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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Excerpt from The Swords of Gregara - Honora

I had no idea what to blog about today, so I'm giving you a sneak peek of my lastest release, The Swords of Gregara - Honora.  First the blurb:


They stole her love, her life and want to steal the secrets secured in her mind. Secrets that could topple world governments and decimate quadrant security forever.  Now she’s on an epic quest to find out why and make those responsible pay.

Honora Reyestat gave up everything to become a member of the esteemed Gregarian Guard.  No family, no friends, no connections--nothing that can ever be used against her.  Captured and enslaved, she's become a prized gladiator for her master.  Given the task of training a new slave, she recognizes a fellow Zolthor and the son of a tribal leader at that.  Her mission changes from discovery of the enemy's tactics and secrets to returning Joridan to his people.  

Drawn to this fierce woman as no other, Joridan Dolana tries to explain she is wrong.  He's not Zolthor, he's Centauri.  He was raised on Centauri with his sister.  Faced with proof of a father's ultimate betrayal, he must choose between revenge and the protection of this woman who has sworn to never return his love.

Now the excerpt:
“Oww” a woman’s voice awash with pain reached his ears.
“You disappoint me, Honora.  You continue to try to escape me.  When will you learn?” asked a whiney voiced man.
The whip struck flesh.  Again the woman moaned but didn’t scream.  She didn’t scream.
When he woke again he was not alone but the man with the whip was gone.  Chained across the room from him, hung by her wrists, was a woman.  He could see the lash marks on her back.  Lash upon lash, new over old.  They obstructed the beautiful tattoo of a dragon on her back.  The blood hard to see within the red of the dragon.
Crawling to her he released her hands from the chains holding her up.  She collapsed in a heap on the floor.  He crawled back to his side of the room as darkness overtook him once more.

*****

The dried blood on her back cracked with each movement, but she worked through the pain as she stretched.  Breathed deep and accepted the pain.  Her sword weighed heavier in her hand than usual.  More evidence of the lashing two nights ago.  She looked down at the unconscious man at her feet.  A new recruit.  A Zolthor,  like herself.  Another reason Perdor punished her for her attempted escape, her sixth try in as many months.
This last punishment was the worst.  Five lashes.  Not enough to incapacitate her but enough to make her remember.  Perdor wanted her to be able to train the new slave.  He wanted them to be a team, good enough to take on all contenders.  He’d be the only owner with two Zolthor fighting for him.  Not just one, but a team.  He was practically wetting himself in anticipation of the beras that he’ll win with a team of Zolthor fighters.
Again she looked down on the naked man.  Long brown lashes lay against his cheek.  A nice contrast to his golden blond hair.  What color eyes did they hide?  Blue?  Green?  Brown perhaps.  She’d find out soon enough. 
He was a beautiful man.  Well formed.  Broad shoulders.  Trim waist.  Long muscular legs.  He looked like a warrior.  Would be a good fighter.  Maybe even a good lover as he appeared well endowed there as well.  
He’d awakened from the drug induced sleep long enough to crawl over and release her from the chains.  For that she was grateful.  Her wrists didn’t hurt as much as usual because of him.  Using her blades was easier than it had been after her previous punishments.
Time to wake up the sleeping man and get him trained.  Time was short and she intended to make the most of it.  He would learn or he would die.

*****

“Abra dit, Zolthor.” 
Cold metal slapped his buttocks.  His naked buttocks.  What the hell?   
“Jūsų mokymas prasideda,” said the female voice in words he didn’t understand.
He swatted at the irritating object, sat up immediately, reeled from whatever drug they’d given him, and nearly fell back to the ground.  “My name is Joridan Dolana, tensign in the Centaurian Army. CA number 5551234”
“Oh, an Army man,” she scoffed speaking perfect Centauri.   “You look like a Zolthor, therefore you are a Zolthor.  I am Honora.  Your trainer.  I will teach you to use a sword.  So whether you are Zolthor or not, you will fight like one when I’m done with you.”
  “I’m not Zolthor.  You must know since you’re speaking Centauri.”
“I speak many languages.  You carry the tribal mark on your hip.  You are Zolthor.”
“That’s a birthmark.  My sister has one just like it and she looks nothing like me or you.  She has black hair and the clearest, most vibrant green eyes you’ve ever seen.”
“Exactly.  A tribal tattoo.  I have one as well.”  She pulled the waistband of her short pants down to reveal the mark.  A small crescent moon on her hip.  “They are given to every Zolthor at birth.  You say she has clear green eyes, like a jewel?  Answer me Joridan.  Are they like a jewel?  Do they slant up on the ends?”
“Yes, Why?”  He looked down at her hip and then at his, not believing what he saw.  They were the same marks, same orange color.  Gram told them it was a birth mark that every family member had one.  She’d even showed them hers to prove it.  She’d lied.  “Even if what you say is true, I am still Centaurian, not Zolthor.  I know nothing about you or your people.  They mean nothing to me.”
“No reason.”  She knew of only one person who had eyes the color he described.  So clear a green, they pierced you with their brilliance.  She looked down at the man she now believed to be his son.  A Valmud’s son.  “It matters not whether you believe it.  Perdor believes it and he wants you trained.”
“Water.  I need water,” he said. The ground cold on his naked buttocks.  
The woman, whatever her name was, handed him a metal cup filled with a brownish liquid.  He drank it, needing it regardless of its unappetizing color. Now he remembered what she said.  Honora.  But who was she?  For that matter, where was he?
He looked around him and saw only a small room, with two openings.  Where there should have been doors instead were just empty archways in the walls, one leading outside the building and one to the inside.  Coming from the outside was the din of metal hitting metal yet he saw no one.
“Tell me where I am,” he commanded over the sounds.  “What is that noise?”
“You’re on Gregara.  You’re now a slave owned by Perdor, Valmud of the Tokina tribe.  That noise is gladiators training.  They are in the yard next to this one.  You will not see them yet.”
“I am no man’s slave.”


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