Sword’s Call….

25 Feb

Congratulations to C. A. Szarek a GSP author – on her new release, Sword’s Call.


C.A. is originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She is married and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She works with kids when she’s not writing. She’s always wanted to be a writer and is overjoyed to share her stories with the world.

BLOG: http://caszarekwriter.blogspot.com/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/caszarek
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/caszarek



For generations, the Ryhans, ruling family of the Province of Greenwald, have been keepers of a sword rumored to possess enough magic to defeat kings. Lord Varthan, a former archduke and betrayer of the king, covets the sword and invades Greenwald. Lady Ceralda Ryhan, daughter of the murdered duke, gains the sword and flees, trusting only her white wolf, Trikser—magically bonded to her. Cera needs nothing more to aid in her fight.

Jorrin Aldern, half elfin and half human, left his home in the mountains of Aramour to find his human father who disappeared twenty turns before, but finds Cera with Varthan and his shades on her tail instead. His dual heritage and empathic magic will tempt Cera in ways she never thought she’d desire. But can he convince her trust and love can pave the path to redemption—or will the epic battle end in tragedy, and evil conquer them all?




            Chapter One

Heart pounding and fists clenched, Cera sat in the Dragon’s Lair’s darkest corner. By her choice, the candle on the table was unlit. The bowl of stew was half eaten, food the last thing on her mind.

The door to the tavern swung open. Her white wolf growled low and deep beside her. Cera glanced up, squinting in the sudden flood of sunlight. As the door slammed shut and her eyes adjusted to the renewed murkiness, she took in the newest arrival.

Then she focused on Trikser. She couldn’t have him going for anyone’s throat.

“Shhh, Trik, it’s all right.” She ran a hand through his fur, smoothing his hackles along the length of his spine. The big wolf looked up at her and licked her hand. One corner of her mouth lifted and she bit back a sigh.

The only reason the owner of the tavern, Marshek, even let him in was because no one else was allowed to enter the Dragon’s Lair if she was inside without him. No one according to Trikser, that is. He’d almost taken the hand off the last guy who’d tried.

“What’ll ya have?” Marshek barked, revealing his instant dislike of the newcomer.

She fixed her eyes on the bartender. Then she took a closer look at the man sitting in front of him. His pointed ears betrayed his heritage, but his height suggested he was not of pure blood.

Marshek was known to be tolerant of elves, but he hated what he called half-breeds. Cera could imagine what the grumpy, middle-aged tavern owner was thinking, and it wasn’t friendly.

She rose, Trikser also immediately rising, awaiting her move. The white wolf was her bond mate and had been since he was young.

Relax, she thought-sent.

Trik sat, but his body was tight, tense. He didn’t respond to her mental order.

She moved to the bar, her wolf following, slinking close to the floor, moving in a slight crawl. His belly probably touched the filthy planked flooring of the tavern.

Cera made a face, but forced a breath. Detached control. Sliding onto the stool next to the half-elfin man, she was just in time to hear his order. His voice was clear and deep.

Marshek filled a mug with ale and started to put the jug in its place on the shelf.

“Wait, Mar,” she said with a wave of her hand, “I’ll have some of that, too.”

With a curt nod, the older man poured her a mug. She brought it to her lips, glancing nonchalantly at the stranger. His coal black hair brushed the collar of his hooded gray cape, giving him a rather unkempt look, but rugged rather than messy.

Cera couldn’t see the hue of his eyes from her seat, but his high cheekbones made his profile appealing, his sleek tapered ears adding to the attraction. His powerful jaw line was clean shaven, an oddity in these parts. She could tell he was aware of her perusal. He was young, not much older than her, and had the stunning beauty of the elves.

His chest heaved, and he finally glanced at her. Blue. His eyes were a deep, sapphire blue. Her heart skipped a beat, but she ignored it. The man said nothing, not that she’d expected him to.

She set her mug down and swallowed against the liquor burning its way along her throat to her belly. Warmth exploded and her tongue got heavy. She bit back a grimace. How could anyone drink the stuff?

“Rotten, dirty half-breeds,” Marshek mumbled under his breath, shoving a wet rag along the top of the weathered bar.

The half-elf slammed his mug down, his brows tight and jaw clenched.

Some of the other rustics in the bar seemed to share the bartender’s sentiment, and before she could blink, a man named Herik had seized the stranger by the shoulders. The half-elf cursed and tried unsuccessfully to slip out of the bigger man’s grip, his hand missing the grab for the hilt of his sword.

“For the Blessed Spirit’s sake,” she muttered, rising from the stool. She drew the dagger from her belt pouch, but kept it hidden under her cloak. There was going to be trouble. She loathed trouble. The problem was, lately it seemed to follow her.

