QSFer Hannah Walker has a new sci fi book out:
The Avanti have made their way to Berinias, the capital and heart of Landran society. Not only is it King Kastain’s home ground, but it’s the seat of the Conclave’s power.
Dax finally gets to see Kastain in all his glory— regal, confident, powerful and downright sexy. As events unfold, Dax and Kastain realize everything happening with the Derin, with Martellon, Nestor and Teriva, is linked. Their enemies draw closer and the plots and machinations of the Conclave deepen. They just need to work out who is behind it all and what they hope to gain.
Kastain finds himself turning to Dax, the one person he seems to be able to count on more than anything. The bond between the two leaders is stronger than they expected, and they long for rare times alone so they can explore it. Instead their time is taken up trying to work out which Chieftains they can count on and who is attempting to undermine them at every turn.
When plots and betrayals run deep within the heart of the capital, who will succeed and who will pay the ultimate price?
Book Three of The Avanti Chronicles
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Kastain rode hard, Dax and Carn on his heels, both of them telling him to slow down. He simply ignored them both. Too frustrated at yet another thing devastating the lives of his people. Too determined to be able to make a difference for once to even consider slowing down.
Dax scowled. That man was going to get himself in trouble one of these days. He pushed his mount, Kelina, a little harder and she responded beautifully, drawing level with Kastain.
Kastain glared at him across the gap. “Don’t even try to stop me, Dax. I won’t sit back while—”
Dax held Kastain’s gaze, protectiveness radiating out from him in waves. “I’m not going to stop you. Just stay by mine, Bell’s, or Carn’s side. At. All. Times. Do you understand me, Kas?”
Kastain’s breath hitched at the nickname. No one ever dared to shorten his name. It was… he wasn’t quite sure what he was feeling… but it was something. Mind you, he didn’t think Dax was even aware he’d done it. “I promise, Dax.”
Dax drew air deep into his lungs, allowing it to steady him. “Alright. Promise me, if you feel threatened, if you get even close to cornered, you shout. For me, for Bell, for Carn, stars, for any member of your detail. You hear me?”
Joy burst inside Kastain’s heart. It warmed his soul to know Dax was someone who was looking out for him. Not only King Kastain, but Kastain the man. Aside from Tir, Kel and Niko, he couldn’t ever remember someone doing something as simple as letting him be himself. “I hear you, and I promise.”
As they drew closer to the village, Dax kept his ears trained for the sounds of fighting. When he didn’t hear anything, he shot a look at Bell. “Can you hear any fighting?”
“No. Nothing.” Bell shook his head.
Dax held up his hand, a sign for the column to stop.
Kastain pulled up his mount sharply. “Why are we stopping? We need to help them.”
“Because they aren’t fighting at the moment. If we go charging in, you can guarantee they will draw weapons straight away. Go in as normal, as though there is nothing wrong. See how they react, what they say. I would be interested to know if they try to pretend nothing is going on. If we race in, they may send word out. Go in slowly, as normal, and we may be able to stop them getting word to whomever is in control of this.”
Kastain shared a look with Turian. “It’s smart.”
Turian pursed his lips. “It would be better if we can stop this spreading to other villages. The only way we have a hope of doing that is if we find out who is behind this. It’s a good plan.”
Kastain sighed deeply. “I don’t want to put more lives at risk than absolutely necessary. Alright, we do it your way, Dax. But, the minute anyone draws a weapon, I want them taken down. I’ll not stand idly by while this village suffers any more than it already has.”
Dax wore a grim smile. “Agreed, that’s the last thing I want to happen.” They waited for a moment as the guards quickly shifted back into proper formation, the refrinti’s breaths settling into gentle huffs. “Daff, stay hidden amongst the warriors for the moment. If they see you, they may understand we know exactly what’s going on.”
“Yes, Dax.” Daff was more than happy to hide for a bit as long as he got the chance to fight those who killed his grandfather and hurt so many other villagers.
Dax and Carn moved to flank Kastain, Bell riding slightly behind them. They rode into the village as though there was nothing wrong. Dax’s gaze searched the village, paying attention to the groups of men, seemingly lounging around. They wore no colors, yet Dax was sure these weren’t members of the village. Or, at least, they hadn’t been when he and Bell were there. He detected the odd flash of silver, the odd glint of sunlight bouncing off a blade. Oh, they were being careful about being seen, but they couldn’t hide everything, not from the Avanti.
He watched as two men pushed off from the side of one of the houses, stalking towards them nonchalantly.
“King Kastain.” The shorter of the two men bowed. Low enough not to cause offense, but still nothing even close to respectful. “To what do we owe this… honor?”
Kastain narrowed his eyes. “I would see your village elder.” He made no move to address the question put to him. He was not in the habit of explaining his actions to anyone. Let alone someone like this.
“I’m afraid he’s unwell at present. The doctor is dealing with him.” The man’s smile was sly, like he believed he was gaining the upper hand on the king.
“In which case, I would see anyone from the council of elders.” Kastain raised a haughty brow, his face a mask of regal bearing. “After all, no elder council would leave a village unattended.”
The man seemed to lose some of his bravado. “Uh, no, of course they wouldn’t. I’ll go and get someone.”
“Your Highness.” Carn snapped out, stopping the warrior in his tracks. “When you address your king, be sure to show him the respect he deserves.”
A vein was ticking in his jaw as the warrior looked back over his shoulder at Carn. “I apologize, Master at Arms. Your Highness, forgive me my laxness in greetings. I am not used to conversing with a king.”
Kastain merely looked at him and waited. He hated playing the imperious royal, but sometimes it was what was needed. He merely stared the warrior down, and waited.
A quick, harried discussion with one of the other warriors saw the man race off. Dax wondered if any of the elders were left alive. He hoped so. It would be devastating to the village to lose the entire council. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a woman jerk in surprise, as she walked out of one of the houses, and took in the contingent still mounted in the village square. It took him a minute to recognize Emlin. Her hair was pulled back, face weary and her clothes were covered in a similar amount of blood to Daff’s. He shook his head imperceptibly, pleased when he received a barely there dip of her head in reply.
He didn’t miss the way her body seemed to sag with relief at seeing him, nor the way her eyes sought out Daff. He tried to smile in reassurance, silently telling her the girls were okay. Thankfully, she was smart, and an imperceptible nod was the only indication she gave she understood.
The village was unnaturally silent as Kastain’s gaze wandered. There were no little ones running about the place, playing in the sun. No farmers hauling goods through the village, no general hubbub that always accompanied a community. Only a fool would fail to notice something was amiss. How these warriors expected to hide what was happening was beyond him. Did they honestly believe he was stupid? He snorted to himself. He wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to that.
He watched as the warrior he’d spoken to returned with another warrior. The man’s bearing made it clear he was a fighter rather than an elder despite the grey at the edges of his temples. Kastain was intrigued to know how they would approach this.
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Hannah Walker is a full-time mum to two gorgeous teenage sons, and shares her home with both them, and a very supportive husband. They have always encouraged her to follow her dreams.
She has always loved books from her childhood years reading alongside her father, inheriting his love of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. She has combined this with her love of MM romance to write her series Avanti Chronicles. She loves writing about a complex world where the men love, and live, hard. Welcome to the world of MM Sci-Fi.
Facebook – Avanti Chronicles: https://www.facebook.com/HannahWalkerAuthorofAvantiChronicles?ref=aymt_homepage_panel