The opening to How to Seduce a Knight was inspired by a lovely illustration in the wonderful but now sadly closed Realms of Fantasy magazine. Its images triggered all the feelings I have about the wonder of fantasy. In words, I tried to capture them as well. Here is but a portion of the first chapter of the book, which was inspired by the illustration. I hope you enjoy it.
Note: The first edition was released in 2007 by Amber Quill Press as Tears Of The Dragon. If you own it, you might wish to read it again.
Dee Ann Palmer
Copyright 2014 by Dee Ann Palmer
Published in the United States by Dee Ann Palmer
Dragon shifter Gloriana, princess-royal of the golden dragons, is heir to the throne. As the only offspring of the king, nothing has been denied her, resulting in a determined and headstrong young dragon. As Arondele, in human form and hiding her true nature, she falls in love with Rodick, a powerful knight in the enchanted kingdom of Ahnerion. When she unknowingly breaks a law among her kind that could mean both their deaths, she abandons him to save him.
Blazing passion fuels Rodick’s hunt to find her. But if he does, and when he learns what she is, will their love stand the test? Will they survive the king’s reaction?
EXCERPT – CHAPTER 1
Xertan began to snort and paw, stirring up the richly scented loam on the forest’s floor just as Rodick’s gaze fell on the fairest woman he’d ever seen.
He’d pulled the destrier up at the edge of the forest, but now Xertan was turning in circles in an attempt to retreat back into the woods. Rodick brought the great stallion under control. He wanted to gaze longer at this perfection.
That she rode alone surprised him, for her head was crowned with a golden circlet with four high prongs. It was the headpiece of a princess-royal, although of a house unknown to him. He knew of no princesses resembling this one, and he was acquainted with, or thought he was, those of every castle in the area. Had even bedded a few of them, he thought with a wry smile. But this woman, instinct told him, would fulfill every fantasy a lusty man could have in bed. And then some.
The horse she handled with such ease was a dappled grey, and its trappings and harness were decorated with tassels and ornate embroideries. Her flowing gown and cape were the color of emeralds and fastened over her breasts with bright ornaments. Sunlight splashed on her long, blonde tresses, spinning them to gold.
She sat her seat straight and yet relaxed. If her dress and the horse’s rich caparison hadn’t told him, he would have recognized she was a royal just by her carriage and dress. That she would be traveling without knights and outriders still puzzled him. Did some enchantment protect her?
A silence had settled over the meadow at her appearance. The buzzing of bees and the calls of birds quieted. The breeze died away. It was as if the entire meadow and its creatures held her fresh beauty in awe.
Resting an arm on the pommel, he felt for the first time the fine tremors in the horse beneath him. Here was another puzzle–even in battle the charger had never trembled. Rodick didn’t know why he did so now. If he’d smelled wild boar or some other menacing creature, Xertan would’ve bolted into the clearing. Instead, he obeyed his master’s commands to remain still, but trembled as if in fear.
It was odd. But there was always something odd in this forest. If there’d truly been danger, Rodick thought he’d have sensed it.
Enthralled, he watched as the princess’s horse picked its unhurried way on the path paralleling a stream that ran through the meadow. Periodically, the vision of loveliness looked up, seeming to search for something, but the cerulean sky remained empty, as if the sun refused obscurity while she rode. Other than that occasional watchfulness, it was obvious she wasn’t in flight from anyone or anything. Nor did she exhibit fear. Instead, she seemed content to meander in the lush meadow among the flowers that grew near the gurgling water.
Without warning, Xertan turned and carried Rodick back into the forest. By the time Rodick had pulled him up and around again, the young woman had vanished. A fine, cotton candy mist drifted in to fill the void with sweet mystery.
The destrier no longer trembled, and Rodick reached to rub his neck. “What’s the matter, boy? What scared you?” He didn’t expect an answer. Even in Ahnerion horses didn’t talk.
* * * *
Dee Ann Palmer’s love of language and words began as a small child while listening to her mother practice as a member of the Texas Storytellers Association. Later, the King James language of the Bible and Shakespeare’s works increased her fascination. Lonely as a child, she entertained herself by making up stories, first writing them down when she was seven.
Now an award-winning, multi-published author in fiction and non-fiction, her focus in recent years has been on tales of romance, murder and suspense.
She married her college sweetheart, and they live with Ella, an adored older cat, in southern California.
October Monthly Drawing, Halloween Gift Basket
October’s monthly drawing is for a Halloween gift basket containing:
Do You Believe in Magic by Susan Squires, autographed trade paperback
Alliance: Stellar Romance by Lyndi Lamont, autographed trade paperback
Spirit Mug & Cowboy Boot tin of mints donated by Paty Jager
Milk Chocolate and Candy Corn (white chocolate) M&Ms
Halloween notepad and post-its and assorted author swag
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