Tuesday, June 16, 2015

White Raven's Lover by Nhys Glover Excerpt

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The object of fear and hatred because of her colourless appearance and gift of prophesy, Brennwen has spent her short life trying to stay hidden from an ignorant and abusive world. But she can’t stay hidden from her prophetic dreams of unavoidable disaster that seem more curse than gift. Especially when one such dream concerns the soul of her child; a child she lost in the womb; a child who has reincarnated into a family of feared Romans. By leaving the safety she has found and joining forces with the enemy, can she change the destiny she has foreseen and save her son from his fate?

All Roman patricians aspire to power, glory and valour. Gaius believes he has fallen far short of those aspirations by becoming a military clerk and the diplomatic face of the Governor of Britannia. Since the death of his wife, he has buried himself in his work, resigned to being a failure in all areas of his life except as father to four year old Calidius.

When his son is kidnapped and becomes a helpless pawn in a devious plot to end the Roman occupation of Ancient Britannia, can Gaius put aside his prejudices and self-doubts for the sake of his child? Because to do so will mean following the uncanny dreams of a tiny Celtic seer, a woman who heats his blood as no other ever has, and journeying with her to the wilds of the North to take charge of a daring mission to reclaim his son and defeat the rebels. A mission more able men than he would have found almost impossible to carry out.

Sneak Peak at "White Raven's Lover"

‘I’m looking for a Roman patrician called Annius,’ Leonis said to the clerk at the desk of the harbourmaster. The man looked overworked and disinterested in their question until Leonis reached into his pouch and dropped a couple of copper coins on the desk in front of him.
‘Do you mean Gaius Annius Bibulus? He’s the only one of his clan I know of in these parts,’ came the abrupt reply as the coins were scooped up and quickly hidden away.
‘Where will I find him?’
‘The Governor’s offices in the Forum. You won’t get in to see him. He’s a busy man…’
They didn’t stay long enough to hear the rest of the clerk’s caveats. Leonis spun on his heel and sped off toward the centre of town. Brennwen ran along beside him, watching as people jumped out of their way with looks of stunned surprise. They were probably quite a sight: A golden-haired warrior and a white girl-child. But she had no time to feel self-conscious. Her son needed her.
They reached the forum a few blocks away and Leonis headed for the most impressive of the newly built stone structures. While Brennwen gasped at his side, trying to get enough air into her labouring lungs, Leonis was again making demands.
‘Annius Bibulus. I need to see him, now.’
The clerk at the front desk of the Governor’s offices looked up in shock, dropping the scroll he had been holding.
‘I…I’m afraid the Governor’s advisor is…’ the man stuttered out.
‘This is a matter of life or death. Get him or tell me where I can find him.’
Speechless, the man pointed down the corridor as two Praetorians, who had been stationed at the front entrance, moved in to see what the disturbance was all about.
Before they got close enough, Leonis took off down the hall in the direction the clerk had pointed. On shaky legs, Brennwen followed. Glancing behind her, she saw the Praetorians were closing in.
‘Stop!’ One guard demanded, drawing his sword.
Leonis ignored the man. He opened the door at the end of the corridor and closed it after Brennwen. Effortlessly, he dragged a nearby desk in front of the door.
The clerk in this room jumped to his feet. ‘What are you doing? What do you want?’
‘Annius Bibulus. His son is in danger. We must speak to him at once,’ Leonis yelled as he stabilized the heavy piece of furniture in place. The guards started banging on the barricaded door.
The inner office door opened and a young Roman noble stormed in. He frowned as he looked first at her and then at Leonis, who was now using his weight to keep the desk in place.
‘What is the meaning of this?’
‘Are you Annius Bibulus?’ Leonis demanded in reply.
‘Yes. What do you want with me?’
‘Your son is in danger!’ Brennwen found her voice as she crossed the room and grabbed the man’s surprisingly strong arm. He wasn’t a tall man, not like Leonis. Nor was he a warrior. Yet there was power in the man, a certain competent strength that she found as reassuring as Leonis’ warrior ways. This man wouldn’t let anything happen to his son. This man would save her boy!
‘Cal is in danger? How? From whom?’
‘Where are the snakes?’ she asked him in return.
‘The snakes?’ The nobleman frowned as if her words were nonsense.
‘Yes. The snakes are trying to save him, but they can’t,’ Brennwen sobbed.
Suddenly her legs gave way under her and the Roman caught her to him, holding her against his sturdy chest. She could feel his heart pounding as hard and fast as her own.
‘It was only a joke. I told him to watch out for snakes on the way to Ceres Temple,’ the man said as he shook his head in bewilderment. ‘Ceres is always depicted with snakes.’
‘Men have taken him. You have to stop them! Please, you have to stop them.’
The Praetorians had broken down the door and Leonis was backing away from them, lifting his hands in a gesture of surrender.
The guards moved forward, swords drawn on Leonis. Terrified, Brennwen buried her head against the chest of the man who still held her up.
‘Stand down!’ Her son’s father ordered with authority. Immediately, the Praetorians did as they were told. The office was in chaos. There was splintered wood and scattered scrolls everywhere. In the centre of the chaos, Brennwen clung to the Roman, as if to an oak in a storm, and watched as Leonis also stood down, waiting.
‘Send guards to Temple of Ceres, now!’ The nobleman gave the order in a tone that brooked no argument.
Immediately, one of the guards ran out to do the patrician’s bidding. This young man had so much gravity, so much quiet control over everyone around him. And he was decisive, asking no more questions, showing no sign of the confusion he must be feeling. He just took action.
‘Come, we must go too,’ she said, looking up at his stern face.
‘The Praetorians will find him. Keep him safe.’
‘No, you must come. He needs you. He’s calling for you!’
The last detail came from her dream last night. She’d seen the child wresting with the man who held him, crying out for Pater, blood all over him. Not his blood. She was sure it wasn’t his blood. But the child was terrified and hysterical.
After only a moment’s hesitation, the nobleman drew her toward the broken door with him. Leonis and the one remaining Praetorian fell in behind them.
She couldn’t keep up the pace, so the patrician half carried her along with him, her shoes sliding along the marble floors of the office corridor. People were shouting everywhere. Pandemonium was breaking out at every turn.
And yet, now she had found him, Brennwen was oddly content. This man, this powerful Roman noble would know what to do, would know how to save her son. She had no doubts.

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