Bound by Wyvern’s Blood (in progress)

A work-in-progress, coming in early 2013.

Brendar was exiled from Elenyor-under-Shadow for daring to love the prince’s daughter. When he returns, it’s with an army behind him. But although Mirrin may not recognize him at first with his armor and his grim expression, his love for her hasn’t changed. She thinks to ensnare him to win her city’s freedom, and to be sure of it, has an alchemist brew a potion of wyvern’s heart-blood to inflame his passion. When she shares a drink with him, she falls into her own trap…

An unedited excerpt follows.

A wyvern circled in the air above the city of Elenyor-in-Shadow. Mirrin glanced up as it passed overhead and frowned. The wyverns had become more restless ever since the siege began, as though they knew of the city’s struggles. And although they had never been known to attack unprovoked, the sentries on the walls had recently reported some of them swooping too low for comfort, as though seeking prey.

But wyverns did not eat carrion, and Elenyor was a conquered city.

Her father, prince of the city, had died only yesterday from a festering wound. She’d tried to coax a name from him, but his fevered mutterings had offered no guidance. Then with his last breath he’d whispered, “He calls himself the Prince of Princes…”

She couldn’t tell if he meant it scathingly or if that was her answer. She’d used it to hold at bay the suitors who would have courted her more forcefully. With her hand came rule of the city, and she’d judged that none of the men in Elenyor would make a good ruler. Instead she would offer herself to the very man whose armies had crashed against their walls for months on end. Once the prince of Angrim-in-the-Desert, he now ruled over several cities through right of conquest. The Prince of Princes.

And his right hand, the dread warlord, stood now outside the city gate, waiting for her surrender.

She’d had the heralds exchange drum-messages with the Angrim army, saying she was prepared to come to terms. The city couldn’t hold out much longer in any case; food had grown dear, and many of their soldiers injured. Even the guards at the gate had bandages, although they drew themselves to attention as she walked closer.

“Greetings, Prince’s daughter.”

“Greetings, guardsmen.” She made her voice firm. “Open the gate.”

They obeyed.

As the gate rose, a lone figure rode forward: the Warlord of Angrim. He stopped in front of her and their gazes met.

He had a wyvern’s eyes, pale and feral. They held a predatory smile, although his mouth did not. They had known each other before, years ago, and she remembered the color of his eyes, but not that smile.

She bent her head. “My lord.”

A sigh ran through the people lining the street. Her heart ached for them, for each of the pale and gaunt figures who had lived to witness this moment. It was for their sake that she did this, though.

His horse walked forward until he was right beside her. “Mirrin.” He freed one hand from the reins to touch her cheekbones. She forced herself not to flinch away from his touch. “You’ve changed.”

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