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About the author:
When not dreaming of far away places and other stories, Ryshia can be found baking a new batch of cookies for the dog – he’s not spoiled much, reading pretty much anything although romance is a favourite, and, depending on the season; summer is for bikes, roller blades, gardening, garage sales, golf and the occasional beach run before the algae rolls in, and winter is for long walks, taking those long-thought-about trips, and lots of book and reading.
What inspired you to write your book?
History has always captivated me. There’s nothing better than a good historic romance, unless of course it’s a suspense or…. Seriously, I love the tales of knights castles, and damsels in distress or better yet, damsels taking control of their own destiny. As I dove into the research I just fell more in love with a period that was on the cusp of change. Just post the Norman conquest when a whole society shakes up. Times were dark and they were edgy. Add to that a society that still believed in witches-spells and potions… It became obvious to me that history was in a head on collision with paranormal and thus, Ring of Desire was born.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Southern England 1072
I will not die.
Vala turned her head blindly toward the shore. She spat a stream of water and choked as the chair lurched and her neck snapped forward. Her head spun as she twisted in circles over the water. Her wrists ached and burned as the wet rope cut into them.
“Again!” the priest commanded.
The rope played through the smith’s reluctant hands. The chair began to lower.
“Nay,” she whispered and grimaced at the pain in her throat that was raw from swallowing water and the silent screams of those she defended.
Her bare toes touched the unusual chill that sheeted the river. Water closed over her head. The water wrapped around her like a cold, silken blanket. Her nostrils quivered and her throat ached from holding her breath.
How much longer?
Vala wrapped her fingers around the rough rope. The elements she could touch, rope, water, chair, were fast becoming her only reality – her only link to the physical world. When she thought she could take no more, the chair began to move upward. Her lungs ached and rivets of pain clawed her chest. She thought she would die if she did not get air. She gasped as her head broke the surface.
“Ye will obey.” The priest’s words were spewed in sharp hate edged pellets.
“Let her go.” A woman’s voice broke the silence.
“Aye,” another agreed.
“She’s had enough.” This time the women seemed to speak as one.
Vala’s teeth chattered as the chill spring wind wrapped around her wet body. She thought of Rosaline, with her stillborn son at her side, alone and dying because of a Norman. She sucked in a breath as heat flooded her body. With a gasp she twisted the chair so that she faced the shore.
You are the chosen. It is not time. The voices of the Ancients rippled deep within her soul. Everything is, as it was foretold.
“Cease!” a man roared.
“Tis I who give orders!” Alfred, who had presented himself as a priest not so many months ago, puffed his flabby chest, adjusted the rope around his waist and glared out at Vala.
“I will not,” she persisted through the chafe and rawness of her throat. “It will kill her.”
“Stubborn wench. Again!” the priest demanded.
The priest swung a hand in the direction of the smith whose expression was agonized as he clutched the rope that controlled the chair.
“It will be done.” Alfred motioned again for the rope to be lowered.
Vala pulled in a deep mouthful of air. She waited. Nothing. Cynn, the blacksmith, hadn’t moved. He clutched the rope that still held the chair clear of the water.
“Nay.” The sound broke almost before it escaped Vala’s lips.
“Nay? How dare you, wench. Ye will not refuse me. Ye will admit your wrong and right it.”
“No wrong.” Vala could barely get the words out and against everything that Magna had taught her she threw her aura in the priest’s path. To the Ancients, an aura was a powerful thing. It could take down a man. But it was a weak effort and only the gold cross on his thick chest glinted sparks in the dull mist.
Destiny, girl, you do not have the power to change.
Hope swelled through her at the sound of Magna’s voice. Magna, she had always been here a part of Hafne even in the time before Vala could remember.
You can give it to me, she threw the thought out.
But Magna was silent and in the silence Vala knew. There would be no magic that would rescue her this day.
“No wrong!” Alfred almost screeched the words. “You are a woman, unclean from birth. You are nothing. Men have the power and you would be wise to remember that.” His voice became softer. “Even here.”
Feminine gasps followed this statement, for it was not the way of Hafne.
“Dunk her, dunk her!” The priest screamed.
Words of a chant that no priest would ever utter confirmed everything that Vala already knew. Alfred was no real priest. He was one of the Others.