Shifter's Delight, the second book in the Blood Magic series, is available from Total E Bound Publishing today.
Here is a look at the opening of the book!
Shifter's Delight by Lacey Thorn
Copyright @ Lacey Thorn 2010
She was in love. Or at least she had been before the truth had slammed into her with brutal force. He didn’t love her, never had. She had been nothing but a diversion for him, someone soft and willing to pass the time with. And she would be forever grateful that she hadn’t divulged her secret to him in the afterglow of great sex. For really that is all it had amounted to. Great sex. And that only made her hurt more now that she knew who he was, what he was. And the things he had done.
Lydia hurried to the room where the twin infants that she was nursemaid to awaited. She prayed that she was in time to stop her queen—no her best friend—who happened to be queen, from making a mistake that would wound them all. Someone had to talk some sense into Queen Ona. Someone had to stop her from going to meet Wilhelm, from walking into what was sure to be her death.
Lydia stopped just inside the door as she heard Ona talking to her daughter Aurora. Her eyes filled with tears as she realised her friend was telling her children goodbye.
“You’ll begin the salvation of us all. Your blood shall start what his shall finish. When the time is right, you shall draw the sword and become the strength as is your birthright. You’ll grow strong and smart. You’ll laugh. And you’ll love. You’ll lose and you’ll find. My heart breaks for all you will face. But rest assured that you will not stand alone. Time will bring you all together. And a common enemy shall bind you tight.” Ona bent low to place a kiss on her daughter’s brow. “You are my daughter. Know my strength, know my love, and call upon them as you need.”
“Please don’t go,” Lydia begged as she walked into the room.
“I have no choice,” Ona told her.
“He will kill you,” Lydia stated.
“Yes,” Ona agreed. “He will.”
“Then don’t do this,” Lydia cried. “We need you.”
“If I do not go, he will kill us all,” Ona said and Lydia fought tears once more as her friend’s gaze went back to her children.
“We will fight for you,” Lydia declared.
“It is my choice,” Ona said softly. “And I choose to do what is best for everyone. The death of one to save many.”
“How can your death be good for anyone?” Lydia cried.
“You will see,” Ona said. “But first I must ask something of you.”
“Anything,” Lydia promised and meant it more than anything else in the world. “I will do anything.”
“I was hoping you would say that,” Ona said. “I ask the most important task of you. Take my daughter and flee back to your people. He must not find her until the time is right.”
Lydia held her sobs back admirably as she nodded. She was humbled by the great task that Ona ask of her, the task of raising her daughter, the future queen.
“And Lydia,” Ona reached out to place her hand on Lydia’s still flat tummy. “He must not know of the child you carry. All of your lives depend on it.”
Lydia gasped. How did Ona know of the child she carried? How could she when Lydia had only just realised herself? Her adoration of Wilhelm was well known to her friend, so that Ona knew it was his was understandable. She placed her hand across her stomach. She would have two children to watch over and protect. And she would see that neither knew a day without love.
“When you hear the commotion you must take up Aurora and flee,” Ona told Lydia. “They will head here first. His guard. They must only find Aslan. They will guard my son with their lives. But you must be gone before they get here.”
Lydia nodded her agreement and Ona reached out to take her into a fierce hug. “Sister of my heart, know that what you do for me is the greatest gift of all. Guard her and raise her as a sister to your child. They will need the bond to conquer the battles that lie ahead.”
She knew the questions that hovered on her tongue shone in her eyes, knew that Ona could see the struggle she waged to keep them unspoken. And the confidence her friend had in her was overwhelming.
“Tell her of me. The woman you knew, not the queen. Tell her of my love, of my joy at her birth. Tell her she has my eyes, my heart, and when the time is right she will know the power of her birth. Prepare her, train her, but do not raise her to be queen. That is a journey she must begin on her own. She may know of me but not of this place or anything that lies here. Promise me that.”
“I promise,” Lydia swore. And it was one she would keep. Aurora would know of Ona, the woman, her mother. But she would not know of the title her mother held, or that she had a twin brother. As soon as Aurora knew that she would leave and Lydia would not be able to protect her then.
The hardest moment of her life was watching her best friend walk away from her, knowing that she would never see Ona alive again. She wanted to leap out, throw herself in front of Ona and beg once more for her to find another way. But she couldn’t. She had to trust that Ona was doing what she must. And Lydia had to take care of Aurora.
She walked quickly to Aslan and looked down upon him.
“My beautiful baby boy, I will miss you every day.” She reached into her pocket and removed some scissors using them to snip a tiny piece of his hair. “I take a part of you with me for I could never be whole without it. You will grow and thrive and I pray that the choices made for you in this hour bring you to a joyous place. I pray that you grow strong and proud and that you feel the mantle of your mother’s love always.” Her tears splashed on him. “I pray that you will forgive me for leaving you and taking her. I pray that your anger will not control you. I pray that he will not be able to turn you against your own.” She scooped him up and hugged him to her inhaling his unique scent and praying that she never forgot it. “When the time is right you will send for me. When the time is right, I will come. I pray that you know when you see me that I have only ever loved you.” She kissed him softly on the brow and placed him down once more. It broke her heart to know that she had to leave him behind.
She turned to Aurora and bundled her quickly before using rope to tie the bundle to her chest. She would have to shift when she was far enough away and she would need Aurora tied securely to her. It was the only way that they would get away fast enough before he sent soldiers after them.
Lydia walked to the door, a cloak thrown over them to hide that Aurora was with her. She glanced back to where Aslan lay content for the moment. And she prayed.
May the goddess have mercy on them all.
Hope you enjoyed this glimpse between the covers!
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