Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party! (The Source of Magic: Excerpt)

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The Source of Magic: A Fantasy Romance

by Cate Rowan (Excerpt)

the-source-of-magic-200x300For a moment there was quiet, and peace. Jilian couldn’t hear or move, but she could see Alvarr’s eyes, gray and deep. Then, with a tremendous roar and a jolt through every nerve, the world reappeared.

Cries of struggle buffeted her ears. She twisted toward them and Alvarr set her down, but kept her corralled in his arms, her back to his chest.

They stood in a round room of mortared stone and blazing torches, and they weren’t alone. Two men and a woman in sapphire-blue cloaks battled soldiers in black tunics slashed with red belts. Three soldiers attacked each person in blue. The blues fought awkwardly, as if unused to combat.

Jilian jerked back, knocking her spine against Alvarr’s solid form. Where am I?
The heat of his broad chest seeped through her nightgown. He leaned down to be heard above the clamor, his lips brushing her ear. “Please, send me your kyrra!”

Kyrra? Her brain scrambled for a meaning.

His left hand gripped her ribcage and he reached for her right hand.

“What are you DOING?” No, this is only a bad dream. And I’ll end it. Just as she was preparing to ram her elbow into Alvarr’s ribs and wake up in her study, a soldier hurtled toward them swinging a wooden quarterstaff.

She recoiled, slamming against Alvarr.

“Takerran!” Alvarr shouted. Green fire streaked from his raised palm to his opponent’s chest. The soldier sank in a heap and his staff clattered to the ground.

The world thinned and condensed into the soldier’s murderous sneer, frozen at the moment of the fire’s impact. The glare in his eyes iced her gut.

A dream! Wake up!

But his cruel gaze was too real—as were the frantic shouts, the acrid burn of torch-lit air, and the strong hand on her hip.

A familiar ring of light encircled their feet, and from it Alvarr yanked up a crackling wall of jade fire. It surrounded them and he twisted to his right, hauling her with him. “Rokad, look out!” he yelled to one of the cloaked men.

Jilian shoved against Alvarr’s grip, unable to budge even one powerful finger. She saw the dark-haired Rokad vault to the side, panic flooding his face. A glinting spear whistled through the air but caught only the edge of his cloak. He spun and lobbed a green fireball at his attacker, who crumpled to the ground. But he didn’t escape the second soldier, or the rope in the enemy’s hands that cut off his breath.

“Rokad!” Alvarr started toward him, dragging Jilian with him once more. The wall of fire flickered erratically.

“No, the FireRing—keep her safe!” Rokad gasped, clawing at the rope around his throat.
Jilian flinched as the butt of a sword crashed into Rokad’s temple.

Alvarr grabbed her hands. “The kyrra—hurry, send me your power!”

WHAT power? A scream pounded on her tongue, but the consequences it might bring clamped her teeth.

Within moments, the soldiers knocked out the three figures in cloaks and the sapphire mantles pooled on the stone floor. A brawny man with a red circular badge stepped forward, pulling a clear cylinder from a pouch at his waist.

A scarlet glow flared within the cylinder and the officer aimed it at Rokad. Rokad’s body paled. Even the sapphire of his cloak faded to a dull slate gray. Alvarr’s furious breath rushed across Jilian’s cheek.

Through the wall of fire, she stared in horror at Rokad’s ashen face.

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