We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Lastly, for you readers, this is a bit of a test so please do comment and let us know what you think. We will also be offering up giveaway copies whenever we can! So without further ado, here is this week's pick -
Today we're very happy to let you get your teeth into an excerpt from The White Stag by Linden Flynn.
Published: August 29th, 2013
Win and become the King. Lose your armor, lose your life. A kingdom in chaos, and countless men dead. When Cypress emerges from her village in the forest to seek her fate in the outside lands, she doesn't bargain on becoming part of the realm's politics with the Knight's Game. Twelve men were chosen for the Game, each with his own symbol, and the last one standing becomes the next King. One man wears the sigil of the white stag, an unearthly being from Cypress' own forest, that draws her into a world she never dreamed of. But when Cypress comes face to face with her spitting image, the father she never knew, she joins the Game to ensure his tyranny will not become law, all while hiding a secret that could get her killed - that she's a woman. (from Amazon)
When she opened her eyes, she saw mere shapes in the darkness. She was seated but slouched uncomfortably, her arms bound behind her with rope. The room was dimly lit by one candle, and the figures slowly resolved into a room full of furniture and the large man from the bar.
“Dirk,” Cypress muttered. Her pain intensified when she spoke.
“Where’s Noble?” Dirk growled.
“You waited for me,” Cypress whispered.
“Where is he?”
“And then you took me.”
“And the barmaid… Did she know?”
“I won’t ask you again!!” Dirk boomed. “Where is Lyle Noble?”
Cypress chuckled. The amusement sank down into her stomach, and she threw her head back and roared in laughter. The irony of it all. “Noble didn’t come and find me like he promised,” Cypress said. “So if you took me merely to find him, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.”
Dirk snorted. “He’ll come for you one way or another.”
“He won’t,” Cypress said. “He broke his promise. Are you dense?”
She should have known not to mouth off. Dirk jumped from his chair and cracked his hand against her lip. She tasted blood, and her head pulsed with the same rhythm as ripples in a lake.
“You’re going to wait,” Dirk said. “I’m going to make sure Noble knows the situation he’s in.” Dirk knocked twice on the door and opened it. Dirk’s skinny friend from the night before was standing guard. “Don’t even think about running, girl.” The room shook when Dirk slammed the door. At least he was gone and Cypress had peace to think.
Foolish girl, she realized. She hadn’t even given Lyle her name. How would he ever come looking for her? And what if Hazel came to find her?
Oh, Hazel… She should have listened to her and left the city with or without Lyle. The trouble with Dirk had been a warning, and now she was paying the price for trusting an outsider.
Her bow and arrows were laid out on the bed, though her hunting knife had been missing since the previous fight. She needed something to cut the ropes, and she knew her arrowheads were sharp enough. If only she could reach them…
She was tied to the chair but not completely immobile. By pressing her feet hard against the ground, she could effectively push the chair across the floor to the bedside. After each movement, each scrape of the chair against the wooden floor, she looked towards the door and waited for the guard to come in. Luckily, he never did.
When she finally reached the edge of the bed, she grabbed the top quilt and tugged it towards her inch by inch. Her bow slipped past her fingers, but she nabbed her quiver and from it retrieved an arrow. She turned the arrow in her fingers, pressed the flint head against the thick cord binding her, and cut at her restraints.
The rope loosened itself around her wrists until her hands were free. Blood flowed down into her fingertips and burned her hands like she had thrust them into a flame. With no time to wait for the sensation to pass, Cypress set to work on the rope around her ankles. When the restraints fell away, she stood, free to escape out the window, but just as she touched the windowsill, she heard heavy footsteps outside the door.
Had she been too loud? Had the guard noticed her movements? No, she could hear his voice—Dirk was returning to the room.
She sat back down in the chair and kicked the loose ankle restraints beneath the bed. Pulling her arms behind her, she kept the arrow tight in her right hand and adopted the look of a pained captive.
“The whole town knows you’re gone now,” Dirk said as he entered. “Been here a day and you’re almost noteworthy.” Cypress said nothing; she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. “Your little friend is asking about you at the bar. Cypress, huh? Strange name for a strange girl.” Cypress looked up at the mention of Hazel. At least she was safe and in a crowded place. Cypress hoped she stayed there instead of looking for her. She would be safer with Rose.
“You shouldn’t have tried to fight me,” Dirk said, standing in front of Cypress’ chair. “I was there to pick a fight with Noble, not you. But if you want to help me get his attention, I’m more than willing to use you.” Cypress caught the smirk on his face, and it made her sick. “Come now,” Dirk said. “Why so quiet?” He reached a hand to Cypress’ face, and she knew that if she did not strike now, she never would. She lunged out of the chair and drove the arrow deep into Dirk’s eye. The man backed away, howling in pain and grabbing at the arrow.
Cypress seized her bow and quiver, notching an arrow onto the bow. Dirk’s friend opened the door, crying, “What?” Cypress loosed an arrow into his shoulder, and he stumbled out of the doorway. She ran and did not look back. The last thing she glimpsed was Dirk trying to pull the arrow from his eye.
Good luck with the book Linden