After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.
Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves?
In his alter-form, the canid, Eric d’Ebrur watched the Stonebearer
enter the shop. Between one moment and the next, she’d gone
pale and trembled. What had happened?
His first thought, that she was Infested, he dismissed. Once a
Gawan took command, it didn’t relinquish control. He’d seen it often
enough to know.
He’d been surprised when Benamont I’sadhe’s information had
proved correct, though he shouldn’t have been. The old scholar had
resources beyond the scope of most. Resources he guarded as stringently
as Eric guarded the Federation. Eric admired that.
But he didn’t admire the cavalier way I’sadhe had told him to
use his niece, Keriam I’sadhe. The Stonebearer.
Still. She was tall and well made like all the I’sadhe clan. The
hair, glistening with dark fire, and the midnight-blue eyes came from
her father’s line. He’d recognized that from the image scans but what
identified her was her scent.
That part of the Gar’Ja bond apparently held true.
Standing, Eric shook himself and trotted across the street to
peer through the glass. She wasn’t there, he realized with a spurt of
disappointment. Where had she gone? Her scent still came strongly
to his sensitive nose, an evocative blend of woman and soft spice.
His ears pricked forward, detecting movement beyond the young,
yellow-haired female. Then the Stonebearer appeared, a stack of
ancient tomes in her arms.
She was not beautiful, but her features intrigued him. She had
high, wide cheekbones with just a hint of color and a jaw that was
a little too strong. Her lips were full and elegantly shaped. He had
the feeling she smiled often.
As he studied her, she looked up, saw him at the window. Her expression
slowly became curious. She smiled, pointed him out to
the other female. That one made a funny sort of ooh’ing sound and
charged to the door as if the Gawan were hot on her tail. The door
slapped open, accompanied by a tinkling bell.
“Hey, you lost, sweetie?” Fearlessly, the yellow-haired female
rubbed his head, tickled his ears. “No collar? Poor baby!”
“Sheesh, don’t run up to a stray and start playing with it.” The
Stonebearer’s voice came, exasperated and just a little amused, from
beyond her companion. “Especially not one that big. You’ll get bit.”
“Oh, he’s a good boy. Look at him. He likes me.”
Eric allowed the female to draw him close but when he tried to
turn to see the Stonebearer, he found his nose in the female’s cleavage.
She squealed, merrily, and pushed him back. “Just like a guy.
Or are you a girl?”
He narrowed his eyes in automatic insult then caught the
Stonebearer’s silent laugh. Helpfully, she said, “Turn him upside
down and check.”
“You turn him upside down, Xena-Warrior-Princess.” She
ducked her head, peering under his belly. “Definitely a boy.”
Eric pulled free of her grasp and went to the Stonebearer. He
nuzzled her dangling hand. One rasp of his tongue against her flesh
told him what he needed to know. She wasn’t Infested.
A weight lifted from his chest. The Gawan hadn’t gotten to
her. Yet. The Stonebearer knelt, holding his ruff between her hands,
and looked him in the eye. “He looks well-fed.” She glanced at her
companion. “I don’t think he’s been lost for long. Someone will be
looking for him.”
She stood, glancing at the empty street. “Put a sign in the window
saying you’ve found him. Then put him in the back.”
“He’ll get lonely back there.”
“Janna, we can’t keep him in the store. Not with customers
coming in and out. All we’d need is for him to bite someone.”
Eric slipped past her, entering the store. He needed to stay close
to the Stonebearer. Close enough to protect her should the Gawan
come. Close enough to find the Heartstone if he could. Meanwhile, he
would continue to play the big, friendly dog. He sat by the counter.
Grinned. Wagged his tail.
“Look at that. Isn’t he sweet?”
Not many would call the Antiare Defender sweet. Dedicated, certainly.
Honorable, he hoped. Dangerous, yes, a warrior must be
dangerous. But not sweet.
Hope you've enjoyed & please read below to find my contact information and to learn how to get a 10% discount on Heartstone PLUS any other books in your order at Mundania Press.
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