The Lynx and the Druidess by Cornelia Amiri

The Lynx and the Druidess
The Druidry and the Beast Series
Book Five
Cornelia Amiri

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: July 1, 2020
Number of pages: 94
Word Count: 22,600
Cover Artist: Kyra Starr

Tagline: Loving a god has its advantages

Book Description:

Lleu, the radiant sun god, crosses between worlds to the Silures village for the fierce and stunning druidess, Wendolyn —a woman worth battling for. He longs to celebrate Lughnasa, the festival that honors him, with her.

Wendolyn is captivated by the striking stranger the moment he wanders into her village. Furthermore, she wants him with a fervor, burning her from within. However, he’s hiding his true identity. When he vows to save her tribe from the Romans marching toward them, everyone, including her dead father in a dream, says he is a coward who has run off.

Lleu is determined to win the love of druidess Wendolyn even if it means fighting the Roman army singled handed—by shapeshifting into in his lynx body.

Will her tribe survive the Romans? And, can Wendolyn and Lleu’s relationship survive her tribe’s mistrust of him?

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With her heart hammering, Wyndolen stared with wonder at Lleu’s luscious nude body. She only glanced away long enough to pull a white robe, speckled with gold, out of the chest in the corner. She tugged it on, then fastened a plaid cloak over it with a round silver broach and latched her gaze onto Lleu again while he slipped his clothes back on.
They left the roundhouse and walked hand in hand to Cynfor’s home.
She called out to the woodmaker, “It is time.”
 Cynfor stepped out, clutching an iron rod and the wheel of the year coated with gooey tar.  As the three walked together to the center of the village, men, women, and children gathered around the druidess, muttering, “Lleu,” and “coward.”
Scanning the angry faces in the crowd, Wyndolen sighed. If only they knew the truth about him. But she couldn’t blame them, she was as guilty as they were. She hadn’t recognized he was a god, even after he’d told her. No, he had to show her his magic spear and reveal his dazzling aura. Now the others needed to learn the truth.  Tonight, at his festival, she would announce who he really was. But first she had to prepare her tribesmen for the news, to lessen their shock.
She held her palm upward toward the crowd and cleared her throat. “Hear me, I have a surprise for all of you. The presence of the god Lleu is here. You do not see him as he is in the guise of one of us. So, take care of how you treat each other, lest you offend the deity.”
Their expressions shifted from anger to shame as they were now all on their best behavior.
Taking graceful steps, she led all her tribesmen, chief, and Lleu to a cliff. Their chief proudly carried a blazing firebrand, and Cynfor held the sacred wheel with reverent hands. Everyone grew quiet and gazed down the mountain slope.
Wyndolen announced, “We have gathered this Lughnasa to observe the Wheel of the Year as it turns.” She raised her arms to the sky and smiled at Lleu as she chanted, “The sun burns, yet winter nears. The season turns. Summer comes to an end. Sun and earth, life to death the wheel turns, Lughnasa, Lughnasa.”
She took the torqueh from Corio, handed it to Lleu, and he lit the wheel of year aflame. Cynfor handed Wyndolen the iron rod. Then, the sun god, Lleu, ran beside her, on the other side of the flaming wheel, as she used the rod to roll it down that part of the mountain slope.
She chanted, “God of the sun, the wheel has turned, the yearly end of your reign has come.”
Smoke rose, as flames ate the wood. The wheel reached its end at the foot of the slope and crumbled into ash and burning fragments. The crowd stopped in their tracks and circled the symbol of the dying Lleu.

About the Author:

The Celtic Warrior Queen influenced Cornelia Amiri to write professionally. Cornelia loves history and in reading a book about the dark ages, she came across the rebel queen, who inspired her so much, she started jotting down notes. But they were fiction, visions of her involved in the Boudica revolt. Before she knew it, Cornelia had accidentally written a rough draft for a novel. And she’s been writing books on purpose ever since. Drawing on her love of a happy ending she’s currently penned 39 published romance books.

Now, for the more mundane stuff. She and her muse, Severus the Cat, live amid the hustle and bustle of humid Houston, Texas, as does her wonderful son and granddaughter. Cornelia’s currently working on a sci-fi comedy romance series with a Celtic goddess as the heroine.

