Author: Elizabeth Lorain
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: June 5th 2014
Release Date: June 5th 2014
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours
As leader of the Witches and Warlock’s in America, Julius has decisions to make. He’s been directed to represent them at the European council by Katrina, the leader of the Five. He isn’t the only Warlock who questions their alliance and wonders if the Five have indeed become too powerful to trust. The only thing he does know right now is no matter what, his Covens must survive.
Another adventure of the Royal Blood Chronicles, Julius is a character readers first met in book three, The Dark Prince. Katrina has had many encounters with the Witches and Warlocks in America and trust between them has been an issue for decades. War is coming, will the alliance between them hold, or will it be torn apart by their mutual mistrust? If that happens sides will be chosen among even the peaceful races, and all the Protectors have fought for may be lost.
*This novella is part of my best selling Young Adult series Royal Blood Chronicles which includes to date nine books and two other Novellas.
Katrina the Beginning, The Protectors, The Dark Prince, Cain the Quest, Bloodline, Legacy, Redemption, Destiny and Sabine. Novellas include Quinn a Watchers Story and Marcella, Vampire Mage.*
I grew up in a small northern Minnesotan town married my high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children and as soon as we could we moved to a warmer climate. I have worked with my husband building and decorating custom homes for years. After loving every kind of vampire book, movie and series I decided that I wanted to know more. I can write a book I thought, how hard can that be? Well.... But I stuck to it and finished my first book Royal Blood Chronicles Book One in August 2009. I now have six books in the series and am about to release book two of my new series Phantom Lives. My parents always told me that I could do anything that I wanted, work hard, study and do it right. I believe that and live that way every day.
“Julius, are you sure it’s prudent to leave our Coven now? After all, it’s been less than two months since we were attacked, hardly a good time for our leader to go abroad. Besides, what business is it of ours that Europe’s in turmoil?”
“Ezra, although our Coven has been in existence for over two hundred years, if it weren’t for Katrina, there wouldn’t be one here at all. If she wants me to go to the Council meeting in England, I at least owe her the respect to listen to what they and she have to say. I’m going.”
As Julius continued to pack, Ezra studied him. “Even though we’ve spoken of pledging our allegiance to the Protectors, you have something else in mind, don’t you, Julius?”
Julius hesitated as he finished. “Through the years, we’ve watched as the Protectors have grown more and more powerful. Since Katrina and most of the Protectors have chosen to make their homes in the America, the Council, from its location in the Old World, may not understand how powerful they’ve grown. I’m going to make sure there is no misunderstanding of the threat they pose, especially if their new strength comes from Dark sources. For now, though, I’m going to do everything she asks of me. Take care to do the same while I’m gone.”
“So it means you’re going by boat and not use portals like they do?”
“We don’t know they use or even have portals, Ezra. Their use of portals is simply a rumor spread by jealous old men. Be careful my friend you don’t add to the acid waving tongues. As I said, the Protectors are very powerful and as much as I hate to admit it, each time they’ve warned of an impending danger, they’ve always been right. Their intervention has saved this Coven more times than I care to admit. It’s a new century and threats not only assail us from the magical kingdoms from both above and below, but the human factions are at odds, and the escalating tensions between their governments threaten to spill over to our realms. Decisions need to be made. Decisions which will affect us for decades - even centuries to come. I have to go.”
Julius stood at the gangway waiting to board the wind and steam powered clipper ship. He smiled at the scene before him. The way the ship filled the Eastern horizon, the way people crowded the rails and jubilantly waved to their family and friends seeing them off from the dock lifted the weight on his heart. Each passenger was so different from each other, by ethnicity, class, religion and economic situation. Yet their sameness, the very aspect of their being human, would unite in fear against his race. Their races were so close in origin. Yet, because his race possessed the gift of magic and were long lived, Witches and Warlocks were vilified, and if discovered, tortured and killed, often burned alive.
“It’s a little intimidating isn’t it?”
Julius frowned. “Rowena?”
“I guess we all got the message. I wasn’t about to go alone. There’s still some truth to the old adage, ‘safety in numbers’ isn’t there?”
“So the Western Coven is represented. What about Maine?”
Rowena smiled. “Byron sent word. He’s probably already here somewhere in the crush.”
Julius looked up and his gaze washed quickly across the throngs of people up on deck. A young woman caught his eye just for a second, and then she was gone. He frowned and glanced over to Rowena. He sensed she was totally at ease as they made their way up the gang plank.
“It’s really quite exciting Julius. Why do you seem so worried?”
“It’s my nature, and I don’t trust these…people.”
“Please, they’re harmless.”
“You’re a fool if you really think so. Enjoy the voyage, Rowena.”
Julius made his way through the crowd on deck to the purser’s desk. Offering his ticket he was directed to the first class section of the ship. Entering the small outside cabin, he tossed his bag onto the bed, opened the porthole and looked out. The image of the woman he’d seen earlier on deck was on his mind where it had taken up residence there, after he’d caught a fleeting glimpse of her earlier. She was no human. What, or who she was, was making him feel uneasy. A knock caused the image to fade and he turned to the door.
