Before I go any further, please note that Persuasion and three other books were previously published with Ellora's Cave for their Cerridwen Press/Blush lines under the series title Panthera. The rights have been returned to me, and with them, I not only intend to release the re-titled and retold series, I will be writing two new books featuring some of the more compelling characters introduced early in the series.
If you're a fan of sensual Paranormal Romance featuring hot, sexy historical heroes, and strong, courageous women, shifters, were-panthers, or stories set in the past, including Medieval, Renaissance, Golden Age of Piracy, Early and Late Georgian, Regency, and more, I hope you'll give The Abcynians a chance!
Now, let's have some fun! Here's a glimpse into Garrick and Aisley's story: Persuasion
They have lived for centuries. An ancient, secretive race of were-panthers faced with near extinction. To assure their survival they must conceal their identities and abilities, while protecting mankind from an unimaginable, primordial evil.
Persuasion: The Abcynians, Book I
As an Abcynian Elder, Garrick Forrester has survived wars, plagues, and arranged marriages. Nothing he’s experienced prepares him for the discovery of his mate living in his demesne, or for her resistance.
While aiding a child, Aisley Reeves is rescued by the Earl of Danford, whom a village healer should never dare approach without being summoned. At first, she is fascinated with the dark, mesmerizing lord who tempts her in a way no man has ever done. After he claims she’s to become his betrothed, she balks.Already fearful her work and red hair might cause some to brand her as a witch, she believes it is best to keep her distance. When Aisley suffers a near mortal injury at the hands of his enemies, Garrick must gain her trust so that he can protect her. But can she trust her life to a man who is far more than…human?
Check out an excerpt!
“Come one, come all! Merchant and peasant, come one, come all!”
From within her small cottage, Aisley heard a stranger’s beckoning. Curious, she went to the door, opening it, listening. Something felt terribly wrong.
“For a coin, no more than a farthing or two, lend your ears to my traveling minstrel. Five pence will earn merriment with a jester trained amongst the best in London. Peruse the candles, spices and incense found in the most exotic lands. Come one, come all!”
Finding it odd a stranger had entered the village soon after a rainstorm, she grew more concerned. The gray sky was getting darker, the clouds obscuring the moon’s glow.
Leaving the safety of the doorway, she hesitated to look back at the woods separating her home from Danford Manor. The Earl had recently returned after spending years at war with France. It was his duty to protect the people living and serving on his land.
Alas, she did not know him other than by title. Few did, though she was certain he would send guards if the stranger meant anyone harm.
Years ago, her father had served Lord Danford as the physician to his household and tenants. She’d been so proud, often begging Papa to tell her of life inside the manor house. For unknown reasons, she’d always been curious about the lord that other villagers spoke of in whispers.
When she grew to marriageable age, Papa ceased telling her fanciful tales, reminding her to not to be petulant and mind her lessons. Yet, she’d often wondered about the Earl, saying her nightly prayers for his wellbeing and safe return.
Realizing she was spending too much time thinking about matters that were not her concern, she rushed onward to the village common.
“Come one, come all! For I have yet to reveal the best of all. A glimpse will cost each of you a penny. Full reveal will take a shilling.”
Finally, she spotted villagers circling around the caller a bit warily. Horse-drawn wagons rested in a straight line. Aisley spied unlit torches attached to the wagons. Did the stranger plan to stay when it was dark?
Two older villagers, Howard Jones and his wife, inspected the wares and concoctions displayed on a market stand. A handful of coins were tossed to the ground and a small lad scuttled to pick them up.
In a thrice, a jester danced about the villagers. His antics induced a trickle of laughter from them but a chill of fear along her spine. At the same time, an eerie grumble emanated from the forest, lifting the tiny hairs on the back of her neck.
Frightened, she rushed for the safety of the crowd and it wasn’t long before she stood amongst them.
“Pay your tribute to Ruck, dear friends,” the stranger touted, swinging his right arm about as the jester continued to dance. Coins sprinkled the dirt almost as fast as the boy swiped them into a purse. “The finale is near. You have my word, one and all, Sedgewick Haywood will not fail your call.”