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LESSIA by Lucas Ryan Maloney


Eluramance Chronicles
Book One
Lucas Ryan Maloney

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: FriesenPress
Date of Publication:
Number of pages: 342
Word Count: 91,727
Cover Artist: Bryan Maloney
Book Description:
A war is brewing between demonic forces and the peoples of Eluramance…
Lessia has always wanted to be a mancer, one of the great magic-wielders of Eluramance. Her wish comes true when, in an act of desperation, she performs her first act of magic and is granted admission to the Academy of Magic.
There, she learns the skills and discipline to use her gifts for the sake of good. Upon graduation, Lessia intends to dedicate her life to the study of magic. But when her class is killed by demons and her best friend taken, Lessia is instead thrust into the war between Eluramance’s forces of good and Zavus’ evil army of demons.
Each of the races of Eluramance brings their own unique prowess to the field of battle. For the dwarves, their strength; the elves, their wisdom; the orcs, their might; the humans, their drive, and the Drakonics, their ancient connection to the powers that forged the world, and the magics of those ancient ones. As for Lessia, a seeming no-one caught between these dangerous powers, what can she possibly wield to protect her home from the forces of evil?
Discovering her place in this battle for existence, Lessia journeys through the distinct—and often dangerous—provinces of Eluramance, fighting Zavus’ deadly lieutenants on the path to facing the Dark One himself. With the help of powerful allies, she will battle for the soul of her country—and uncover the true nature of her own exceptional ability.
Excerpt Chapter 10
Light And Shadow
Vaelik stood over Lessia, his evil smile wide. “Stupid girl,” he said. “Your friends sent you here, never intending for you to succeed. They sent you here to die.”
“They would never!” Lessia said with as much defiance as she could muster.
“And yet, here you lie, barely alive and helpless to prevent me from ending your life,” Vaelik said. “However, there is a way for you to not only keep your life but to become so much more powerf—”
Lessia didn’t allow him to finish speaking instead, she spat a globule of blood into his eye. “Keep your offer, demon collaborator,” she said. “I would rather die a thousand times over than become Zavus’ plaything.”
Vaelik’s eyes narrowed. He drew his arrow back, aiming directly at Lessia’s heart.
Suddenly, the green darklight torches extinguished, bathing the chamber in inky darkness. Lessia heard a soft sound, like fabric drawn over a surface, and then a clash of arms, followed by a brief shower of sparks that illuminated Vaelik and his hooded opponent.
On an instinct fuelled by adrenaline, Lessia lashed out with her armoured boot and connected with what felt like a leg, knocking one of the two people to the floor. Someone grabbed her leg. The sensation of displacement without motion overwhelmed her dazed senses for a moment but cleared quickly.
Vaelik yelled a foreign word, and the darklights flared back into existence. Lessia found herself behind one of the crates on the opposite side of the room, next to a hooded woman carrying a curved black short sword.
“Who are you?” Lessia asked softly.
“Like you even have to ask,” the woman said. She pulled her hood down, revealing Marian’s grinning face. “Let’s kill this bastard first,” Marian whispered, holding a hand up, stalling Lessia’s stream of questions. Marian placed a hand on her shoulder, and Lessia felt energy flow into her body, fortifying her.
“I don’t have a weapon,” Lessia said. “I…broke it.”
“Just distract him and cast me some shadows,” Marian said.
Lessia nodded. “Cover your eyes.”
Marian pulled her hood back up and readied her blade. Lessia let out another blinding flash of light, even brighter than before, causing Vaelik to cry out. Lessia stood up and saw Vaelik cringe, so she yelled at him. He blindly launched an emerald green bolt of lightning at her, which she evaded easily. As she rolled away, Lessia emitted a constant aura of light, casting shadows off all the various objects in the room.
As soon as the shadows appeared, Marian rolled into the nearest one and vanished in a puff of black smoke.
“Maneuver it closer to him,” Marian whispered in Lessia’s mind.
“Be ready,” Lessia replied. She peeked around the corner of her cover. The shadow Marian was hiding in was about ten feet away from Vaelik. She knelt and rolled across to another cover, a bolt of lightning missing her by inches.
