Sunday, December 11, 2022

My Testimony Tree by Sierra Wilson (Book Tour and Giveaway)


My Testimony TreeMy Testimony Tree by Sierra Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Recieved to Review
Genre: Childrens Religions Picture Book

Book Description:  My testimony is special.

It's the spiritual things I know.

And just like a tree,

Every day I'll help it grow.

From tiny seed to strong, fruitful tree, a testimony is something that must be nurtured and cared for your whole life through. With beautiful illustrations and poetry, this story of faith helps children understand what a testimony is and how to help it thrive, bringing them closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior.

My thoughts:  I love this tiny yet powerful picture book. It is written in prose and gives very basic instructions and illustrations on how to grow a testimony.

It doesn't stop at how to plant a seed and grow a testimony. It talks about mistakes that can diminish a testimony and the steps that need to be taken how to care for and mend the tree.

The illustrations are adorable and are sure to capture the attention of a child. Kudos to the author and the illustrator on a job well done.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Online Purchase Links:

About the Author Sierra Wilson is the author of several faith-filled picture books including I Can Be Like Jesus, The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for Me, and Standout Saints: Church History Heroes from Around the World. She currently lives in Alberta, Canada where she adores hiking, skiing, and adventuring with her husband and five children. 

Online Presence:
@sierraauthor on Instagram and Twitter

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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews #ChristmasMystery #BookTour #DetectiveMystery


It's Christmas time!  That means cozying up and reading a Christmas book!  Here is one that may interest you.  I love a good mystery <3

No-nonsense Nantucket detective Merry Folger grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and two murders as the island is overtaken by Hollywood stars and DC suits.

Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.
The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behavior is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.
Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
This latest installment in critically acclaimed author Francine Mathews’ Merry Folger series is an immersive escape to festive Nantucket, a poignant exploration of grief as a result of parental absence, and a delicious new mystery to keep you guessing. 

Online Purchase Links:


Advanced Praise:

  • “This fast-moving mystery packs in a lot, but never too much, and will work for fans of coming-of-age stories, police procedurals, and romance.” —First Clue

  • “Fresh, well-wrought prose brings the setting of Nantucket to life. Mathews consistently entertains.” —Publishers Weekly

  • “Christmas and death come to Nantucket . . . Plenty of fascinating characters and myriad motives make for an exciting read.” —Kirkus Reviews 

  • “Mathews consistently places relationships at the forefront of her mysteries, and Merry's unique blend of tenacity and humanity makes her a heroine to root for.”—USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden, author of the Inspector Corravan mysteries

Read an Excerpt:

She’d risen before dawn and driven out to Great Point, stopping near the Wauwinet hotel (which was closed in winter) to deflate the ancient green van’s tires. The gatehouse to the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge was deserted; and her spirits rose in the hope that she would find herself completely alone. 

She drove over the sand at a snail’s pace for nearly forty minutes, sipping black coffee from an insulated bottle, windows cracked to welcome the crash of the Atlantic waves. At 6:49 a.m. by her watch, the sun rose out of the sea like a burning goddess, and it almost seemed possible that she was the only person on earth alive to witness it. 

Great Point is Nantucket’s outflung upper arm, a narrow pen- insula of sand that trails northward for miles. At its tip, the calmer seas of the Sound run headlong into the open water of the Atlantic Ocean, creating dangerous shoals and rip tides and cross currents. Bluefish and bonito, false albacore and striped bass lurk in the rills where the two waters meet, and the fish draw birds 

Which, in turn, drew the green van filled with photographer’s equipment, lurching along a beach still wet and compacted from yesterday’s rain. 

She parked not far from the lonely white tower of Great Point’s lighthouse and carried her tripod to the lee of its empty keeper’s quarters. It was odd, she thought, that the presence of the buildings did nothing to humanize the spot. If anything, their desertion intensified the solitude. She was surrounded on three sides by ocean and buffeted by wind. Later in the day, gray seals would haul out of the Atlantic to sun them- selves. In this first hour of daylight, little stirred except the fitful branches of beach plum and bayberry. But the air was filled with wings. 

She sighted sanderlings, running back and forth in the wash, as she set up her equipment, and a few dunlins as well—common to the Arctic Circle in summer months but hugging a different latitude now that it was December. Gulls of all kinds stalked the waterline, crying harshly. She did not waste her film on them. She waited, her coffee thermos drained and the cold beginning to seep into her toes, for the northern gannets. 

