Fantasy Romance (Lite Paranormal)
A Garrison Love Story Book 2
Date Published: April 1, 2014
War makes strange bedfellow.
Shape shifter, Faelan Foley, goes to war determined to win equality in a society where women are possessions, but when she’s forced to shift and arrested as a spy, a soul-searing friendship with the enemy Field Marshal develops threatening her heart and her definition of equality.
Aimery Duncan traded the privileged life of an island landholder for the anonymity of a cavalry officer. He never expects to find himself Field Marshal of the Allied Kingdom Army facing an invading enemy. Let alone meet his soul mate. Too bad, she is a shape-shifter and an enemy spy.
Can Duncan do his duty, save Faelan from the hangman’s noose, and somehow convince her that love is stronger than war?
“Damn Nicholas. Who does he think he is?” Faelan shouldn’t have let Nicholas’s possessiveness get to her, but it galled. It was the sort of thing she had sought to avoid by volunteering with the army. “Where does he find the nerve?”
Riding beside her on a stolen dun gelding, Quinn wisely held his tongue. Like big brothers everywhere he was a maddening tease, but in a quarrel he came down on Faelan’s side every time. Near the spot where they had encountered the blue-jacket scout, she reined in, slid out of the saddle, and rubbed her backside. Why did she always have to ride a mule?
“I know Nicholas is your friend, but I’m not marrying him no matter what anyone thinks. And I’ll tell you another thing; I’m not marrying anyone who thinks he can tell me how to live my life.”
“I’ll be sure to relay your thoughts to Nicholas.”
Faelan arched her brow. “When I need your help, I’ll ask for it.” She glanced around. “Wasn’t there a cave around here somewhere?”
Quinn touched his chest. “Are you asking me for help?”
Faelan showed her teeth, a snarl not a smile.
Quinn laughed. “See the dark spot behind the thin stand of firs over there?”
Faelan nodded. “I’ll leave my clothes in the cave, and we can meet here until the enemy breaks camp.” Handing Quinn her reins, she headed for the dark niche within the rocks.
“Wait.” Quinn jumped down. “Are you sure I can’t talk you out of this?”
Faelan gave a long-suffering sigh. “It will help our war effort.”
“I don’t doubt it, but I wonder if it’s the war effort you’re so eager to help.”
“I don’t see your meaning.”
“I know your appetites, little sister, better than I know my own. You want to devour the pretty little field marshal.”
“My wolf wants to devour him.” She flashed a saucy grin. “I’d settle for a good licking.”
“Qu-inn.” Faelan matched his tone.
“Don’t get killed.”
“I won’t. I promise. Come give me a hug. I have to find an enemy soldier with a weakness for dogs before nightfall. Please don’t worry Quinn. This will work, you’ll see. We’ll meet here in two nights.”
Faelan padded down a pine needle carpeted deer trail in wolf form considering her brother’s words. She didn’t want to gobble up the field marshal. She wanted to roll over and show her belly. Given her mission, this dangerous desire annoyed the hell out of her. Pausing, she raised her nose, tested the air for scent and found what she sought, steel and horses, and death. Crouching low Faelan eased toward the source.
She could not believe her luck. Commanders kept to the safety of camp. At least they did in her army. But the field marshal and his demon crouched beside the scout’s body looking at—Oh great ancestor Quinn’s fur!
The demon rubbed the inky fur between his fingers. “Duncan, this fur is…it’s not right.”
Duncan. The field marshal’s name sizzled through Faelan’s bloodstream, found a home in her heart, and melted in. She shook herself. Oh, yes. This man was danger in a pretty wrapper. Moments later, the search party mounted and turned their fine horses toward their camp. The demon walked at Duncan’s stirrup leading his own mount burdened with the body of the blue-jacket scout. Mindful of Descendant tales and warnings of demon powers, Faelan followed the group at a respectful distance.
Faelan had seen this demon in the camp, tall, rapier thin, lean-muscled, a terrible beauty with spiky golden hair, tapered ears, and rich amber eyes. The tales said demons didn’t age, but this one’s mannerisms suggested youth. Obviously, Duncan’s creature, Faelan smelled his devotion like spice on the wind. Keeping downwind, hidden by trees, she strained her hearing in hopes of gleaning some useful information, but her enemy’s mood was somber. Frustrated, Faelan turned to her other senses.
