Vikings ... dragons ... magic ... and adventure.
My newest series is the Dragonriders of Skala, about a group of sword-friends in the early days of the Vikings who are thrust into adventure, warfare, and song-magic. The first book, THE FLAME OF BATTLE, is available for preorder and due out in May, and the second book, THE FIRE OF ROSES, will be out thereafter.
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Get a free sneak peek of THE FLAME OF BATTLE here: claims.instafreebie.com/free/xSJNTSaD
Suddenly Aesa drew in a long breath. "Sissy...."
Dyrfinna jerked her head up from the boulder she'd just dislodged. Her breath stopped in her throat.
From out of the tall winter grasses at field's edge came a wolf, his yellow eyes full on them.
Aesa started to whimper. She was only five. When Dyrfinna was her age, she'd seen a pack of wolves take down one of their horses, her favorite horse, and Mama had snatched her up and run hard for the house while Papa had run backwards at our side - backwards - while slamming home arrow after arrow from his bow at the wolves. Afterward, three dead wolves littered the field with arrows sticking out of them. Her papa's arrows. But her poor horse had been killed. She had nightmares about that for moons.
And here Dyrfinna was, alone in a field because she was too impatient to wait for anybody else, with no protection but a sword. But she'd have to wait for the wolf to come right up to her little sister in order to use that sword.
"Grab hold of my leg," Dyrfinna commanded her. "Do it!"
Aesa's little shaking arms went around Dyrfinna's left leg.
"Sissy ..." Aesa said again, and her little face crumpled. Her shaking arms loosened. She started to sob against Dyrfinna's leg.
The wolf's intense stare never wavered. It took one slow step toward them. Then two.
Dyrfinna would have to move quickly. She had to pick up her sis, and she'd need to stoop to do it, and the wolf would likely rush them when she was on his level. At least he was alone, for a wolf with a pack would be calling to them. But a lone wolf would also be more desperate - hungrier.
With her foot Dyrfinna touched two of the stones she'd dug up, and pulled them close together so she could easily grab them when she picked up her sister.
"Aesa," she said. "On the count of three, I'm going to stoop down and pick you up. If I have to fight this stupid wolf, I need you to hold me as tight as you can. Tight. Like a barnacle. Do you understand?"
Aesa started crying out loud, but she nodded. Dyrfinna touched the sword in her scabbard, pulled it up a little so it would slide out in one smooth motion when she needed it.
Her heart was pounding so hard. This whole time, her eyes had been fixed on the wolf's, except for a brief moment when they'd flickered to the stones, and when they'd flickered to Aesa. Her little sister. She loved her so much.
Well. Now Aesa was going to see how her big sister, who loved her more than anything else in the world - she could see how well Dyrfinna could fight.
"When I pick you up, I'm going to scream like nothing you've ever heard," she told her sister. "Hold on tighter when I do."
The wolf moved in a step. That bastard.
"Count to three with me," Dyrfinna told her. "Then you scream when I scream. Okay?"
Her left hand was around her little shoulders. She felt Aesa nod.
Dyrfinna made her heart iron.
That wolf was not going to get her little sis.
That wolf was going to die right now.
"One." She placed her feet into a solid stance, both for fighting and for picking up a three and a half stone girl.
"Two." Aesa's little trembling voice echoed hers.
Dyrfinna breathed in deep, let it out, let power uncoil through her, just as she'd been taught for so many years.