SERIES: Telluric Realm #1
AUTHOR: Anyta Sunday
COVER ARTIST: Natasha Snow
LENGTH: 98,000 words
RELEASE DATE: April 26, 2016
BLURB: A curse threatens the Winter Kingdom.
A brother is turned to ice.
A rebel uprising is on the horizon.
Marble-maker Rye Cunnings is at the center of it all—and doesn’t know it.
He doesn’t know he’s the lost summer prince. Doesn’t know his blood can unlock Winter’s curse. Doesn’t know why the marbles he makes flutter with magic. All he thinks is that he’s crazy. That he sees things others don’t, like dragons and strange markings on his skin.
But when a dark dragon snatches away Rye’s only friend Milo, he is forced to face the crazy in his life and figure out a way to bring Milo back.
Help comes in the form of Cerdic Leit, a warrior who finds Rye to take him “home” to the Telluric Realm and their kind. All Rye has to do is follow him into Gatreau, the gateway to the four Telluric kingdoms, and all his questions will be answered.
In the hopes of saving Milo, Rye steps into this new and dangerous world. A world where he learns of the Tellurics and their Hansian foes. A world that is swept up in a bitter battle of justice and hate.
And a world that won’t let Rye leave again.
The snick of the armoire and Kaitlyn cursing had Cerdic kicking off his boots and pounding up the stairs to the roof three at a time, metal quaking under him. His brother could not be in love with the princess, could not try and prove it by breaking the royal curse with true love’s kiss. True love didn’t exist.
He had to stop Taruk. Cut him off in the gardens before he met with Princess Alyssa Gildwor.
He couldn’t be too late.
He had to shift and fly to the gardens.
Had to beat sundown and Taruk’s kiss.
The cold outside air slammed into him, its welcome sharp in his throat and wound. He tucked his arm against his chest and ran, passing Mulberry and Collins, who were limping over the bridge connecting the warrior wing to the prince’s quarters.
His feet crunched over thin ice. Wind whistled as he raced past the circular courtyard toward the south tower overlooking the castle gardens. A sliver of light still hummed on the horizon—it had to be enough.
Ahead, Prince Drake Gildwor was pacing the long strip above the gallery, silhouetted against a black amethyst sky.
No time to stop.
No time for apologies.
No time to explain.
Cerdic mowed past his highness, picking up speed, shedding his sword belt. His name came tagged to a demand but speed left it far behind him.
His bloodkey burned against his wrist and he threw himself off the edge of the castle and into the sky, shifting into his dragon form. His remaining clothes ripped, and pain strung through him as his bad wing extended and he plummeted toward a frosted courtyard.
He angled his body and a pocket of lilac-scented air lifted him. He clenched his jaw against the ache and flew swift and low, racing against the setting sun.
Taruk, don’t do it.
Cerdic pushed his slender snout taut, streamlining to gain speed. Keen sight and desperation honed his senses toward his brother. There … in the rose garden at the base of the bell tower.
No matter how pretty the rose, no matter how soft their combined laughs, one brush of her lips would poison him.
You dance with a thorn.
Cerdic hurtled toward them like he used to when Taruk was younger, when Taruk would stand with Kaitlyn in the gardens, begging him to teach them how to fly. . .
Princess Alyssa twirled, golden-white hair and silvery gown reflecting the lights from the castle. Taruk sighed.
The sigh of love luring a man to his doom.
The evening gripped Cerdic.
Not yet you don’t. He flicked his tail, propelling him toward the garden.
The last dredges of dusk disappeared.
With a hungry grip, night clawed at him, black clouds curling and snaking around all twelve feet of him.
Cerdic hissed fire, lighting the paralyzing darkness.
He had to land. Change.
Night thickened its hold, curling around his neck, legs, and torso, cutting the softer skin under his wing and digging into his ripped tendons.
Cerdic roared for his brother, who jerked his head upward.
Don’t do it!
Night yanked Cerdic toward the bell tower, stopping him from landing, from shifting back to his warrior form.
With a slam, his back met frozen shingles and stone and his scales grew heavy. In a rippling wave, stone devoured his motions, snaking over his wings, torso, his clawed feet.
Cerdic whipped his head about. If he could shake and shatter the stone . . .
But the sundown beat his dragon. It always did.
Beneath him, bells rang, vibrations hurtling through his body from the end of his tail to the tips of his wings. Six o’clock.
He shouted but it was useless. Stone silenced his pleas. Would silence all his roars until sunrise.
Below, the princess tugged Taruk’s arm. Doubt shadowed his brother’s face as he looked from Cerdic to Alyssa.
The princess spoke, every word cutting through the night. “What did you want to ask me?” Her breath fogged the air and sent little frost crystals up the collar of Taruk’s shirt.
His fool of a brother smiled wide, brilliant, earnest. The warmth of it should have been enough to break Cerdic free from his dark binds.
Clouds parted and moonlight sharpened the angles of the princess’s face, whiter than the icicles hanging from a distant arched trellis like hundreds of blades poised on the precipice of battle.
Taruk breathed in, his chest puffing out.
He lifted the princess’s white-gloved hands and drew near.
She tensed. “Taruk—”
“Please. Let me lift this curse from you.”
Princess Alyssa extracted one hand from Taruk’s grasp and touched his smooth cheek. “I can’t . . . I can’t do it. Not to you.”
The princess stepped back, but Taruk pulled her in again. “Because you love me as much as I love you.”
She swallowed, a small choked sound coming from her. “I love you, too, but—”
“So kiss me,” Taruk said, dipping his head. “Do it. Let me free you.”
“But what if. . .”
Taruk smiled and cupped the princess’s nape. “You’re beautiful…”
A yell built inside Cerdic, growing and growing until surely it would shatter him.
Didn’t the princess’s breath leaving a trail of ice-crystals over his jaw warn him? Cerdic’s stomach churned. Don’t do it.
Kaitlyn, where are you?
A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.
My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!
When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my son around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.
Since 2014, I’m also part of CritShop Literary Services, specializing in writing workshops and editorial services for LGBT fiction.
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