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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Black Eyes Glinting in the Darkness ~ Sweet Saturday Sample

My Sweet Saturday Sample is a morsel from my latest release, an epic fantasy romance, Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three. This is the third of a 5-part series.
Available at Amazon for only $2.99.

In this scene, Lyra and Cullen are in the mysterious, underground world of Terza. They are there in search of a cure for a deadly black magic plague that is affecting the residents of the Alliance where Cullen lives. Along the way, the couple has a dreadful misadventure and encounter some fierce creatures. They have been tricked and are held captive in a barred cell to become food for a fearsome scorpent beast they have never seen.

“I just hope we only have to conjure some trinkets and not give away anything of value, like a staff or rings…or ourselves.”
Cullen nodded and cupped a hand to his ear.
She did the same. The familiar dripping of water from underground springs blocked her ability to hear much else. After a few minutes, she finally heard a banging sound, like trash being tossed in a bin somewhere a short distance away. “Help—” she yelled, then changed her tactic. “We’re sorcerers and will help you.” Her eyes locked on Cullen’s while they waited for a reply. The echoing drip-drip-drip continued for another minute.
Clanging started again from the same direction.
Lyra’s pulse quickened.
A muffled, shuffling sound drew nearer. From out of the darkness ten feet away, a pair of black eyes glinted at eye level in the dim light.
Lyra squinted to pick out other features, but the figure remained in the shadow. She held her breath and fixed on its stare.
Cullen motioned her behind him. “We’re sorcerers. If you let us free, we’ll conjure whatever treasure you wish.”
Lyra peered over his shoulder. The beady eyes continued to bore into their cage, but the being didn’t move or speak.
“Who are you?” Cullen demanded, clasping the bars and leaning forward.
A response came as a hiss. The menacing gaze jerked and moved fast toward them. Before Lyra could register what it was, a dark form darted along the stone floor and through the bars of their cell. Light reflected off a snake-like gray tail slithering inside.
It rooted in the dark back corner of the office.
Cullen grabbed his staff with both hands, drawing it behind his shoulder like a bat.
Lyra took hold of a broom, ready to fight the scorpent.
The clanking noise down the way started again.
From the shadows beside a desk, the same piercing black eyes glinted at them. No matter how long Lyra stared, she couldn’t make out even an outline of its shape. The dark body reflected no light.
The scorpent snarled.
The noise in the alley stopped.
Lyra’s palms perspired, causing her hands to slip down the broomstick.
The beast quieted to a low hiss, and the sound of metal scraping over stone began once more. Within moments, the noise seemed much closer.
The creature in the cage with them let out a spine-chilling call, half growling, half howling.
From the opposite direction and not far from the cage, something or someone shook what sounded like a baby’s rattle.
Footsteps thudded toward them. The clattering now seemed like many pieces of metal or a chain.
“Help us! A scorpent is in the cage with us! Please, help!” Lyra cried out, prompted by the human characteristic of the footfall.
No one responded, but the steps and scraping kept coming.
The eyes of the beast in the cage lowered to the floor, as if to pounce.
Lyra heard Cullen’s breathing, short and choppy. He wound his torso into a tighter twist, poised to swing the staff.
In one swift motion, the mysterious beast lunged from under the desk, and the jaws of a pointed snout clamped onto Lyra’s shin. Razor-sharp teeth pierced her skin. The force of the strike thrust her backward. Her spine hit hard against the cage bars.
She screamed and bashed the spine of what appeared to be a huge black rat, apparently not the scorpent as she assumed.
Its body was at least three feet long. On stumpy front legs, claws extended six inches from their origin hidden under dense fur. Those talons pinned Lyra’s ankles against the metal rails.
Cullen clubbed the animal. His staff thumped against the thick hide.
The oversized rat-beast only latched harder onto Lyra’s leg and snarled, pushing its weight against her. The metal of the cage dug into her back.
At the same time, the rattling sounded directly behind her. Held by the wicked rat, she felt something lightly trace her spine. A wave of nausea passed over her.
Unable to turn around, she looked at Cullen for a reaction.
Even in the low light, she noticed the color drain from his face. His arms dropped to his sides, no longer attacking the rat.

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three

When Lyra McCauley learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague, she doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancĂ©, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.

She leaves her college teaching and puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir. 

Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

About the series~

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications. 

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.  

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

I'm looking forward to seeing what sweets some of my fellow authors on this hop will serve. Be sure to check them out on the main blog page for Sweet Saturday Samples.

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED, and Book Three, LOST VOLUMES. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.


Rachel Rossano said...

*shiver* Nice suspense. :)

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks lots, Rachel!

Sandy Nachlinger said...

GREAT scene. Really vivid and rich in detail with lots of tension. I'm wondering what's gonna happen next!

Marsha A. Moore said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Sandy! Thanks for stopping in.