“I’m right next door. I thought I’d say hello.”
“Rowena assured me you’d be on board. Good to see you Byron.” He was genuinely glad to see his longtime friend.
Byron grinned and held out his hand in greeting and Julius shook it. “Should be an interesting voyage and meeting, don’t you think? I’m on my way to the bar. Join me, we’ll talk about it.”
“Yes, this is all very interesting, indeed. But, no, I have some things to do. I’ll see you at dinner?” Byron nodded and left the cabin.
Julius thought about staying in until dinner, but all he could think of was the woman he’d seen. Finding her won out, and he headed to the deck.
Once on the wide foredeck he walked to the center, and let his power survey the crowd. He knew, of course, he wasn’t likely to locate a person of magical origins this way, since they would most likely cloak themselves, but he learned many things about the humans he scanned. As he walked the deck ranging out with his power, he could feel their true emotions, and avoided those he sensed might be a danger. Getting closer to the bow of the ship he felt something unusual. Slowing his pace, he squinted as he turned his head from side to side, homing in first on the direction of the sensation.
He stopped and concentrated harder. As the crowd cleared in front of him, he saw her. She was wearing a Kelly-green wool coat. Her long, strawberry blonde curls billowed out around her with the breeze. She wasn’t cloaking herself, and when she turned he couldn’t stifle the involuntary gasp that escaped his lips. His reaction caused her to smile, her amusement curled across her full, pink lips. When she turned away to look once again out to the sea, Julius released the breath he’d been holding.
He swallowed hard and slowly approached her.
“The ocean is mesmerizing isn’t it?”
“Yes it is. It’s like trying to predict the future. No way of knowing what will happen, it’s ever changing.” She turned then and looked him in the eye. “Are you ready for whatever the future might bring?”
“If it includes you, I am.”
She chuckled and turned back, leaning against the rail. “Handsome and charming. Traits which serve you well, don’t they?”
He frowned. “Usually, yes. I’m Julius.”
She turned to him again. “Marcella.”
She didn’t offer her hand. Julius didn’t take it personally. Non-humans didn’t like to touch if they weren’t sure about the strength of the other’s power. He still wasn’t sure what kind of creature she was. A quick scan told him she was powerful, but he was sure she wasn’t allowing him full access. Of course he was blocking probes as well.
“Nice to meet you Julius. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other often on this trip.” She walked away and his gaze followed her until she disappeared inside. He shook his head. He was over a hundred years old, he’d experienced the pleasures of many women and had lost what he felt was the love of his life to the poison of evil. He’d ignored the signs as she’d became first withdrawn and moody and then insolent and combative. And when her darkening aura could no longer be disregarded, he thought he could save her, thought he had saved her and she almost destroyed not only him, but his Coven too.
This woman intrigued him. She instantly stirred feelings in him he hadn’t opened himself to for many, many years.
“You’ve seen something. Is it dangerous?” Rowena asked as she approached.
“I don’t think so. See you at dinner.”
Rowena was dumbfounded. It was the second time today Julius had abruptly left her standing alone. She was irresistible, she always had been anyway. She felt her ire rise. Men didn’t just walk away from her, men of any race. Wasn’t it ironic, she’d only agreed to represent her Coven because she knew Julius was heading the delegation. She had relied on her natural attraction to draw him to her, now it looked like she would have to come up with a Plan B.
“You seem upset. What is it Rowena?”
She glanced at Byron and sighed exaggeratedly. “This entire trip is going to be a waste of time.” She forced a smile as she laced her arm through Bryon’s and they started to walk together.
“You’ll find some distractions, Rowena. You always do. If not with Julius, then with someone else.”
Rowena stopped her mouth agape.
Byron smiled and looked away as they continued on. “You’re not fooling anyone, Rowena, least of all me. You’ve been interested in Julius for years. Everyone knows it.”
“Except Julius. He’s oblivious to my charms.”
“Indeed. Don’t blame him too much. He has many challenges as our leader, and now this.”
“Yes, at the insistence of the Protectors.” Rowena couldn’t hide her distain and Byron shook his head and leaned in.
“From Katrina herself,” he whispered. “You’d best be more careful in the way you react to our alliance. Without it, we’d truly be vulnerable. Our numbers already are at the lowest in centuries. If not for her…”
Rowena halted abruptly and jerked her arm away, her eyes flashed. “You can bow to them if you want, withholding the concerns I know that you feel. I, however, intend to be the voice of reason at the council meeting.”
Byron raised an eyebrow as he glanced past her and then back. “This is how you plan to endear yourself to Julius? Good luck with that, Rowena.” He tipped his hat, shoved his hand in his pocket and strolled away.
Rowena was fuming when she reached her cabin. She looked into the mirror as she unpinned her grey hat. She leaned against the vanity stroking the hat’s showy feather plume.
“I’m definitely losing my touch.”