When Destiny Summons
Artwork by Author Shannon Leigh

The following is an excerpt from When Destiny Summons, the novel I'm currently working on. This is the sequel to More Than Prophecy. The main characters are Lord Aurelius Lachlan Ramekah and Lady Whisper Andreas. The setting is on Earth's sister planet Zandar. The Genre is Paranormal Romance. I hope to have it finished within the next few months. Enjoy!

As Whisper parried back and forth with her opponent, she soon lost track of her partner. With adept skill and masterful poise, she quickly disposed of her foe. Shoving her way through what seemed like a wall of bodies, she tried to find Erik.

She’d just spotted him a few yards away, locked in what looked like a difficult battle, when another man jumped in her path. Whisper quickly appraised him, taking in the knife strapped to his ankle, and the one on his forearm. With a snort of impatience, she raised her sword in preparation.

He was hardly a match, and she skillfully defeated him with nearly effortless grace. And likewise, the one after that. But they just kept coming! For each opponent she disposed of, another quickly took his place. It was if they were purposely keeping her from getting to Erik.

With an unladylike snarl, she gritted her teeth and fought her way towards her friend with a strength that bordered on desperation. Although she barely saw his rival, her heart clenched with anguish as intuition told her that he was unbeatable. Clearing her path once again, Whisper looked up just as she saw Erik crumple to the ground.

His opponent stood above him, a hunter marveling over his prey. Then, as though wanting to assure himself of his victory, the man hefted his sword above his head with the deadly tip pointing downward, preparing for a final strike. If Erik weren’t already dead, he would be.

Auck! It’s the rider in the front, Whisper realized, finally seeing Erik’s assassin in full view. She watched in agony as the man’s tip plunged towards Erik’s heart. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she rushed towards them.

Unable to hold in her distress, “Ahlte! Please!” she screamed. The fervent plea carried over all the other sounds around them.

The man stilled his sword and looked up at the person charging towards him. Even above the clamor of grunting men, clanging metal, and howls of death, he’d heard the feminine cry. As if her voice had touched some hidden part of his soul, some small thread of mercy secretly veiled within the black walls of his tainted heart, Lord Aurelius Lachlan Ramekah found himself unable to complete his task.

Lady Whisper Andreas, he realized with a strange sense of awe. Slowly, Aurelius lowered his blade to his side, sparing his enemies life. Although he’d severely injured him, the man on the ground at his feet would live, thanks to his mistress’s plea.

But something couldn’t be gotten for nothing, no favor given without just payment. He would spare this man’s life in exchange for another. And the daughter of Lord Darian Andreas would suit him just fine.

By now, many men from all three groups had fallen. And the rest were so covered in blood and grime, either from their own wounds or from those of their foes, that Whisper couldn’t tell who was winning or who was left. But she barely registered any of this as she rushed to stop Erik’s execution.

“Come on, ya filthy whore-monger!” she yelled to the hovering giant. “Try yer hand with me!” Forgetting all her years of training, her skills, her patience, Whisper carelessly charged forward, sword swinging with fury.

Her first blow was easily thwarted, and one was returned in its stead. The force of her opponent’s response was fierce, nearly knocking her off her feet. And for the first time in her life, Whisper doubted her capability. As they continued to parry back and forth, it became evident that her rival was playing with her, taunting her, and the realization filled her with outrage.

Struggling to control her wayward emotions, she focused on finding his weakness. It was obvious she would tire before him, so she had to stop wasting energy. She knew he was holding back, bridling his real skill, for he emanated a power that was nearly debilitating. All it would take is one well-aimed blow and she’d be through.

The man was like an impenetrable mountain. He had a solid build; tall and well proportioned with broad shoulders and a large chest. And he stood in a wide stance, strong and sturdy, with a narrow waist and long, powerful legs.

The muscles in his bare arms bulged as he gripped the hilt of his massive sword in hands that were big and square. Contrary to his bulky frame, he moved with a lithe grace that was almost beautiful to watch as he easily avoided Whisper’s best attacks. And while she was quickly tiring and starting to slow in pace, he seemed to be unaffected by his expenditure of energy and continued to return his own thrusts with ease.

Panting with exertion, Whisper took an unsteady step back from her opponent. The activity around them had died down to a low roar; blurred figures danced in her peripheral vision. She wasn’t sure if they were fighting, or moving in for a better view.

It was as if they were in their own little arena, two sole contestants in some horrible gladiator game. And the others were merely bystanders, enjoying the show. But she dared not take her eyes off her adversary for fear of giving him an edge.

Sweat trickled from her brow and ran into her eyes. She wanted to reach up and wipe it away, but her helmet’s faceplate barred her hand. Suddenly, her armor felt heavy, suffocating, and she wished she could take it off. But there were no breaks in this contest; it was a fight to the death and she already doubted her success.

Whisper glowered at the man before her. Why does ’e taunt me? She knew he could finish her at any given moment, so what was he waiting for?

With slow and deliberate ease, she carefully studied his armor. There has to be a weakness to ’im somewhere, some flaw. No one’s perfect. And yet, the specimen before her seemed a creation of the Gods, for he appeared without fault.