“Come out, Luxmancer. I promise you won’t suffer,” Vaelik said.
“I know, and I promise you won’t either,” Lessia retorted. She rolled away again and saw the shadow reach Vaelik. Marian reappeared and stabbed her blade into Vaelik’s abdomen, thrusting her face in front of his.
“Light and shadows are never without the other,” Marian said, ripping the blade out and then impaling it up through Vaelik’s chin and through his head, piercing out the top of his skull.
Vaelik’s green eyes dimmed instantly, and his body went limp. Blood poured from all his various stab wounds. Lessia extinguished the bright aura she had produced and conjured an orb of light that floated just below the ceiling. She looked at Marian, who retrieved her weapon from Vaelik’s corpse. Marian grinned, and the two embraced.
“I’m sorry,” Marian said.
Lessia looked at her. “For what? You just saved my life.”
“For trying to kill you, all those months ago,” Marian said. “I just…”
Lessia shushed her with a hand. “I know you weren’t yourself, you had one of Zavus’ demons in you, controlling you. You aren’t to blame.”
“No, Lessia, that is not how it works,” Marian said, on the verge of tears. “The demon spirit doesn’t control you; it enhances whatever attribute your magic has. And as you know, Umbramancy is aligned with pride, and it was that pride that drove me to seek vengeance on the light and you.”
“She speaks the truth,” a voice said. Marian whirled around, her blade ready to strike, but neither she nor Lessia saw anybody.
“Oh, come now, Lightless, you would recognize my voice anywhere,” the voice said. Vaelik’s body suddenly raised, as if it was a puppet on strings. “She wanted so badly to spill your blood that even if I hadn’t told her to do so, she likely would have on her own.”
Marian screamed in frustration and anger, throwing her blade at Vaelik’s possessed corpse, impaling his left eye.
“You defile the very air that carries your words, Zavus,” Marian said, her voice full of venom.
Using Vaelik’s own body, Zavus pulled the dagger from Vaelik’s eye, tearing bits of flesh with it.
“How rude,” Zavus said, “and to think I was going to keep the two of you alive for my experimentation. But I see you’re far too much trouble.”
Two things happened simultaneously. Zavus conjured a black flame tinted with red and green, and Marian grabbed Lessia. Just as the flame fully manifested, Lessia’s vision went dark, and she felt the same odd sensation of displacement without motion.
A split second later, Lessia found herself back in the Temple of Aero, surrounded once again by Zethras and the Drakonics.
“See?” Zethras said. “I told you I could still feel her life force, despite passing from my sight.” He then looked at Marian. “I am, however, surprised to see you. How did you manage to find Lessia where we failed?”
Marian grinned and grasped something hanging around her neck on a silver chain, removed it, and tossed it to Zethras, who caught it.
Zethras opened his hand, revealing a polished silver ring which, upon close inspection, was very faintly sending out a gentle pulse in a particular direction—towards Lessia.
“How…?” Zethras asked. “This needs to be paired with…”
Lessia reached into one of the small pouches on her sword belt and removed Marian’s silver ring, which Morgaen had retrieved for her from the site of the ambush at Mount Lainor. She held it up at eye level between her fingers, and a look of recognition crossed Zethras’ face.
“Evelyn found these rings on one of her early adventures before we met,” Marian said. “They were on an island covered with ancient Elvish ruins. They bear an inscription that reads ‘Meyu-das-shyn’, but neither Evelyn or any of her crew could translate it.”
“Beacons of the heart,” Zethras said. “It has been a long time since I have seen one of these, let alone a bonded pair that still work perfectly.” He looked up from the ring in his palm. “It is an ancient type of Hemomancy that, like so many other things, has been forgotten by most. For the last ten thousand years, elemental magics have become more and more prominent, and Hemomancy has faded into myth and legend. There has not been a new Hemomancer in nearly a thousand years, ever since the Red Twilight tragedy.”
“I recall that name,” Lessia said. “It was in one of my history books, but only as a reference point to other events. What happened?”
