QSFer A.M. Rycroft has a new FF/lesfic fantasy book out in her Corruption of Honor series: The Divide.
The kingdom is falling. Shaun Grayson is a knight on the run with a mad creature inside her, fighting to find the princess who can save her and the realm.
Shaun gave up on proving to the new king that she’s not a traitor to the realm as he claims. Lost without Sara and hellbent on finding her, she broke free from her prison and made a deal with the king’s enemy. The dark sorceress promised to help Shaun use the creature inside her to find Sara. But it didn’t go as planned.
Thomas Delschein, possibly the last person still on Shaun’s side, searches for both Sara and his fugitive friend behind the king’s back. If he doesn’t capture Shaun as he’s been ordered to do, he risks being stripped of his knighthood. But he still believes she can be saved.
If Shaun can stay ahead of the hunters and find Sara, there may yet be a way she and the kingdom can be saved.
A.M. Rycroft is giving away two ebook copies of Corruption of Honor, Pt. I: The Burning of Riverend. Just comment on the post for a chance to win.
Cursing, she dove forward and pitched Sara’s cot at the sorcerer, interrupting his spell. Shaun spun on her heel toward the back of the tent, not waiting for him to recover, and drew the knight’s sword on her hip. The sorcerer shouted at Krieger. He moved in her direction again.
Her eyes went to the lantern still swinging from the pole at the center of the tent. Spinning back again, she sliced the lantern free and caught its loop on the tip of her sword as the lantern fell. She lobbed it at Krieger.
He pulled up to avoid the flying object, but it struck him in the shoulder and shattered on the ground when it landed. While he tried to put the flames out, Shaun sliced an opening in the back of the tent.
She grabbed Sara’s hand. “Come on!”
Just as they crossed to the outside, an explosion rocked the Mordwellian camp. Shaun and Sara stumbled with the force of it. A howled war cry from the eastern end of the camp followed the explosion. The cry was then echoed by what sounded like dozens of voices coming from several other directions.
Cursing under her breath, Shaun tugged on Sara’s arm again. But Sara tried to stop her, shouting over the din, “It’s Riverend soldiers!”
Shaun ignored this and continued pulling Sara toward the opposite edge of the camp from the incoming Riverend soldiers. She had no time to argue with Sara now. The blood from her wounds was quickly soaking through her dark shirt, and the increasing weakness in her knees meant she would need to stop to rest soon or she would no longer be able to fight.
The sorcerer would not give her that opportunity if he could help it. He would try to find her now that he knew she was there.
Breathing hard, she ducked behind a row of crates stacked behind another tent. Her eyes darted from one side of the camp to the next as she tried to decide which direction would allow them to avoid both Riverend and Alyssa’s master. She started to move again.
Sara grabbed her shoulder, stopping her. “Shaun, wait.”
She looked at Sara, who stared at her. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
“No.” Sara’s brow furrowed. “But you are.”
She nodded. “I had to make a stop on the way here. It didn’t go as well as I had planned.”
Shaun shook her head. “Another time.”
“Fine. But we need to attend to your wounds.” She reached for where Krieger stabbed Shaun, but Shaun shook her head and held her off.
“No, I’m fine,” she lied. Her breathing came quickly as she fought back a wince. The pain no longer seemed to come from one wound or another. Everything hurt. “We need to go now.”
Sara caught her hand. She said quietly, “I gave up on you. I am sorry for that.”
Shaun swallowed, studying Sara. Fear and sorrow were etched on her face. She could not blame Sara for giving up on her, considering all that had happened and the time that passed while she stayed locked in the sorcerer’s spell.
She smoothed back her rain-slicked hair and shook her head. “Don’t be. What happened between us is a long story we don’t have time to share now. I need to get you out of here.”
Sara nodded. “We need to find the Riverend soldiers.”
“No. We can reunite with them once we are clear of here. They are not our allies right now.”
“What do you mean?”
She squeezed Sara’s hand. “Do you trust me?” Shaun could see the doubt in Sara’s eyes.. Though she understood why, seeing that in Sara’s gaze stung her more deeply than even the half-giant’s sword.
After a short silence, Sara squeezed her hand back. “Yes, I trust you.”
Shaun nodded and started to rise to her feet, but Sara stopped her once more. She grabbed Shaun by the front of her tunic and kissed her hard on the lips. Shaun’s breath caught in her chest as a sensation she thought she could never feel again burst into life inside her.
Then Sara pulled away again. “I thank the gods you came back for me.”
“Hell will not keep me away.” Taking Sara’s hand again, Shaun stepped out from behind the cratesand pulled her toward the safety of the woods.
A.M. Rycroft is the author of multiple award-winning dark fantasy books and horror short stories. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, so she naturally bleeds black and gold whenever she gets a paper cut. Her hobbies include binge watching hockey and football, ignoring her email inbox as much as possible, and adding to her superhero bobblehead collection.