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Title: A Glimpse of Music
Author: Sydney Winward
Genre: Fantasy romance
Publisher: Silver Forge Books
If fate gives you a third chance, would you take it?
Joel Harrington has been in love with the same woman for as long as he could remember. But he had to watch her court his best friend, and then marry his king. Now that she’s once more unattached, he refuses to let her slip through his fingers for a third time.
Darkness torments Nyana’s memories, and even after her cruel husband is killed, he still haunts her from the grave. When her past refuses to leave her alone, it puts not only her, but her daughters in danger. She has no choice but to lean on the man she has called a friend for the past eight years, a friend whose charms she tries hard to resist.
But along with the growing threat to her family, she keeps an even more dangerous secret—a secret that could change her life forever.
The air halted in her lungs as she lost the ability to breathe. Her trembling legs refused to hold her upright any longer, and she collapsed to her knees, the blow cushioned by a pile of white feathers.
A snowflake landed on her nose. And then her eyelashes. She hadn’t brought a coat outside when her trip to gather the few eggs would have only taken a minute.
She didn’t feel the cold.
With her back resting against the side of the broken coop, she buried her head in her knee, leaving her bad leg straight. Her body. Her heart. Her mind. Everything was numb. And not for the first time, she wished she could crumble into pieces and disappear from this cruel, harsh world. But she had her girls to think about.
Girls who she wasn’t sure how to keep fed through the winter, especially with these threats looming over her head.
She had no family left other than her father and brother, who lived in the Attleglade Forest. She hadn’t seen them for fifteen years and had no idea how to contact them. And she couldn’t ask Calle for help.
Because he would give it.
And it would destroy him and the life he had built since he’d escaped slavery and become King.
When she left the castle with her girls, she’d never considered how difficult it would be to keep them fed and clothed. More than once, she had been tempted to ask Calle for help. But she couldn’t face him. It was too difficult for so many reasons.
Despair crashed down on her. Despair and hopelessness and self-hatred. She had brought this on herself. She had no one to blame but herself.
The faintest, jaunty whistle echoed down the path leading to the house. She immediately recognized Joel’s carefree demeanor within the tune. She prayed he wouldn’t notice her.
But the whistling stopped abruptly. Joel inhaled sharply, followed by quick footsteps headed her way. “Nyana. Are you hurt?”
After a slow sigh, she shook her head, keeping her face buried in her knee. “I just want to sit here for a moment.”
A pause. And then something heavy and warm draped over her shoulders. Joel’s coat. Shock stiffened her limbs when she inhaled the warm scents of cinnamon and apple, mixed with something uniquely Joel’s. Gold and mystery and emotion. Something like…like…
But music couldn’t possibly have a smell. Could it?
He didn’t ask about the hens or the ominous message. He didn’t ask about her position on the ground. Nor did he touch her. Rather, he lowered himself to the ground beside her, sitting with his back against the broken chicken coop.
She slowly inhaled a breath of Joel from the coat wrapped around her and breathed out a river of comforting, companionable silence. Comforting. The foreign feeling shocked her. She could not remember a time when the presence of a man had been comforting.
Joel pulled a flute out of his pocket, lifted it to his lips, and a beautiful melody streamed out of the thin instrument.
Followed by golden magic.
She watched, eyes transfixed, as shimmering, golden tendrils floated in the air around them. Slivers of gold wove around her before they blossomed into magnificent flowers. They sparkled and shimmered as if continuing to sprout on a golden vine.
When she reached out to touch one of the flowers, it exploded into golden glitter and dusted her feet with its radiance. Almost like a sunbeam. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Magnificent.
Her gaze shifted from the golden magic to Joel’s serene expression as he played. His fingers moved deftly over the flute holes, his eyes half-closed as if playing brought him a measure of peace. It was as if his magic transferred to her, helping to calm the storm brewing within her.
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Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.
Sydney is the author of The Bloodborn Series and the Sunlight and Shadows Series. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband and three amazing kids.
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