Antonia Aquilante’s new novel is published today by Dreamspinner Press. I’m delighted to support the launch – read an excerpt here!
Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.
Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.
Series: Chronicles of Tournai
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Release Date: November 28, 2016
A sharp knock came at the door as Lord Etan chuckled. Prince Philip called out a command to enter. “Captain Loriot,” Prince Philip said after the door opened and closed, “perfect timing. Thank you for joining us.”
“Of course, Your Highness. You had need of me?”
Savarin glanced over as Loriot stepped up beside Lord Etan’s chair. The captain looked his usual competent self this afternoon; Savarin hadn’t seen him look less than competent in all of their association. His thick, dark hair all in place, short beard neatly trimmed, deep red and brown uniform perfectly pressed. The royal seal was embroidered on its breast, his captain’s insignia displayed on the jacket’s arm.
“Yes, Captain,” Prince Philip said. “Master Savarin will be traveling along Tournai’s borders on an important mission for us. I’d like you to accompany him.”
Shock stole Savarin’s thoughts for a moment, but the protest came quickly. “Your Highness, that’s hardly necessary.”
“There have been reports of bandits in the area, perhaps crossing the border in and out of Amaranta,” Prince Philip said with an inquiring glance at Loriot.
“Yes, Your Highness. There are, of course, patrols out looking for them,” Loriot said, supplying the requested information.
“I’m sure the patrols will take care of the problem,” Savarin said, trying to keep his voice even and calm. Amaranta was the neighboring kingdom to Tournai’s west, one that Tournai had a good relationship with. Savarin had traveled extensively in Amaranta and knew it well enough to be assured that Amaranta would have its own patrols out too if the bandits were troubling them as well. The bandits would be found before long. “And in the meantime, I’ll be fine on my own, Your Highness.”
“I think it best you have someone with you.”
“I need not remind you that I’m a powerful sorcerer, Your Highness. I can take care of myself,” Savarin said through gritted teeth. He didn’t need a nursemaid or a protector.
“No, you needn’t.” Prince Philip’s voice was mild. “Nevertheless, all it would take is one bandit catching you unaware while you concentrate on the magic, and none of your power would help you.”
“I hardly think that likely, Your Highness.”
“Likely or not. I think it’s possible, and I don’t want that to happen.” Prince Philip glanced at Loriot, standing silently by. Lord Etan and Prince Amory were silent as well. “Captain Loriot will accompany you on your journey to ensure your safety.”
Savarin wanted to argue. He didn’t want anyone with him on this trip; he preferred to work alone, to travel alone. He didn’t need anyone with him, especially not for protection. But he also recognized the futility of arguing with Prince Philip at this point. He probably shouldn’t argue with Prince Philip at any time, but sometimes a discussion was warranted.
Apparently not today.
“Yes, Your Highness,” he said, giving in as gracefully as he could. Prince Philip nodded and turned to Loriot. “Keep Savarin safe
while he does what he needs to do, Captain. Brief your second because you may be away from the city for some time.”
“Your Highness, perhaps it would be best to send someone else, even several guards, with Master Savarin,” Loriot said far more diplomatically than Savarin had managed, though he could see Loriot wanted to go with him as little as he wanted Loriot to. “My place is here, with you.”
“I do not need several guards.” Savarin couldn’t resist saying it, though Loriot was the only one who spared him a look.
“You’ve trained your second well, and he’s experienced. We’ll be fine without you for a little while, and we’ll call you back if we need you.”
Loriot obviously heard the unyielding note in Prince Philip’s voice too. “Yes, Your Highness.”
“Good. Speak to Master Savarin about his plans.”
And that was plainly a dismissal. Savarin was going to have company on his travels whether he liked it or not.
He didn’t like it.
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Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.
Thanks for hosting me today, Anna!
You’re very welcome, Antonia. Every best wish for the book.