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About the author:
Not who everyone thinks she is.
The product of someone’s imagination.
The end result of a lifetime wishing to get out.
Do not buy the lie.
If you live in fear, you give up freedom.
Taking the risk and making the leap.
Too much of anything is a bad thing.
Innuendo floating on the mist that rises above the water.
Walk away and leave it all behind.
Telling the story that haunts a fantasy.
Catching a dream.
She does not exist.
What inspired you to write your book?
I had been writing the Draoithe series for a couple of years and a reader asked about what happened before Draoithe began. That set me to thinking about what some of the background stories would look like. Tantalu is one of those background stories. The characters in this fun short read will make guest appearances in later books in the Draoithe series, but this is one prequel. The extra stories will also be published as more back story reveals itself. These short novella reads will all be permanently $.99 for anyone who is not familiar with the world of Draoithe to dive in and get a feel for the dream in a good story. The next one of these books is Draoithe: Synner and the Sainte and is slated for release near Christmas 2019. Happy Reading!
Here is a short sample from the book:
What if the story of Jack and the Beanstalk got twisted together with that of Cinderella, but the goose that laid the golden eggs was actually an almond tree that grew golden leaves, the prince was an incubus demon, Cinderella was a magically gifted human that the prince purchased from Jack the slave trading satyr whose only true desire in life was to find a nymph to love rather than magic beans?
The incubus demons are a remnant left over group of immortals that survived a terrible war. The satyr is an enemy exile who needs the incubus demon prince’s help to claim his nymph mate.
The balance matters to these immortals, and the furry dragons known as the zmey claim their dwarf mates and back their prince’s bid to build his new kingdom in the Leaindeail and hopefully give the incubus a chance to finally rebuild after the tragedy of war.
The prince fell hard for the slave that the satyr trained just for him and kept her to turn as his succubus princess. Her magic turns out to be exactly what the new immortal kingdom of Tantalu Ostain needed to finally reunify after the near total destruction of the incubus demons in the Satyr/Incubus war.
Slowly, after a crazy business adventure, the prince and the former emissary satyr become friends, and the incubus begin to see the satyr as a valuable ally. When the dreaded Eternal Partners come calling trying to steal the prince’s claimed slave, the satyr chooses to protect his friend and wins his place in the House of Liderk and gains his mate as recompense.
This is the story of Tavas Elniai and Sandor Liderk’s separate quests for love and life in the aftermath of devastation. It is time to put the past in the past where it belongs and start building a brighter future. The balance must be found.
She wanted to go home. She sniffed her tears. There was no home to go back to. It was not the bricks and mortar structure that she wanted, it was the family she no longer had. At fourteen, everything she knew and loved was gone. She sat on the edge of the bed crying softly for a life she knew was long gone from her reach. Images of her brother and her parents on trips, at home playing board games, or out eating dinner played through her mind, but that was not her life anymore. It was like a lovely dream that she could never go back to. Sarika was alone.
Her family was gone. She had to accept that. The car crash had taken them from her. She was supposed to be strong and shoulder on, but how? Her mother would not have liked that she was crying. She was always trying to prepare her to be an adult. She sniffed hard and looked up. Sarika would try to be the woman her mother had wanted her to be.
Sarika had to pack her things. The social worker said she could take one suitcase. She needed her clothes and could take a few small mementos. There was no long lost relative coming to claim her. No grandmother or auntie to rescue her. She was going to have to live with some other family. No one wanted her. The loneliness settled over her making her shiver.
At fourteen, she knew she would have to suffer the foster system for four more years unless she was adopted, but that was not likely to happen. She would be with strangers who only kept her because her presence equaled a paycheck. Who wanted a troubled, miserable, crying fourteen year old teenager? No one wanted that, not even Sarika.
She looked around her room, picked up a few things, and stared at a picture of the family she had watched be laid to rest just that morning. The cold drizzly rain of the winter morning had made the whole funeral scene even more miserable. She had felt numb and cold as if the rain had drizzled all of her thoughts or feelings away. The last few days had been a cold wet blur of crashing, the ambulance, the hospital, and the social worker’s office, until finally the cemetery.
She just felt so lost. Why had she survived? Maybe she should be dead too. If she was dead, she would not feel so miserable. The social worker tapped on her door, and she packed the last of her clothes pocketing the long thin scarf that her mother had embroidered for her. Putting it on felt wrong.
She looked around her childhood bedroom, but she did not really see it. It did not matter. None of it did. The people who had made it matter were all gone. It was as lost to her as they were. She only took the picture and her clothes she had packed in the luggage. The rest did not matter anymore. She had to move forward alone.
She wrapped her hair in a different black scarf and walked out of her childhood home with the social worker. Her shoes echoed hollowly and the sound haunted her for a moment. Empty. The moving company was already taking the furniture and other items to the auction house. The house was being sold to pay the funeral expenses. The social worker placed her luggage in the trunk, she sat in the front, and he drove her to his office. Her old life was officially over. She was in limbo until her new life began.
“I have a surprise for you, if you think you want to hear it.” He offered finally when he realized Sarika was not going to break the silence. She just looked at him and shrugged. Speaking seemed too much to ask of her as she sat in the chair waiting for him to decide her fate. He did not really care if she wanted to hear what he would say, but she humored him. It was not his fault that she was miserable.
