Now that Wintersland is behind me as far as writing the first draft, I'm starting something new. I'll spend March editing Wintersland into something readable, but in the mean time, it's on to the next novel, tentatively titled Blood Heir. That's subject to change; it's kinda blah.
Below is a piece from my new work, in which Boy Meets Girl. Kind of. They already know each other, but they're about to get a lot closer.
Snippet from Chapter One, please don't quote or repost, rough draft only.
Allia turned her head to survey the weapons man. He stared at her in return, dark eyes appraising and slightly bitter, his expression more dour than usual. The burn scar that crossed his right cheek from the bridge of his nose to the corner of his mouth drew her gaze. Everin turned his head so that his scar disappeared into shadow.
"What service would you require of me, my liege?" Everin asked. His voice, harsh and penetrating, like the distant cry of a bird of prey, caused a muscle to clench along Allia's jawline.
"Everin, you know what will happen when I die. My wife will try to turn her out with nothing. She has never been reconciled to the fact that Trini is not the sole heir, nor made secret that she both hates and fears the Elder blood that flows in Allia's veins."
Allia gave Everin a defiant look at mention of her heritage. If he so much as twitched...
"Her blood is of no concern to me," Everin said in an indifferent voice. "I come from Hialin. The Elders are not looked on with fear there."
"I thought so," Dalin said with satisfaction. "That is why I ask you to stay and stand by Allia's side when I am gone, and bring as many of the guards and servants as you can trust to stand with her as well. Half of what I own is hers by blood and by law, and I know the daughter of my heart will not fail those that look to her, nor squander her responsibilities."
Her father's last four words contained a world of bitterness. Allia knew he referred to her stepmother, Ondi, who considered her husband and his House a botttomless source of funds to spend as she would.
Some of the tenseness in her body relaxed. At least he had not asked that she wed Everin, or anyone else, as she had expected him to do.
"It would be better were you to wed," her father said, echoing her thoughts. "But I would not so burden two people who do not wish it. I have had a bellyful of arranged marriages. So, what say you, Everin?"
"I will do as you ask," Everin said, his face an unreadable mask.
Her father's gaze swung to Allia.
"I will accept his help," she said simply.
"It is well," Dalin said, and sagged against the headboard as if every bit of strength had left his body.