The sound of clacking practice swords filled the air as Delvin and his new companion wandered the academy’s courtyard. He yawned and scratched his hair to pick out an errant twig leftover from sleeping on the grass. The former Mercenary Prince’s ice blue eyes took in every corner of the area, the shadows earning an extra moment of staring. Satisfied that they are safe, he helped the golden-brown eyed woman in a wheelchair to the central fountain. Delvin watched her, his attention lingering at the scar on her right cheek. He was about to ask her about it when he thought better of prying and handed her an apple.
“We should be safe here,” Delvin promised, waving to a passing instructor. Reaching back, he ran his hand through the water and sighed at the retreating fish. “Luke really has to show me that animal trick. Anyway, the headmistress has this place warded like you wouldn’t believe. Good thing I found you in the forest too. The Day of Darkness is coming soon and I don’t think that wheelchair would help you escape undead on uneven terrain. What did you say your name was again?”
“You can call me Lara Spenser. It’s actually an alias I’m using to evade capture by my enemies, the Hellhounds. They are responsible for my uncle’s death. He was killed in a car crash that they staged, and I was injured.” Looking self-conscious, she touched the red scar on her cheek and smoothed her long, brightly patterned skirt. “That’s why I’m in this wheelchair. I . . . I hope it won’t be for much longer.” Gazing at the fountain, Lara said, “What a beautiful setting! Thank you for bringing me here. I don’t remember how I came to be in the forest, but I realize it wasn’t safe. Is that why this place is warded, as you call it?”
“Not exactly,” Delvin replied with a smile. Shrugging his shield off his back, the warrior rans a finger along the winged stag emblazoned on the front. “Selenia was the Mercenary Queen before she created the academy. She has a few enemies out there, so it’s a smart idea to have some protection against whatever they can throw at her. Best to put as many obstacles between yourself and an attacker as you can. I wouldn’t worry about Hellhounds since one of the layers is designed specifically to injure demons. Worst case scenario is one of the veterans will roar and stare angrily until the dogs run away.”
Lara laughed lightly. “I didn’t make myself clear. The Hellhounds are not really dogs. They are humans who wish to capture me and others like me. You see, we are Guardians of Danu, our great Mother Goddess. There are seven of us. We each guard an ancient scroll. Each scroll contains a secret prophesy bestowed by Danu upon our ancient Irish ancestors, the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Hellhounds believe these prophesies will allow them to gain wealth and power. We must not let them succeed in stealing the sacred scrolls.
Thank you, Delvin, for protecting me until I can return to my own world and carry out my duty as High Guardian.”
“I’m happy to help while I rest from my own adventures,” Delvin said, running a hand through his brown hair. Picking a twig out of the mess, he flicks it away and makes it a note to bathe later. “My friends and I were chosen to save the world from this immortal warlord. Though it feels like we were more . . . forged than chosen by the gods. From the stories we’ve been told, others have taken this path before and failed. So it’s hard to tell if we’re the ones to succeed or another group destined to die. I have high hopes considering we’ve made it further than previous champions and we’re all rather unique. Honestly, my destiny sounds a lot easier to handle than your prophecy. Protecting something is always harder than hunting an enemy down.”
“It seems to me that you and your friends are very much like the Guardians. You carry a heavy responsibility just as we do. Speaking of which, I sense my comrades calling to me. I will not forget your kindness. Goodbye for now.” Waving to her host, Lara shimmered and faded into the gathering darkness.
Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.
The author’s Texas Devlins series blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the supernatural. This series has earned multiple awards and nominations, including Crowned Heart reviews and a Rone Award nomination from InD’Tale Magazine.
Lyn is now hard at work on her paranormal-romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians. These books combine her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena with Irish folklore and a chilling apocalyptic theme. Along the way, readers are treated to thunderous action, terrifying suspense and sizzling romance.
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