The battered warrior is Svistraa race of bloodthirsty savages determined to destroy her homeland. Or so the stories claim. Jaden reveals a different truth: how his ancestors were driven into the barren northern mountains. Now they are strong and war parties are pushing south wanting their land back.
The son of a Svistra Commander, Jaden is looking for a way to bring peace to both humans and Svistrans. He tries to ignore his growing passion for Selia, but when she is captured he has to decide what he would be willing to sacrifice to save the woman he loves
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About the Author
Since she could remember, one of Shawna Thomas's favorite places has been the library. She always has one book to read and another for backup. Some of her earliest adventures took place in Narnia and Middle Earth. The fact that she started scripting plays for her sister's Barbies and rewriting the ends to some of her beloved stories that didn't have a happily-ever-after confirms she was destined to be a writer.
In 2005, she turned the hobby into a profession and started seriously working on the craft of writing. Since then, she's published four books under a supersecret pen name, and makes her living writing nonfiction articles.
When she's not writing or editing, you'll find her playing in the garden, weeding the flower and vegetable garden or picking fruit from her eight fruit trees. She also spends a good deal of time in the kitchen where she loves to develop new dishes, especially desserts, to feed her husband and their six children.
Read an Excerpt
Moments like these were rare, not to mention brief. Selia ignored the escalating noise in the tavern behind her. From the doorway, the King's road shone under the pale moonlight and the stars glimmered in a velvet sky, for once, free of clouds. A loud curse shattered her reverie. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. No one, certainly not the Inlanders, soldiers, or even locals frequenting her establishment, seemed to appreciate a peaceful night sky. It was the price of having a tavern on the last crossroads before the Wastes.
The trick was to stop the argument before bandied words led to fists. She shut the door. A few steps into the tavern, Selia slammed her knife into a table hard enough to rattle the mugs of ale. "That's enough."
In the murky room, halos of light from the lanterns bracketed against the walls exaggerated the patrons' features and occasionally highlighted the scarred tables. Most of the customers met her gaze. A few didn't.
Jim, a local farmer, raised his mug. "Sorry, Selia. Feeling the cups."
Oberl twisted his mouth into a grin echoing Jim's sentiment.
"No fighting in my tavern. Oberl, if I catch you cheating, you're out on your ass." She glanced around the room. The locals were easier; they knew her. Selia's gaze settled on a large man with a matted, black beard and small dark eyes sitting against the wall by the door.
It was the Inlanders she had to worry about.
The man wiped his mouth with a sleeve, spat onto the wooden floor and sneered in Jim's general direction. "Where I come from we call that pole-cocked."
There was always one who couldn't mind his business.
Without looking away from the Inlander, she reached for a second knife strapped to her waist.
His eyes widened as the steel pierced the wall above his head.
"Well, sir, where I came from, and where you are, they call that smart." She pried her knife out of the table and held it ready.
The man swallowed, glanced over her shoulder toward Oren, the barkeepwho Selia guessed was staring a hole in the man's head about nowthen back at her. After a moment, he hunched his shoulders. "Reckon I see your point."
She fixed a smile on her face that would fall short of her eyes. "I like a smart man." Then she turned to Oren. "Give 'em a drink on the house."
Oren nodded his massive head, his dark eyes still on the Inlander. Selia was tall for a woman but Oren still towered over her; he dwarfed most everyone, for that matter. He had never intentionally hurt any creature, but the Inlanders didn't know that, and she doubted any of the locals would tell them.
Once behind the counter, she returned the knife to a sheath on her belt. Five years before, when her mother, Brynn, had died, she'd inherited the bar, Oren, and the locals. Quite a handful for a fifteen year-old. They were a peculiar bunch; had to be, to live in the Outskirts.
Oren smiled his lopsided grin. "You put another hole in the wall."
"Yes, I did."
"It's gonna look like a woodpecker's been at it 'fore too long." He handed her a fresh cup of ale for the Inlander with the newly acquired smarts. Oren's brown eyes shone. "I like woodpeckers."
Selia focused on the amber liquid to hide a smile. "Me too."
She delivered the ale, winked at the Inlander as she removed her knife from the scarred wall and returned behind the bar. Absently tossing the knife and catching it by its handle, she glanced down at the accounts she'd been studying before the wind blew the door open, but her eye kept drifting to the barkeep. The lamplight coaxed golden tones from his nondescript brown hair as he refilled another mug.