Read Warrior Lover (Draconia Tales) Online

Authors: Karilyn Bentley

Tags: #Fantasy

Warrior Lover (Draconia Tales)

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Praise for Karilyn Bentley’s MAGICAL LOVER

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

A word about the author...

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Warrior Lover

by

Karilyn Bentley

Draconia Tales, Book Two

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Warrior Lover

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Karilyn Bentley

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Tamra Westberry

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Faery Rose Edition, 2013

Print ISBN 978-1-61217-690-1

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-691-8

Draconia Tales, Book Two

Published in the United States of America

Praise for Karilyn Bentley’s
MAGICAL LOVER


MAGICAL LOVER
sweeps you away to a rich fantasy world filled with magic, mystery, and unforgettable characters.”

~Trinity Blake

“Ms. Bentley’s characters are strong and will defend to the death those they love.”

~Aloe, Long and Short Reviews

.

Praise for Karilyn Bentley’s

WEREWOLVES IN LONDON

.

“The author has excellent world building skills and leaves the reader with a very good picture of this werewolf society and its rules. This story is a great combination of romance, action, suspense and the paranormal.”

~Maura, Coffee Time Romance & More

.

Praise for Karilyn Bentley’s
WOLF MATES


WOLF MATES
had a good mix of humor and action, a good, developed plot for a novella and was a fun read.”

~M. Dobson, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews

Dedication

To my wonderful husband:

Thank you for all your support on my writing journey.

I love you!

Chapter 1

“How much?” Lily pushed two paintings across the wooden countertop and tried to slow the tripping thumps her heart passed off as beats. Why hadn’t she moved the learn-how-to-bargain-successfully entry on her to-do list up to the top? After all the time she spent in this store, haggling with Old Tom the shopkeeper, she should have learned the skill.

Not that it would have done her much good. Tom had her between a stone wall and a rabid bear and enjoyed taking advantage of the situation.

Raising his gaze from her artwork, he smirked. “I’ll give you two silvers for the paintings.”

“What?” Lily’s head pounded, no doubt due to the way the muscle between her brows puckered.
Don’t look so surprised, don’t look so surprised, don’t look so surprised.
With an effort, she calmed her muscles into something less like a snarl and more like serene acceptance.

She hoped.

“I know for a fact other paintings like these sold for two golds each. These should be at least worth five silvers apiece.”

One bushy slash of gray hair rose to meet his hairline. The meet-and-greet attempt failed miserably as his hair had slunk back to form a ring around his neck, leaving the top bald. The brow continued to creep upward while his brown eyes focused on her. The skin of her cheeks heated.

What choice did she have? Old Tom might cheat her out of her fair share, but he was the only one in town who would even deal with her. She had to eat somehow.

“Fine. Three silvers.”

Tom’s other brow joined its mate at her words. “I said two silvers.”

“You know you can pay three.”
You miserly old coot.

“Two. It’s final. If you think you can get more, go someplace else.”

Sure she could
. No one else in this town gave her the time of day. All because her skin, hair and eyes were the wrong color. Ridiculous, superstitious fools.

Her fingers stroked the wooden box she held in her hands. Her parents gave it to her years ago, back when they lived, back when they protected her from fanatical townsfolk. She’d hoped not to have to offer it, hoped Old Tom would give her a fair price. If hopes were gold, she wouldn’t be bargaining.

Lily slid the box onto the counter, her fingers fastened to the edges. “A silver for these?” She forced her fingers to open the lid, to show the greedy bastard what lay inside.

His eyes widened as he picked up one of the paintbrushes. Twirling it from side to side, he gave her a glance. “Where’d you get these?”

“A silver for them or not?”

“No more paintings without these.” He shook the brush at her face.

No more paints left to use them with. “A silver?”

He placed the brush back into the box and shut the lid. Reaching into a money pouch on his belt, he pulled out three silver coins and slapped them down on the counter. “Go on with you. Get.” One hand waved toward the door.

Lily grabbed the coins, slid them into her pouch, yanked the hood of her cloak over her head and darted out the door. The tinkling of the bell hanging over the door cast the only noise in the street. How odd. Usually in the mornings the shop streets echoed with cries of townsfolk.

Her rapier bounced against her leg as she walked, its soft slapping a reminder she had absolutely no idea how to use the thing. It belonged to her father, its thin steel blade a false security sheathed on her belt.

Illusions were everything.

If only her parents still lived she wouldn’t be selling her paintings for food. Or her brushes. She shuddered. What would she do without her brushes?

Faint cheers sounded from the town square, rousing her out of her thoughts. Maybe a crowd gathered, which would explain the lack of people in the streets. If that was the case, then she needed to get inside fast.

Crowds loved her.

