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!

Time-Honored Traditions (“Sun’s Rival” Tease & Giveaway)

With one month ‘til the December 2nd release of the “The Sun’s Rival (Book Five of The Wilderhark Tales)”, 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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“A tradition of strange adventures, you say?” Raeóryn tipped his head in interest. “And what was the nature of your adventure, Princess?”

“Oh, I haven’t had any.”

“…Yet,” Raeóryn suggested.

Laraspur’s brows drew together in a pensive frown. “I’m not altogether sure I want one. I wouldn’t mind traveling to far-off places, as I daresay that much would be all very exciting. But whenever my parents talk about it – or, rather, don’t talk about it – just for a moment, their eyes turn so weary and sad, it makes me wonder at adventure’s cost. I think… I think they must have come very close to losing each other.”

“And the thought of losing someone you love frightens you?”

“Of course,” said Laraspur, brows now rearranged in an expression of confusion. “Does it not frighten you?”

“Frighten? No.”

“If that does not frighten you,” Laraspur said slowly, “then either you have never known fear, or you have never known love.” She stared him full in his molten eyes, though it almost hurt her own eyes to do so. “Which is it?”

Raeóryn, art gallery sizeRaeóryn gazed back at her intently. “I have never known fear,” he said. “And I have never known love, until the moment I saw you.”

Laraspur’s heart fluttered wildly. Until the moment I saw you… It was almost enough to wipe her mind of every other thought.

Almost.

“What of Lumónd?” she managed to ask. “Do you not love him?” Perhaps one could not expect everyone to feel as close to their brother as Laraspur did to Ionquin, but surely Raeóryn and Lumónd must feel some love for each other.

For the briefest of moments, fast as her parents’ weary sorrow, she saw something flare behind the king’s eyes. “I will not speak ill of my brother to you,” he said. “It would not be seemly, given that we both seek your hand. But I will tell you there is no love lost between us. There is a reason it is customary for a kingdom to have only one king.”

“Is there a reason yours has two?”

Raeóryn turned to face the east once more, his eyes tightening ever so little. “Welken is a very large place. Larger than you might imagine. It was determined long ago that so great a realm ought not to be ruled by one king alone, and so it has always had two. I, personally, do not see the sense of this. I would be fully capable of managing all of Welken on my own; though, of course,” he added, the resentment leaving his face in an instant as he smiled down at Laraspur, “I should be very glad to have a queen at my side.”

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Phew, is it just me, or does gazing at that super-hot Raeóryn bookmark kind of raise the temperature around here? ;D 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*, where you can totally add this upcoming Wilderhark Tales to your “want to read” shelf):

“Beautifully written, The Sun’s Rival lives up to the series’ reputation! It brings a delightful mix of old, familiar characters and introduces intriguing new ones who leap off the page right into the mind’s eye! In a nice change of pace we get to spend a bit of time with some of our favorite characters relaxed in their normal (for fairytale royalty) lives. This story brings wonderful depth to the family dynamic, highlighting sibling relationships in particular, both healthy and unhealthy. … The Sun’s Rival does not disappoint!” – Chelsea

*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”!

And now, the question of the day: What’s an adventure, great or small, that you would love to have?

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!