She shouldn’t get involved; she should let the man handle the situation on his own, but somehow she couldn’t hold her tongue. She’d do what she could, no matter how little that might be. She was familiar with the rough men in the tavern. They all lived locally in the slums. His life would truly be in peril if she didn’t step in.

Herik pulled him off the stool and held him from behind. Another man readied himself to inflict violence. The half-elf struggled against the hold, but they’d pulled his arms behind his back, pinning him effectively.

“C’mon, Gordo, this one’s not worth it,” she said to the tall, but portly dirty blond man, the ringleader of the rustics. Dirty was more than the color of his hair.

Cera was grateful that Trikser’s way of slinking to the bar had raised little notice. They still didn’t seem to notice him, even though she could sense him bristling at her side. She sent him a mental command to wait, but he would react to real trouble without her instructions.

“I bet his point-ears he is,” Gordo growled, and many of the others nodded agreement. “They would look good above my fireplace.”

“I don’t think they would, Gordo,” she said, pulling her dagger into view. Darting forward, she pressed the tip into the throat of the man that had seized the stranger.

“This is none of your concern.” The bartender glared.

“It is if you want Herik, here, to live,” Cera bit back.

She sank the tip of her dagger further into the flesh of the man’s throat. Herik sucked in a sharp gulp of air. She could smell his foul breath. No wonder the half-elf looked a bit green; the apple of his throat bobbed as he swallowed several times. He probably needed to retch. He should aim for Herik’s filthy boots.

Shock rolled over her as Gordo wrenched her arm to her back, twisting her wrist. White hot pain jolted up her arm. Cera winced, dagger clattering to the floor.

A snarl erupted from Trikser as he leapt up in a lightning flash of white, landing on the man’s arm. The man screamed and dropped to the wood planked floor of the tavern. His hand and forearm hung from an odd angle, even as Gordo tried to cradle it against him. Blood spurted, sprinkling Trikser’s white coat.

Cera made a face and snatched her fallen dagger, assuming a more defensive stance. Growling, she gritted her teeth.

She felt the weight of the half-elf’s gaze, but she had to stop her bond before he killed Gordo.

“Trikser, no! Just hold him there,” she commanded. The wolf obeyed, holding Gordo to the ground, teeth bared and lightly covering the man’s throat. Gordo swallowed hard, face as white a sheet, sweat dotting his wide forehead. “Anyone else?” Cera sheathed her dagger and drew her sword.

Her grip tightened as it began to glow, its pale aura tangible as the weapon’s magic spread across the tavern, seeking, searching. Her sword had been forged in magic and as the glow intensified, it drew on her magic and surrounded her with its brightening radiance.

The half-elf blinked several times, his handsome face contorted. He shifted his feet, tugging against Herik’s hold, as if that was all the resistance he could offer.

Cera’s heart beat hard. Could he feel the sword’s magic? Did he possess any himself? Elves, by nature, were born with magic, and even though he appeared to be half human, he might have some. If he did, no matter the nature of it, he would know the sword was magic, and that was the last thing she needed.

She brandished her weapon at each of the men, no one made a move. The rustics in the bar, Marshek included, stood shaking and wide-eyed, sweat pouring down their rough-hewn faces. Her sword didn’t find much magic in the tavern, but it was succeeding in leaving great fear in the wake of its probing.

Silence reigned until the half-elf stomped on Herik’s foot. The man scrambled to maintain his hold, cursing, but the half-elf spun and punched him in the jaw, jumping over as he fell to the floor. He shook his hand as if his knuckles smarted.

He lunged for Cera, grabbing her hand and tugging. She jolted, but didn’t pull away as he made a dash to the door, dragging her along.

Why was he helping her get away? No, don’t question it.

Shoving her still-glowing sword beneath her cloak, she called for her bond mate and together they left the dark tavern.

Leaping, she landed hard in Ash’s saddle, her thighs smarting. Her black stallion shifted to absorb her weight.

The half-elf stared, standing next to a dappled horse tied to the public posts. He reached for his horse’s reins, but wasn’t in a hurry.







5 Responses to “Sword’s Call….”

  1. Chrissy February 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanx so much Anne! I appreciate you having me here!!

    • annepetzer February 26, 2013 at 6:25 am #

      You are so welcome. 🙂

  2. Sheila Deeth February 26, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    Congratulations! Sounds intriguing.

  3. mljohn February 26, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    Congratulations on your new release! The first chapter is a lot of fun!

  4. Glutenfreidiät March 5, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I
    have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope
    you write again very soon!

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