Saved from the Troll…

I found a draft today of a blog page from February that I’d titled ‘Saved from the Troll…’ and I was like WTF was I writing about?

Turns out it was this excerpt from The Wicked Orc, where Altheira, having oh-so-desperately raced across the kingdom to find her beloved lover, Ruwin, finds herself, instead, accosted in a lawless city:

The troll seized her throat and hefted her off the ground. Thick-jointed fingers locked around her neck and cut off her air.

She clawed in vain at his bulging forearms, even in her desperation keeping a firm hold on her dark jewel.

Gagging sounds emerged from inside her with obscene intimacy. [authorial insertion here: I find this gross?]

His hold tightened.

Her arms were losing strength.

Satisfaction suffused his blunt features as her vision blurred. “Die, royal bitch.” [authorial insertion: he isn’t very nice.]

Where was Ruwin? Why wasn’t he helping?

Perhaps he couldn’t. [the author knows.] Maybe he’d tried, but the troll’s cronies had—

No, please, Altheira begged with her last reserves of strength, Please don’t let him die so close—nor let me die before his eyes!

Authorial insertion. Troll says:

Darkness from the fringes of her vision bled into the center…

And then, suddenly, she dropped free. There was a moment of weightlessness and then—

Her knees slammed onto the uneven cobblestones, pain cramming through her knees and hips and jarring her brain in her skull.

Gasping at the agony in her shins, she hunched over, her face to the mortar and dirt between the stones, and she coughed. She sucked in air and filth and pressed her dark jewel close to her chest. Ruwin, Ruwin…

He must have saved her! She jerked her head up.

The troll crashed to the ground in front of her. His face, turned toward her, revealed beady black eyes now blanked out—glassy.

The tip of a dagger protruded from his neck.


Her eager gaze searched the crowd but failed to find him, only…

Her confusion settled on a tall, lean-muscled orc striding straight toward her as the mob scrabbled back.

Several of his features marked him as orc: his blue-gray skin; the untidy, unkempt braids interspersed in the loose blue-black hair that brushed his shoulders…

But the unlaced vest flapping open across his torso, his black boots, and the fitted leather encasing his thighs implied a much narrower physique than an orc’s usual bulk.

Moreover, his charcoal-dark mouth lacked the tusks typical of his kind.

No, that wasn’t true, for when his lips peeled back, it showed that his tusks had been ground down.

For an awful moment, Altheira’s stomach dipped in a stunning plunge to pity, for what beastly creature would have done such a thing to an orc’s pride and joy?

But then what captured her attention were his clawed hands with their blunt black nails, which clutched between them a dark jewel.

Ruwin’s jewel.

Her coughing rammed against her shock, and stuttered, and stopped.

She scrambled to her feet, uncaring of the faint agony that the motion cost. “Who are you?” she rasped. Her shaking fingers clenched her jewel, its slight warmth pulsing against her skin.

“Scyther,” the orc replied curtly, halting in front of her.

Unthinking, she blurted out, “What have you done with Ruwin? Why do you have his jewel?”

His jewel?” A blue-black eyebrow went up.

“That’s his dark jewel.” Altheira gingerly tilted her head toward it.

“It’s mine,” the stranger countered, his voice hard.

“Where is he?” The question tumbled out of her like water from a spilled pail, tumbling and terrified in a breathless, hopeful rush. “Where is Ruwin?” Her gaze left the orc’s and scanned the crowd, anxious, not yet believing he wasn’t here. After all her tribulation to get here…

“Your Ruwin is dead,” the orc told her. “I killed him.”

Zulejka here. Interrupting hooman’s excerpt to display my beauty:

See those weetle paws? I am all things gauzy and fuzzy and delicate. As hooman’s friend says: “SWEET KITTY INNOCENCE!!”

Now you may return to the trollish excerpt.

Altheira’s gaze jerked back to the orc’s.

Ruwin…? Killed by this-

“Silver elf, wasn’t he?” The orc gestured lazily, although the latent power every orc possessed turned even this lax motion into something forceful. “I met him outside the main city. He was trying to get back in—to you, I guess.”

Altheira blinked and stumbled, as though he’d dealt her a blow to the stomach.

Ruwin had never left the city. He had died trying to get back in to her.

This orc had slain him and taken the jewel and she—she had been lured into thinking Ruwin was here.