The field marshal, the demon, two of the men, and the woman wore blue-jackets. Having never seen a female warrior before, the woman fascinated Faelan. Citizen militia made up the rest of their party. Faelan had seen their like before in the little villages her people raided before the field marshal brought his cavalry into the field. Each man wore his own regimentals, one a rich burgundy, one a dark green, the other a pale gray trimmed in dark blue.
The search party stopped near a clear slow moving creek, and the demon passed out meat pies. The rich aroma made Faelan’s stomach growl. She inched forward watching, listening, and was rewarded with the first chink in the field marshal’s army. The militiamen took their portions and moved apart from the blue-jackets. Abruptly, the demon raised his head, sniffed the air, and glanced toward her hiding place. Faelan melted back into the trees.
The field marshal walked slowly along the shallow stream moving away from his group. His magnificent horse, gray as a storm with scattering of black spots across its white rump, trailed behind dipping its elegant head to the stream now and again.
Faelan paced him.
Duncan squatted in the stream and let the cold water sluice over his hands. He reeked of regret. Would death on a large scale slow his relentless pursuit of her people? Could the Descendants even manage something like that in their current sorry state?
Upwind now, Duncan’s elegant spotted horse caught her scent. Its head lifted. The warhorse looked straight at her, nostrils flared. Faelan crouched even lower. Tail tucked tight against her belly, ears flat against her skull, she inched forward.
“Be very still, Aimery Duncan.”
The demon’s voice came from Faelan’s right. Until he spoke, she had not seen, heard, or even smelled him, so intent had she been on the field marshal. The demon stood about twenty feet away with a short powerful looking bow aimed at her heart.
Duncan looked up and trapped Faelan in the full force of his remarkable eyes. For a minute she couldn’t move, melting in his burning sapphire gaze. A whimper slipped from her mouth. She dropped her rump lower and tucked her tail tighter against her belly. Her posture screamed I’m harmless.
The field marshal held his hand out palm up. “Come to me, Azure-eyes. I will not let the terrible elf shoot you.” He shot his demon a determined look. “I have seen enough death today, Eamon.” His gaze returned to her. “Come here, my beauty. There is nothing to fear.”
Duncan’s voice flowed over her, warm as a summer day. It soothed her, compelled her. Faelan inched forward, aware the demon—elf had not relaxed the tension on his bow. Faelan’s nose grazed Duncan’s fingertips. His skin smelled of oranges and chocolate. Faelan gave in to desire. She rolled over and exposed her soft creamy belly to his touch.
He rubbed her thick fur and smiled. “You see, Eamon. She is just a big friendly dog. A real beauty too, I think.”
He thought she was beautiful. The demon—the elf, Faelan corrected herself again, didn’t look convinced, but he lowered his bow.
“Where did it come from, Duncan?” The elf moved closer. “It looks like a wolf. Come away from it.”
“This dog did not kill our trooper.” Duncan pushed to his feet, wiping his hands on his thighs. “You worry too much.”
“My Captain told me to look after you.”
“Did he?” Duncan punched the elf’s shoulder in passing, as men do. “He said just the opposite to me.”
Faelan stayed on her back, vulnerable. The elf troubled her. He knew there was something ‘not right’ about Quinn’s fur. He was suspicious of her and he had unknown powers.
“Look at her, Eamon,” Duncan collected his horse’s reins. “How many white, blue-eyed wolves have you seen? She is a cross breed probably from one of the burned out farmsteads we passed left behind to die.” He turned, patted his leg. “Come Azure. Come girl.” Faelan rolled to her feet and trotted to his side.
“You’re not keeping it?”
“I could not save my scout today, but I can save this dog. I need to do this.” He paused, caught his lower lip between his teeth. “Look at those eyes, blue as the sky on a clear day at sea. Can you think of a single reason I should not keep her?”
“Yes,” Eamon nodded. “It’s a wolf.”
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About the Author ~ Jane Atchley
Trapped in a world of user manuals, Jane Atchley dreamed of a life beyond technical writing. One night, over nachos and margaritas with “the great ladies,” a world of elves, pixies, and a certain red-haired cavalry captain beckoned. She and her two terriers have lived there ever since enjoying one adventure after another.
Jane is a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors. She loves to hear from readers. Email Jane at email@example.com
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