Elara strode outside of the gate onto the top of the hill where the castle sat. Soldiers filed out of the forest, running three to a row. They wore black uniforms, some in armor, some without. Each carried a large backpack, a bedroll, and weapons. They moved in unison, their feet striking the ground at the same time.
She didn’t detect them in the forest, which meant they had to be far behind d’Ambray and his party.
The soldiers began to form a block, eight soldiers in a line. All of that equipment had to weigh at least twenty pounds. Probably a lot more.
“How long have they been running?” she asked and wished she hadn’t. Any show of interest was an opening, and D’Ambray would wedge his big shoulder through it and hold it open.
D’Ambray shrugged, looming next to her, a darkness shaped like a huge man. “From Aberdine.”
“Yes.” He turned to her, his dark blue eyes calm. “Would you like them to run back and here again?”
He was completely serious, she realized.
He turned to face the soldiers. They formed four separate blocks, each eight soldiers wide and ten lines deep, and froze, like dark statues against the green grass of the lawn.
“Do you want them to rest before we start?” she asked.
“Are you tired?” d’Ambray barked next to her, his voice carrying across the field. She almost jumped.
The three hundred and twenty people roared back in a single voice. “No, Preceptor.”
“They’re ready for your inspection,” Hugh said.
Oh Man, its sooooo tempting
Wondering if this is a flashback to Hugh’s time as Roland’s warlord since he is being addressed as Preceptor? That or he is assembling his own army for who know what nefarious purposes. While I don’t particularly care that much for a Hugh origins story, I enjoy the snippets a lot.
No, this is what’s left of Iron Dogs. There is no Hugh origins story except for a short prologue.
Well, count me in. I’m all for a good redemption story, and if *anyone* can do it, y’all can. 😉
charis n says
What Toni said / says whatever… the fallen angels make the better reading
dum dum dum dum dum dum
(trying for a mystery and thriller beat.)
I’m jumping up and down in my head…
SO excited! Also, is that the heroine? Elara?
She is inspecting his troops, so.
Haha! Good point ;D
Or is she “inspecting his troops” *eyebrow waggle* ?
UlrikeDG: Bwahaha! The eyebrow waggle especially kills me!
*giggle-snort* Love these comments—you guys are great!! ?
Will this be posted chapter by chapter (a la Inn Keeper) or self-published later?
Either way, looking forward to reading it 🙂
I’m interested in how this will be rolled out too…a short story, a full novel, installments? Is there any timeline for release? Anyways, it is very engrossing so far. Thank you, thank you!
At some point Ilona posted upcoming releases and it referred to Hugh’s book, so it won’t be serialized. I can’t remember the estimated date or time of year, though.
Ilona also mentioned that this was a darker and more violent(?) book – we are dealing with a warlord. The Authorlords felt they would have to age restrict any serialized version posted online so they were going with a novel.
Hmmm… Such a lovely and tempting snippet. Thank you very much.
I am thinking that Elara is a potential Hugh ally, and, maybe a witch? NOT that I am asking or expecting for an authorlord spoiler here…..but I am enjoying speculating….
Thanks, this was a lovely way to start Wednesday.
Hope you and Gordon had a fun time for his birthday.
Charity Vandehey says
All the love!! I can’t wait for this book, and I’m loving the very small glimpse I’m guessing we just got of the woman who might make Hugh forget all about Kate?
Joseph Delinski says
What #5 Taylor said. above. Looking forward to it either way, By necessity, I am big on redemption.
I get more excited every time I read a snippet. Can’t wait to hear more about Elara.
What a great way to start the day! Thank you
Wow, with just this short snippet I can feel the power of Hugh’s personality. Threatening doesn’t begin to describe it. As well as anyone, he knows the extent of Roland’s power. Clearly a plan is in place. Now we have to wait to see what he’s going to do. Sniff. Of course his plan may have nothing to do with Roland.
Has nothing to do with this, but did you see that Burn for Me is on the BookBub list at $.99 via Amazon? Congratulations!
I am so excited for this book! I know a lot of people hate Hugh and are not really interested in his story but I think that is what is going to make this so great. Hugh is a horrible person but like everyone else he has reason for why he is the way he is. I am really looking forward to see his thought process and reasoning. I really hope he keeps being coldly calculating even with his redemption 🙂
Spring Pumphrey says
Oh wow, this is going to be so good!
Thank you! =)
I’m so loving these snippets. I cannot wait for the book to come out. So excited!!
Hugh is horrible but I am very curious as to how his story plays out. And Elara is downright fascinating.
Thanks for the snippet! 🙂
I’m really looking forward to the book. Thanks for the snippet and Happy Birthday!
Hmmm, I wonder who Elora is, how come she can sense people and why she needs Hugh’s help… Curiouser and curiouser!
Who needs who’s help? Hugh seems to be trying to impress her, and I was under the impression he was looking for a place to hole up. I wonder if it might be mutual.
A mutual need for assistance would seem fitting for a Hugh plan. I don’t see him as someone who’d put themselves in a position of need without covering his back, unless he had absolutely no other option. Looking forward to finding out what happens though 🙂
I think mutual assistance is the case, especially based off the twitter line that was shared. Where is Aberdine? I googled but didn’t find anything that seemed to fit, so no clues there.