A solid breastplate covered his chest from his broad shoulders to his narrow waist. His legs were bare to the knee, but a skirt of metal slats protected his groin and upper thighs, preventing any possibility of damaging his manhood. Whisper snorted with disgust. A mon’s most prized possession.

Perhaps she could sweep his feet out from under him, as she had Garadon’s arrogant guard. With him on his back, she’d have a better chance of… Her eyes darted to his lower legs.

“Namit!” she muttered to herself. Thick plates also cosseted his shins and calves. She’d likely do more damage to herself than him. Besides, he was probably too heavy to budge.

A low chuckle drifted though the air.

Whisper’s gaze flew to her enemy’s faceplate. Although the top half of his face was hidden, it was bare from his nostrils down to his jaw. His smooth, full lips were pulled back over straight, white teeth in a mocking smile. And it took everything she had not to fly at him in fury.

A small cleft dimpled his perfectly squared chin as though purposely placed for a devastating effect. And dark stubble covered his upper lip and chin like grainy sandpaper, giving him an even manlier aura. As her eyes met and locked with his leveling, ice blue stare, Whisper knew he was dangerous to her, in more ways than one.

For the first time in her life, she felt the stirrings of desire deep within. Appalled by her illogical attraction, she clenched her teeth with anger. Fearing he might sense her strange appeal, she dropped her gaze to the chiseled line of his jaw.

Perhaps there lay her advantage. One quick slice would wipe that annoying smile right off his handsome face, literally. And yet, she found herself not wanting to mar his handsome features in any way.

Even though most of him was hidden, instinct told her that the rest was no less intriguing. Now this is a mon who might spark my interest in the matters of breedin’, she decided, as her gaze took in his full, stimulating form. Too bad we’ve met on such hostile terms, fer I’ve a strange desire to investigate more.

Unfortunately, this was no time for fascination. Only one of them would walk away from this encounter. And the determined set of his stance told her that he didn’t aim to lose.

Shaking the ridiculousness out of her skull, Auck! Get yer head on straight, lassie! This mon aims to have yer soul!

She gripped the hilt of her sword so tightly her knuckles turned white. It’s you or me, buddy. An’ it sure as Hades won’t be me!

With a chilling war cry, Whisper lunged. Holding her sword in her right hand, she slashed towards her opponent’s face. As her left arm swung down in a circular movement, her hand adeptly grabbed a hold of the stiletto sheathed at her waist.

When her foe arced his own blade up in defense, she dropped to her knee and buried her knife in his outer thigh with a wide, outward swing. Then she jumped back to her feet and followed through with another slash of her sword, this time aiming at his exposed arm.

The focused blow barely grazed his shoulder before he leapt aside. Satisfied that she’d inflicted as much injury as she could at the present moment, Whisper jumped back and waited for his return. “I’ve drawn first blood, ya filthy mongrel,” she sneered, raising her sword with renewed confidence. “What say you to that?”

Aurelius was momentarily stunned when he felt the dagger enter his leg. He’d barely had time to react before her sword was swinging at him again. Somehow, she’d just managed to even the odds a bit.

The wench is good, he admitted, reaching down to pull her knife out of his thigh. He grunted as the cold steel slid from his flesh. Then he lifted the short blade in the air, respectfully nodded at her skill, and tossed it aside. Holding his sword out before him, he casually waved it back and forth as he circled around her.

It was obvious there was more to Darian’s daughter than he’d first thought. He’d heard she was a fierce competitor, a real tigress in battle. But perhaps there was something even better beneath her man’s clothing and warrior’s shell. And mayhap he’d like to find out for himself just what that might be.

As he took in her tall, athletic build, tiny waist, and long, lithe legs a grin tugged at the corners of his firm mouth. I’ll spare ’er, he decided, feeling his own interest beginning to peak. At least fer a while.

So, even Gods can bleed, Whisper thought triumphantly, feeling a little bit of her confidence return.

She crouched down in a wide stance, preparing herself for his attack. It would be swift and strong, and she’d need a firm balance to ward off the impending blow. But as the muscles rippled through his arms as though gathering in preparation, she felt her poise begin to wane.

She barely had time to know fear when his blade swung towards her in a full arc. As her own sword clang against it in defiance, her stance began to falter. He completed his sweep, dragging her blade and her balance with it.

He’s too strong! Whisper realized, as she felt herself falling to the side.

Preoccupied with thwarting his blade, she never saw his fist swinging towards her face. It was like a boulder crashing into her jaw. White light exploded in her eyes as the blow landed with precision.

The ground was a blur as it rushed towards her when her legs buckled and she fell. Blackness seeped into her spinning brain as her awareness began to fade. Struggling to remain alert, she rolled onto her side, intending to get up.

Somewhere on the borders of reality, she thought she heard a male voice whisper in her ear. “Be still,” it said. “An’ I will spare ya.” The sound was gentle, comforting, and it lulled her into complete surrender. With a final sigh, she gave herself up and drifted into unconsciousness.

I hope you enjoyed this. Watch for When Destiny Summons to be available soon.

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