QSFer Edale Lane has a new FF historical fantasy out (bi, lesbian): Viking Quest.
When secrets and lies threaten the throne, can a fierce champion tame her passion in time to stop a cruel enemy’s ruthless march?
Jutland, Early 11th Century. Viking Warrior Princess Lena craves revenge. Hunting a killer after her husband is brutally slain, she discovers a shadowy traitor is at play behind the scenes, working to disrupt the balance of power. But she places her need for vengeance on hold when the king falls gravely ill, and sails out along with the pretty slave she rescued to locate a fabled healer.
Gunnar is loyal to the core. But when his lord orders him to sabotage the princess’s royal mission, he’s plagued by an unfamiliar sense of doubt. And after he witnesses the courageous woman and her crew save his life in a vicious storm, he’s no longer certain he’s fighting for the right side.
Beset by foul weather and an uncharted island of trolls, Lena fears she’ll never avenge her husband’s death… even as her heart softens towards the lovely Celt girl she longs to embrace. And now Gunnar must decide where his fealty rests as the tides turn to war.
Can Lena and Gunnar survive a bloody grab for power and find a true home for their hearts?
Viking Quest is a breathtaking historical fantasy novel. If you like principled characters, battles of conscience, and tender F/F romance, then you’ll love Edale Lane’s action-packed epic.
Buy Viking Quest to destroy a fearsome foe today!
Lena found the voyage to be more ponderous for the next several days. The Viking party had lost the wind, and had to strain at the oars for every inch of sea they covered. The men took turns rowing, and several times a day Caitlin would pass among them pouring special oil on their hands to heal and protect from blisters. The warriors became bored, edgy, and impatient as endless hours of the grueling chore wore on. Lena would hear them speak to each other in growls and ragged bursts, insults and grudging tones. None would say, “My hands are raw and sore,” nor “my back aches.” They would not think of complaining, “Why doesn’t the wind blow?” Such talk was unmanly. Instead, they grumped at one another or said nothing at all.
Early on the third morning since leaving the troll island, Lena awoke with a start. She shot straight up in bed, brown eyes wide open, panting, and covered in sweat. Although the sun was not up yet, Caitlin awoke, threw off her blanket, and rushed across the little room to Lena’s berth. “Are ye sick?” Lena forced her breathing to slow as she looked about the pale moon-lit cabin, regaining her bearings. “Ye had that dream again, did ye?” Caitlin sat on the edge of the bunk and reached her left arm around Lena’s back in comfort.
“Yes,” she eked out while struggling to rein in her racing heartbeat.
“’Tis only a dream, Lena. It canna hurt ye.”
Lena shook her head. “It is more than a dream. This was like the first one, only clearer. The murderer’s hand was white, rugged, some signs of age, a faint scar… yes, and the ring. It is gold with a large ruby and…” Lena snapped into alertness and recognition as she laid hold on a new clue. “Etched on the side was a hammer, like a blacksmith’s. Thor! The hammer of Thor was on the ring! Thor, ruby, ring… red, gold, hammer…” Lena strained to think harder.
“Does all that mean somethin’?”
“It means that someone, some spirit or saint, I don’t know, mayhap my own intuition, is trying to tell me who did it. I can’t see his face, but he is a Jute, probably of wealth like a nobleman, and this ring is a clue, either symbolic or a genuine ring that he wears.” After her excited explanation, Lena exhaled in disappointment. “But I still do not know who.”
“But this dream has more detail than the first,” Caitlin pointed out. “Ye’ll find out in time, ye will.”
Lena felt comforted by Caitlin’s nearness and her words. The touch of her hand gave her a pleasing sensation. But Lena’s mind was cluttered with too many thoughts, her heart with too many emotions. She gazed into Caitlin’s youthful face and detected… adoration. She was aware most of the crew slept, and she heard no voices from beyond the curtain that separated her cabin from the deck. It would be so easy to take this sweet girl in her arms and allow herself a moment of bliss. She also realized that could never happen.
Lena nodded and smiled at a young woman she imagined she could love. “Thank you. I’m steady now. We will unmask him,” she confirmed. “But first we must locate the monk and return him to save the king. Then I will sail you back to your home myself.”
She couldn’t be certain, but Lena thought she caught a hint of regret and disappointment in Caitlin’s expression at her last statement.
“I should start preparin’ the mornin’ rations for the men,” Caitlin answered as though she was Lena’s obedient servant, a sound that felt wrong in Lena’s ears.
“Caitlin,” she said, stopping her as she moved to leave. Hopeful expectation filled those green eyes when she turned. Lena’s smile was bittersweet. “I do thank you, and I value your companionship.” Caitlin’s face lit before she dipped through the curtain onto the deck.
Edale Lane is an award-winning author (Rainbow Awards, Imaginarium Awards, Lesfic Bard Awards) who also drives a truck. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication regarding research. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. When not driving around North America, she resides with her partner in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Canada.