#OnTour with #prismbooktours
12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas – Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig
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On Tour with Prism Book Tours
There’s a price on her head, and it has everything to do with the brand on her arm.
Tertian Space Coalition has blessed every planet in the quadrants with high technology, save one: Drosero. But in spite of their tenuous treaty with the ruling clans, TSC has plans for the backward planet. And they’re not alone.
After a catastrophic explosion, Kersei Dragoumis awakens in a derelict shuttle, alone, injured, and ignorant of the forbidden technology that has swept her into a nightmare. The brand she’s borne since childhood burns mysteriously, but the pain is nothing to that when she learns her family is dead and she is accused of their murders.
Across the quadrants, Marco Dusan responds to the call of a holy order—not to join them, but to seek a bounty. Gifted—or cursed—with abilities that mark him a Kynigos, a tracker sworn to bring interplanetary fugitives to justice, Marco discovers this particular bounty has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with prophecy. One that involves the hunter as much as the hunted.
“You are sure of this, my lady? It’s Myles.” Weighted eyes drove home the point. “Our fiercest.”
“It was a fair draw.”
“Let it not be said that I, the lone female in the training yard, whinged.” Not when she had pleaded so hard for training. As it was, she was thankful Uncle Rufio had left express word before he left for the middle lands that she should be allowed to continue her levels.
Jamming her fingers into thick hide gloves, Kersei Dragoumis stalked toward her destrier. She smoothed a hand over Bastien’s broad skull, then pressed her forehead to his and closed her eyes, stroking his powerful neck. “May I serve you well, friend.” She swung up into the saddle, ignoring the heat and dust that clung to her. Thank the Ancient women in Kalonica wore split pants to accommodate arduous tasks. At least in this she conformed to tradition.
Squinting against the strength of the full rise, she stared down the training yard at her opponent. Courage curdled inside her.
Seek strength where it may be found.
Approaching on her left, Minos lifted a javrod. “Myles will not take into consideration that you’re a female, nor that you’re a second-year. He is ruthless.”
“Then I must be at my best, aye?”
Minos thrust the javrod into her grip. “You have the iron of the machitis in your blood, Lady Kersei.” His sun-leathered face grimaced. “Ancient help us all.”
She laughed, more because of her nerves than out of amusement. “Now you sound like Darius.”
Had he been here, he would have forbidden her to spar against Myles, one of Father’s favorites. Myles had gained the rank of aerios faster than most—faster, even, than Darius—though only by a month. Yet her father would threaten his position on the elite guard of the realm if anything were to happen to her today. She’d never taken on a warrior of his caliber. Still, she knew Minos was right: Myles would give no quarter, while everyone else had taken into account that she was a female and that her father was Xylander, Elder of Stratios, one of the Five, and Chief Counsel to Medora Zarek.
Minos secured the strap around her arm. “Prince Darius will have my hide and your father my shield if harm comes to you.”
She cut him a glare. “Then I am glad neither is here.”
With a sigh, Minos backstepped.
Kersei again studied her opponent. “He thrusts at the last second,” she muttered.
“And at an angle. Give it room to bend.” His eyes held the worry of a warrior facing his last battle. “Pull off if—”
“Blood and boil!” someone shouted. “Kersei has drawn Myles!”
“She can’t be going through with it. She wouldn’t be that—”
“Aye, she would.” Another laughed.
Kersei blew out a breath as her periphery filled with the grubby green tunics of machitis lining the edge of the hay-strewn training field. She ignored their mocking murmurs and focused on Aerios Myles, who sat in quiet confidence on his mount, bored. Even though he wore a training jerkin and armor, it was how he wore it. Stretched taut against his chest and arms. Comfortable as a second skin. The destrier stamped impatiently. Myles had long been intent on proving she should not be here. Her mother liked him for that reason alone.
With gloved hands, Kersei slid down the face shield. Mentally patted armor that should protect her ribs and stomach. Wouldn’t Ma’ma love her to come home the night of Adara’s Delta Presentation with a black eye or broken limb?
Then best not get injured.
“Riders, ready!” Minos called over the chatter of the other machitis.
Both she and Myles hefted javrods to readiness and nudged their mounts into position on either side of the long dividing fence.
“Ho! Look to the ridge,” a spectator called. “The Kalonican lion!”
Sucking a breath, Kersei flicked her attention to the rise overlooking the training field. Royal banners snapped in the breeze. A cluster of horses cantered ahead of the detachment coming down the hill. One rider broke ahead in a full gallop. And though she could not see faces at this distance, she knew that golden-brown hair.
“It’s Prince Darius!”
Now he returns? No no no. He had always said she should not spar or joust. If he saw—
Her gaze darted to Minos. He held a fist to his chest in recognition of his prince. “Vanko Kalonica” rang out from the warriors. Blood and boil! Darius would end this match.
“Ready,” she shouted, hunching into Bastien.
“Ready!” The shout from the other end of the field pulled her up straight.
So, Myles is as anxious as I. But which of them would stand proudly before their prince when this was over?
Kersei swallowed. Tucked the javrod into her shoulder, its length standing straight. Lighter than a lance, it was a formidable weapon even if she were dismounted.
Aerios Minos lifted an arm, then violently swung it down.
“Huah!” With a jab of her knees, Kersei committed.
Bastien reared, his raw power surging beneath her. He vaulted forward like the mighty war horse he was. She leaned into the charge. Breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, she urged Bastien to eat up the distance.
As Myles stormed her, he grew. In size. Formidability. Ferocity.
Heart thundering with Bastien’s hooves, Kersei focused her advance. Bend with it. Darius’s instruction from their days of sparring nudged attention to her rigidity. Expecting failure, she loosened taut muscles. Lay upon the buffeting wind streaming between her and Bastien.
As she aimed her javrod, Myles did the same.
Shouts pushed past the wind to reach her ears.
Her javrod wobbled in her grip. It vibrated up her arm. Shook her. She stiffened, fearing she’d lose the rod before even engaging her opponent.
Bastien responded, tensing beneath her stress.
Kersei shed the fear. The expectation of failure. Guided Bastien to the rail and firmed her grip. Felt it nock perfectly into her gloved hand. Targeted down its length to Myles’s chest.
Just forward more. Almost there …
As she thrust, she held her breath. She must do this. She was Kersei, daughter of Xylander, the fiercest machitis in Kalonica!
The thick, dulled tip of Myles’s javrod beamed right at her. Firm. Solid. No uncertainty. Pure experience. Ferocious determination. His scowl bled into focus behind the rod. Dark eyes. Forbidding. His rod swung down.
Ah! Just as expected. He’d miss. She would stand before Darius. She would—
About the Author
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and dogs, VVolt N629 (retired military working dog) and Benning the Stealth Golden. Described by literary agent as an empath, Ronie has used her degree in psychology to write books that have won the coveted Christy Award, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion Award, and more. Her books have also hit the CBA Bestseller list multiple times.
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)
December 1st: Launch
December 2nd: Rebecca Belliston – Heart of Red, Blood of Blue
December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse – Flight of the Raven
December 4th: Jes Drew – Tales of Parallel Worlds
December 5th: Ronie Kendig – Brand of Light
December 6th: Alisha Klapheke – Fate of Dragons
December 7th: Jessica Leake – Through the White Wood
December 8th: Belle Malory – Electric Skies
December 9th: Melissa McShane – Burning Bright
December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood – Blackbriar Cove
December 11th: Melissa Wright – Shadow and Stone
December 12th: Grand Finale
1 winner will receive an Amazon Fire Tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prizes)
Ends December 16, 2019