AJ Maguire



From the back cover:

War was coming. Years of conspiring with his brother, of hunting for his lost mother, and war was finally coming. With options and allies depleting, Nelek finds that his newest and brashest bodyguard, Trenna Croften, could be the key to everything he's been fighting for. 

Sneak Peek at Chapter 1

Metal grated on metal, grinding as the two swords separated and slipped away from each other. Trenna felt the scrape through her saber, humming past the hilt and into her palm. For a moment she focused on the familiar leather grip as it stuck to her hand, distracting her from the fight, and wondered which blacksmith had managed to make her opponent’s sword. It was a shoddy piece of work, what with the miniscule pitted bumps she’d felt during the press and grind of their two blades. Trenna blinked hard, swiping a forearm over her eyes as she retook position and peered over at her opponent. The large, burly man slid out of focus once … twice … and again before she shook her head to clear it.

Too much damn mead, she thought and then, why am I dueling this man again?

The crowd cheered as the man raised his arms to rally support to his cause. He had an arrogant, irritating laugh and his beard - black and not well trimmed - held the remnants of his half-eaten dinner in it. Then she remembered. He’d said only whores wore pants. Normally she would not have taken offense to such an ignorant comment. Very few whores wore pants, after all. But in this instance the bearded irritant had also slapped her backside and groped her. Thus, she found herself in a duel.

It was a half-drunk and fairly sloppy duel, but she hadn’t lost yet.

“C’mon, Tren! I got five silver on you!” 

Squinting at the newest voice in the crowd she caught the sight of her black-haired blood brother Brockley Croften. The flash of sapphire and silver indicated to her that he was still in uniform. Giving him a grin and a roguish wink she barely deflected the thrust her opponent sent to her mid-section. She was aware of the nearness of a table as she slid to the left and pulled her body into a tight circle. The man swung again, his sword making a sloppy arch to the left and she stepped back, bumping her hip into the table she had just tried to avoid. Hearing Brockley’s verbal wince she forced herself to concentrate a bit more.

Her body was tiring, the aftereffects of too many flagons of mead blurring the movements in her head. She needed to end this and quickly.


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