Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Narrator: Deborah Balm
Publisher: Brightlynx Publishing
Audiobook Release Date: October 26, 2022
Series: Renegades of Magic #1 (Bonds of Magic spinoff)
Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance
“It will take days to walk all the way to House Phel,” he pointed out.
Selly nodded, poked with her stick. “If we make it at all.”
“There are a lot of hazards between here and there,” she explained, sounding as if she were discussing planning a party. “And those are of the natural variety. There also could be more hunters after us or other members of House Sammael chasing behind. They’ll catch you and me before they reach Nic and Gabriel. I thought that’s part of what it meant to be rear guard. You know—Nic and Gabriel don’t have to be faster than their pursuers, just faster than we are.”
“I thought it only meant for that one battle,” Jadren griped, hating that she was right. He didn’t really fancy sacrificing himself. It would ruin his image. Of course, it would also thwart his mother, which was a nice perk right there. “Phel will come looking for us, though—or send people to rescue us. Otherwise he’ll be answering to my maman, which won’t be pretty.” That’s all he needed: his maman to drag him back by the ear to the nightmare of life in House El-Adrel. “Plus, he cares about you.”
She smiled, thin and mirthlessly. “That’s assuming they make it back safely, and that House Sammael doesn’t succeed in destroying them.”
“You’re a regular ray of fucking sunshine, aren’t you?” he growled.
“You don’t strike me as the kind of person who engages in self-deception,” she observed, watching him. “Would you prefer I kiss your pristine high-house ass and promise you all will turn up raspberries?”
“Roses,” he said, after staring at her for a long moment of sheer consternation. “Everything turning up roses is the optimistic metaphor you’re looking for there, you half-feral swamp creature. Raspberries is something else entirely.”
“I like raspberries,” she replied. “They’re juicy and just the right balance between tart and sweet. They also grow in thick clusters, so when I was living in the wild, coming across laden raspberry bushes was one of the best things I could hope for.”
“The charm of having very low expectations.” It rankled at him that she’d celebrated something as trivial as finding wild fruit. If Selly had been born to a proper house, she’d have been dressed in Ophiel silk gowns and feted for her powerful magic. At least, she would’ve been until she manifested as familiar instead of wizard, at which point she’d likely have been slated for the Betrothal Trials. But even that life would have been better than what she’d suffered in this backwater realm.
About the Book:
Spy, manipulator, traitor… He might be her only salvation.
Lady Seliah Phel can’t escape feeling like she’s one of those fairytale princesses awakened from a long slumber—except that her life is no romantic story and there’s no happy ending in sight. Though she has her magic and she’s been rescued from the depths of madness that consumed her since adolescence, Selly finds that the years she lost aren’t so easily recovered. Everyone treats her like the child they remember. To prove something—perhaps only to herself—she’s recklessly volunteered to stave off a host of monsters with only the enigmatically alluring, cuttingly sarcastic, and probably deceitful wizard Jadren El-Adrel for company.
Jadren isn’t the heroic type. In fact, he’s not much of anything. Relentlessly groomed into a shadow of a man by his sadistic mother, he’s the perfect spy and tool, with no real will of his own. When he’s stranded in the wilderness with Seliah Phel, he figures the outcome is immaterial. Live or die, it’s all the same to him. But Seliah is a different story and she isn’t like anyone else. Though he reminds himself she’s basically a child in a woman’s body, he finds it increasingly difficult to resist her artless charms and relentless curiosity.
As their predicament goes from dire to disastrous, Jadren realizes his many failures have jeopardized Selly’s future, perhaps her very life. Far from home and trapped without resources, Selly has only Jadren to rely upon—the one person she can’t possibly trust. There seems no possibility of rescue from their friends and family back home at House Phel, so Jadren and Selly must work together to survive… if they can.
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.