Tag Archives: free fiction

Monday Morsel: Justice Without Mercy – an excerpt from IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD

Alharne Was Dead

He squared his jaw. ‘What I want, is to ruin the man. I want the world to know what he did to my wife. I want justice.’

He felt her smile that time, even though he couldn’t see her lips. ‘Ahura approves. Justice is the domain of death. Justice, without mercy.’

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect – while the bones of the story are there, enough to give you a glimpse into the tale of these characters, I typically do at least eight drafts so you can expect the final version to bear little resemblance to what I post here.

If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive my novella, Confronting the Demon, free.

More about In the Company of the Dead

Alharne Was Dead

Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.

Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.

Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

Monday Morsel: High Treason – an excerpt from IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD

When he put his eye back to the tent, Traeburhn lounged in a camp chair in the tent’s centre, and Bradlin stood before him, his head bowed. Lyram’s already scalding anger surged higher, and he clenched his fists in the dirt and gravel beneath his feet. Tiny pebbles dug hard into the flesh of his palms, distracting from the almost irresistible urge to put a blade in Traeburhn’s chest. His breath whistled through clenched teeth. If he started with Traeburhn, then where would it end? With a knife in Drault’s chest, and it was high treason to attack the heir apparent.

He tightened his hand on the knife. Carefully, he inserted the blade back into the canvas and began widening the cut. If he worked too quickly to enlarge the slit enough for him to climb through, the noise would surely alert the occupants, if not any nearby guards.

A hand seized his wrist.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect – while the bones of the story are there, enough to give you a glimpse into the tale of these characters, I typically do at least eight drafts so you can expect the final version to bear little resemblance to what I post here.

If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive my novella, Confronting the Demon, free.

More about In the Company of the Dead

Wrong Way Around

Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.

Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.

Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

Read A Magical Melody #FREE – Until June 3

264799280_fa012eb580_ohttp://visualcage.ru

Until June 3, my short fantasy story is available free to read in Inkitt’s Epic Worlds competition. A Magical Melody is the first installment in A Symphony of Magic, a five part story starting with four shorts and culminating in a full-length novel.

To start you off, the first few paragraphs are below, then follow the link at the end to read the conclusion – or jump straight to the link to read the whole story on Inkitt’s site. If you enjoy the story, please do vote on the Inkitt site – just login via facebook and click the heart at the bottom of the story page. I am currently 20th and I need to stay at 25 or better to make the finals! Your vote counts.

Avram blinked and checked another drawer. Also, empty. No, he’d used the top one, hadn’t he? The bare, wooden bottom stared back when he opened the top drawer again. He ran a finger across the wood. Nothing. No illusion. No sign anyone had been here. Rawellen’s perfume overwhelmed any other scents. He glanced at her over his shoulder.

‘It’s not here. Did you take it?’

On the far side of the room, the colour rushed from Rawellen’s cheeks, leaving her face porcelain white beneath perfectly coiffed, midnight hair. She looked like a child’s doll, a frightened doll. Beside her, Councillor Eiman fidgeted with the lace on his sleeves and glanced from Avram to Rawellen and back.

Faint fingers of panic squirmed in Avram’s gut. If Rawellen hadn’t taken the sheet music… His gaze unfocused as he ran through the possibilities.

‘What do you mean gone?’ Eiman slipped a finger inside the collar of his black frock coat. Sweat trickled down his face.

The silly councillor couldn’t have taken the scores. He had the magical abilities of a toadstool–and an unfortunate resemblance to one too. Really, that tight coat did nothing to flatter his rotund figure.

Avram wrinkled his nose. ‘I mean, gone.’

‘But…but the orchestra is assembled!’

Snorting, Avram pushed the drawer of the mahogany sideboard closed hard enough to rattle the crystal goblets on their shelves. Better for Rawellen to deal with the odious little man.

‘My dear councillor.’ True to form, Rawellen released her death grip on her skirts to ease Eiman into chair and stooped to coo into his ear, turning the full force of her devastating beauty against him. ‘I’m sure we can resolve this matter in short order.’

What? Did the woman not understand “gone”? Avram waved his hands to catch her attention. If she were assuming that he’d mislaid the sheet music and would momentarily remember where to find them, Avram was sure she’d be sorely disappointed. The scores were gone, vanished without a trace, and with no explanation aside from theft.

Without any change in expression, Rawellen drew Eiman back to his feet. ‘On second thoughts, I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to dismiss the orchestra. Or have them perform something else, a piece from last season perhaps?’

‘But…’ The councillor’s protests were cut off as Rawellen bundled him out the carved door, closing it behind him and leaning against the wood.

‘Gone? Totally gone?’ Her impressive bosom heaved, threatening to spill from the lace-edged neckline of her gown. ‘The whole score? Which one?’

Avram pushed his pince-nez further up his nose and cleared his throat. Why did she have to be so damn beautiful? It was distracting, and it was obvious that she knew it–knew it and used it. ‘Both scores. Both copies.’ The words emerged a dry croak.

Rawellen’s breath whooshed from her in an explosive burst. ‘The spell-annotated copies as well?’

