Tuesday, August 19, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Kimber Leigh Wheaton "Stolen Moon"

Katarina ~ a Royal Knight bound by honor and duty who steals a powerful relic from a sorcerer in a desperate attempt to save her kingdom from the clutches of a madman.
Ethan ~ a mercenary leader trapped between his growing attraction to Katarina and his responsibility to protect his friends from the evil pursuing her.
Zebulon ~ a malicious sorcerer waging war as though it's a game, caring nothing for the lives he destroys in his quest for power.
Drawn together by a moonstone medallion—an indestructible relic with immense magical power.
Katarina steals the medallion from Zebulon and flees in the dead of night. Together with Ethan and his mercenaries, she struggles to stay one step ahead of the sorcerer and his minions in a race against time to save her homeland. Fierce battles, ravenous monsters, and bloodthirsty brigands—those are no surprise. But Katarina never dreamed her greatest obstacle could be falling in love.
Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a YA author with a soft spot for sweet romance and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and four cats. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities and states. Her family enjoys travel, anime, & are video game fanatics. Watch for book 1.5 in the Light Chronicles series, coming soon.
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Chapter One
Life on the run is nothing like the adventures I read as a child. By now I should be swinging my sword, slaying brigands with a handsome hero at my side. After a victorious battle, he'd sweep me into his arms, his passionate kisses leaving me breathless. We'd continue our quest, confident that good always conquers evil. Everything would be black and white, no doubts, no regrets.
Waves crash against the schooner drawing me from my reverie, the ship and my empty stomach roiling under the onslaught. I stand at the bow, forcing my heavy eyes to stare at the first slivers of morning sunlight. Glistening orange and yellow rays paint a beautiful picture across the vast sky, a bitter mockery of the darkness engulfing my heart. The weathered teak of the ship's railing bites into my hands, scraping against the abused skin. After a week of standing here every night gripping this wooden rail, it should be smoother, worn down from my restless movement.
The ship lurches as it crests a large wave, and I clutch the railing when I stumble. Splinters dig into my palms. It seems the only thing being worn down is my skin. Feet shuffle and scrape across the deck behind me. A frigid blast of air whips across the ship, snapping the sails. Hunching over the railing, I drag my hood up, shivering until the wind dies down. Nearby murmurs and quiet snickers shock my heartbeat into a rapid staccato, though I manage to swallow the gasp threatening to escape my throat. The crew has gathered behind me, their approach muffled by the howling wind.
"She don't look so tough," a male voice mutters.
His voice is joined by several others, whispering low enough that I can only make out a few words. My gaze never leaves the black expanse of water while I strain to hear them over the crashing waves. The unsavory crew is trying to convince themselves I'm not the terror Captain Harris made me out to be. Creaking planks signal the movement of the men as they creep closer. My pulse races. Creak. I swallow around the lump in my throat.
"I dunno. She got a sword," another sailor says, louder than the rest. "Why she got a sword if she can't use it?"
Creak. A shiver races up my arm as I grasp the icy metal hilt of my sword. The men scuttle backward but they don't leave. Conspiring whispers start up again. They are so close I can smell the foul stench of their unwashed bodies. Fresh water is a premium on the open sea, bathing a luxury reserved for the captain alone.
"Harris done said she's a Royal Knight," a sailor insists.
"Why believe him? He just wants her for hisself."
The ship lurches again. Salty water flies up into the air around me, stinging my eyes. I stumble, tripping over my own two feet as my hands scrape along the railing. My knee slams into the unforgiving wooden planks, sharp pain searing up my leg. I pull myself back to my feet, not sparing a glance for the snickering men behind me. My arms shake as I lean against the rail, fighting exhaustion. It seems my fatigue has caught up with me. I haven't slept more than a few hours since we set sail seven days ago. With any luck I can sneak in a nap this afternoon, once I'm sure my mother and two sisters are safe from harm. I'm so tired my eyes ache.
"She's wearin' the Royal Insignia!" Gil says, his squeaky voice my only defender. "She gots it on her clothes, her sword and dagger, oh and on her armor too."
A ragged sigh rattles through me, my breath a white wisp in the cold, damp air. I try to ignore the scheming crew. This isn't the first time I've heard such whispers. Though it is the first time they've crept this close to me. Ignoring them is the best thing I can do as long as it remains talk. These merchant sailors are cowards like any bullies. As long as they have me to torment, they'll leave my family alone. I hope. An icy gust of wind grabs at my long blond hair, sending it flying around my body.

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