“The foster service has located a possible adoption option for you. The man is wealthy. He and his wife are a bit older and can’t have children. They want an heir to their estate. If you are interested, I can have them meet you at the end of the week. But you will have to stay with me temporarily.” He was babbling.
It did not really matter what she wanted. Sarika could never have her family back. If some old rich people wanted to adopt a teenager as their heir, the social worker would have one less problem to deal with. None of it touched her really. She just stayed wrapped in the misery of her loss floating in her numbness. But at least there was hope that someone wanted her. The cold loneliness was not so heavy.
“Sure, I will meet them.” She offered the platitude. It might be better than the foster system. At least it would be permanent rather than possibly having to move from place to place. The social worker seemed happy. He smiled.
“Good. You will need to travel with them. But they have assured me that nothing concerning your education would be overlooked. They even specifically prefer a girl. I know things are hard for you at the moment, but maybe this will be a blessing considering.” She almost wondered where she would need to travel, but did it matter?
“Maybe.” She could not see how anything could be a blessing at that moment. Her whole world was gone. All she wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and cry until there was no more Sarika left no matter how much her mother would have disapproved and never allowed that.
Instead she would suffer a week in foster care in a fairytale bedroom after flying to Belfast, Ireland before meeting Tavas Elniai and his wife. The room was beautiful. It left an impression that would never leave Sarika. The canopied bed with airy white drapes made her feel as if she could be a princess. All white. The bedding, the walls, the furniture, and even the rug. It was clean, a blank slate. Sarika felt as if she could start again. Clean and brand new.
Everything was white so she was not allowed to eat or drink anything in the room, but she did not care how strict the social worker was about the room. She loved it. It let her grieve and put her lost life behind her. The room was too beautiful and charming to ruin anyway. So she memorized the princess room and when she left, took it with her. It was hope, peace, and sanctuary.
The social worker made sure that they did not damage anything, and she even cleaned the bathroom and made the bed the morning that she was to meet her adoptive father and mother. But the beautiful room and the desire to be the princess instead of the maid would stay with her forever. It would become her refuge in her mind, and in a strange warped way she saw herself as a weird modern day Cinderella.
Her impression of her adoptive parents did not exactly reflect what she had thought they would be like. Tavas Elniai was nice even though he did not look older as the social worker described him. His wife was very shy and demure and did not even speak. Only later would she learn that the wife was only a maid servant playing a part, and Tavas was definitely not a king.
Tavas gave the social worker money, and Sarika Tinesioc was sold into slavery as an orphan. It should have shocked her. She should have been angry, but all she could think about was that Tavas wanted her so much that he would pay money for her. No one else wanted her. Being wanted was better than being unwanted. Sarika went with Tavas meekly.
He bought her pretty clothes, and she learned how to be a princess for real even after she left the room behind. Tavas was strict and demanding. Sometimes his punishments were harsh, but he took care of Sarika as if she were something very special, even though she was always messing things up.
She learned to do her hair and her makeup. She painted her toes and fingers exactly as Tavas required. She wore the dresses and shoes he preferred and learned to paint and play the violin. She read and studied everything, went to plays, the opera and classical concerts. Sarika learned to eat the finest foods and drink the best wines. She appreciated art, museums, and historical monuments.
Tavas complained that he lived with uncultured swine and was determined to alleviate that. Tavas made all the girls practice flawless courtly behavior and etiquette and even had them all working in the gardens and learning about horticulture, botany, and the natural sciences.
Tavas Elniai was a satyr. He was an immortal being who held the magic of charm, and it fed from cultural interactions. Etiquette, proper speech, and perfect behavior were strictly enforced. But the satyr lived well, and the girls he trained enjoyed that lifestyle with him.
But Tavas was trapped between shifts. The markhor could not manifest itself fully in the Leaindeail, but neither could the man. Tavas lived in exile from his home in the Netherworld and sought his life mate in an exotic immortal nymph. Sarika was not immortal, but learned about magic by default in the satyr’s house.
When her magic manifested itself, he helped her with that too as if it were a new cosmetic routine she needed to follow. In a strange way, Tavas Elniai had become a blessing just like the social worker had suggested. Maybe he was not her father or even her adoptive father, but he was good to Sarika. Perhaps he felt a bit like a strict overprotective crazy uncle.
She could not leave his home and was forced to learn about wine, food, drinks, art, etiquette, clothes, shoes, and a whole crazy number of high society subjects, but she was not mistreated or abused. It took awhile to adjust and tolerate the creepy butler and the silly maids. But life had not been so awful as she had believed it would be. Especially not once she accepted that Tavas Elniai was the master, and Sarika was a slave.
Wealthy men and strange immortals routinely visited Tavas and looked at the girls he trained. Once a year, Tavas auctioned off the girls who had finished their training. Most were immortals, but a few were gifted humans like herself. Mostly he pretended it was an
auction, and the wealthy men just bought the woman they had decided they wanted already. But after three years of training, it was at one of the auctions that she saw the prince.
His name was not Charming. It was Sandor Liderk. And he was darkly handsome and had a slightly sinister feel as if he held dark dangerous magic, but the Prince of Tantalu Ostain was definitely crush worthy for a sheltered seventeen year old slave girl who had been trained for years to be an actual princess. He was the man she hoped would someday choose her.