Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Narrator: Deborah Balm
Publisher: Brightlynx Publishing
Release Date: April 1st, 2022 (July 9, 2021 for ebook/print)
Series: Bonds of Magic, Book 2
Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance
How do I look?” She sleeked her palms along the short sides of her hair, then shook out her skirts.
She wore the soft purple linen gown, the one with the neckline that showed off a great deal of her bosom—and the ring of bruises in contrasting green decorating her collarbones. Personally, he was hoping one of their impending guests would be the healer. “You look incredibly beautiful,” he told her in perfect honesty, gaze lingering on her tantalizing breasts.
She wrinkled her nose. “Not do I look good enough to bed. Do I look presentable for Convocation company?”
“Both,” he said decisively, then picked up her hand and kissed it, rewarded with a dry but sincere laugh. “Let’s take in the view while we wait.” Interlacing her delicate fingers with his, he led her down the broad steps and onto the thick lawn. Reaching the verge of the pond, they turned, taking in the full grandeur of House Phel.
Nic whistled, low and long. “I have to say, I’m impressed despite myself. Goodbye, decrepit manse. Hello, House Phel.”
He nodded, not quite summoning the words. A surprising wave of emotion welled up in him, a bewildering tide of grief, joy, pride, fury, and cold vindication. Nic had said he’d inherited the Phel magic. In that moment he wondered if he’d also come into possession of the legacy of those final generations of Phel wizards. The bone-deep love of this house and exhilaration at seeing it intact, rising grandly against the misty blue Meresin sky felt not entirely his.
“We did this,” he said in a hushed tone, squeezing Nic’s hand. He looked down to find her gazing back with eyes glimmering green with similar emotion. “If nothing else, you and I did this.”
“Yes, we did.” She transferred her gaze to the manse. “This is a good thing. Special and important.”
“The south wing does appear to be a mirror of the north,” he observed after a moment, and she giggled.
“What a practical observation, Lord Phel,” she accused with a mischievous smile. “I may be rubbing off on you.”
He nearly made an off-color remark about her rubbing on him, when one of the visitors hailed them. “Hey there, the house,” a dark-skinned young man called. “Lord and Lady Phel?”
“Remember,” Nic advised under her breath. “Arrogant, powerful, lord of all you survey, including me.” She tried to tug her hand out of his, but he held on, suppressing a smile at her muttered imprecations about obstinate wizards.
Probably his impulse to wave in welcome wouldn’t fit the arrogant image, Nic recommended, so he straightened instead, inclining his chin slightly as the sled coasted to a stop before them. Three women and one man, all brightly dressed as if for a festival, bowed their heads in greeting. None of them could be any older than Nic. One young woman smiled directly at Nic, a happy glint of friendship in it.
The young man leapt out and bowed fully. “I am Asa, wizard and emissary of House Refoel, submitting my application to be contracted to House Phel.” He produced a rolled scroll with a flourish, stamped with the Convocation seal. “My MP scores and other relevant documentation.”
Gabriel took the scroll, bemused.
Asa seemed pleased, giving another bow. “I and my house welcome House Phel’s invitation for placement. We support and celebrate House Phel’s reinstatement, and we look forward to a strong alliance with the Convocation’s newest house. My familiar, Laryn.” He held out a hand without looking, and a dainty, fair-skinned brunette stepped out of the sled. She curtsied to Gabriel, eyes demurely lowered, then slid a curious glance at Nic, who nodded to her minutely.
“I hope,” the Refoel wizard continued, “that I will be an acceptable addition to House Phel.”
Gabriel realized—after a slight and awkward pause—that it was up to him to say something to the Refoel wizard’s obviously rehearsed speech. Clearly he should have Nic teach him some polite responses to these overtures. Arrogant, powerful, lord of all you survey. “House Phel appreciates the good will of House Refoel,” he replied. “Lady Phel and I appreciate the long journey you’ve made to join—” At the hiss of Nic’s breath, he hastily revised his words. “To introduce yourselves and apply for the position.” He waggled the scroll. “I shall review your documents.”
About the Book:
The epic story of Nic and Gabriel continues…
He wanted her with consuming passion… and so did the monster within.
Lady Veronica Elal has been freed from her tower—and entered a life of servitude. It doesn’t matter that her wizard master has odd ideas about circumventing Convocation tradition and making their relationship equal. Nic prides herself on her practicality and that means not pretending her marriage is full of hearts and flowers. Besides she understands that, despite her new husband’s idealism, they face obstacles so great the pair of them could be crushed to nothing, even without dashing themselves brainless trying to fight the Convocation.
Lord Gabriel Phel has come this far against impossible odds. He was born with powerful wizard magic, the first in his family in generations. He’s managed to begin the process of reinstating his fallen house. And—having staked his family’s meager fortune to win a familiar to amplify his magic, a highborn daughter to be mother to his children, his lady, and lover—he rescued Nic in a distant land, successfully bringing her home to House Phel. Though she’s cynical about their chances of success, he’s certain they can defy their enemies and flourish. Together.
But, the more Gabriel discovers about working with the fiery Nic, attempting to learn the finer points of wizardry and marriage, the more illicit fantasies plague him. His need for Nic—and the dark cravings she stirs in his black wizard’s heart—grow daily. Though Nic has reconciled herself to being possessed by Gabriel—and indeed yearns for even more from her brooding and reluctant master—creating a new life for herself isn’t easy. Especially when Gabriel seems determined to subvert the foundation of her world. Starting with her father.
REVIEW coming soon!
About the Author:
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has won the prestigious RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America (RWA), has been a finalist twice, been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Her award-winning fantasy romance trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms hit the shelves starting in May 2014. Book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose received a Top Pick Gold and was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014. The third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books followed in this world, beginning the spin-off series The Uncharted Realms. Book one in that series, The Pages of the Mind, was nominated for the RT Reviewer’s Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and won RWA’s 2017 RITA Award. The second book, The Edge of the Blade, released December 27, 2016, and was a PRISM finalist, along with The Pages of the Mind. The final novel in the series, The Fate of the Tala, released in February 2020, along with a short novel epilogue, The Lost Princess Returns. A high fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of Dasnaria, taking place in The Twelve Kingdoms world began releasing from Rebel Base books in 2018. The novella, The Dragons of Summer, first appearing in the Seasons of Sorcery anthology, finaled for the 2019 RITA Award.
Kennedy also introduced a new fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons, which includes Lonen’s War, Oria’s Gambit, The Tides of Bàra, The Forests of Dru, Oria’s Enchantment, and Lonen’s Reign. And she released a contemporary erotic romance series, Missed Connections, which started with Last Dance and continues in With a Prince and Since Last Christmas.
In September 2019, St. Martins Press released The Orchid Throne, the first book in a new romantic fantasy series, The Forgotten Empires. The sequel, The Fiery Crown, followed in May 2020, and culminated in The Promised Queen in May 2021.
Most recently, Kennedy has released two new series. The epic fantasy romances in the Heirs of Magic series include The Long Night of the Crystalline Moon, The Golden Gryphon and the Bear Prince, The Sorceress Queen and the Pirate Rogue, and the upcoming The Dragon’s Daughter and the Winter Mage (September 2021), and The Storm Princess and the Raven King (February 2022). The Bonds of Magic series are dark fantasy romances and include, so far, Dark Wizard, Bright Familiar, and Grey Magic (December 2021)
Kennedy’s other works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion; an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera; and the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, which includes Going Under, Under His Touch and Under Contract.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.