Friday, January 24, 2020

THE WITCH-QUEEN. Legends of Winatuke, Book 1

THE WITCH-QUEEN, Legends of Winatuke, Book 1
By Sarah J. McNeal
(Formerly: THE DARK ISLE)
Fire Star Press
Buy Links: Paperback   Kindle

The legend begins when love and evil collide.


The Dark Isle has been a refuge for evil since time began in the world of Winatuke, and the most depraved and wicked of them all is the witch-queen, Mahara, who rules over the malignant kingdom of darkness.

Mahara has taken a captive, a prince of the Nimway people, and she plans to use him for the revenge that burns in her soul. By forcing her own daughter, Isadore, into marriage with Prince Gabriel, she hopes to gain the power she craves over the Nimway—especially her ex-lover and Isadore’s father, Raven.

Her scheme goes awry when love begins to grow between Isadore and Gabriel. Isadore realizes the only way to save Gabriel is for them to escape together, but at the last minute, that plan fails. Separated from Gabriel,  Isadore is forced to continue to the Nimway kingdom of Valmora alone to seek help from her mother’s enemies.

Once Isadore gains their trust, Gabriel’s brother, Raphael, volunteers to travel to present-day Earth to get help. To save his brother, he must bring Raven back to the world of Winatuke, and ask him to risk his own life in the battle against Mahara’s evil forces.

It seems an impossible task. How can they ever defeat Mahara? With the evil forces she can summon at will, it seems Gabriel’s life will be forfeit. But Isadore refuses to allow that, risking her own life to save him. Forced to follow her heart, Isadore wonders if she can ever win her father’s trust or Gabriel’s love. She only knows she must defeat her mother’s evil vendetta for all time. No matter the consequences she must vanquish THE WITCH-QUEEN

Excerpt: (Isadore and Prince Gabriel)

Isadore reached the bottom of the stair and made her way with tentative care down the narrow passage to the prisoner's cell. She had never ventured this far before. The dungeon was an awful place. It smelled of damp stone, urine, and fear.

In the shadows of the cell, she made out the Nimway's form as he stood facing the wall beyond the iron bars with his back to her. He stood tall with a broad back that tapered to a narrow waist and hips. From his back sprang two large, yellow wings etched in black. They reminded her of the stained glass windows now falling from their frames in the abandoned chapel of the north wing. The glow from a burning torch shone through his hair and, in spite of its unkempt length and its need of washing, it gleamed like a golden halo in the flickering torchlight. There he stood, magnificent and beautiful, the Heir Apparent to the throne of Valmora, Prince Gabriel of Fionn.

He must have sensed her presence because he started to turn toward her. Her heart pounded against her ribs. She could not catch her breath. Inside her mind her thoughts ran in excited disarray. But a smart rap on her shoulder gained her immediate attention. A gasp escaped her when she turned to find her mother standing close behind her. Mahara had found her out. "What do you think you are doing, Isadore?" Her black eyes darkened and narrowed with suspicion. Without waiting for an answer she grabbed Isadore’s hand in a painful grasp and jerked her around. "Come with me NOW," Mahara commanded.

Excerpt: (Prince Raphael and Rose)

He gazed into her frightened eyes. "You must never take my world, the Nimway or the Black Blood Clan so lightly. There are battles being fought between good and evil every day of which you know nothing." He clasped her arms tightly in his hands. "So know this: Mahara wants one thing more than any other—your father. She has the blood lust. She will use any means that will get her what she wants. Raven managed to slip through her hands and, worse, he took his true love with him. If you think, she has forgotten this affront you are very much mistaken. She never forgets. Even now, she is thinking of a way to take revenge, and when she figures out how to carry out her diabolical plan, God save us all."

He loosened his grip on her arms and noticed with dismay the red marks his hands had made. Raphael bent down and kissed the marks on her arms. She sighed then leaned her head back with her eyes closed. He could not help himself as he embraced her in his arms. She dropped her head on his chest and wove her arms around his waist. His heart hammered in his chest. "I am sorry." He spoke softly in her ear. His breath caught as he removed the yellow, plastic clip from her hair and released its dazzling brilliance that fell to her waist in flowing locks of fiery copper.

It was almost painful being in her embrace. She held on to him because she was afraid. He knew that. But the nearness of her made him drunk with joy all the same. He tangled his hand in her hair and slowly lowered his mouth to hers. She responded to his kiss and Raphael burned with desire somewhere between heaven and hell. Oh God, how I want her, how I love her. If only there was some way—

She pushed away from him. Her voice was too high when she spoke and it wavered. "No. This can't happen." Her hand flew to her mouth as if to wipe away his kiss. "This can never be. Your dream was just a dream. Dad won't believe this so called telling dream of yours or your terrifying prediction. I can tell you for a fact you need never be concerned that I would ever entertain the idea of entering the dark world of Winatuke where you live. So, you can cease your concerns." She turned on her heel and left him standing there.

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