Blurb:

 A prince from the Nyth Uchel mountains … a healer from the Oshtech desert …

Scornfully rejected by her desert lover and uncertain of her place in the world, Adonia traveled a perilous road to the fabled mountain-city of Nyth Uchel. She came to heal the sick and dying, but in the arms of highborn prince, Hel, Adonia found the answer to saving herself.

Descended from nobility, once great kings of Verdantia, Hel willingly bore the burden of his dying city and its people on his shoulders. Watching helplessly as a malingering evil attacked the very soil under his feet, he crushed his pride to summon help. He’d been staggered to discover the answer to saving his city and perhaps all Verdantia might lie behind a heavy fall of chocolate hair and shy brown eyes.

As their entire planet faces an encroaching black death, two seemingly disparate individuals forge a partnership of love and sacrifice that will alter their future forever. All of Verdantia will be tested. 

 
 

Excerpt One

A third male crossed his arms over his chest and with a low rumble of laughter, relaxed his stance. “DeHelios. Ha! The last time I saw you, you sprawled unconscious in a shrub leaving a lovely piece of horseflesh in need of an owner.”

Hel studied the speaker. He knew that laconic drawl—but its owner was a criminal with no love for Verdantian nobility. What was this man doing here? “Ramsey DeKieran, you nefarious thief! You owe me the price of that fine horse. You fell on me from a tree, you coward. I never had a chance.”

Ramsey snorted. “Still an egotistical ass. You should be grateful I took only the horse. Your head is still nicely attached.” He caught the eyes of the other two men. “Gentlemen, that tower of smelly fur is ‘Hel’. You may know him by a different name. The Haarb called him bás dtost—the silent death.” Ramsey rolled his eyes.

Hel raised his lip in a snarl at Ramsey’s mockery. “Such illustrious company, DeKieran. Your status in the world seems to have risen—but then it could hardly have fallen lower.”

Ramsey grunted. “Unlikely, eh? You may address me as Lord DeKieran, Fifteenth Earl of House DeKieran, and the striking redhead preparing to unman you from ten feet away is my wife, Lieutenant Colonel Steffania Rickard of the Queen’s Blue Daggers. Be careful with your words, Hel. My vixen is wicked with a throwing knife and takes insults to me personally.”

Hel arched an eyebrow in surprise and nodded at the glorious redhead measuring him with amused golden eyes. “Ma’am, my condolences on your marriage. I assume you had no choice.”

Excerpt:

The small track Adonia rode resembled a game trail more than a byway of commerce. Her horse lunged up the steep, rock-strewn trail. In spite of the increasing difficulty in maneuvering the grade, the constant insults and rude comments volleyed between Ramsey and Hel lifted her foul mood with a growing sense of amusement. She heard the frequent cackle of Steffania’s laughter and her taunting jabs at both men. 

“Loyal to you, DeHelios? Ha! Your retainers only stay because they are frozen solid to that block of ice you inhabit. I should relieve your people of the burden of gazing on your flea-infested, hairy face,” said Ram.

“Bring it on, dickless wonder. There aren’t any trees for you to fall out of to give you an advantage. Your wife inspires more fear in me. You aren’t half the man she is.”

“Oh, your death at my hand is all but assured, DeHelios. Only the knowledge it would be pointless stays my sword. The Hound of the Seven Hells would vomit you up as an indigestible hair ball, and I’d be back at square one.”

Adonia pulled her horse up and turned to face the two men. The absurdity of their exchanges had finally pushed her over the top. 

At Hel’s irritated, “What?” hilarity welled up inside Adonia until she clutched at her belly and then her horse’s neck to remain seated. She finally abandoned the attempt and simply slid down and lay on her back on the rocky ground, convulsed with laughter. Ramsey a ‘dickless wonder’? Hel an ‘indigestible hairball’? 

She registered Ramsey’s, “I don’t know. Something we said?” 

She flopped her arm in the air to motion them on and was aware Hel and Ramsey continued past her. When she opened her eyes, she looked up at a mounted Steffania grinning down at her.

“They’re well-matched, don’t you think?” Steffania chuckled. “One might be fooled into thinking they didn’t like each other.”