Aisley hesitated to admit she was intrigued by what was to be revealed. Pennies were spread on the ground at Haywood’s feet. How odd that the villagers would give up their coin.
“Wait!” Aisley called out, stepping forward. “What brings you to our village on such a night as this?”
“I mean no one harm,” Haywood promised. His smile was little more than a gap-toothed leer. Repulsed, she stepped back, only to have the rumbling sound she’d heard from the forest grow impossibly louder.
Looking back toward the trees, she tried to determine if an animal hovered nearby, hoping it wasn’t a pack of wolves. They were said to prey upon people, namely the weak and injured. Unable to see anything other than blackness, she turned back to the wagons.
“I have traveled far through the day’s rain in the hope of warding away your troubles for at least a night,” Haywood contended, leering at her. “Might I inquire as to whom quells my efforts?”
“Aisley, a healer, and I speak not for myself. This village has not gone unscathed by plague. I would not wish for the sickness to return.”
“Nor would I, fair lady.” Feigning elegance, the man bowed at the hips. The expense of his green and tan robe and the silk of his gypon made him appear a man of means. At the hem of his robe, Aisley caught a glimpse of a sword. “I am free of plague. You may inspect me for lesions if it would set your mind at ease.”
The rumbling she’d heard grew more prominent, frightening. It felt as if the beast was warning her against touching the man. Oddly, no one else seemed to hear it.
“I think it best if you leave,” she said.
Inspecting this man would require three areas, the armpit, neck and the inner thighs. Touching him was not something she relished, regardless of her vow to attend those in need.
“Aisley, do not rush him off. He promises to reveal the creature behind that curtain, and I, for one, have paid to see it,” Howard Jones argued.
It was difficult to avoid staring at the curtained stage resting behind the stranger. The jester had tumbled his way to one side of the wheeled contraption. The minstrel strolled toward the opposite.
“Throwing away coin can only lead to trouble,” Aisley warned.
“How is it that a woman speaks so bold?” Sedgewick Haywood demanded.
“It is common for Aisley to do so,” Andrew White answered. “Her father was the trusted physician for the Earl of Danford. She is valued amongst us.”
“Then why have you given what this man has asked for?” Aisley wondered aloud.
“We want to see what he has to offer.”
“Worry not, Aisley. All will be well.”
The villagers relayed their wishes and Aisley stepped back. She could not deny them a few moments pleasure. More coins hit the ground as Sedgewick demanded. Apparently pleased with the villagers, the visitor bowed once again in acceptance.
“Ah, at last my performers will grant your due,” Haywood pronounced. Proudly, he moved to the side.
Both the minstrel and the jester beckoned to the crowd and the curtain before them. Whispers filled the air, but they could not mask the eerie sawing drawing ever closer to the village. Did no one else hear the beast? It sounded as if he boomed from a mountaintop.
“Is someone cutting branches in the forest?” she asked.
“I hear nothing of the sort, Aisley,” Howard said.
Cease, little one, only you can hear me. I am close. Do not provoke the strangers, I will protect you and my tenants, someone said, a man, with a deep, gruff voice spoken so close to her ear, she swore his breath brushed her ear.
Unbidden, the scent of cinnamon tickled her nose, the memory it triggered bittersweet. Her father had always favored it in his porridge, a rarity to be certain, as it’d been a gift from Lord Danford in return for his physician’s fealty.
You like cinnamon, I shall procure some from the kitchens for you by the morrow. Ease your worry, it will be all right. Again, that voice, so compelling, so distinct and male, reached her.
“Who spoke to me of cinnamon?” Aisley demanded, glancing about. The villagers stared back as though she’d gone mad.
“Your attention, healer,” Haywood insisted. “To one and all, I give you living proof of werewolves in England!”
“Werewolves…are you mad, Haywood?” Andrew asked.“Nay, I tell you true, feast your eyes on a werewolf’s babe.” Sedgewick swept his right hand toward the jester, who sliced a rope and the curtain shushed to the ground.
If you'd like to read Persuasion, you can find it at Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Scribd! FYI: Scribd is a subscription service and they're having a trial offer for 14 days. Below, I'll include links to each vendor!
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