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Curse of the Elf Lord by Heidi Vanlandingham is a recommended read #romanticfantasy #fantasy



Title

Curse of the Elf Lord


Author

Heidi Vanlandingham


Genre

Romantic Fantasy


Book Blurb


Cursed into the body of a werewolf, Émilien Elasalor longs for a cure that will return him to his true Elven form so he can win back the love of his wife, Hel. But knowing what an impossibility that is, he throws himself into his brother and sister-in-law’s disappearance, vowing to stop at nothing to find them.


Hel is regarded as the ice queen, but underneath that cold exterior is a heart that beats for the daughter she was forced to leave behind—and for the Elf who stole a slice of her soul so long ago. When the dead start disappearing from her realm, she and Émilien are thrust together to discover who is behind this new threat, making the bone-chilling discovery that more is at stake than their hearts—the life of their only daughter.


Can they forge a truce long enough to save her—and the whole of the Nine Worlds—or will their pasts destroy their future?


Excerpt


Émilien Elasalor stared at the precious young woman standing in front of the oversized window in the upstairs sitting room of his modest castle, knowing he had to tell Shalendra the secret he kept from her the entirety of her life. The secret that meant he would lose her. Could he take that risk?


No, he couldn’t. Not yet.


Dappled sunlight filtered through the treetops outside, shimmering over her like fairy lights. Her thick black hair hung down her slender back in loose curls. Deep in thought, her gaze never left the window, and he wondered what she studied so intently on the side lawn.


He rubbed his neck with one paw, wishing for the millionth time since being cursed into the form of an upright wolf that he had regular fingers instead of sharp, knife-like claws. What he wouldn’t give for a long upper-body massage to loosen the ever-present muscle cramps. His body still reminded him of the now two-month-old battle alongside his nephew, Bernard, against the draugar in Washington D.C. They still hadn’t figured out who had released the undead, but he knew his nephew would figure it out.


Forcing one hind leg into the room, the thick pads of his paws silent on the centuries-smooth stone floor, he closed the distance between them, stopping a few feet away from the most precious thing in his life. Shalendra.


She was beautiful. His gaze traced the young woman’s profile, soft strands of her long hair framing the face of an angel. Her nose was long and straight, accentuating full, rose-tinted lips. She was the perfect blend of god and elf.


“I may not react, but I still hear you, brother. What’s wrong?” She turned to face him, worry swirling in her shimmery aqua gaze.


With a habit as old as time, he forced all emotion away. “Why do you think something is wrong, ma petit?” One side of his mouth curled up at the brief glimpse of vexation at his endearment. She hated it when he referred to her as his little one. Now, he called her that to see the spark of annoyance swirling in her rich gaze. It was those times, he recognized her mother in her.


One elegant eyebrow rose. “Because dear Émilien, you normally stomp into a room, cursing and complaining about whatever or whomever you’re annoyed with, that’s why. It isn’t like you to be quiet.”


He ran his paw across his tired eyes, wishing he didn’t have to have this conversation with her—but he had put it off far too long. How was he supposed to tell her he had lied to her, her entire life? Too many things had happened recently, though, and he knew his time with Shalendra had run out.


Her mother wasn’t known for her patience, especially with him, but damn it, telling Shalendra she was his sister, not daughter, had been her idea. Hel wouldn’t wait forever to be reunited with her. Not that Shalendra could go back to Helheimr, since her last stay had almost killed her.


Dropping his paw onto his furred thigh, he scowled at Shalendra’s back as she once more stared outside. “Whatever in the world are you staring at? There’s nothing out there but grass and trees.”


“And glowing blue men...large, glowing blue men surrounded by wolves like you.”


His eyes widened. Muttering in ancient Elvish, he leapt from the couch and in two long strides stopped behind her. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he towered over her and leaned closer to the window. Glancing down, a low growl rumbled deep in his throat at the sight of five back-to-back draugar with swords drawn, their familiar blue glow of power encompassing them.


Surrounding the creatures in a larger circle were eight wolves. He recognized a few of them from the battle in Washington D.C. where Bernard and Alva, along with the Norse gods Freyja and Freyr, fought against whoever controlled the draugr king and his men—so his nephew could fix the problems he had caused by changing the war’s timeline.


“What in hades are they doing here?”


“Who are they exactly?” Shalendra tilted her head, her worried gaze increasing his anger. He had kept his home hidden for centuries and now, in mere minutes, that sanctity and safety had been breached.


“Theirs is a cursed afterlife—neither dead nor living. Like zombies but not. They are supposedly the worst of the undead, doomed by their own malevolent deeds or by a necromancer. We stumbled upon them not long ago in the United States. They actually ended up helping us in our fight.”


Her gaze moved back to the tight, glowing circle of beings below. “So, they are not wholly evil then.”


“No, but I don’t like that they’re here either.” He squeezed her fragile shoulder, mindful to keep his claws light against her skin. “Stay here while I take care of whatever that is.”


“Maybe I can help? You know I can calm just about anything.”


“No—” he began but snapped his powerful jaws shut when she whirled around and placed her palm against his chest, pressing against the wide leather weapon strap he always wore.


“Émilien, you must start trusting my judgment. I am no longer a small child. I can take care of myself.”


The last time he’d forbidden her to do something, she stopped talking to him for a month. The last thing he wanted was for her to get angry at him again. Shaking his head, he followed his wolf’s instincts, hardened by centuries of battle and the agony of torture.


“No, little one, not this time. You will not go anywhere near either group below. I do not know why they are here, and it would only take one mistake to end your life and that, I cannot allow. Remain here until I return.” He turned toward the door.


“But—”


He stopped but didn’t turn around. “Shalendra.” He spoke her name in a low growl. Without waiting for an answer, he left the room. Using his preternatural speed, he raced through the house and through the back door. Without hesitation, he leaped off the balcony and landed in front of the advancing werewolves to stare down the massive wolf now facing him, his angry ice-blue eyes registering surprise.


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Author Biography


Heidi Vanlandingham writes sweet, action-packed stories that take place in war-torn Europe, otherworldly magical realms, and the Wild West. Her love of history finds its way into each book, and her characters are lovable, strong, and diverse. Heidi’s stories transport the reader to a different place and time for understanding, compassion, and most of all, love.


Growing up in Oklahoma and living one year in Belgium gave Heidi a unique perspective regarding different cultures. She still lives in Oklahoma with her husband. Her oldest son is in the autism spectrum, working hard at living on his own, and her youngest son is in college and working toward his own dreams. Heidi’s favorite things in life are laughter, paranormal/fantasy romance books, music, and long road trips.


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1 comentário


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
14 de abr. de 2023

Thank you, Heidi, for sharing your book with us! It's such a gorgeous cover.

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