I’ve gotten the covers for Heiress of Healing and Heiress of Magic redesigned! Check below for the new ones and to read an excerpt from them. Both can be read as stand-alones.
Heiress of Healing
Someone’s coming, Im. Wake up! Come on, my girl. Open your eyes.
Iminique fought against the voice, wrapped up in sunny dreams.
Iminique! her father’s voice intruded with an angry bark into her mind.
She bolted upright. “Father?”
Soft laughter echoed in her skull, making her head feel full of goose feathers. So that’s how I get you to obey. Impersonate the taskmaster. Get out of bed, Im. Now.
Iminique flopped back down. Let me sleep, she groaned.
No, Im. Someone’s coming. Get out of your bed and hide. Now! I’m on my way.
The urgency in his voice spurred her to action. Throwing the covers back, she slid off the mattress. Then, as an afterthought, she shifted the pillow, plumped it up, and pulled the covers over it so it looked like she was sleeping. Then she wriggled her way underneath the cot.
Seconds later the door swung silently open and from her position under the bed Iminique saw a man’s booted feet creep through the gap.
For a few seconds the intruder halted, getting his bearings. Iminique held her breath. If he took one step toward the baby crib…
He didn’t. Shutting the door behind him, he stalked straight toward her cot, his footfalls sure and certain and scarcely making a sound.
He reached the bed. A muted puncturing sound and the puff of a pillow being stabbed preceded a vicious tear. Then his booted feet leapt back. He released a low curse.
His feet pivoted in a slow circle. “Where are you, little nanny?” he whispered into the dimness.
Heiress of Magic
“How about a fire dancer?”
The boy chews his lip, considering. “Is it as good as fire balls?”
“Bigger. Watch.” Lothram waves his hand and a man-sized figure of fire flares into existence mid-air above his head, arching to the ground in a leaping bound.
The group of children releases a collective burst of excitement. The fire person struts around, hand on his hip. Bits of sparks fly off it like tiny fireworks, and its head tosses like a scornful woman’s, making the children laugh. Then it turns to me with a flourish and bows, extending a fiery limb in an invitation to dance.
Heat licks from the tendrils of flame, but I trust Lothram and slide my hand inside it. The skin crackles and pops under mine like tiny but harmless sparks flicking against my palm. The creature’s other fiery hand settles on my waist, igniting more sparks there and making my skin tingle even through my dress. I look into the face of flame. A wondrous array of rainbow-colored flames looks back: sapphire blue fire for eyes, ruby red for the mouth, shades of deeper yellow shaping a nose, and blue for the hair, short and wild like Lothram’s.
The fire figure sweeps into movement and takes me with it, my bare feet brushing across soft, prickly blades of grass, shifting skirts tickling my calves, tiny sparks flaring wherever the fire and I touch, and the kiss of sunbeams on my cheeks…
Something whips across the back of my waist, searing like a knife slash. I stumble forward and jerk my hand away from the fire dancer, pressing my palm against my hip as if I can smother the stinging pain. The children’s faces are upturned and they’re pointing above my head. Lothram, too, looks up, and I follow their gazes.
A strangely elongated creature of green flame hovers there, like a human stretched out to gangly, nightmarish proportions, its orange eyes glowing and a wide orange sneer broadening like an unnaturally stretched mouth. Spreading its arms out as if creating a mantle overhead, it drops.
“Lys!” Lothram slams into me, knocking me to the ground and rolling me under him. Flames sizzle in the air above us. Hauling me up, Lothram drags me into the lake. We slosh through the shallow water and he shoves me under. Water cuts off my cries and fills my mouth and my wrists sink in the silt of the lake bottom. For an instant, all is eerily silent.
I come up sputtering, skirts tangling in my legs. The green creature swoops behind Lothram, slides across the back of his neck and sets his hair aflame. Lothram spins around and swipes his hand over his head to douse it with his magic. The creature dips for another charge and Lothram hurls balls of fire at it. It dodges here and there faster than lightning, orange mouth mimicking mocking laughter. Beyond its shoulders, the fireballs disintegrate. In the background, the children are screaming in delight, thinking this all a game, but as Lothram follows the creature’s airborne path and turns again, his speed hindered by the water, his bloodless face tells me he’s not playing.
The green nightmare skims over the water straight toward us, whorls of steam rising behind the hands it trails across the surface. Fireballs careen past it or burst into nothing against it. Lothram tries to shield me, but the creature knocks him aside. Fingers of fire clench my arms, burning finger-sized holes in my sleeves and leaving red marks and scorching pain. My arms wrench and I’m dragged from the water straight into the air…