Fire and Tears
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: April 29, 2014
Number of pages: 151 pages
Word Count: 44,000 words
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
They’ll risk forever death for one last chance together…
Nuala of Glengowyn hasn’t left her home city in over a century, but not by choice. Her skill as a weapons master has made her a prisoner of her people. Held apart, protected in the extreme—until Sorcerers attack the human city of Sinnale.
Sent to supply her unique magical arrows to help the humans, she is far from free.
The elf king and queen have sent a bodyguard, a fearsome warrior whose reputation has no rival. The only man she has ever wanted. Einar of Glengowyn.
Einar is known as a battle-crazed destroyer, so feared among elves he’s called by a single name: Darkness. And he has only one weakness—Nuala. Their union is forbidden, for melding their magics could destroy Nuala’s gifts. Yet as they journey to the war-torn city, no royal decree is a match for two hundred years of pent-up desire.
But even if they escape the war zone, their lives still hang in the balance. They must confront their sovereigns and prove love makes them stronger—or face their deaths.
Product Warnings: This book contains a deadly elf hero, a heroine who’s his match, a lot of sexy misbehaving, some hard language, racing through the streets, owls, arrows, evil Sorcerers, wicked minions, and a very dangerous elf king and queen.
Nuala stared at Einar for a few more minutes, caught by his intensity. To escape, she glanced down at his injured arm. “I can wrap that for you.” She gestured to the wound.
He gave it a cursory glance. “It’s only a scratch.”
“But neither of us can afford to have you weakened.” She spun in a slow circle, then started opening doors. When she found a room that contained a couch, she led him inside. “Sit,” she ordered.
Without supplies, her only option for binding the wound was the hem of her riding robe. “Your knife.” She held out a hand without looking at him and pulled up the long length of material.
“It’s not necessary.”
“Don’t argue.” She wiggled her fingers, still focused on the material in her hand. His presence threw her off balance and looking directly at him made it worse. They hadn’t spent this much time together, alone and in close proximity, since…
She didn’t want to think about the last time.
After the knife hilt settled gently into her palm, she sliced a few lengths of silk along the split front hem of the robe. It would leave a wider V in the front, but since they had to travel quickly, she was considering cutting off the length completely anyway. Once the sun set, the early autumn nights were too cold to get rid of the over-robe altogether. It was designed to allow easy, free movement, with slits in front and back so she could sit astride her horse without the long material getting in the way. It had stayed out of her way during the earlier fight too. But those lengths of material could be put to better use. And the less she had to worry about right now, the better.
Once she had sufficient improvised bandages, she turned to Einar. “Take your tunic off,” she said, her voice as firm and emotionless as she could make it.
She tried not to be affected as he stood, removed his scabbard belt, then slipped his short vest off and dragged his tunic up over his head. Unfortunately, she couldn’t hold back her quickly drawn breath when the magnificent musculature of his chest was revealed in full.
This wasn’t the first time she’d seen him bare-chested, but the sight never ceased to stir her. When she looked up, she found him staring at her, his dark eyes black in the dim light leaking in through grimy windows. She swallowed and focused on his arm. Her heartbeat sped as she drew near enough to feel the heat of his skin and smell the tangy combination of his natural spicy musk mixed with the sweat of battle. With Einar, that combination had always overwhelmed her better judgment, targeting her most desperate desires. Only with him.
Yet another reason she’d spent so many years avoiding him.
Though her pulse pounded in her ears, she concentrated on making her hands steady, her touch gentle. She used one length of material to gently blot the worst of the blood away. Some still seeped slowly from the injury, but not enough to be dangerous. Once she’d gotten the area as clean as possible with a dry cloth, she used another length to tightly bind the wound.
His muscles flexed under her touch, which didn’t help. “Relax,” she ordered, her voice irritatingly husky.
He let out a long, slow exhale that brushed over the top of her head, and his biceps relaxed. She noticed at a glance, however, that his stomach muscles were tightly clenched. When she risked a peek at his face, his jaw was also tight, and he stared at the wall across from where they stood.
She turned back to her work, knowing she shouldn’t have risked this kind of proximity for this long. Einar had more power over her body and heart than any other elf. A fact they were both growing more aware of with each passing moment.
