Moonlight Reflections (“Sun’s Rival” Tease & Giveaway)

With a week and a day ‘til the December 2nd release of the “The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)” – (although, BIG HONKING NEWS, the Kindle e-book is now available for pre-order, whee-ha!) – here’s a peek at what’s coming in the novella – as well as a chance to win one of Wilderhark artist Yana Naumova’s gorgeous bookmarks!

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“Enjoy the clear skies while you can,” the voice he despised above all others spoke from behind him. “It won’t last forever.”

“Nothing does,” said Lumónd – in a considerable act of self-will, keeping the sudden tension in his jaw out of his voice. He cast a cool glance over his shoulder. “You’re up late, brother. Is it for no reason other than to follow me?”

His brother advanced ‘til they stood side by side, then took just one step more. Lumónd couldn’t even be certain whether the show of dominance was done deliberately, or if it was simply Raeóryn being Raeóryn.

“I expect we’re both here with the same motive,” said the golden king. “Room to breathe.”

Then you ought to have stayed inside, Lumónd thought frostily. For the two of them together, there was never room enough.

If Raeóryn felt the same way, he refused to show it – only inhaled long and deep, then released the air in a satisfied ahhh. “The day went well,” he observed.

Lumónd nodded, conceding the statement’s truth. The princess and her parents had responded favorably, as of course no one had ever doubted they would; not with his dazzlingly charming brother doing most of the talking. On occasion, the conversation drew onto the verge of turning in a precarious direction. Raeóryn’s aforementioned dazzle had deflected most of it. When necessary, Lumónd had discreetly taken care of the rest – particularly during dinner, at about which time he could see his brother’s naturally persuasive energy begin to fade.

If all went as hoped, everything would be made known soon enough, with no more need for secrets. Until then, best to keep quiet certain… irrelevancies. For now, Princess Laraspur would remain in the dark.

Lumónd, art gallery size

Laraspur. Lumónd closed his eyes, his mind’s eye gazing upon the sleeping princess. Her hair tumbled across her pillow, framing the pale circle of her peaceful face in the moonlight. His heart trembled at the very sight of her.

“Stop that.”

Raeóryn delivered the command like a backhand. Lumónd held unflinching.

“Why?” He slid his eyes around to point at his brother behind lashes raised only partway. His mouth’s corners curled upward, defiant. “Just because you can’t?”

“Because,” said Raeóryn, his gaze hot enough to blister, “she is not yours.”

“Nor is she yours.”

A dismissive sniff of a breath. “Don’t let’s play games, little brother. We both know there is no question—”

“Oh, none at all,” Lumónd said bitterly. “There never is, with you. Everything in your world is so perfectly ordered. Dawn in the east and dusk in the west. Spring follows winter, and summer, spring. And given a choice between you and me, certainly no young woman in possession of her senses would choose me.”

“And we will assume,” said Raeóryn, in patronizing tones, “that Princess Laraspur is in possession of her senses and shall remain so, will we not?”

Lumónd refused to dignify that with a response.

Raeóryn tipped his head back, contemplative gaze on the patterns of stars overheard. “I do wonder,” he mused, “why you even bothered to come here.”

With a shake of the head like a shrug, he turned on his heel and departed, leaving Lumónd alone with the empty night.

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I dunno, guys – looking at that utterly stunning Lumónd bookmark, there might be someone out there willing to choose him over their senses. (*coughs* *volunteers as tribute* *coughs*) And as of now, that author-signed bookmark is up for grabs. I’ll tell you how to win it, after a quick word from an advance reader on why they love “The Sun’s Rival”, as quoted from Goodreads*:

“I adore how [Shipley combines] fantasy, adventure and romance into a story I can’t put down. I have read all the Wilderhawk Tales and each one is better than the last.” – Kim Matura

*Speaking of Goodreads, I’ve got another giveaway going on over there. (Does my mad generosity have no end?!) From here ‘til Release Day, enter to win one of five beautiful paperbacks of “The Sun’s Rival”! …or order it now. Either’s awesome. ^_^

And now, the question of the day: What choice(s) have you made in spite of sense, and how’d that work out for you? ^^

Answer below, and one commenter (chosen at random one week from today) shall win the prize. Good luck to all entrants, and here’s counting down the days until “Sun’s Rival”s release!