Today we're excited to share Wendy Higgins' excerpt from her new novel, The Great Pursuit as part of the YABC Scavenger Hunt! Read on for more about Wendy and her novel!
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Meet Wendy Higgins!
One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.
The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.
Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.
Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.
Rozaria cocked her head, that grin of mild amusement and power still on her lips. “You fear me.” Her finger ran from under his ear to down his jawline.
By now, Konor and the Torestan campers were out of their tents, standing huddled together at sword point watch- ing the spectacle.
Rozaria’s hands drifted downward to the knot at the neck of Paxton’s tunic. She untied it, exposing his chest. Paxton’s arms flexed and the men held him tighter. They wore some sort of metal gloves with woven links that pinched his skin.
“What is your name?” Her hands went around his throat and slid down to the tops of his shoulders, under the fabric of his tunic.
He closed his eyes, controlling every urge to fight off her men. “Paxton Seabolt.”
“Mm. Tell me, Paxton Seabolt . . .” Her hands trailed down to his chest and her palms flattened against his skin. “Where do your loyalties lie? Do not attempt to deceive me.”
He tried to calm his heart as he opened his eyes, know- ing this beautiful, malevolent face could be the last thing he would ever see.
“My loyalties lie with myself.” Her palms pressed down and heated at his response. Suddenly, he could not take in air or exhale. Depths of the seas, she’s controlling my lungs! His chest and throat began to sting with the need to breathe, his heart beating too hard. And all the while she stared calmly up into his eyes. He could feel his face darkening as he dug his heels into the ground.
Rozaria’s hands cooled and eased up. Air poured into Paxton’s lungs and he gasped, slumping forward in the men’s grasp. After a few cleansing breaths his energy returned and he stood taller, facing down the woman and straining against the arms that held him. He could not afford to show fear.
“Will you make an enemy of me, Rozaria? When I am here to join you?”
Her eyes widened, seemingly thrilled by his anger.
“My loyalties have never been with the royals of Lochlan- ach.” He allowed his old fury against the king to rise within him, though he couldn’t seem to reach the level of rage he’d once felt, even given his circumstances. He blamed Aerity for that. He’d have to fake it. His voice rose to a shout. “What have they ever done for me? Because of them my grandmother died an untimely death, never allowed to be the person she was created to be! I refuse to let that happen to me.”
Her hands lowered. “Tell me why you have come here, Paxton Seabolt.”
“Because only you can help me achieve my goal of free- dom. I want to return home someday. But I can no longer live without magic. Not since I’ve tasted it for myself. I refuse to forgo my health and die young because of a fool’s old laws.”
She grinned, a stunning upward curve of her reddened lips. “Lovely words, indeed. But I shall be keeping a close eye on you, hunter.”
“I expected nothing less. But I will prove myself to you.”
She searched Paxton’s face. Seeming satisfied, she nodded to her men and they released him. Paxton shook out his arms, a scowl on his face. It was imperative he earn her trust if he was to infiltrate her ranks, but he didn’t know what it would take to prove himself to the madwoman. One thing was for certain though—he’d do damn near anything to keep Aerity safe.
The Great Pursuit
By: Wendy Higgins
Release Date: March 7, 2017
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