She had come out this morning hoping for the heavy white predators of winter seas, with their bright blue eyes and black flight feathers. Gannets had dagger-sharp bills and dove straight from the air into the waves with a terrific splash, stabbing their prey at depths of up to seventy feet. Remarkably, they used their six-foot wingspan to swim underwater. Gannets were the Olympians of the Atlantic, and the ways they manipulated wind and sea fascinated her. 

She had brought two camera bodies, both Nikon F2 35mm, that she’d bought as a baby in the 1980s. They were loaded with two different speeds and types of film—the first, with Fujichrome Provia 100f slide film that offered the speed and saturated color she sought for both birds and landscape; the second, with Ilford HP5, a 400 speed ISO black and white film that was brilliant for capturing movement without blur. She also had four different lenses with her, interchangeable on both bodies: the standard 50mm, useful for close-up and still shots; a 24mm wide-angle lens she rarely needed but packed as part of her kit; a 105mm and a 180mm for zeroing in on objects far away. 

She had attached an MD-4 motor drive to one camera body to advance her film swiftly as she pointed and shot, and she had brought along a handheld light meter to supplement the one in the camera viewfinder. It was light that influenced how widely she set the f-stops on her various lenses; the viewfinder’s, which operated with a 3V lithium battery, showed only light reflected from the subject, not the depth of her field. For that, she needed the handheld one. 

Yes, her work verged on art; but it began with science. 

She tested the light now as she moved around the sand, focusing out on the roiling waters of Great Point Rip. It was stronger at twenty past seven, with the persistent heaviness of early December. Moving to the tripod, she attached a cam- era body and 105 mm lens for closer focus and snapped a roll’s worth of snow buntings, quietly enjoying the plump little birds’ alert briskness in the higher dunes. Then she reached for her second camera and attached the 180mm lens, scanning the horizon. Set her f-stop to 5.6, the aperture quite open to capture swift birds in flight. The gannets were out there; she had only to wait. 

They appeared at 8:37, a great cloud winging in from the east with the sunlight gilding their feathers. The air was filled with high-pitched cries as they circled a hundred yards above Great Point Rip, a, searching the seas all around her for schools of fish. She pivoted to follow the birds’ flight with her camera’s eye, resetting her f-stops and snapping the powerful wing thrusts, until the first gannet glimpsed prey and, folding its wings back along its body, torpedoed into the water. 

It was like watching a fighter jet plummet in a death spiral. The gannets’ speed was suicidally fast. They knifed into the waves at sixty miles an hour, as though punching through concrete. The fish they devoured underwater, at point of impact, then bobbed up to the surface to cry out their satisfaction. She knew enough about them to realize that one or two might not survive the morning’s feeding—the slightest miscalculation of angle as head hit sea, and the bird’s neck would snap. 

The cacophony was immense. When she paused to reload her film her hands were shaking with the excitement and pleasure she witnessed. She forgot the cold entirely. Her heart raced and she could not stop smiling. 

She had no idea how long they remained, only that after a time the wild calls faded again into the distance, the gleaming white and black bodies were pinpoints on the horizon, and once again, she was alone with the rearing stone tower and its emptiness. Exhausted. 

Chapter 8, pg. 51-54

From Death on a Winter Stroll © 2022, Francine Mathews, published by Soho Crime


About the Author: Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-SeasonDeath in Rough WaterDeath in a Mood IndigoDeath in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen #BookTour #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance


BOOK DESCRIPTION: Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .

When their father's death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.

Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family's new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth's many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars--both visible and those hidden deep within--and her cloistered heart will never be the same.

Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.

My thoughts: The first thing that I noticed about the book is the cover. It is lovely and captures a time and place that I would like to visit.

The first thing that struck me was the beautiful descriptions. The house sounds lovely and the sea beautiful. I could picture a quaint town full of history and tourists.

The Summers family had to relocate to Devonshire Coast because of the untimely death of their father. Their home was entailed, but the father purchased this home as a getaway place, and now it is the residence of his wife and daughters. Unfortunately, they cannot afford to live in it. To remedy the situation, they turn it into a bed and breakfast. The sisters have drastically different personalities. The story changes the POV between the sisters. I find it refreshing to get the whole story from each of them.

This is an "Austenesque" book. Julie Klassen has captured the feel of one of her books.

