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Announcement: Empress and Child, by Sam C. Leonhard

Empress and ChildDSPP author Sam C. Leonhard has a new fantasy book out:

Broken by the death of Keiran, Rage is lingering on the brink of suicide, but Lucinda refuses to accept that her best friend is gone. Stubborn as ever, she won’t allow Rage to sneak out of her life before he has solved a few critical issues. Together, they get back to the Forbidden Monastery, face the past, and find out Keiran is not as dead as he is supposed to be.

Their hope for peace and rest is not to be fulfilled. Keiran has to deal with the burden of unwanted magic his would-be killer has put on his shoulders. Lucinda has to face a murder trial, and Rage needs to seek out old allies in order to sort out the mess they are in.

They have to tread carefully in the empress’s city, a place humming with political obstacles and filled with plotting lords, grieving mothers, and one very crazy monk. The threesome stumbles upon a scheme to start a large-scale war and somehow must find a way to foil the plans. Slowly Rage comes to the realization that sometimes even the most important rules must be broken to save an entire kingdom.


IT WAS late at night when Luca woke up. Stomach cramps again, she thought wearily. Don’t I just love them.

Nausea washed through her body, and she retched, pressing one hand to her mouth and fumbling with the other for the bowl that stood next to her bed just for those occasions. It wasn’t the first time she was sick, although usually it happened closer to morning.

In the end, she didn’t have to throw up, but slightly shaky anyway, she put the bowl on her bedside table. She was sweaty, her nightshirt was sticking to her clammy body, and she pondered if she should get up and get changed. Most likely she would be sick again; most likely she wouldn’t stop sweating, either. And her warm bed was much more comfortable than the idea of freezing night air sending a chill down her spine whilst hunting down a clean garment.

Sighing, Luca fell back onto her pillows. Once awake, she hardly ever managed to find her way back into dreamland, and staring at the ceiling was what she usually did in such a case. One out of three nights, she didn’t sleep through. Tonight, apparently, was one of them.

Besides, being awake wasn’t that bad at all. When awake, she couldn’t dream, and if she didn’t dream, no nightmares could bother her. “Damn them,” she muttered, not for the first time cursing her overactive brain, which insisted on plaguing her with dark images of blood and loss. Even worse were the dreams of Keiran. Keiran’s voice, pleading for help. Keiran’s hand, reaching out for her. In those dreams, she always tried to reach him before he was lost in the abyss.

Of course, she always failed to save him, just as she had failed to save him three months ago.

Luca thought of Rage as well. During the day, he hardly ever crossed her mind. He’d abandoned her, hadn’t he? He’d sunk to his knees at the spot where Keiran had fallen, not responding to her plea to come home with her. When she’d turned her back on the cursed monastery, she had believed he would follow her. At first, she’d been sure he’d get up at any moment, getting across the bridge and away from this horrible place.

But he hadn’t. She’d left him behind, unable to persuade him to follow her. For all she knew, he might still be kneeling at the edge of the abyss.

He might have even jumped.

He surely is dead, Luca thought, sleep tiptoeing closer. He either jumped to join Keiran, or he stayed in the monastery and went mad. No one can survive up there.

Only she was quite sure he was alive.

Stupid thoughts. She had a manor to run, and there was simply no time for useless daydreams.

So why do I think I should go and find him?

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Author Bio

Born and raised in Germany, English is my second language, which is the reason why I will never understand English commas or Gerunds. I am a working mum with a – currently – twelve year old son. Writing is my hobby; the butter on my toast comes from my job as technical editor. I sing in a choir, I like bike-riding and jogging, I love pasta in all its forms, I can live without music and noisy neighbours but not without animals. Travelling is a joy, and so is that first spark that tells me a new story wants to be written.


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