Avram nodded. What a disaster. So much for the rigid protocols designed to ensure that spell-annotated copies didn’t make it to the public arena. Then again, it wasn’t theft they were intended to prevent, but human error. It was too much to hope some music buff had stolen them for personal enjoyment, some ordinary musician to whom the notations would be meaningless. No, it was someone who had the talent to break in here, without a doubt. Heads would roll, and Avram’s would not be one of them.

‘Who? Who would have done this? This is a disaster!’ Rawellen’s voice climbed impressively into the upper registers as effortless as only a trained vocalist’s could do. Her hands rose as well, waving to and fro in carefully orchestrated histrionics. She began to pace, twitching her blue skirts out of her way with sharp, furious jerks.

Once a performer, always a performer. Rolling his eyes, Avram tried to straighten his own rumpled white coat while he waited for her dramatics to end.

Rawellen’s rant wound down as she strode across the room yet again with the heels of her blue boots sinking into the thick, emerald carpet. At the brocade drapes hanging against the far wall, she spun and strode back again. Her skirts brushed against the couches with each agitated pass.

‘I am well aware of the ramifications,’ Avram said, seizing the moment as she took a breath. As I should be. I wrote the damn thing.

Her fingers fluttered, an affectation of nerves, and smoothed the black-striped silk of her bodice. After a moment, she settled to toying with the black ribbon tied below her cleavage. Avram dragged his gaze away. No point in going down that road again. Beautiful women like her had far better prospects than jug-eared, rumpled composers like him. And would she ever grow as bored with her tantrums as he was?

Ceasing her pacing, she turned with her eyes boring into him and dark eyebrows arched. ‘Have you seen her the last few days?’

‘I…’ His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. If only. His bed was cold without her. With a sigh, he ran fingers through his hair and grimaced. There wasn’t as much up there as there used to be. ‘It wasn’t her, Rawellen. Only a magister can read the spell annotations or break the wards for that matter, and you know it. Only a powerful musician could do the latter. Morgane is no magister. Least of all a powerful one.’

Rawellen glanced at his hair and arched one eyebrow even further.

He snatched his hand away and scowled, regretting the expression almost immediately. It did nothing to improve a face with a nose too big and ears that stuck out like an elephant’s.

‘When, Avram? When did you last see her?’

Follow the link to read the conclusion to A Magical Melody. Don’t forget to vote if you like it.

Thank you!

Monday Morsel: Alharne Was Dead – an excerpt from IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD

Alharne Was Dead

A ballroom. A king’s court. No, a gala. And a woman, an ambassador from Tembra, smiling archly at him over a goblet of red wine. Night black hair and eyes as deep and mysterious as a cave pool. Alabaster skin. No name came to him, but he ached for her, ached for the memory of her. The whirl of remembrance lifted him up and spun him forward like a leaf.

Now the woman clasped his hands in hers, staring at him solemnly across the red marriage ribbon twining their entangled fingers. He drank in her gaze, lost himself in her eyes. The swell of sudden emotion left him weak, and his chest choked and constricted almost painfully, robbing him of speech. He clung to her hands, no to her flesh and blood hands here and now in his, like a shipwrecked sailor clinging to his last hope of salvation. The fog lifted from his eyes, allowing him to see the untidiness of his suite before him, and the woman on her knees, at the same time as he saw the memory within his mind.

‘Alharne.’ He squeezed the word from breathless lungs. The memory shattered, and he saw the woman, the woman with the wine, the woman from the wedding, the woman who now knelt before him with tears streaming down her face, sprawled awkwardly in the snow. Sightless eyes stared at a winter sky. Blood slashed crimson against the snow. The tightness in his chest squeezed hard, almost as though the emotion might shatter his ribcage.

Alharne was dead.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect – while the bones of the story are there, enough to give you a glimpse into the tale of these characters, I typically do at least eight drafts so you can expect the final version to bear little resemblance to what I post here.

If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, read A Magical Melody for free (please vote if you like it) or check out the free short stories available on this site. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive my novella, Confronting the Demon, free.

More about In the Company of the Dead

Alharne Was Dead

Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.

Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.

Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

Monday Morsel: The Gown – an excerpt from IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD

I haven’t posted anything since early April, for which I apologise. It’s been a rather hectic time, with lots of travel for my day job, and not much sleep on the homefront, and it’s been difficult to get to the blog. I can promise though that I have still been writing, and In the Company of the Dead is out with beta readers – I’ve just started getting feedback and so far so good! For now, enjoy this Monday Morsel.

* * *

The maid stepped over to touch Ellaeva’s arm as the door clicked shut behind Everard. ‘Your holiness will require my assistance with the buttons of the gown.’

Unable to avoid it anymore, Ellaeva’s eyes darted to the gown hanging in the lady’s wardrobe. With nothing else to hand, Lady Dulanica generously agreed to loan something appropriate. Everard made the selection, choosing something he said Alharne would have favoured, in black and wine red velvet with silver embroidery. The neckline scooped worryingly low.

‘Yes.’ When the word emerged as a thin whisper, Ellaeva cleared her throat. ‘Yes.’

With numb fingers, she began pulling her robes off.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect – while the bones of the story are there, enough to give you a glimpse into the tale of these characters, I typically do at least eight drafts so you can expect the final version to bear little resemblance to what I post here.

If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site, or subscribe to the newsletter to receive my novella, Confronting the Demon, and short story, A Magical Melody, free.

More about In the Company of the Dead

Everything Dangerous

Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.

Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.

Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!