Ice Baron Nominated for Global eBook Award

Ice Baron has been nominated for a Global eBook Award! It is currently one of three front runners in the Speculative Science Fiction category Visit Global eBook Awards for more information about this prestigious award.

Nominated for Global eBook Awards

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Ice Baron Prologue

Ice Chronicles Series, Book One: Ice Baron
Former Kazakhstan
Astana, Donetsk Territory, year 3145 A.D.
(Millennial Ice Age, caused by Nuclear holocaust)

Anya pressed her forehead to the cool, curved window of the school library and looked down at the earth, a kilometer below. She felt safe here, although she was no longer a child. Unfortunately, the feeling of peace was an illusion. Soon her protector, the current Baron of Donetsk Territory, would find her and she would have to face her future.

If only she could escape. If only she could ride down the slender metal umbilical cord elevator which anchored the sky city of Astana to earth, and flee what was coming.

The glass felt cool against her skin, and the room behind her lay silent, as it was nearly time for supper. Quiet, too, was the vast wasteland of ice and snow which stretched out as far as her eyes could see—land that had been ruled by her family, the Dubrovnyks, until her father had died ten years ago. The frosty view remained the same all year round. Spring and summer were too cold to melt the snow. On a clear day, she could see the great Tien Shan mountain range far to the south. Her uncle lived south of the Tien Shan, and her territory had been engaged in a bloody war with his for her entire life. To the east, Donetsk Territory fought a different, but equally vicious war with Altai Territory. Altai’s leader, Onred, was Astana’s special guest this weekend.

“Anya.” Joshua’s deep, quiet voice startled her.

She drew a dismayed breath.

Footfalls noiseless, Joshua Van Heisman appeared by her side. Her nerves prickled up in awareness of him. Nos-trils faintly flaring, she surreptitiously inhaled, savoring the clean scent of his pressed uniform, and the warm, faintly spicy scent of his skin. His physical presence, as always, filled Anya’s senses. She was always aware of him—too aware of him. She didn’t have to look to see how his solid, muscular shoulders filled out his cream baron’s uniform. Also etched forever into her mind were his tanned skin, flashing white teeth, and his barely tamed tawny hair, which was the exact color of the extinct lion.

In her mind, he was her lion. He had been her protector since she was thirteen, and he’d been the interim Baron of Donetsk Territory ever since her father had died. She had hero-worshipped him with all of her devastated young heart at thirteen, after losing both of her parents. Now, at twenty-three, his close presence made her feel something entirely different…something completely forbidden. She swallowed the lump in her throat. She had always wanted to make him proud of her, but this…

With a determined turn to her head, she met his gaze. His dark eyes were devoid of their usual warmth, and were instead a commanding brown. Not a good sign. He’d come to give her orders, and she was to obey—for the peace of Donetsk Territory. To save tens of thousands of lives.

“It is decided.” His voice sounded impersonal. “Onred has agreed to take you as his bride, for peace. The bride price is set.”

Only Joshua’s steady gaze kept her knees firm, and prevented her from bolting from the room in sickened horror. Onred made her flesh creep. When she had met him this af-ternoon, he had been polite, and had bowed over her hand with great chivalry. But she didn’t trust the bloodthirsty baron.

Anya wondered briefly if this was a horrible nightmare. It couldn’t be happening. And yet she had known it would happen. Her fate had been set. And if she wanted to forge a peace that would save the lives of thousands of her citizens, she would agree to marry Onred.

Joshua’s gaze continued to hold hers. The force and strength of his personality shored up her horrified, collapsing dreams. It felt like her very soul was shattering. As if she had been ordered to marry the devil.

“I can’t,” she breathed. It was unlike her to flounder, but her world was imploding. Joshua was ejecting her from his life. She would have to abandon her brothers and sisters and live in Onred’s capitol city of Bogd for the rest of her life. Tears threatened. “I can’t.”

Joshua’s strong, steady hand closed around her upper arm. “You must. For the peace of Donetsk Territory.”

Silently, she stared at him. Did she have a choice?

Under the Old Barons’ Law, the answer would be no. Joshua’s order alone, as Baron of Donetsk Territory, would be enough to seal her fate. But Joshua had come to seek her compliance…or maybe this was only a token gesture. Suddenly, she wasn’t sure of anything anymore. Had he already accepted the bride payment? Although the bride price was largely a symbolic gesture, if Joshua had accepted the payment, it would mean that both the marriage and peace contracts were already signed. It would mean that she already belonged to Onred in all ways except for one. The marriage ceremony would put the last, pretty flourish on the contracts, finishing the vow before God, and sealing the peace agreement for the rest of her life. And it would grant Onred his final right—conjugal visits. Panic beat in her breast. Surely Joshua hadn’t accepted the bride price. Not without talking to her first.

She managed, “Have you…accepted it?”

“No.”

Her swift feeling of relief didn’t last long. A decision still needed to be made. She wondered what would happen if she refused to accept her duty.

Joshua watched her intently, as if able to read into her soul—an uncomfortable, perceptive quality that she had rued as a teenager. His grip on her arm gentled. “You are a brave woman, Anya. And I know that with you in Altai Territory, I can trust a permanent peace with Onred.”

