A brief excerpt from The King & His Queen
Available February 2017
“Hemera!” Talon cursed himself when she startled and stretched her hands out for balance and to keep from falling off the roof.
“You might want to try talking to her more calmly,” Paine suggested and received a scowl from Talon that stabbed at him like a sharp knife, though did not penetrate… a smile being his shield.
Talon came to stand a short distance away from the ladder leaning against the roof. His voice remained strong, though he did not bellow at her. “Get down from there now, Hemera.”
I am not finished yet,” she said and with no further explanation to her actions returned to her task, her head disappearing down the hole she was enlarging.
“You are finished!” Talon ordered with a shout.
“I do not think she heard you,” Paine said and locked his lips tight to stop from laughing.
When the King headed around the dwelling, Wrath jabbed his friend in the arm. “You are not helping the situation.”
Paine laughed. “No, but I am enjoying it.”
Talon entered the cookhouse and the workers scurried to a corner. He looked up at the hole too see Hemera’s face almost sticking through it. “You are finished!”
“Nay, I am not,” she said, tilting her head a bit to the right. “I little more off this side and I should be done.”
“You are done now! Paine will see to the rest.”
The workers in the corner cringed at the King’s forceful tone.
“I will be done quickly enough.”
The workers cringed again, hearing her defy the King.
Talon stormed out of the cookhouse and returned to the ladder, placing his foot on the bottom rung.
“My King, let me,” Wrath said, stepping forward, a threatening glare halting his steps.
Talon climbed the ladder quickly, stopping on a rung when the middle of his chest met the edge of the roof. “Come here now, Hemera!”
Hemera turned with a smile. “I have no need of help. I am finished.”
Talon raised his hand and summoned her with the crook of one finger.
Hemera cautiously eased her bottom along the roof until she reached him.
“The saw,” he ordered his hand stretched out to her. She handed it to him and he dropped it to the ground. “I am going to place you over my shoulder and carry you to the ground.”
Hemera stared at him, tilted her head, stared some more, then strained her neck to look over the edge. “That would not be wise.”
“Why?” he asked annoyed that he, the King, should ask for an explanation.
“The ladder will not hold both of us.”
“The ladder is sturdy enough,” Talon said and held his hand out to her.
“It is worn with time, its strength gone, and you would do well to climb down, for it surely feels your bulk,” she warned with concern.
“You try my patience.”
Hemera leaned closer to whisper, “I worry for you and a crowd gathers. Do you truly want your people to see their King plummet to the ground?”
“We will not plummet to the ground,” he said his patience growing shorter. “Now come here to me.”
Hemera moved closer. “If I am right and we plunge to the ground will you suspend my punishment?”
A smile almost broke through his scowl when he said, “This is one wager I will win and gladly gloat when I do.”
Hemera did not hide her smile as she moved closer to him. “Do not let me land on my head when we fall.”
He looped his arm around her waist. “It is my hand that will land on your backside after we climb down.”
He eased her over his shoulder, wrapped his arm around her legs, just under her backside to keep tight hold of her, and stepped one rung down. He was about to take another step when he heard the crack and felt the ladder give.
Talon had all but a mere moment to yank Hemera off his shoulder and lock his arms around her before they plummeted to the ground.
The King & His Queen
Book 3 in the Pict King Series
Available February 2017