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New Release | Touch of Red by @ChristinaHerly1 #darkfantasy #fantasyromance #romanticfantasy #books
Touch of Red
Dark romantic sword and sorcery fantasy/Fairytale retelling
Cursed with a mortactio’s deadly skin, Pyrrha can never touch the people she loves. Fortunately, no one fits that criterion in her home—not even her mother, Regent Duri. But when her paternal grandmother, Queen Gratia, is bitten by a komoviper, Pyrrha must leave her secluded life and travel the dangers of Griseo Wood to deliver a cure.
Regent Duri’s Hunters patrol Griseo Road, but Wolves rule the wild forest—and they hate all that Pyrrha represents. Though mere men and women, the Wolves still possess a magical connection with Griseo Wood that Regent Duri covets. And now Lykos, Lord of the Wolves, has come by another valuable possession: Pyrrha. Her desire to touch the handsome, vivacious enemy of her mother grows stronger by the day. He will charm her out of her red hood and into a Wolf’s helmet if he can. But mortactios must maintain a life of solitude and detachment. Lykos needs to respect her cursed skin before tragedy strikes.
In this dark fantasy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, the red hood warns of her death touch. This time, the big, bad Wolf had better watch out for her.
The next morning, no one but Lykos will ride next to me. He claims that I bullied his poor men and forced him to interfere, but I suspect the Wolves’ feelings are more complicated. They cannot reconcile their hatred with the natural gratitude my actions of yesterday created.
That Lykos’ first question of the day concerns such actions supports my belief. “Why did you defend Aristide so fiercely? He does not even like you.”
“None of you like me,” I reply with a blandness that pleases me. “If I allow all of you to die, who will lead me through the forest?”
“Ha, ha.” Now that we no longer travel through the silater territory his comfortable attitude dominates again. “You’re very accepting of our dislike.”
I shrug. “Habit.”
“You cannot convince me that no one in Fraus likes you. If you weren’t Huscarl, I might enjoy your company. A little. Surely not every Frausian hates you.”
He charms with such ease that I must remind myself of it lest I fall into the trap. “Hate may be too active a feeling to ascribe to Frausians, but they can never like what they fear. While they might not wish for my death, if I were to get lost in Griseo Wood and never return, none of them would cry.”
He studies me before returning his attention to the dense wood ahead. “Would you like to get lost in Griseo?”
“It had an appeal until last night.” I don’t lie. I still enjoy the weird, deadly solitude of this forest. The longer I travel through it, the more I belong.
Lykos grimaces. “The silater are nocturnal. We should have been out of their territory in time, but the clouds brought them out early.”
“Hmmm.” The shadows that tainted my blood finally disappeared with the sleep that his drink brought. I still shudder at the burning hate and heavy poison the silater carry.
“We should reach Apomono by late afternoon.” Lykos cuts into my cold memories, and I welcome the natural warmth his presence brings. While my treatment of his Wolves wasn’t meant to bring him back to my side, I enjoy the result. His vitality is addictive to Wolves and mortactios, alike.
“How do you hide this stronghold so well that I have never heard of it?”
Only the slight flicker of his thick lashes indicates his suspicion before he answers. “It is charmed by a powerful witch so that no one with ill intentions toward us can find it.” He faces me with his full Wolf grin. “So purge the foul plots from your mind now, Little Red Hood, or you won’t be able to follow us inside.”
“My only plot is to save my grandmother. Have you sent any messages?”
He transforms from grinning wolf to disgruntled puppy. “When we reach Apomono. It shouldn’t take long for an answer.”
Judging by the mostly southern track we take, I am only a few days from Alithia’s royal city, Kifali. Anxiety over Nonni does not control me, yet.
“It’s best for everyone that you stay close to me until then.”
“Oh?” Because they all hate me, no doubt. He cannot risk an angry Wolf killing me before I bring any gold.
“Mmm-hmm.” He glances sideways. “Well, Multo still wants to kill you, which would ruin my—what did you call it? Ridiculous ransom plan?”
“It still is.”
He ignores that. “And James might be a little in love with you, so stay out of reach.”
I laugh. “I spilled silater guts all over him.” Men are strange.
Lykos is unusually serious. “Those paralyzed by silater can still see. Apparently you struck an impressive, heroic figure from his view on the ground. And Aristide would probably touch you just to prove that he didn’t need your rescue.”
This surprises me less than love from James. “That’s only three men. Do the others want to kill me?”
“They don’t care for the nicknames you gave them.”
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The author is giving away five digital copies and one signed paperback during release week. Readers can enter 11/26 through 12/3.
All other digital books by Christina Herlyn will be on sale for $0.99 during the release week for Touch of Red, beginning 11/25.
Christina Herlyn is the author of the Andromeda Bochs urban fantasy series as well as the Dark Fairytales series that includes Scry Wolf and Touch of Red, a dark fantasy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. She grew up in Texas and Oklahoma but now lives in the Midwest where she earned a BA in History from William Jewell College. She writes fantasy because dragons and witches wouldn't stay out of the perfectly normal historical novel she tried to write. She worships the sun and exercises just enough to avoid being the first casualty in a zombie apocalypse. Her husband and three kids probably know she's a writer, but don't ask them to name her books. To be fair, don't ask her the names of her husband and children while she's writing.
You can find all of Christina’s books plus free stories and news of upcoming releases at Christinaherlyn.com
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