As my WIP gallops towards a close (yes, I’m writing the climax right now, and I’ve ordered the cover – yay!), I thought I’d share a few snippets with you – I shared the prologue a while ago, which you can find here in case you missed it.
I never find it easy, picking out self-contained excerpts, as most passages involve more than one event (I do like multiple plot strands!), but despite still being in need of editing, but I think it gives a nice sense of intimacy in the midst of calamity.
From THE PRINCE’S HEIR, due to be published December 2021
Halson’s face flushed pink, then red, and even as Rustam took a step towards them, intending to pry the little boy’s hand from his mother’s over-protective grasp, he began to cry too.
“Risada,” Rustam murmured into her ear, “let me take Halson. He doesn’t understand what’s going on.”
Risada glanced round, her distressed expression biting into him, but she nodded, and relinquished her son’s hand. Rustam crouched down and took the boy’s small hand between his own, rubbing it gently. “Shall we go and talk to the horses?” he suggested. Halson stopped crying immediately.
“Hosses,” he repeated enthusiastically, and Rustam hefted the child onto his shoulders before rising to saunter over to the animals. “Someone walk this one, please,” he requested, noting how Betha’s mount was still blowing hard from its gallop. The guardsmen glanced at one another before one picked up the animal’s reins, making the point to Rustam that they did not answer to him. In fact, it was yet another reminder that his current position in society remained as clear as the filthy water flowing not ten lengths away. Rustam drew a deep, steady breath before returning his attention to Halson.
He lowered the boy to the ground and led him up to one of the more sedate animals. Halson patted its leg enthusiastically with both chubby hands while cooing to himself, and Rustam smiled indulgently: obviously his half-brother was as taken with horses as he was. He scooped the child up and plopped him onto the saddle, unprepared for the shriek of delight.
Rustam grabbed the startled horse’s reins. “Uh, uh.” He shook his head and raised a finger to his lips. “Shh. Don’t frighten him.” Halson mimicked his gesture, giggling behind the finger pressed across his lips. Rustam placed one hand on the boy’s leg, and with the other on the reins led the horse around the meadow until the rocking motion made Halson sleepy. Then he lifted the child down and took him back to his mother.
* * * * * *
Short, but a sweet family moment, also serving to keep alive my intention of how important horses are to these novels.
Expect more bits to appear here as I begin the editing process – probably the best time to pick them out!