Quarter Castle Publishing
Published: May 6, 2012
ISBN (Paperback; Standard; 362 pages): 978-0-9868089-6-8
ISBN (eBook; approximately 132,098 words): 978-0-9868089-8-2
FREE eBook at most locations.
Reviews for Shadows in the Stone found at Smashwords
Review for Shadows in the Stone by Lynn Davidson at Polilla Writes
Reviews for Shadows in the Stone found at Goodreads
Shadows in the Stone Trailer
Things aren’t always what they seem to be in a small town in the Land of Ath-o’Lea. Magic creeps in the shadows, waiting to pounce…
Corporal Bronwyn Darrow vows he’ll never fall victim to love again after the woman he adored betrays him. He directs his energies to rising in the ranks of Aruam Castle, aspiring to one day command as captain of the guards. Although he treasures his home and family, he is blinded both by his desire to succeed and a mysterious magic lurking in the shadows of the ancient castle.
Alaura of Niamh, a half-breed enchantress with a deadly past, takes refuge in Bronwyn’s hometown. When the two meet, the spell which binds them is stronger than their fears of falling in love. As Alaura’s secrets threaten to separate them forever, outside forces attempt to shatter the security of Aruam Castle and eliminate Bronwyn. When an orphan weaves their lives together, they embark on a journey destined to either destroy or deliver them to the passion living in their hearts.
One by one, Isla’s senses awakened. The pain in her legs and buttocks greeted her first. The bad dreams dissolved into one, and she opened her eyes. The tree branches overhanging her sleeping spot blocked the morning sun, but didn’t hide the ugly scowl of the hauflin who peered down upon her. She trembled, remembering the events of yesterday. He must have sensed her fear because a stupid smirk appeared on his face.
Isla breathed easier when he turned and walked away. She sat up and pulled the blanket around her. The dwarf who had carried her to a safer location still leant against the tree. He ate bread from a brown bag. He didn’t spread anything on it like butter or fenberry jam. He ate it as if a big cookie.
The strange creature which had held her by the hair and forced her to watch as the hauflin beat her granddas to death sat on the opposite side of the campsite. She shivered when she saw him watching her. In a meticulous motion, he sliced slithers of apple with a knife, placed them on his tongue and drew them into his mouth. The colour of his short, thick fingers appeared unlike anything she’d seen on a being. The putrid green looked like stains from squashed peas. His hair lay flat against its scalp as if a year’s worth of dirt weighed it down.
The eyes frightened Isla the most. They stared at her as if looking into her head and reading her thoughts. The cold, green eyes, similar to the colour of the creature’s fingers, seldom opened more than half-way. He seemed to always be squinting at the sun though he sat in the shade.
To settle her nerves, Isla forced herself to look elsewhere. She glanced at the dwarf. He held out a chunk of bread, waiting for her attention. He tossed it to her, and it bounced onto the ground. She picked it up and brushed the dirt away. After taking a bite, she nodded at the dwarf, silently saying, Thank you.
As Isla ate, she watched the dwarf and occasionally glanced at the hauflin. The two didn’t seem to get along. They sat contently in their own space and didn’t make small talk. When she’d eaten the bread, a flask landed in the moss near her. Again, the dwarf made an offering. She unscrewed the cap and drank the cool water. She hadn’t realised the extent of her thirst.
Without warning, the water vessel flew from her hands. The hauflin glared at the dwarf and threw the flask at him.
“Keiron, I won’t let her starve.” The dwarf’s deep voice sounded fierce. It petrified Isla. “And I won’t take part in killing a child if that’s your intent.”
The hauflin leered at Isla as if he’d strike her. Instead, he snarled and walked away.
Isla’s hands shook. When the dwarf leant forward and held out the flask, she froze, terrified to accept it. He nudged her arm with it, but when she still refused, he moved closer.
“Take it. Drink your fill.” His menacing expression eased, but his coarse voice remained. Then, with his back turned to the other men, it softened. “Take it.” His dark, blue eyes seemed familiar and kind and eased her fears.
Isla accepted the flask. Keeping her eyes on him, she took a long drink. She wiped her mouth and handed it back. “Thank you,” she mouthed. He returned to his spot under the tree.
No sooner had he settled when the hauflin approached with a dagger in his hand. He grabbed Isla by the hair and swung.
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