Hi Everyone! Hiding out with the family in our San Francisco home, avoiding the smoke blanketing our city, I’m getting a lot of reading accomplished. Here’s a look at a fantasy romance series by fellow Champagne Books author Renee Wildes. I’ve added this one to my TBR and look forward to experiencing Renee’s take on the Sleeping Beauty story. More info and excerpt below. Happy reading! xo, Celia
Title: A Guardian’s Hope
Series/#: Guardians of Light series, Book 2
Author: Renee Wildes
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: September 4, 2018
Page Count: 275
An assassin nun. An elven paladin. A ruthless queen who will destroy all they hold dear.
As a child, invaders butchered Maleta’s parents and left her ravaged body for dead. Now, reborn as a finely-honed weapon for the Gray Goddess, Hedda, Maleta has shed the burden of emotions for one goal—regain her homeland for her brother.
Cianan ta Daneal’s mission to the fractured land of Shamar is twofold: to overthrow a despotic queen, and to save a life. For months, he’s been haunted by recurring visions of a beautiful swordswoman slaughtered by a skeleton army. He never expected to lay eyes on that woman and recognize her as his Lifemate—or that she’d turn and run like hell.
Uniting Shamar’s diverse peoples in revolt is easy compared to the delicate task of wooing a woman who flinches from his touch.
Slowly, Maleta dares to hope that her country, what’s left of her family, and her shattered heart are safe in Cianan’s steady hands. But when the cold blade of fate strikes true, can she trust his love is strong enough to pull her back from the Abyss?
Warning: This new twist on Sleeping Beauty contains an assassin nun who knows no fear. Okay, just one fear, but it’s a biggie. And an Elven paladin with the Devil’s own negotiating skills. To coax her heart out of hiding, he’s gonna need every one of them.
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A Guardian’s Hope Excerpt
Maleta sighed and speared a chunk of carrot. This place gave her the creeps. Too many hired killers with dark auras. She rolled her stiffening shoulder again.
The door banged open as three men entered with the wind.
“Heyla, Cary,” the tallest one called to the barkeep. “Any hot cider left?”
“Still whining ’bout the cold?” Cary poured three dippers of steaming cider into a tankard and slid it down the bar. “You ain’t even seen cold yet.”
The men in the room laughed, a sound of camaraderie, not mockery.
Maleta stared at the newcomer. His aura shone different from the others, his pure soul blinding gold in the surrounding Darkness. Why was a paladin in a place like this?
His head snapped around. She cursed her curiosity as his piercing cobalt gaze collided with hers. Something shifted in his appearance, a mask of the mind she couldn’t see past, as if her eyes saw one thing and her mind another. Meal or nay, now she’d the information she sought, she should move on.
Too late. He stalked toward her with the fluid swing of a lifelong horseman, tankard cradled in both hands as if warming them. The body of a sinner, on a saint. Her breath caught in her throat as he neared. There were few men who could look her in the eye. She’d reach this man’s chin. Maleta tensed as he stopped on the other side of the table. Unable to tear her gaze from the unwavering intensity of his, she trembled as his scent, like fresh-cut fir boughs with a warm hint of musk, surrounded her. Who was this man? Trouble, in more than the obvious. Why did he single her out?
“Heyla, Shield-Maiden,” he said in a voice as rich and smooth as rare drenieval whiskey. The underlying lethal heat in his voice could rob the unwary of their senses. “I have not seen you here afore.” He held out a hand. “My name is Cianan.”
She eyed that hand, unwilling to touch him, sensing ’twould give him too much knowledge, too much power. Long musician’s fingers with archer’s calluses. Even without their hands touching, the truth of his name pierced the shadows around her soul, the shadows of lies and pretext that were her new identity.
Maleta stared at him, helpless not to. Those eyes drew her in, promising things she couldn’t even comprehend. They weren’t the eyes of a saint. Too blue, too knowing. Long raven hair glinted blue-black in the firelight. Foreign accent, not one she recognized, with a lilt she couldn’t place. Charm she trusted not at all.
She focused on slowing her pounding heart, forced herself to breathe. “What you want?”
His lips quirked in a smile. “Many things, Lady, but I would begin with your name.”
“Why should I be giving that out?”
He just smiled, but his eyes studied her. Watchful. Probing. Aware. Too aware.
Time to end this. “My name and business are mine.” She stood.
He raised a hand. “Nay, finish eating. I shall go. But tell me your name first.”
Knowledge of the lie flashed in his eyes, and she curled her fists with impotent fury. Damn paladin. What game was this?
“I bid you a good evening, Sonja.” He dipped his head and returned to his friends at the bar.
So much for rooming overnight here. She downed the rest of her meal, gathered her pack, then fled the tavern. The cold air cleared her head. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d been forced to camp out in the open. She didn’t enjoy it, but she’d survive. She always did. Please, Hedda, don’t let him follow.
About the Author
Renee Wildes grew up reading fantasy authors Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey and is a huge Joseph Campbell fan, so the minute she discovered romance novels it became inevitable that she would combine it all and write fantasy romance. Renee is a history buff and research junkie, from ancient to medieval times, esp. the Dark Ages. As a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes and heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, so became the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series – fantasy, action, romance, heroics, and lots of critters!
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