I also loved the many different guests that visit their home.  It is a very eclectic group.  I would say that it is hard for young ladies to give up their rooms and adjust to a different living situation.  Imagine walking into your room to find a gentleman in there.  That is definitely not a common occurrence in the Regency time period.

If you are looking for a Regency novel that is a little different, this may be a book that you would like to take a look at.

Source:  I received a complimentary copy.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



Watch as Julie Klassen introduces the book!

About the Author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


  • “Jane Austen fans will delight in this nimble series launch…Klassen excels at weaving her various story lines, each emphasizing the colorful qualities of her characters and allowing them the space to shine. Readers will be eager for the next installment.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)


  • “Julie Klassen delights with a winsome love story…” —Publisher’s Weekly, on A Castaway in Cornwall

  • “I couldn’t put it down! It you are a historical fiction fan you need this one on your radar! It was a spooky delight full of heart. ”—Anne Mendez, The Lit Bitch, on Shadows of Swanford Abbey

  • “…a wonderfully engaging novel full of intriguing characters and storylines. I highly recommend it and can’t wait for more in the series.” —Laura Gerold, Laura’s Reviews, on The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden #booktour #spotlight

In the tradition of C. S. Harris and Anne Perry, a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage for Karen Odden’s second Inspector Corravan historical mystery.

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule.

For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion, and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.

As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

Read an Excerpt


 Having finished writing my daily report, I left Wapping, walking past the London Docks to Sloane Street, where the Goose and Gander stood at the corner of Hackford. 

The sight of it brought back the afternoons Pat Doyle and I would come here, our spirits buoyed by the shillings in our pockets from working on the docks. We steered clear of most public houses—like the English Pearl, a few doors down, or the Drum and Thistle—but we two Irish stevedores found a welcome here, in this low-ceilinged room with a pair of rusted swords and a Celtic Cross over the mantle. Joining in on the bawdy choruses after a few pints made Pat and me feel like men—Irish men—and, for a while, as if we belonged. I’m not proud to admit it, but I liked it when someone who wasn’t Irish was scowled out of the place. 

Life was hard on the docks. The dockmaster, named Smithson, always hired Pat and me as a pair because he knew that together we could accomplish four times what any other single man could. It didn’t keep Smithson from treating us the worst, though. If there was a swan-necked cart with a wheel that wasn’t working properly, that would be ours for the day. If we took time to fix the wheel, our wages would be docked. Sometimes we didn’t get a cart at all and had to haul the goods on our backs. If a bag of tea burst because it was roughly handled or at the bottom of a heavy pile, we’d be blamed. Pat and I kept to ourselves, mostly, though after a time we banded with a few older Irishmen who were hired regularly. We did our work, held our heads down, stayed out of people’s way. Still, most days Smithson would shout at us for being feckin’ Irish eejits, which worried me because Pat was quick to throw down whatever bag he was toting in order to free up his fists, and I’d have to remind him that we needed the money more than we wanted Smithson to pay for his spite. I hated it too. But we had no choice but to stay and take it. 

It was the docks that taught me what being Irish meant because growing up in my part of the Chapel, Irish was all I knew. Like hundreds of others during the famine years, my parents sailed from Dublin to Liverpool, making portions of that city along the Mersey River more Irish than English. My father was a silversmith, and a skilled one, but there wasn’t enough work for all the silversmiths who had landed in Liverpool, so he and my mum came down to the Irish part of Whitechapel. With anti-Irish feeling running high, shops elsewhere in London wouldn’t hire a man with black hair and blue eyes named Corravan, with an accent straight out of County Armagh. My mum never told me so, but my father did what many Irishmen had to do—plied their trade sideways. He became a counterfeiter, making two-bit coins in a cellar somewhere, with fumes that clung to him when he came through our door at night. He died when I was three years old, too young to remember him well, but old enough that the odor of suet and oil and the bitter tang of cyanide had rooted itself in my brain. During one of my earliest cases in Lambeth, I walked into a house and recognized the smell straightaway, like I knew the smell of tea or hops or onions. That’s when I realized how my father had put bread on our table. 

The rancor against the Irish grates at me sometimes. Not to say we don’t deserve some of it. Four years ago, two Irishmen in Lambeth threw firebombs into one of Barnardo’s English orphanages, to protest that Parliament had just prohibited the Irish from setting up orphanages for our own. The next morning, the corpses of twenty-six children were laid out on the street and on the front page of every newspaper in London. For weeks after, shame hacked at my insides. I could barely meet anyone’s eye. 