Though Aberdeen is a much more common spelling, and there are Aberdeens in NC and MD (for some reasons I had thought NC, but I think I was transposing something from the second snippet about SC. Migraine + memory = ???) Or it could be something entirely different.
Thanks for alerting me to the twitter line. *boggle* Though that holds pretty close to the storyline from the original April 1 post…? Heavens, Hugh in a marriage of convenience. It’s, um, horrifically pragmatic I suppose? I mean, he’s clearly capable of great loyalty (and, I think, great love) but romance would seem to be on a different continent that the one currently occupied by his mind.
There’s also the Aberdeen in Scotland. The one in MD is more often associated with Aberdeen Proving Grounds, which kind of works with what’s going on in the snippet.
From which the names of the others were derived. (I always think of the one in Washington State, but I think you’d have had to’ve grown up around there…) If the original blurb has anything to do with anything, and IIRC (I might not) wasn’t there something about a group of witches? I’d guess a large or powerful enough group to be players, so maybe it’s their fortress. Or their giant turtle, for that matter.
Thanks for the snippet! Makes for a happy Wednesday
When is this coming out! Now! Please say now! Awesome. I luve me a bad guy.
Can’t wait for this to come out!!!!
I really NEED this book/story now!! 🙂
Chris Henderson-Bauer says
Elara, you say? Do I smell a new Ilona Andrews kickass heroine to get addicted to?
It also cracks me up every time one of your male protagonists has no concept of scale. “Want me to have them run another twenty miles? Sure.” “Want me to drop a building on this guy so you’re not disturbed by an impaled corpse? No big. . . wait, why are you looking at me like that?”
It’s not just the male protagonists, Andrea, Aunt B and Kate have all had moments of extreme overkill.
Which is awesome.
No, no, they were being totally rational and proportionate 😉
And Desandra. Although plums would be going the other direction on the scale.
I believe that would be a difference axis, rather than a different direction. *prim*
Heh. Yep, got that third dimension to work with.
Chris Henderson-Bauer says
@Annamal Yes. This is true. I think I tend to justify those, somehow–particularly Kate’s because I get to see inside her head. Her answers to logistical problems make perfect sense from her point of view. This is also part of why I love those male POV segments. 🙂
[Trying so, so hard not to beg for the next Rogan POV chapter…]
I am so happy this is coming to fruition, I love Hugh and I cannot wait to see where you guys take him – this journey is gonna be amazeballs!!! Thanks
It’s so interesting to see Hugh asking Elara if she’s ready to inspect the soldiers…makes me think of who she is and what she will become to Hugh. Incredibly excited 🙂
Ooooh! Thank you! Can’t wait to read the whole story!
Love your avatar(?), not sure that is the word.
ooooh. nice! thank you for the snippet!
I’m so excited about this book! Thanks for the snippet! Love the name Elara btw.
I love the multiple point of view’s I have seen in these snippets! It is going to be fascinating to read the story with such a wholistic view point for the reader. Thanks for these updates they are literally the only thing that’s getting me through this semester!
Patricia Schlorke says
Ummm….squee? Another layer of Hugh. Elara…can’t wait to read more about her. Can’t wait to read more.
What makes me laugh is that I’ve read entire novels where the main character was ruined for me, because they were a bit bratty in the first chapter.
And Ilona Andrews can reconcile me to Hugh d’Ambray with three snippets because I know you’ll pull it off.
(No pressure :p)
Oh Hugh, he’s the first psycho I’ve ever loved, never got people who liked Hannibal /Dexter etc but I actually laughed when Hugh asked Elara if she wanted the soldiers to run. You write him so well
Ummm. More? More?! More!
And did the Rogan POV #2 get posted and I just missed it?
I haven’t seen POV 2…can’t wait for it!
Yes, yes, yes! So very needed a break and this was perfect. Thank you! 🙂
Why is Star Wars’ Imperial March suddenly rolling through my brain right now? And I’m not even a SWrs can.
Patricia Schlorke says
“Warriors” by Imagine Dragon went through my head. It’s a single (got it on ITunes).
I am really really looking forward to this one..i hope you are having as much fun writing it as we are reading it.
Great snippet. I’m really looking forward to this book.
Erin Burns says
Frantically googling “Elara” for some deeper meaning…Pretty sure you don’t mean hotel in Vegas… Leaves baffled and intrigued.
Thank you so much. I too am a sucker for a redemption story. Always liked Hugh despite him being the epitome of “bad”. He was never as evil as kate’s papa. Have had a headache for three days and not been on the internet. So reading this, no matter short, brings on a smile. Also, loved seeing old photos. Thanks for sharing.
“Any show of interest was an opening, and D’Ambray would wedge his big shoulder through it and hold it open.”
This is the most tantalizing set-up for the state of their interactions. Why is Hugh so set on engaging with her? …I’d ask why she’s so put off by the thought, but no I think that’s pretty obvious.
