I wanted you all to get a taste of The King’s Executioner, book one in the Pict King Series, so here’s a brief excerpt for you to enjoy. I will be sending a chapter out to my Book Alerts List in the next week or so. If you haven’t already subscribed and would like to, it’s a snap. Go to the top of the page and you’ll see Subscribe to Donna’s Book Alerts List.
Cathbad took his wife’s hand. “The executioner has arrived.”
“You will do nothing that will bring you harm. I will have your word on that,” Blyth said, squeezing her husband’s hand.
“You are already tearing my heart in two. What difference would more pain matter?”
“If you lift a hand to protect me it will not only be you who suffers, but our sons as well.”
“Then remember that and tell the executioner what he wants to know.” Cathbad did not give his wife a chance to respond, he hurried her outside and down the few wood steps to see that their tribesmen had lined both sides of the lone path to the Great House in anticipation and curiosity of the executioner’s arrival.
Heads turned and necks stretched when out of the morning mist stepped a large, black wolf. His gait was slow and cautious and his fiery orange eyes roamed over each and every one there. His mouth was drawn back, his teeth bared and a continuous low growl rumbled from him as he walked down the path.
The wolf was the executioner’s constant companion and obeyed his every command. No one dared go near the animal for fear of what he would do. Some believed that only evil could tame such a vicious beast, but then many believed that only evil could torture and behead as the executioner did.
As frightening as the wolf was, he was not as half as frightening as the warrior who followed behind him. Not a sound, not even the slightest gasp was heard when the executioner came into view.
Never had Blyth seen a man the size of him. He appeared a giant, standing a good head over the tallest man and a mantle hung on his broad shoulders, its hood draped over his bent head, leaving most of his face shrouded in mystery. Though, the chill of harvest time had settled over the land, he wore no shirt under his dark tunic that barely covered his lower body. Smooth, dark hides were strapped to his muscled legs and foot coverings with leather ties.
He stopped a moment and with a sharp lift of his head, his hood fell back and his cloak fell away from his arms.
Abundant and strange body drawings covered his thick-muscled arms and neck and one could only wonder as to the drawings that lay beneath his garments. His dark hair was cropped short around the sides and back, the remainder short but not shorn. If none of that caused one to gasp, his fine features and bold green eyes did, and Blyth’s first thought was…how could one so pleasing to look upon be so cruel?
She continued staring along with her fellow tribesmen and the closer he came and the more she saw the more frightened she grew. His green eyes were empty. They held no warmth or coldness. There was nothing there. Nothing at all. And she could not help notice there were no lines or wrinkles around his eyes or mouth. That could only mean one thing…he rarely, if ever, smiled or frowned.
Could it be true? Could the executioner lack a spirit?
She lowered her glance, not wanting to gaze upon him a moment longer and a gasp slipped from her lips before she could stop it as her eyes fell on the battle axe he held at his side. The double-edges glistened as if they was recently cleaned and sharpened in anticipation of his next execution.
Cathbad heard his wife’s sharp gasp and quickly wrapped his arm around her. He was relieved that he had sent his four sons away on what they believed were important matters. He wanted them gone when the executioner arrived, for he knew they would not stand idle and watch their mother suffer. He could not as well and he knew this day might bring both he and his wife’s deaths.
The executioner did not stop when he reached the couple. He walked up the steps and as he passed Cathbad, said, “I will speak to your wife alone.”
Cathbad kept his voice firm when he said, “I will—”
“Do as I say,” the executioner ordered and opened the door, turned, and gave a firm nod to Blyth.
She whispered reassuring words to her husband as she struggled to free herself of her his firm grasp. On trembling legs, she walked to the door and slipped past the executioner without dare glancing at him.
“Bog, guard!” the executioner commanded and the wolf took a stance in front of the door as it closed shut.
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The King’s Executioner will be available either late March or early April and I hope to have it as a pre-order. I will keep you posted and look for more about
the Pict King Series coming soon!