted was to lose himself in her touch, in the taste of her, the feel of her, the scent and sound of newly awakened passion. The blood pounded in his ears and in parts of him a great deal lower. He was lost and pulled back from the precipice to prevent himself from taking that final leap. It almost killed him, but he gentled the kiss, stilled her hands, and was the first to pull back and open his eyes.

Her skin was flushed, her lips glistened. She dragged her eyelids open, and the sultry, smoky look in her eyes stole his breath. He saw the exact moment clarity returned--her cheeks flamed scarlet. He turned away to pour them each a cup of mead, to give her a moment to compose herself. She took the cup from his hand with a shy smile, and took a sip.

"Are you all right?" Cianan asked.

Maleta nodded. "I feel ... almost normal, I guess. Hopeful. If I can come back, there has to be a way for Jovan to come back too. Sunniva didn't win."

"Nay, she did not." Cianan paused to take a drink--and a deep breath. "We shall meet with Tzigana and Wolf tomorrow. They shall move to solidify their hold on Soto, march to Marcou." He hesitated. "They need to send a force to the south, to secure the fortress at Kunigonde. Dara's family lives in the south, and her father wished to send an ambassador here to check out the situation because he knew of Sunniva's invasion plans. He wants to be sure Tzigana and Wolf have no similar ambitions. You and I are the logical choices to greet them. You know Kunigonde better than any, and I am a familiar face to any clansman or Arcadian sent to Shamar. Are you prepared for that?"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    I loved it,

    This is Cianns story, lorens best friend and lsdys champion from the first book duality. 640 pages and just as good as the first book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2010

    Enjoyed this book.

    Although not as good as the first book (Duality) this book is an enjoyable read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted July 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 19, 2011

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