(My immediate reaction is that interacting with Hugh would probably be pretty entertaining. Then I am reminded of an slightly infamous dinner party, where I spent two and a half hours verbally sparring with the host: “I think you’re a terrible person, but despite your arrogance you can’t keep up with me, so don’t push your luck,” while the rest of the guests looked on mutely… and that was fun but it totally failed in curbing his interest – I mean, I did it, eventually – so perhaps new standards for entertainment are warranted.) (Though… I can make a strong case more Hugh having more integrity. Not joking.)
Must just be me. Read elara as era. Roads sister. Thinking huh? How is she walking…
Roads sister. Grr rolands sister. Predictive text.
Elara seems like someone who has withstood roland and he let it go. Like with the black sea shepard guy. And hugh knew about it/her. Me enemy is my friend type thing.
Chris Henderson-Bauer says
Ooh. I really like this idea.
I just want to know ONE thing: WHEN CAN I BUY THE HUGH BOOK???!!!
Thanks for the snippet, the things I miss when I’m busy!
w00t! awesome! ty ty ty ty ty!!!!
Thank you Ilona and Gordon for the snippets on Hugh. I still want Curran to make him pay for starving Kate. Also, you have inspired me to knit again❣️
re-reading it. pondering. 8x10x4=320 men. in rows of 3? rows of 4 would work… rows of 3 leaves you with a row of 2. inspection… failed. unless 2 are on the sides as standard bearers or something.
“They formed four separate blocks, each eight soldiers wide and ten lines deep, and froze, like dark statues against the green grass of the lawn.”
Where do you see rows of three?
Chris Henderson-Bauer says
“Soldiers filed out of the forest, running three to a row.”
They are traveling in a column because that’s how wide the path is and because that’s the best way for them to respond to threats as they run through a dangerous forest. They are not on a parade ground.
Thanks for this. It will be interesting to see what happens to Hugh. Your stories are great. And your villains are the best!
Roland & Hugh.
If this is going to be in serial form, can we have more of “hot cover guy #whatever”?? You know, in the spirit of how the innkeeper series is released. Purely professional reasons only…
Haha, seconding this!
Ohhh good idea…
Yes!! Thank you for these little snippets!
I just want to 90th it. I’m really excited for this story. I’ve always kind of liked Hugh but I’m weird that way. I’ll be interested to see how you turn him into an attractive protagonist so people don’t abandon the book because he’s horrible.
But then I firmly believe monsters never really see themselves as monsters. They always have justifications for what they do. Just crawl inside they head and they’ll explain everything until it makes sense. What will be interesting is to see how Hugh handles his demons. Does he give into them without thought or does he know he’s bad?
Thank you for the snippets!
Hugh is definitely one of my favorite characters, he’s interesting and has fabulous potential that I have no doubt will be realized with this book. Which really needs to come out soon. Seriously.
I adore Hugh. He’s hot, powerful, smart, talented and dangerous, but he’s ruthless and bloodthirsty: the ultimate bad boy. All the best villainous characters are not all bad or good because no one is. I love this “spin- off”. And I can’t wait to see where Ilona and Gordon take Hugh and the remainder of his Dogs.
/sigh. Snippets are tantalizing torture, being out of context the way that they are. Can’t wait to read the whole thing!
Tanja Buder says
Ah, another snippet…! I always felt that Hugh is a very interesting, complex character with a subtle tragedy.
You guys are awesome writers. You create such deep characters, they almost feel like real persons and stories that are always a great fun to lose myself into them. Thank you so much for sharing them!
Stoked. I have to say, the way you guys have made Hugh redeemable is tantamount to a miracle.
Elara! Is it too quick to say I am already mentally imagining Hugh in a relationship? Gods, I need the book already.
Am I smelling a possible love interest for Hugh? Eery
Only 20 pounds? No, no. These guys are hard core. Baby Green Berets carry 45 lbs while in training, and those who are serious about it keep adding. We used to weigh Little Brother’s rucksack each time he came home on leave. The last time it was 119 pounds. He ran a 5 mile course while wearing it each night – more the time I went with him because he was literally running circles around me. And apparently 119 pounds wasn’t sufficient because one morning I got up early and caught him trudging up and down the hill in Mom’s pasture, wearing the rucksack and dragging a freaking tree!
Elara does not have brother in Special Forces and so she is making a guess.
Sara T says
How in the world did Hugh go from “he needs to die” to “Hugh sounds awesome, I need to read his book”?
I can’t wait!
Looking forward to all your books this year. Though Hugh has not yet grown on me as a character to love…. more a character to hate so i will wait for the full book instead.
Otherwise came across this book Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway that is a fun read to pass the time waiting for May to come!
Jessica Winn says
Woot! Thanks for this! 🙂
Well that snippet just leaves me with all manner of questions and wonderings. Tantalizing. That’s the word.
I always found Hugh, Ghastek and Nick to be the most interesting and I love me some books that get real dark and gritty, so I’m pretty darn stoked for this project. Can I have more, please :S
Thank you for this! I’m already imagining Elara as Hugh’s love interest. Can’t wait to read a full book about him.???