Title The Spear Alight
Author Judith Sterling
Genre YA Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
Ashling Donoghue has almost lost hope of finding her missing parents. As her faith wanes, her love for two men waxes, rending her heart and causing friction in the Breasal household. The time has come to make a choice, to create a future untarnished by doubt. But how can she embrace the light when lured by the soft seduction of shadow?
At last, her brother Conall channels the Spear of Illumination. He's a natural shapeshifter, and he sees through illusions in both the material world and the Otherworld…not a moment too soon. An ancient evil has surfaced, and it threatens all worlds.
Only the Donoghues can save Ireland. They must face their greatest fears and act as one to fulfill their destinies as guardians of Erin.
A sudden awareness invaded my reverie. Someone was watching, likely from the Otherworld. The energy was familiar. Vibrant. Conflicted.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was…
Aengus! And possibly, someone else. Who?
I had to know. Lying perfectly still and feigning sleep, I shifted into the Otherworld.
“Where have you been?” Brigit’s tone held a note of accusation.
“Greagoir and I—”
“Let me rephrase that. Why are you skulking around, watching Ashling sleep instead of meeting her face to face? You’ve been away for weeks.”
“I’m waiting, little brother.”
Aengus released a deep sigh. “I’ve kept my distance since…” He cleared his throat. “Since the night she kissed Lorcan.”
My stomach tightened as I waited for the explosion. One second passed. Two seconds. And a third…
“She did what?!”
“You heard me.”
Another pause. “Impossible.”
“I was there, Brigit. I saw them as plainly as I see you now.”
“It’s a wonder you’ve any sight at all after that! How could she?”
I’d been asking myself the same question for two months. She had every right to ask it too.
A second sigh escaped him. “It’s Caer all over again.”
How I’d missed the rich timbre of his voice. If only it weren’t laced with grief.
He didn’t need to grieve; he hadn’t lost me. But maybe I’d lost him.
“Same soul, same treachery,” Brigit muttered.
So he’d come clean about Lorcan seducing—not kidnapping—Caer, my past-life self. The admission must’ve embarrassed the hell out of him. And now my titanic blunder seemed more like fate than folly to them both.
“But this is a completely different life.” His voice had grown strident, riddled with stress. “I thought I could trust her this time.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I leapt out of bed and rushed to stand before them, beside one of the elegantly draped windows. “You can trust me!”
“Ashling.” The yearning in his eyes pierced my heart. “How much did you hear?”
“Enough to know you’re hurting as much as I am.”
Brigit flung her wavy, red hair over her shoulder and fixed a furious gaze on me. “You have some neck to say that. How can you compare your pain to my brother’s? You made a show of him.”
“I never meant to. I just—”
“You were caught rotten kissing the same blackguard who seduced you before.” She clenched her hands into fists. “Bodb was right about you.”
The words stung. I’d begun to think of her as an older sister, and now she hated me. How could I blame her? There were moments when I hated myself.
Aengus stepped between us and placed a hand on each of our shoulders. I was grateful for his touch, no matter the reason for it. “That’s enough, Brigit.”
She gaped at her brother. “You’re defending her?” Wriggling her shoulder out of his grasp, she returned her focus to me. “Tell me, was it one kiss or a whole litany of them?”
I lifted both hands, and Aengus’s fell away. “Only one. He’d rescued me from Aoife’s castle and—”
“Ah. He’s a hero now, is he?” She spoke as though a bitter taste had bitten her tongue.
“In that moment he was.” Argh! How could I make them understand? Hell, even I didn’t understand. “I can’t explain why I’m so drawn to him…or why I care about him. I just do. And it’s killing me.” I turned to Aengus. “But it’s you I want. I love you.”
His sapphirine eyes stared into my soul, into everything I was and wanted to be. He was reading me. I felt his need, the ache of betrayal and confusion. Yet he said nothing. Then he vanished.
Once more, I regarded Brigit. “I am so sorry.”
Her blue eyes, so like her brother’s, held my gaze for a long, tense moment. At last, she shook her head. “I can’t even look at you right now. I have to go.” She, too, disappeared.
My heart sank further in my chest as I turned toward Deirdre. She gave a loud snort, then rolled onto her side to face the bedroom door. Deep, even breathing ensued.
All aspiration toward sleep left me. I needed company. Now.
Bad idea. Far worse than waking up my sister. But he wouldn’t judge. In fact, he’d probably be glad to see me. Me, Ashling Donoghue, pariah and maven of mistakes. I’d made a million of them. What was one more?
I imagined the interior of Lorcan’s tent at Dun Aengus on Inishmore. Then I flexed my will and was there, surrounded by rich colors, sumptuous fabrics, and perforated hanging lanterns. The intricately patterned Persian carpet felt soft and soothing to my bare feet.
Was he in bed? There was one safe way to find out. “Lorcan? Are you here?”
“Ashling?” His silken voice, warm and rousing, flowed from the bedroom and washed over me.
“Yes. It’s me.”
A heartbeat later, he appeared between the drawn, red curtains that separated his bed from the main section of the tent. He wore a black velvet dressing gown and an expression of mingled surprise and pleasure. With relaxed strides, he closed the gap between us. “You’re the last person I expected to see tonight.” His heated gaze roamed over me.
Too late, I realized I was wearing a thin, white night shirt that refused to cover anything below my upper thighs. I grabbed the hem on both sides and pulled downward…in vain. “I never planned to come.”
“Why did you?” His shoulder-length black hair looked as luxurious as his robe. I stifled the urge to touch both.
“I needed a friend.”
“Haven’t we traveled beyond the bounds of friendship?”
My stomach trembled at the memory of our passionate kiss. Stop it! I huffed. “That never should’ve happened.”
“But it did, because it had to.” His ice blue eyes held my gaze. “You belong to me. We belong to each other.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)
The first 3 books in the series will be on sale from Feb. 25 – March 25. Here are the Amazon links for the books:
The Cauldron Stirred – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072C1CG5D
The Stone Awakened – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K4Y7QV6
The Sword Unsheathed – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086SFXLQY
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
Social Media Links
Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/
The Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/bookauthor/judith-sterling