But we Irish don’t all deserve to be tarred with the same brush, and it’s hard to bear the ugly opinions printed in the papers. Nowadays, I stop reading if I catch a hint of hatred in the first lines, but there was a time when I would read the articles and letters from “concerned citizens” and “true Englishmen” because I wanted to know the worst that could be said of us. That was before I realized that words could be infinitely malicious. There was no worst; there was only more. I still remember the conclusion of one letter because it seemed so preposterous: “The Irish are the dregs in the barrel, the lowest of the low. They kill their fathers, rape their sisters, and eat their children, stuffing their maws with blood and potatoes indifferently, like wild beasts.” 

Well, that wasn’t true of any of the Irish I knew. Indeed, as I laid my hand on the doorknob of the Goose and Gander, I was reasonably certain that inside I’d find Irish folks sitting, eating normal food, and playing cards. 

I pushed open the wooden door, greeted the barmaid, and asked if O’Hagan had been in. She shook her head. “Not yet. He usually comes around eight.”

Chapter 4, pp. 28-30 

From Under a Veiled Moon © 2022, Karen Odden, published by Crooked Lane Books 



  • “[An] exceptional sequel . . . Fans of Lyndsay Faye’s Gods of Gotham trilogy will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • “Victorian skulduggery with a heaping side of Irish troubles.” —Kirkus Reviews

  • “Charismatic police superintendent Michael Corravan is back in a gripping sequel about the mysterious sinking of the Princess Alice. Odden deftly weaves together English and Irish history, along with her detective's own story, in a way that will keep readers flipping pages long into the night.” —Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of Mother Daughter Traitor Spy and the Maggie Hope series.

Online Purchase Links


About the Author:  Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University and subsequently taught literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes & Noble classics series and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). Her previous novels, also set in 1870s London, have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle Rosy.


Read an exclusive interview with author Karen Odden

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Esperance by Heather Frost #BookTour #excerpt


Esperance (Esperance Trilogy #1)Esperance by Heather Frost
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Suspense
Source:  Received to review.

Book Description:  Twelve strangers. Six marriages. One year in Esperance.


Amryn has many reasons to hate the empire. Her latest is her forced marriage to General Carver Vincetti, better known as the Butcher. If he learns even one of her secrets, he will kill her. And Amryn has many secrets. Not only is she an empath with forbidden magic, she's also a newly recruited rebel intent on destroying the empire—starting at Esperance.


Carver knows the rebels have infiltrated the remote temple of Esperance. His job is to hunt them down before they can wreck the emperor’s new peace. Despite the demons that haunt him, Carver is intent on his mission—but he’s not prepared for Amryn. From her fiery red hair to her surprising wit, his new wife has captured his attention. The attraction that flares between them is undeniable. Now he just has to determine if she’s the enemy.


When the newly married couples become targets in a violent game, Esperance becomes more dangerous than anyone anticipated. Carver and Amryn are about to discover that no one is exactly who they appear to be—especially each other.


Esperance is book one in a New Adult fantasy romance series by Amazon bestselling author Heather Frost. If you love enemies-to-lovers romance, forbidden magic, and an action-packed story you can’t put down, you’ll love Esperance!

My thoughts:
  Imagine that the government has picked your groom and that you have to live in the middle of a jungle with other couples in the same situation you are in. This is the premise for Espernace.

I admit that I was intrigued and wanted to see where Heather Frost would go with this. She did not disappoint me. The book captured my attention from the beginning and I had to know how this situation would work. There were several surprises for me to discover.

The book is filled with political intrigue. All of the couples come from different parts of the empire. They are paired with someone from different parts, and not all of the areas have the same views on the empire. Some feel oppressed and others believe it is the best way to go. Not everyone gets along, which leads to some intense disagreements, some with the fist.

The main characters are Caver and Amryn. She is an empath and not fond of the government and he is a General. They are in a unique situation. I loved the chemistry that they share. I also loved that we get both of their points of view to understand them better and to see their development as people and as a couple. I rooted for them from the beginning. :)

Someone in Esperance is committing murder, they just need to figure out who that person is.

Online Purchase Link:

Read an Excerpt:

Carver stood on the edge of the large banquet hall, studying the milling crowd as he sipped his wine. The emperor’s guest list had been minimal, for purposes of security. Each of the newlyweds had been allowed only one escort and a limited guard for the journey to the remote temple of Esperance, and the rest of the spectators were made up of nobles, politicians, and key church leaders from the capitol.

