A Singing In The Blood.ePUB

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Book 4 of The Narrative of Riven the Heretic
Part 1 of The Arcanian Chronicles


By Toni V. Sweeney

In spite of his volatile relationship with his eldest son, life for Riven kan Ingan is very good indeed. His estate prospers, his other children are still under control, and his beloved Barbara as feisty as ever. Through his efforts, the signing of a treaty with the barbarian tribes of Ghermia has brought peace to Francovia.

When a new sovereign comes to power, all of Riven’s good deeds may be destroyed. Morling Ledeval has only one goal…to drive all foreigners from his kingdom.

As civil war looms and nobles turn against each other, Riven will risk everything he holds dear when he makes a choice between following a madman or being declared traitor to the land he loves.

Genre: Fantasy

Sensuality rating: 3

Cover Art by James Robinson


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Author: Toni V. Sweeney
Description

Chapter 1

 

Torghan, steward of Lindenscrag, was worried.

It wasn’t his master’s calling for the estate ledgers causing him such anxiety, for he knew his accounting of the yields and harvests, as well as the annual custumal paid to their sovereign, to be correct. Nay, it wasn’t that making him feel such apprehension as he stepped from his little office, balancing the thick, leather-bound volumes against one arm. Rather, as he crossed the gallery to the stairs, he made the mistake of looking down into the great room below and there saw the object of his delight and his sorrow…

…Brunnë, sister to his lord’s dead second wife.

Looking at her, the feeling he’d kept at bay these two years, sprang again into being, stabbing into his vitals with a twisting wrench, uncaring of his restraint.

His first sight of her had been enough. The moment his master introduced her, Torghan fell instantly in love.

She seemed so vulnerable as she stood in the shelter of the giarl’s arm, eyes wide in wonder at the foreign place that was now to be her home. With one glance, Torghan lost his heart, and since that moment watched and wished and ached as the feelings within him grew.

Sitting on a tussock before the bare hearth, unlit because it was early autumn and still too warm for a fire, she sang softly to herself in her native Ghermian, oblivious to the emotional scrutiny above her.

Brunnë wore a gown sewn in that wicked new fashion flourishing among the womenfolk. Immediately denounced by the priests and elders, it was greatly appreciated by younger men like Torghan and the giarl himself. The garment was cut from soft, clinging fabric, the bosom fashioned with seams forming little pockets into which her breasts rested. Their soft shape was left clearly visible, just as the low-cut neckline revealed a swell of fair flesh suggesting a maturity of body beyond her true years.

Upon her lap, she held a kitten. One pale braid swung over her shoulder like a gilt rope, brushing against her breast. The kitten’s dainty paw reached up to cuff the moving plait, claws entangling in the strands. Brunnë cuddled the kitten, its furry gray head resting against the hollow of her throat as she freed the little paw from the flaxen tresses.

Closing his eyes with a sigh, Torghan wished fervently that he could, however briefly, exchange places with the little cat. Abruptly he opened them again, angry he allowed such a thought to enter his mind.

She’s a child.

In spite of her body’s growth, Brunnë was still a little girl, while he was many years man-grown and should be old enough to curb his mind’s caprices…and also his body’s appetites.

Tightening his grip on the spine of the heaviest ledger, he welcomed its weight against his arm. It forced him to concentrate on the forth-coming interview with the giarl, reminding him he should hurry to attend it.

As noiselessly as he entered, Torghan fled the gallery

While he hurried down the dark and narrow stairs, his mind continued to dwell on the predicament into which he’d entrapped himself. As far as he knew, he was the only one aware of it. At least, he hoped so.

Once again, he was mindful of the solitariness of his position at Lindenscrag. 

    Seneschal to the Giarl. Free man. Free… That single word set him apart from most of the others.

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