Happy Monday, ya’ll
If you are a librarian or an indie bookstore, we have the Ingram info for you: Ingram specific ISBN is: 978-1641970402. We are not sure when it will pop up, but should be soon.
As far as the audio edition, it is in the works but could take a few more weeks, however, when we get a firm date we will make an announcement on the blog and social media.
In other exciting news, we won the Alpha Showdown 2018 Thank you guys so much, we hope everyone had fun.
Iron and Magic comes out tomorrow. Here is a snippet for you.
One look at Deputy Armstrong and it was clear he was some sort of law enforcement, Elara reflected. He was in his thirties, short, but stocky and hard, with short blond hair, a clean-shaven square jaw, and sharp eyes. He held himself in a relaxed way that was almost casual, but she had no doubt that if a threat appeared, he would act fast and probably without thinking.
The other deputy, about fifteen years older, gray haired and white, was beginning to get thick around her middle, but had the same kind of look to her: calm but alert. The forensic mage, a black man in his mid-twenties, looked slightly bored. Veterans. The only outlier in the group was the third deputy sheriff, a man who was barely twenty and clearly out of his depth.
And Hugh worked them like they were butter.
“No, we haven’t heard from them,” he said, his face suitably concerned. “I wasn’t even aware there was a settlement that way, but I’m new to the area. Honey?”
“Sometimes people come to the woods to get away from the world,” Elara said. “You said it was a small settlement?”
“That’s what the trader said,” Deputy Armstrong confirmed. “He didn’t go in, but he could see some houses from the road. The gates stood wide open.”
She turned to Hugh, concern on her face. “Couldn’t be dire wolves. There would be bodies.”
Hugh grimaced. “I don’t like it. Those aren’t your usual woods. There is strong magic there.”
So he’d noticed. She wasn’t sure why that surprised her. Someone with the kind of power he had would sense the arcane air within the forest.
“I tell you what, Deputy,” Hugh said. “Let me reinforce you. I don’t like you riding all the way there by yourself.”
Armstrong thought about it for a whole three seconds. “If you’re offering, I won’t turn it down.”
Nicely done. “I’ll come as well,” Elara said. “We have experienced healers and a couple of good seers. If we find survivors, we can administer first aid.”
Hugh gave her a look so besotted, she almost pinched herself. “Excellent. Give us fifteen minutes, Deputy. We pack light.”
“So you’re newlyweds?” Dillard, the female deputy, asked.
“Yes.” Elara nodded.
They’d been riding for two hours now. The Old Market wasn’t far, but the terrain slowed horses to a walk. Hugh and Armstrong had pulled ahead a few yards and were talking about something. She strained to listen, but only caught random words. Something about the advantages of ballistae. Deputy Chambers, the youngest of the four, was following them and hanging on every word. Behind them twenty Iron Dogs and eight of her people rode in a column, two abreast. Sam, in his new Iron Dog uniform, rode directly behind her. He trailed Hugh like a lost puppy who finally found someone to love and she had no doubt everything he said would be related to her husband word for word.
“That’s a good man you have there.”
Elara almost choked on her own breath. “Yes, he is. A good man.”
“He looks at you like you walk on air.” Deputy Dillard smiled. “Sometimes you get lucky, and it lasts past the first year.”
“Are you married?”
“I’m on my second one. My first husband died.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“He was a good man. My second husband is a good man too. But he doesn’t look at me like that.”
Hugh shifted in his saddle. Bucky turned and pranced over to her. Hugh turned him again, matching her horse’s stride. “Hey.”
“I missed you,” he said.
Quick, say something sweet back… “I missed you too.”
“Maybe I could steal you away from Deputy Dillard for a bit?”
“Oh, go on, you two lovebirds.” Deputy Dillard waved at them.
Elara nudged Raksha, and the dark bay mare stepped out of the column and pulled ahead with an easy elegance only Arabian horses possessed. Bucky stomped the ground next to her, clearly trying to look impressive.
Hugh reached over and held out his hand. The entire column was behind them, watching. She gritted her teeth and put her hand into his.
“Oh look, my skin isn’t smoking,” Hugh murmured.
“You’re overdoing it with the PDAs.”
“We’re newlyweds. If I threw you over my shoulder and dragged you into the woods, that would be overdoing it.”
The image flashed before her. “Try it. They won’t even find your bones.”
“Oh, darling, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding my bone.”
She tried to jerk her hand out of his, but he was holding her tight and she couldn’t yank her fingers out without making a scene. “Sure thing. I think I packed a magnifying glass.”
He lifted her hand and kissed her fingers.
“You’ll pay for that,” she ground out.
“Mmm, are you going to punish me? Kinky girl.”
Insufferable ass. Elara let a tendril of her magic slither from her fingers and lick his skin. He didn’t let go.
They caught up with Armstrong and Chambers. Chambers was looking at them wide-eyed.
“Don’t worry, Deputy,” Hugh winked at him. “I’m just trying my wife’s patience with public displays of affection.”
“Ignore him,” she said, smiling. “He has no boundaries.”
“I’m only human,” Hugh said.
Yes, you are.
A dark shape rushed through the woods and Sharif emerged on the road, his eyes shining with the telltale shapeshifter glow. Deputy Chambers grabbed for the vial on his belt.
“The road is clear,” Sharif reported. “Empty palisade. The scents are old.”
Chambers let go of the vial, and she glimpsed the pale-yellow substance inside. The color was almost gone. Opportunity.
“Your wolfsbane has soured, my friend,” Hugh said, letting go of her.
Ah! He saw it too.
“He’s right,” she said, holding out her hand. “Here.”
Chambers unclipped the vial from his waist and handed it over. She unscrewed the top and smelled it. Barely any scent. “Sharif, would you mind?”
The werewolf took the vial and held it to his nose. “Tingly.”
“Thank you,” she said, taking the vial back.
“Potent wolfsbane should’ve sent him into a sneezing fit,” Hugh said. “A strong wolfsbane has a deep orange color.”
“It should be stored in a dark container in a cold place,” Elara added. “Until you’re ready to use it.”
“Sadly, the stuff they issue us is barely yellow to begin with,” Armstrong said.
“We’re the biggest producer of wolfsbane in the region,” Elara said.
“We can cut them a deal, can’t we, honey?” Hugh asked.
“I’m sure we can.” They would take a loss on it. It didn’t matter. The contacts and good will at the county level was worth more than all their wolfsbane put together. “How much are you paying per gram now?”
“We pay five hundred per half-pound,” Armstrong said.
She waved her hand. “We can do better than that. We will supply you with premium quality wolfsbane at six hundred per pound.”
Armstrong blinked. “We don’t want to take advantage.”
“Call it law enforcement discount,” Elara said.
“Look,” Hugh said, his face somber. “One day things could happen, and I may not be here when they do. My wife might be in danger. My future children. My people. When that day comes, I’ll count on you to ride out here just as you’re doing now and uphold the law. You can’t do that if you’re dead. Let us fix this small thing for you. It’s the least we can do to help.”
Wow, he was good. If she didn’t know better, she would’ve believed every word. What a “good” man I’ve got there. Elara almost rolled her eyes.
“I’ll have to run it by the chain of command,” Armstrong said.
“The wolfsbane will be ready to go when you are,” Elara said.
The road turned. The empty palisade loomed ahead.