Carver wondered how many of them were enemies.

Positioned by the towering archways that led to an open balcony, Carver could hear the sounds of the jungle that surrounded the temple compound. The screeching calls of birds, the chattering of monkeys, the chirp and thrum of countless insects. Rolling hills, thick vegetation, and distant jagged mountain peaks were all he could see. Gnarled vines strangled the tan stone railing of the balcony, which spanned the length of the dining hall. Sticky heat clung to Carver’s skin, but he wasn’t exactly uncomfortable. He’d been in jungles before. He’d fought and bled in them. 

He’d never thought to be married in one, though.

His father came to stand beside him. The wineglass he held looked ridiculously small in his large hand. Cregon Vincetti, the High General of Craethen, was tall and imposing, but Carver knew the lines around his blue eyes were from smiling with his family, and that his booming laugh was louder than any shouted commands. He didn’t have a single weapon on his belt; every entourage had been thoroughly searched when they’d entered Esperance. Only the guards were allowed to have weapons. 

Cregon looked just as strange without his customary blades as Carver felt without his own.

 “Your mother may never forgive the emperor for this,” his father said. His voice was pitched low, though they stood apart from the crowd and the buzz of other conversations would drown out his words before they had a chance of being overheard.

Carver still forced a smile, just in case anyone was watching. “She did offer to be my escort.”

Cregon leveled Carver a look. “I wasn’t about to send your mother here.”

“You were worried about her if a fight broke out?” 

“No. I was worried she might start a fight.”

Carver huffed a short laugh. His mother’s skills with a blade were rivaled only by her temper, once flared.

She didn’t approve of Carver’s arranged marriage, or of being cut off from him for a year. But then, she hadn’t stopped hovering since he’d returned from Harvari—bloody, broken, and barely alive. His parents worried that the wounds that had nearly killed him ran deeper than his skin.

They were right, though Carver would never admit it aloud.

Cregon Vincetti took a swallow of wine and winced.

Carver’s mouth curved. “Westmont’s orchards have spoiled you.”

His father grunted as he eyed the red liquid. “Nothing tastes quite as good as home.”

Home. The word elicited all sorts of conflicted feelings, and the stiff collar of Carver’s uniform was suddenly too tight around his throat. Family, duty, honor, war—they were all entwined with home. As was the feeling of being trapped. 

When the emperor had summoned him to the palace weeks ago, he’d assumed it was to send him back to Harvari. And despite everything, he was itching to do anything after convalescing at home for six months. Even return to war.

He just hadn’t anticipated this particular war.

His eyes sought his new bride, who stood on the far side of the banquet hall. As if she wanted to be as far away from him as possible.

 Amryn Lukis—Vincetti now, he supposed—was a puzzle. She had been his wife—Saints, that was a terrifying word—for nearly an hour, yet they hadn’t actually spoken to each other. The moment the ceremonies ended, they’d all been ushered from the chapel and into this hall. Amryn had stepped away from Carver without a backward glance and moved to stand by her uncle.

She was beautiful. There was no denying that. Carver knew he would always remember the moment those chapel doors had opened and he’d first glimpsed her. The fire of her hair paired with her porcelain skin was a striking contrast, and the stark white of her dress only enhanced the stunning effect. Her sea green eyes were pale and depthless.

She was moderately tall, and though her build was slender, the clinging dress revealed distracting curves. It wasn’t until she stood before him that he noticed the light dusting of freckles scattered across her pert nose and curved cheekbones. Instead of marring her beauty, the markings enhanced it. They made her look real. Her round face was softened further by the crimson ringlets that brushed her cheeks.

Saints, that hair. Even now, standing with a room between them, those locks were distractingly vibrant. He wondered how long they fell when unpinned.

A stupid thing to wonder, considering circumstances.

As if she felt his attention, Amryn’s focus slid to him.

There was nothing pale or delicate in the way she looked at him. Her strange green eyes bored into him, firm and unafraid. Few dared meet his gaze like that. Not with his reputation. But she didn’t flinch away. She challenged him with that stare.

For the life of him, he didn’t know why that made his pulse thrum faster.


About the Author:  Heather Frost is an #1 Amazon bestselling author of YA/NA fantasy romance. Her books have been Whitney Award and Swoony Award Finalists, and Royal Decoy was a 2022 semifinalist in The Best In Indie Awards. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework. Heather lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains in northern Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, visit her website:

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