Probably because she tended to be the focus of their wrath.

She’d be safer inside her store than out here in the middle of the street, fair game for slurs, stones and—her favorite—spit. Her feet picked up the pace as she darted the last half block to her shop, her home.

Only to come to a stop, her breath frozen in her chest. With a gasp, her lungs sucked in air, bringing with it a healthy dose of this-can’t-be-happening. Her fists clenched as her head started another round of pounding fury self-talk refused to calm.

Lily cursed. Bloody vandals had thrown rocks through her store windows, shattering the glass, but the iron bars crossing the windows and door held and it didn’t look like anyone entered. With shaky hands she pulled her key from her cloak pocket and stuck it in the door. It took two tries, but that’s what happened when one’s hands flapped like moth’s wings. A turn and a push later and she crunched over glass shards, her teeth locked together, her pulse pounding.

She shut the door and locked it, the wood a thin veneer of protection against vandals. Thieves didn’t bother her, as not even they touched her store. Her shop sat empty, the shelves which once held goods from all over the land, dusty. When her parents died last winter, the store’s patrons dried up like a stream in the desert, leaving her penniless.

If it hadn’t been for the dry goods sitting abandoned on their shelves, she would have starved months ago. What she couldn’t eat, she sold for less than the items’ worth to the greedy old bastard known as Tom Shopkeeper.

A dismal air sat about the empty store, like a drizzling rain on a cold winter day. It sank into her bones and for a minute the cold crept into her soul.
Why bother? Why not just let the mob catch and hang you? It would be much faster than starving to death.

Snap out of it, Lily!

She wasn’t the only person the townspeople hated and shunned. Her best friend Keara was in the same predicament for the same reason. Both women possessed the wrong coloring. While Lily was pale of skin, hair and eyes, Keara had flaming red hair and bright green eyes. No one bought from Keara’s apothecary shop either. When Keara’s grandmother died several months ago, the slurs against both women escalated and recently crowds gathered in the square to preach about the evils of differences.

And now it looked like the slurs came attached to rocks and her windows their targets.

Lily kicked the glass shards, watching as sunlight threw dancing prisms of light across the walls. Why had she stayed so long in this town? Why did she insist upon remaining here? Why not go someplace else? She and Keara could leave and set up shop in some other town that didn’t have superstitious rules.

What if the other town didn’t like her? What if they rejected her too?

Well, she’d never know if she didn’t try, now would she?

Turning on her heel, she ignored the glass mess and marched to the back door. Today, she would find Keara and convince her friend they needed to leave. Today she would take charge of her life. Today would be a new beginning.

Lily tripped and fell with a thud against the back door.
Ouch.
That hurt. Her hands stung from where they slapped against the wooden panels, breaking her fall.
Could she be any clumsier?

After locking the back door, she cut through the gate leading to the alleys. Sounds wafted from the town square, wild voices carrying on the wind. She heard Keara’s name shouted and Lily’s determined stride hitched. What now?

Due to some oddity with the wind or the way the curving streets funneled the voices, she heard Lord Simon’s voice stand out above the roar of the crowd.

“I will tame the witch, Keara, by marrying her and driving out her evil! Help me to help you!”

Had he lost his mind? Wait, was she really going to answer that rather obvious question?

Judging by the mob’s reaction to the aristocrat’s words, they didn’t believe him crazy. Of course, they were just as insane. Even the priests were vicious.

Lily forced her jaw to unlock. If her nails dug any deeper into her palms, they’d leave bloody lines. She needed to warn Keara of the danger. Without being caught herself.

The alley led to a dead end, but she should be able to cut across a back garden.

Or not.

The mob cut into the alley, stopping her movement, forcing her forward into the center of the mass, into its heart. The crowd’s hatred flowed around her, pushing against her. Why had it taken her this long to realize she needed to leave?

These people were crazy. The whole lot of them.

Sweaty bodies pressed against her, chanting Keara’s name. Every time she tried to turn, to sneak through an opening under an arm, the bodies would press together, forcing her forward. Herding her.

Lily felt her heart pound in her chest, her breath catch. What if they noticed it was her under the cloak? Would they do the same to her they did to Keara?

Maybe if she went along with the crowd, if she moved forward, an opening would appear and she could take it.

Or not.

She stood at the front of the crowd surrounding the town square, close to Lord Simon, too exposed to run. Her gaze darted around the square, looking for an opening, an escape. Nothing. The crowd squeezed together tighter than a crate of eels and just as slithering.

The crowd continued to chant Keara’s name, parting as several people shoved Keara into the square. Lily swore her heart stopped beating, resuming its pace with a thud and a staccato beat. Her body heated, sweat running between her breasts. Her friend. Her only friend was about to die.

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