20 June 2013

Excerpt Thursday: Dawnflight by Kim Headlee

This week, we're welcoming author Kim Headlee, who takes readers to an ancient time in her novel DAWNFLIGHT. Join us on Sunday, when the author will offer a free copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor. Here's the blurb:

Gyanhumara “Gyan” nic Hymar is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien map Dumarec, a son of her clan’s deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon’s conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything...perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.

Arthur map Uther is the bastard son of two worlds, Roman by his father and Brytoni by his mother. Denied hereditary rulership by the elders of Chieftainess Ygraine’s clan, Arthur has followed Uther’s path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness...most of the time.

When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul’s mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan’s ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman—but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur’s greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.

**An Except from DAWNFLIGHT** 

Gyan turned her head toward the sound of the approaching army. In her entire life, she had never expected to be gladdened by the sight of a thousand Ròmanach-equipped Breatanach warriors. Yet she felt like whooping for pure joy. She settled instead on a sigh of relief. Captivity bred strange ideas indeed.
Even if the Scáthinaich did kill her, she’d die with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be long in following her.
She peered over her right shoulder at the Scáthinach camp. From what she could tell, they hadn’t heard the approaching Breatanach columns over the din of their axes and mallets and shouts. She suppressed a grin.
The rumbling stopped. A peek westward revealed the troops halted on the pair of ridges beyond her. They began advancing a rank at a time, as quietly as possible and staying clear of the river valley, where they would have been visible to the camp.
A bronze-helmeted head popped over the edge of the rise.
Could it be? Impossible! She had to be dreaming. Too much time under the elements had made her overwrought imagination produce this vision.
She blinked, hard. Wonder of wonders, Arthur did not disappear!
Their eyes met. His gaze was every bit as intense as she remembered. The air around him seemed to throb with his strength and courage. Mentally, she drew upon that power with her steady gaze.
He smiled briefly. Her heart danced.
The instant passed. He crawled to the top of the ridge and scuttled through the tall grass to her platform.
“Any Scots watching, Gyanhumara?” he whispered.
She cast a glance at the camp and shook her head. He rose to his knees, lifted his sword, cut the rope, and ducked back into the grass. Rubbing her stiff arms, she took a step away from the post.
“Get back,” he ordered, still whispering. “I’m not ready for you to move yet.”
As Gyan backed up to the post, a collective shout rose from the enemy camp. Arthur jumped to his feet, Caleberyllus in hand. But the enemy’s attention was focused on the city gates, where Urien was emerging with the Port Dhoo-Glass defense force.
From the platform, Arthur waved a “hold steady” signal to his column and to the men on the opposite ridge.
“Urien can’t have seen our approach from his position. What does that fool think he’s doing?” he muttered as the two sides rapidly closed across the neutral ground.
“Trying to save me, of course. I’ve been up here for hours.” Fists on hips, Gyan regarded the Pendragon critically. The thought of letting Urien die in this battle was tempting—but unworthy. “Well, Arthur, are we going to help him? Or just sit up here and watch his troops get devoured?”
“We are going to wait until the Scots are committed to attacking Urien.” His gaze locked on hers. “Then we will devour them.”
His face betrayed no emotion save readiness for the imminent battle. Yet his cool appraisal of her sent a tingle down her spine and prodded her into action.
“Good.” If she was ever going to find out how things really stood between her and Arthur, she realized she would have to take the initiative. And there was no time like the present. “Then permit me to thank you for rescuing me.”
She threw her arms around his neck and sought his lips with hers. His surprise didn’t last long. He wrapped his arms around her and began questing with his tongue as though trying to probe her secret depths, a response even more passionate than she had ever dared to imagine! Desire too long suppressed welled up within her with surprising yet satisfying force, finding release through her ravenous lips. As he ran his fingers through her hair and she pressed her body to his, an exquisite ache flared in her loins. Her heart racing like fire through sun-scorched grass, all thought of enemies and battles fled, only for a moment.
But, oh, what a glorious moment!

Learn more about author Kim Headlee: www.kimheadlee.com

Read DAWNFLIGHT now and learn more: www.dawnflight.com

See the Book Trailer on YouTube:

Amazon.com link to all available editions: