LORD OF FIRE AND ICE, my 2nd collaborative novel with New York Times bestseller Connie Mason, is whisking its way to a bookseller near you. It'll hit the shelves July 3rd, just in time for a leisurely holiday read!
The reviews have been fantastic:
A vixen and a Viking warrior match wits and kisses
"The story is compelling with a rich narrative, strong characters and non-stop action. This is a tale of greed, revenge, justice and desire. Readers will enjoy a feisty, confident heroine and the courageous hero who willingly stands at her side through the good and the bad."
Connie and I are delighted to bring you this cross-over tale. We've mixed a healthy dollop of magic in with this historical romance. Our hero Brandr is a fire mage. He can call flames from the air and control the element with a thought.
But the real heat starts when he's enslaved by Katla the Black, a widow with revenge on her mind. Since he won't use his special abilities against his own people, he has to find another way to melt this ice princess and earn his freedom.
Another paranormal element in this story is the bond called "inn matki munr," which means 'the mighty passion.' According to legend, couples who love each other deeply enough can communicate without words, sending their thoughts to each other over great distances. This bonding is only beginning to form between Brandr and Katla when she is taken by a trio of brigands who are determined to keep her for a bedslave after they kill Brandr. Here's a short excerpt from LORD OF FIRE AND ICE:
The brigand snatched a burning brand from the cattle byre and tossed it onto the roof of the sethus. “Come and fight us or watch your woman burn.”
Brandr tried to squelch the blaze on the sethus roof with his mind, but the blood in his veins was the blood of warriors and its battle song was too loud for him to think over. He couldn’t find the calm center he needed to use his gift.
Fire spread over the dry thatch running along the ridgeline like lemmings headed for a cliff.
Brandr’s lineage was filled with men who’d lived and died by their swords. The urge to brutish violence went clear to his bones. Now the berserkr lust he usually kept under tight control burst into full passion.
A feral cry burst from his lips and head-down, he charged.
“Katla, get out of there!”
Brandr’s voice sounded in her head again. She leaped to her feet and ran to the barred door.
The other girls clawed at her, pulling her back.
“No,” they shouted. The tallest one continued. “You heard him. If you escape, Tryggr will kill us as well.”
“But I’ll take you with me,” Katla said. “We can’t give up. We have to try.”
“Look at Aldis there.” The tall one pointed to the woman with the babe. She sat rocking herself in the corner with her knees tucked under her chin. “There’s no try left in her. If we leave her, she’ll die.”
“Then we must take her too,” Katla said, struggling to shake free of the others’ grasps. “Or we’ll all die.”
A contemptuous snarl lifted one corner of the girl’s mouth. “You shouldn’t cross, Tryggr. I’m his favorite. He’ll listen to me. I’ll tell him you tried to run, but we stopped you and then it’ll only be you who’ll die.”
Then there was a loud whooshing sound and when Katla looked up, flames licked at the thatch over their heads.
That settled the argument. The girls turned as one, shrieking and pounding on the barred door.
Katla stripped off her outer tunic and plunged it into the bucket of scummy water by the smoldering central fire pit. Then she ran back to Aldis and her child and covered them with the wet fabric.
“Come,” Katla urged, holding a hand over her nose and mouth against the billowing smoke. “We must find a way out. Is there a bolt hole? A root cellar?”
“There is only the one door and he’s barred it.” Aldis clutched her babe to her chest and the child wailed, sensing its mother’s anguish. “One way in. One way out.”
Burning ash began to fall around them.
“Katla, hold on.” Brandr’s voice had a serrated edge of panic.
Aldis was wrong, Katla realized, her whole being dead calm as her fate scrolled before her. There was another way out. Once the burning thatch collapsed on them, their souls would fly to the stars through the open roof.
“Good bye, Brandr,” she thought with fervor, hoping he could hear her. “At least I’ll leave this world knowing a good man loved me with a mighty passion.”
She wished she’d returned it with more grace.
To enter to win a print copy of LORD OF FIRE AND ICE, please share in the comments your favorite book to read on the beach (or during the summer. Be sure to leave an email address so we can contact you if you’re chosen—US and Canada mailing addresses only, please! The winner will be announced in the comments on Friday, July 6th.