Everyone ready for some amazing upcoming books for #CSSundays? Have I got one for you right now.
Series: Gods of War, Book One
Author: Xenia Melzer
All is fair in love and war. Or is it?
On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.
All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
From his hiding place between two stalls, Daran watched the hurly-burly of the marketplace.
On days like this, merchants from cities as far as Medelina and Da’Kara clustered in Kwarl to do business. Among them were also mountain people, who came to get everything they needed and perhaps to sell cattle or other goods. Even for a pickpocket as bad as Daran was, the masses were an invitation to get into the pouches of strangers.
Daran loathed taking other people’s money, but if he did not bring home any booty today, his stepfather, Egand, would surely punish him. Unfortunately that man didn’t settle for harsh words, he always got physical.
Unconsciously, Daran rubbed the almost-faded remnants of the bruises he had gotten the last time Egand had been displeased.
Daran had stopped working as a beggar two years ago, after puberty had hit him hard. Now, at the age of seventeen, he had lost everything remotely childlike, and people did not tend to give money for free to healthy looking young men. Daran had tried to work in an honest trade, but without any training or recommendations, no master had felt an inclination to take him on.
The one time Egand had tried to work him as a prostitute, Daran had thrown up all over his customer. Daran had been deeply appalled by the fat old man, who reeked of some terribly sweet perfume and was renowned for paying big money to have the pleasure of robbing young women and men of their virginity. Since he paid very large sums, nobody cared how violently and brutally he acted. Daran’s honest reaction had really ruined the customer’s day, and Egand had brutally punished Daran for that. The only good thing in the whole incident had been that his career as a whore had ended on that very night.
Egand never stopped nagging about his stepson’s uselessness, but even he had to accept that constant complaining did not get him anywhere. After Daran had failed in every other shady profession, he ended up becoming a thief.
He was, under normal circumstances, a nimble young man who showed surprising control of his body, but when he had to take honest people’s money, his hands turned to clay. He simply could not do it. Daran had no idea where his debilitating morals came from—he did not know his real father but was pretty sure he was no better than Egand or his mother—but hardly a day went by when he did not curse his scruples from the bottom of his heart.
His wandering gaze stopped at two men inspecting some jewelry on one of the stalls.
These men had caught his eye because their skin color was darker than that of the people living around Kwarl. Their apparel was rich and they were heavily armed with two swords and at least six daggers that Daran could see between them. Warriors, without a doubt. The smaller man wore his hair in dozens of braids that fell to his shoulders. His eyes seemed to sparkle and his mouth moved constantly. His companion was almost two heads taller—one of the biggest men Daran had ever seen. His short hair was white as if he were an old man, and his eyes were a milky blue in stark contrast to his dark skin. For a moment, Daran thought the man might be blind.
His face and hands were covered in tattoos, which seemed to spread like a disease over his skin. The men were not what Daran considered perfect victims—they had way too many weapons on their persons for that—but they fulfilled most of the requirements he had for his “customers.” They were not citizens of Kwarl, their body language was relaxed—which made it easier for him to steal from them —and most importantly, they looked rich enough to deal with the loss of some money.
Unobtrusively, he moved in their general direction, even allowing the masses of people to carry him away from his prey before he came back in a semicircle. Around the stall with the jewelry, the crowd was very dense, which made it easy for Daran to press himself against the giant’s back and take his wallet. Just when he went to retreat with his booty, an iron grip closed around his wrist.
A deep, not unfriendly voice resounded in his ear. “I think this is mine, little thief.”
The warrior had not raised his voice, but Daran tensed involuntarily. If anyone had heard him, Daran’s fate was sealed. Luckily, nobody called for the guards, and Daran relaxed a little before facing his next problem. The fist of steel was still holding him, and the two warriors moved toward a narrow side street away from the protection the crowd offered.
About the Author:
Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature’s true chocoholics, she’s always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she’s had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it’s cold by definition, so where’s the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.
Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.
While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.
When she’s not writing, she teaches English at school, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband.
Find her online: Website