Of course, Anya wanted to protect her people from Onred’s bloody hordes, and to save thousands of lives. And she wanted to make Joshua proud. But more than any of that, she wanted her life to have meaning and purpose. She was a Dubrovnyk. Her family had ruled Donetsk Territory for al-most two hundred years. She must give her life to serve the territory. If marrying Onred was her fate, then so be it.

Unfortunately, although her mouth opened and closed, she could not choke out the words to accept her fate.

His grip tightened when the silence uncomfortably lengthened. Voice a gravel rasp, he said, “Do you understand?”

So, it was an order after all. She was to be given no choice.

Mutely, she stared at him, in silence accepting her duty, although her very soul revolted against it. Something bleak and black flashed in Joshua’s eyes, and then vanished. “Good.” Another silent moment passed, and she sensed conflict waging within him. But when his fingers released her arm, she felt his emotional withdrawal at the same time he stepped back. “I am proud of you, Anya.”

When he strode from the room, leaving her behind, Anya’s heart felt like it crumbled to nothing.

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The Commander’s Desire Excerpt

best historical romance novel, medieval romance, the commander's desireBook Excerpt:

“Give me your blades,”the Commander growled down at her.

Fear pounded in Elwytha’s chest, and she licked her dry lips. “You found no blades when you pawed through my clothes. The maid found none on my person. Perhaps that is because I have none.”

“I don’t trust you.”

She smiled. As well you shouldn’t. However, she said, “How can we have a marriage with no trust?”

“Come with me.” He forced her toward the door. “You will not return to this room.”

“But my clothes!”

“You will have new clothes. Clothes with no holes for pockets. Clothes that provide no access to the blade at your thigh.”

“Nonsense.” Unthinking, she struggled and then, to her consternation, he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder. She cried out in fear and horrified humiliation. “Put me down!” She pounded on his broad back. “Put me down, you monstrous serf!”

He strode silently through the halls. She squeezed her eyes shut, unwilling to see the others witnessing her humiliation. “Put me down. Put me down at once!” she gasped. She bit her lip, trying to stop the weak tears of a woman, not a warrior. She sniffed and finally stopped struggling, and hung down his back. His belt about his jerkin was within reach. If only she could loose it, she could cinch it around his massive neck!

“Where are you taking me?” she demanded, voice muffled. Perhaps if she pretended submission he would return her to her feet. And if she found a dagger, she’d gladly plunge it through his heart.

“To my chambers.”

“Nay!” she gasped out, and struggled in earnest then. “I have decided you are unacceptable to me. You have none of the finer qualities I require in a husband!”

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Her Reluctant Bodyguard Excerpt

best christian romance novel, inspirational romance, her reluctant bodyguard
Book Excerpt:

Alexa crossed to poke her head into Jamison’s room. He’d just unzipped a giant suitcase—black, of course—and draped a clump of black, button down shirts on the bed. Some looked to be made of cotton, others of a silkier material.

“Are you color blind?” she wanted to know.

He glanced up. “You’re here to help me unpack?”

“Of course not!” Alexa felt embarrassed, but didn’t retreat. “We need to hash out rules so we can live in peace.”

He pulled out a pile of black pants. Some jeans, some slacks.

“Would you stop that?” she demanded. “I’m trying to have a serious conversation.”

“I can’t unpack at the same time?”

Alexa gritted her teeth. “I have no desire to see any of your black…unmentionables.”

An actual smile curled his lips, and he stopped pulling items from his suitcase. “Then wait in the sitting area. I’ll be five minutes.”

Alexa narrowed her eyes. She didn’t want to stay here, but she didn’t want to retreat, either. And she wanted to assert her rules first—before the bodyguard had a chance to make a power grab. “I’ll make it snappy,” she said, averting her eyes as he pulled smaller black items from the suitcase and tucked them in the dresser. “I have one rule. You leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone.”

“Fine.” Jamison pulled a thick book from the bottomless suitcase and placed it on the bedside table. What was that? War and Peace? Certainly appropriate for their living situation.

“Well then,” Alexa said, pleased. “I’ll leave you to sort your outfits by color. I’m never sure—does black silk go with black cotton?” With this saucy comment, which likely sailed right over his unfashionable head, she turned to leave.

“I have a rule.”
Alexa turned back. She should have known her triumph had been too easy.

“You don’t leave this apartment without me.”

Alexa fell silent for one long beat, absorbing the full, horrifying implications of his statement. “Excuse me? I’m supposed to be chained to you night and day?”

“That’s what twenty-four/seven means.” He flipped the suitcase shut. The rasp of the zipper sounded like machine gun fire in the suddenly silent room. “If you want to run the stairs, I go with you. If you want to shop, I go with you. If you want to sight-see, I go with you. Think of me as your shadow.”

“Hence the black,” she said sarcastically. But further words evaded her. A sick feeling dropped into the pit of her stomach. She and Jamison, joined at the hip for almost five weeks? They couldn’t breathe the same air without fighting! Her fairy tale had officially transformed into a nightmare. She muttered, “We’re going to kill each other.”

“I promise I won’t kill you, princess. It’s not in my job description.” How could he look so amused?

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