When she’d tied off the bandage, satisfied it would do for now, she stepped back and gestured at his leg without actually looking down. “Are you cut or was it just your trousers?”
“Nothing as in no blood, or nothing as in you don’t wish me to bandage the wound?”
His gaze jumped from the wall to her and she took another involuntary step back. Heat, promise, need and something she didn’t want to admit seeing blazed out at her, an arrow right into her heart.
“You made it clear,” he said quietly, “that your magic was not something you could sacrifice. We should not remain this close. And I should not take off any more clothing around you.”
Character Name: Einar of Glengowyn (known as the Darkness of Glengowyn)
Character Bio: Einar is the personal bodyguard to the king and queen of the elven city Glengowyn. He’s the most feared warrior among the elves because when he’s in battle he goes into a cold state of fury that can literally level armies (most of the elves mistake this for a berserker state). He also has an affinity for owls and can communicate with them directly. The owls carry messages for the Glengowyn elves because Einar asks them to, but they would also stop obliging the elves if Einar asked.
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
Einar: I’m a warrior. Some consider that my best quality. My sovereigns consider my loyalty my best asset. I consider my relationship with the owls the best of my character traits. Worst…that it doesn’t bother me to kill. I never feel anything about the deaths I bring, no regret, no sadness. I just…kill. I consider that a serious character flaw.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
Einar: That I can control my fury when I’m in battle, even when it looks like I can’t. I don’t hurt anyone I don’t mean to hurt.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
Einar: My real loyalty is to Nuala, even over the sovereigns. The queen in particular wouldn’t like to know that.
What are you most afraid of?
Einar: Losing Nuala forever. So long as she’s alive, I can survive most anything.
What do you want more than anything?
Einar: To be able to love Nuala freely.
What is your relationship status?
Einar: I am single but my heart belongs to Nuala so I’m not available. (I sense a theme in these answers.)
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
How much of a rebel are you?
Einar: Not much of one except when it comes to Nuala. For her, I would rebel against everything I otherwise hold dear.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Einar: For a brief shining moment, Nuala loved me. Despite seeing me in battle. I’m not sure I can consider that a personal achievement, but it was the greatest moment of my long life.
What is your idea of happiness?
Einar: Nuala. I’m not a very complicated man, am I?
What is your current state of mind?
Einar: A difficult question to answer as I’ve shut down a lot of my feelings since the last goblin war when Nuala and I were forced apart. I’d say secretly resentful that I’m not allowed to love her, angry that she agreed with the sovereigns, and tired of the isolation my warrior skills force on me.
What is your most treasured possession?
Einar: A cup Nuala used to give me water after one particular fight during the last goblin war. She was so busy making her special arrows for us, she rarely remembered to eat or drink herself. But that night, she looked after my needs without thought to herself or how viscously I’d just killed a raiding band of goblins single-handedly. She wasn’t afraid of me. The cup reminds me of the wonder I felt that night.
What is it that you most dislike?
Einar: Hypocrisy. Even if I occasionally practice it.
Which living person do you most despise?
Einar: The traitor elves who turned against their own people to join the Sorcerers in the current Sinnale war.
What is your greatest regret?
Einar: Not fighting harder to make Nuala mine—despite what the sovereigns demanded. I should have argued with her when she agreed to their command that we end our relationship.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which living person do you most admire?
Einar: Outside of Nuala, I’d have to say Ulric of Glengowyn. He was my general during the second goblin war. He’s a fine warrior, a strong leader and an honorable man. (Author’s Note: Ulric is the hero of Brightarrow Burning, Book #1 in the Fire and Tears series, for those interested.)
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Einar: Perhaps my isolation. It’s difficult to spend so many years having people fear you—even those who respect and work with you. But I’m not entirely sure this is something I can change.
What is your motto?
Einar: Honor, duty, loyalty.
Isabo Kelly is the award-winning author of numerous fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romances. Her life has taken her from Las Vegas to Hawaii, where she got her BA in Zoology, back to Vegas where she looked after sharks, then on to Germany and Ireland where she got her Ph.D. in Animal Behavior.
Now Isabo focuses on writing. She lives in New York with her Irish husband, two beautiful boys, and funny dog. She works as a full time author and stay-at-home mom.