Tallenmere Book Two
by Mysti Parker
In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, no one ever said love was easy… Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured small-town gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down. Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe. When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property at the edge of town, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die. Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of.
Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. Mysti reviews speculative fiction for SQ Magazine and is the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.
Setting: The Wasted Witch
How’s your ale? Good, I hope. That batch is one of my best yet. I’m Douglas Barnaby. Welcome to The Wasted Witch. New in town or just passing through?
That’s my daughter, Serenya, there at the piano. I bet you’ve enjoyed hearing her music tonight as much as your ale.
You’re right. Renny doesn’t favor me, but it’s because I’m not her real father. Her mother and I were married for only a few short months when she died giving birth to Renny. Oh, how I loved that woman. Her name was Alina, and she was the most beautiful thing I ever laid my eyes upon.
I don’t usually talk about her, but things are winding down here, and you look like you’ve had enough ale to make tonight’s events a distant memory. See, Alina was a wood elf. That’s where Renny gets those pointed ears and petite features. She’s also got her mother’s eyes, pale blue as draeberry wine.
I was one lucky bastard to even catch Alina’s eye. Who’d have thought she’d fall for a pudgy, out-of-work drifter of a human? I’d tried to no avail to run a successful tavern in Leogard. Eventually, I gave up and traveled from one town the next, trying different ales and experimenting with recipes. I finally ended up in Sheffield, a wood-elf village at the northern end of the province, nestled in the foothills of the Eastwood Mountains. Beautiful place. I rented a room at an inn and thought I’d only be passing through. The villagers were leery of humans, except for Alina. She was working at the inn.
I never believed in it, and I’d think another man a liar if he said the same, but I swear to you it was love at first sight. We married within a month and developed the recipe for Barnaby’s Ale together. Alina was already pregnant when we met, but as the weeks passed, I was excited to become a dad, even if the baby wasn’t mine.
That’s the thing, though. Renny wasn’t mine, and I accepted that, but Alina would never tell me who the father was. Only that she had been…assaulted. The whole time we were married, she was so paranoid, kept triple locks on all the doors, jumped at every little sound. I assured her I would love the child and begged her to tell me her attacker’s identity. If I had of known, maybe I could have killed the bastard, or at least protected them better. Maybe Alina wouldn’t be dead…
Sure, have some more ale. All I have now is time on my hands. And my Renny. It’s a wonder we ever escaped the night she was born. I’ve said too much already, but let’s just say if I hadn’t taken her from Sheffield that night and made it here to Summerwind, I don’t think she or I would be here tonight.
There are times when I wonder, though, what if I hadn’t taken her or what if I’d have let go of her when we fell in that river?
No, don’t think for one minute that I don’t love that girl like my very own flesh and blood. It’s just that Renny’s been through a lot over the years. Been the brunt of gossip and stares, but by Omri, she’s got a heart of gold like her mother. I only wish I could have done better by her. I wish she’d not felt obligated to marry Lord Crowe. I know he’s given her a title and a fine home and all that, but he doesn’t look at her like I used to look at her mother.
Or like that handsome wood-elf fellow’s been looking at her tonight. Pity. I think he arrived about five years too late.
Want to hear more about the night Serenya was born and if the identity of father will be discovered? Then, grab your copy of Serenya’s Song today or leave a comment below for a chance to win a PDF or Kindle copy. Winners to be drawn at the end of the tour (July 9).