Mercy. She’d come this far for nothing.

For this.

The orc measured her up and down, a flicker of undisguised interest quirking his dark lips. “You captivated a silver elf? And he got you so wrapped up that you came all the way here seeking him?”

Ruwin wasn’t here.

He would never be ‘here’ again.

Altheira reeled, sick, ill, disbelieving.

Ruwin and all his hope, her hope—


It cleaved in half her residual strength, dropped her to her brittle knees, and dealt a death blow to her waning will. And after the utter depletion of the past three strenuous days, and starvation, sleep deficit, and skirting death in recent moments, she spun into a bottomless oblivion. [Authorial insertion: dun dun dun…!]

So now you, too, dear reader, have been tricked into reading that excerpt! (along with being compelled to admire my super-cat Zulejka’s beauty in the middle) I guess if you’re curious about it, it’s one of my (slightly) dirtier books.

And now I feel obligated to somehow entertain you, but my life’s drama is the neighbor who smokes out his window and who may or may not be flirting with me when we occasionally encounter one another in the hall (and whose blood may or may not have been the blood spilled on the stairs for a time). And me yelling at work for them to just fire me already if they’re unhappy (dayjob drama while fending off extreme anxiety–yay!).

My friend, upon hearing the above, nicely commiserated, “Oh dear!! I’m sorry you’re still at each other’s necks at work!! But the flirtatious, bloody guy sounds promising!”

Oh, yeah, I also got together other authors from around the world to write fantastical gothic romances from all corners of the globe. From conversations with the other authors, I know there’ll be a demon, a gargoyle, a mer-dude, my winged guy and another guy with fangs, a vampire, the spirit of a tree… with stories from Australia, Estonia, South Africa–wait, lemme just copy the description because I’m lazyyyyyyyyyy:

Do you like creepy things, dear mortal? Where love is but a hint? A whisper?

A taunt?

Then do come in. Don’t fear. I promise it’ll all end happily. Venture fearlessly to all corners of the world where authors have strewn their lovers in eerie, eldritch places…

Come to Orlando, Florida, where a young woman enamored more of money than her wealthy fiancé finds unexpected magnetism with the demon who possesses him at night.

Slip through the night to South Africa, where a young woman finds herself shut in a psychiatric hospital and haunted by a cursed creature… but curses only terrify those who fear death.

Journey to Texas, where a restless spirit and a reluctant ghost hunter form an unexpected if slightly mercurial connection.

Sail to the middle of the Atlantic, where something in the water is watching a novice sailor on her honeymoon–something that knows all her desperate secrets.

Venture to New York, where an orphan prey to strange dreams and hallucinations encounters a creature of storybook nightmares who accuses her of descending from a dark and dangerous lineage–a lineage he’s vowed to destroy.

Follow Death and Fate through the streets of medieval Tallinn while they save a starving artist.

Travel to North Carolina, where an aspiring singer buried deep in a forest plots with the spirit of a tree to take vengeance on the man who put her there.

Sneak into labyrinthine Prague, where a reckless woman makes a lover from a scrap of soul and ends up captive in a starlit tower, facing consequences of forbidden magic..

And finally, in Australia… find out within the anthology pages…

Join authors from around the world in exploring gothically romantic corners of the globe in complete stories with HEAs or HFNs.

PARTICIPATING AUTHORS Lynn Rush, Sky Sommers, Taryn Moreau, Beth Green, Katherine Traylor, MS Weaver, Sonya Lano, Renee Edwards, Nicole Herron, E.H. D’Urbin, René Adams

Aaagh! I need to do dayjob work so they don’t actually fire me. But here is the link to the antho first….

My story, of course, begins with a captive…

Captive in a starlit tower, she breathed soundlessly into the night.

She yearned for answers, or freedom, or love, and she could not name which of the three would destroy her most.

She’d gone long past saving by now.

Aaaaaand off I go! Be kind this week, y’all!

Here is the usual weekly info. If you want to support me, join the patreon I’ve been seriously neglecting (but want to resume), get daily snippets I like to share, check out my books I don’t want anyone to buy, or join the newsletter I haven’t been writing (but intend to).

Owner of two cats and huge dreams and author of any kind of love story so long as wild stuff is going on...

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Sonya Lano

Sonya Lano

Owner of two cats and huge dreams and author of any kind of love story so long as wild stuff is going on...

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