“I had learned of a rumour that one of my disciples had been dabbling in a forbidden form of Hemomancy, commonly known as blood magic,” Zethras said.
“Isn’t that redundant?” Lessia asked, confused.
“No,” Zethras said firmly. “Hemomancy, at its most basic level, enhances life energy and then uses that creative force to accomplish a task. Because life itself is not restricted to a single form of thought, that energy can be made to do nearly anything.” He scowled. “Blood magic consumes life energy as a fuel, instead of enhancing it. Blood mages cut themselves, spilling their blood and draining the energy from their bodies, or through sacrificing another. It is the most unholy act one can do, as it desecrates the gift Hemo gave us so many ages ago.” Zethras turned and looked out the window.
“So, I travelled to the Temple of Hemo, which lies in ruins today. I found all but one of my students lying dead, arranged in a circle, drained of all their blood. The murderer spoke to me in a calm tone, saying Hemo had come to him in a vision, that he wanted his followers to join him in his realm. He was to send them to Hemo, for Hemo had chosen him as Hemo’s Scion.”
Scion. The word rang in Lessia’s mind. She remembered what Vaelik had called her—the Scion of Lux.
“What does that mean, Scion?” asked Lessia
It was Morgaen who spoke. “Sometimes, when a child is born with magic, it forms a different kind of bond with them. Ever since the Seven passed from Eluramance, a portion of their power remained, to forever be passed down in the spirits of those who follow their path. These individuals are called Scions. Even though they are not bound to a dragon’s soul like we are,” she said, indicating the Drakonics, “their powers are immense. To complement this, they wield their respective fragment.”
“How often do they appear?” Lessia asked.
“One hundred years after the previous one dies,” Zethras said.
“When did the last Scion of Lux die?” Lessia asked, expecting another specific answer. What happened surprised her.
Zethras stood very still, almost unnaturally so, and a red aura surrounded him as if wreathed in flames. He glanced over his shoulder, and Lessia saw his eyes dim and narrow.
The four Drakonics raised their weapons and Zethras looked at them. He closed his eyes and shook his head, like a bear trying to disperse a swarm of bees. A portal opened beneath his feet and he fell through it, closing it as he passed through.
“Did I say something wrong?” Lessia asked cautiously. The four Drakonics looked at each other.
“Emotions run deep within the Blood Lord,” Conleth said. “He was wed to Grand Paladin Zelwynn, the most recent Scion of Lux.”
“Until she died,” Morgaen said, “killed during a mission just over a year ago, trying to prevent all this from happening.”
“How did…” Lessia began to ask, but Conleth held up a hand to silence her.
“It is not our place to tell you,” he said. “In time, he may tell you himself. But the memory is still too recent, too fresh.”
“Is that what that was?” Lessia asked.
Marak spoke this time. “For as long as we can remember, Zethras has always had two sides. The eternal protector who fights for every life that is and will be is the version of him that everyone knows, either personally or through the legends he leaves scattered through the long winding path of history.” He touched the glowing orange Dragonstone in the centre of his chest plate. “Our bond-mates were still comparatively young when Zethras was born, and he has—according to our ancestral memories—not changed at all since he’s known them.”
“But, like all things, he has a darker side,” Morgaen said, “When painful memories come back to him, if they are powerful enough, he can lose control. We have come to know it as the Blood Fury.”
“You have seen the craters and gorges of the canyon lands to the south, yes?” Conleth asked, to which Lessia responded by nodding, “That was him, last year. I am sure you felt the quakes too.”
As if on cue, another portal appeared, and Zethras reappeared, his features having returned to normal.
“You know, a thought just occurred to me,” he said. “How could you have possibly known that Zelwynn died?”
“Vaelik said his master told him the Scion of Lux would be sent to stop him and reclaim Raizoth,” Lessia said, “and that was his chance to acquire something he called ‘the beacon of hope.’”
“That is impossible,” Zethras whispered to himself, then held out a hand to Lessia. “Come with me.”
Lessia took his hand, and he opened another portal.
“Where are we going?” Lessia asked.
“To see if the impossible has changed.”

About The Author:
From early childhood, Lucas Ryan Maloney’s imagination fueled his love of storytelling. From powerful magic to powerful warp drives, black holes to supernovae and heroes battling villains, Lucas could weave tales that kept children and adults alike enthralled. Through his teens, Lucas fulfilled his quota of shenanigans and embraced a digital lifestyle while studying culinary arts. After several years of pursuing an unfulfilling culinary path, a profound event opened his mind to his true calling.
A few years ago, while walking in a forest contemplating his chosen path, Lucas found himself caught in a thunderstorm. As he pondered, a blinding bolt of lightning and ear-piercing crack of thunder split the sky. Startled, Lucas moved to a nearby clearing, sat down and continued his self-reflection. After three more lightning flashes and thunder claps, Lucas closed his eyes and peered deep into his heart, slowly a vision of himself writing in leather-bound writing journals surfaced.
Lucas says he’s not sure how long he sat there in his mindful reprieve and that when he opened his eyes and looked up, the clouds parted revealing blue sky. He smiled knowingly, stood up and headed home.
On the way, Lucas stopped at a stationery store and made a purchase, the first of many.
Lucas resides in Southern Ontario, Canada

Djinn by Niki McAlister



Serving the Scales
Niki McAlister
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Niki McAlister
Date of Publication: August 1, 2020
Number of pages: 132
Word Count: 45,690
Cover Artist: Niki McAlister
Tagline: From Silver Spoon to Silver Tongue
Book Description:
Born into a wealthy family on the west side of the Naga Kingdom, Djinn De’monte has always lived a life of undeserved luxury. He parties every night courtesy of his father’s money and, with a flick of his hand, can bed any woman he chooses.
Why would he ever give any of that up to settle down and work a regular job? Everything he needs is right at his fingertips, but when an unexpected tragedy strikes the rug is suddenly yanked out from under him. Djinn is forced to sink or swim.
Join him on his forced pilgrimage as he reluctantly discovers that there is more to life than having everything served to you on a silver platter. Will he learn just what he stands for, or will he be swept up with the rest of the garbage?
In this short prequel we travel back to Djinn’s youth to find out exactly what transpired before he met a very unusual servant girl. This story can be read before Serving the Scales, after, or by itself. Though Djinn’s story isn’t part of the Serving the Scales Trilogy, it is an important part of the history that took place in Iruli.
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“You can’t go in there right now, he’s in a meeting!” The butler elf cried, trying to insert himself between me and the double doors of my father’s office. I slapped him aside with a brush of my tail, sending him clattering into the wall. As he sputtered in surprise I threw open the doors, my faded green locks whipping in the artificial breeze as I met my father’s deadpan stare.
“Djinn, now isn’t a good time.” He said, dismissing me with his hand but I would have none of it.
“Are you directly responsible for the suffering of countless pregnant women and children?” I seethed, glaring directly into my father’s eyes.
“Djinn..” Dad’s face was blank as I heard someone clear their throat to my left.
Councilman Wartez was seated on a cushion there, looking up at me in disapproval—but I didn’t care. “Well? Are you?” I repeated.
“Djinn if you could come back later I’d be happy to—”
“No, we’re going to talk about this now dad.” I huffed, raising my tail to tower over him.
Dad sighed. “Where are you hearing this from? Is this about Jess? I assure you she received the best care.”
“Why aren’t all of the pregnant nagas in the East city receiving that type of care? Are you aware that they’re being treated on the damp ground?”
“Surely those people must be used to doing things on the damp ground.” Councilman Wartez snickered beside me.
“Are you fucking with me right now?” I spun around to the councilman. “People are dying and you’re over here making jokes? Why isn’t the council doing anything to help?”
Dad glared up at me through his tiny glasses. “Not that you’ve ever cared before, but we’ve been conducting tests on the female naga’s issue for decades. We’ve informed everyone that, should they find themselves pregnant they should seek proper medical care.”
I slammed my hands down on his desk, remembering all the times he’d had the maid whip me for touching his desk. His eye twitched as he looked down at my hands. “You do realize that most of the citizens in the East city can’t afford to see a doctor, right?”
“That’s being quite presumptuous. I’ll have you know that we installed Deklyn over there to care for the elves ten years ago. They’re being cared for better than they ever did in that backwoods place they hail from.”
“You know damn well I’m not talking about the elves.” I seethed.
He shrugged, making my blood boil. “You and your council buddies could easily extend a hand to these women but you’re not!”
“That’s enough Djinn.” Dad rose, grabbing my hand and pulling it off his desk.
“It’s not nearly enough dad.”
“I must ask you to go home and we’ll discuss this at another time.”
“Fuck you.” I spat. “You’ll just send Natasha over with more money or a fucking fruit basket to shut me up, you bastard.”
“That’s enough!” Dad boomed, coming around the side of his desk. “One more word out of you and I’ll cut you off.”
“I dare you.” I grinned, spitting on the ground in front of him. I raised my gaze back to his face to relish in the shock I’d caused but to my surprise I felt my father’s fist collide with my cheek as he snarled at me. I flew backward, hitting my head on the back wall of the office and pulling down a bunch of books as I slumped to the ground.

“I’m sorry for this outburst Councilman Wartez.” Reginald was saying, shaking the councilman’s hand. The last thing I remembered was both of the councilmen looking over at me in amusement as I passed out.
About the Author:
Niki McAlister is an avid reader of romance and fantasy. She’s always lived in a little world inside her own mind, often getting herself in trouble while daydreaming. She currently resides in Tennessee with her husband, two boys, and many pets.
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