For the next few weeks, I'll be posting more than once a week as I share a few chapters of Thorn Changer. I was going to wait to share sample chapters on here until I had prepared them to share on YouTube as well, but I've been having difficulties with that so I decided to go ahead and share the chapters here. Later, I will post them on YouTube. As the chapters are a little long, I'll be breaking them into parts. Where I can, I'll break them at the end of a scene, and I am going to try to post each chapter in a week.
So for this week, I'll post Chapter One, which I've divided into four parts (it has four different sections/scenes), and I'll be posting Monday through Thursday. If you want to see the copyright/disclaimer page, go to the Amazon page, click on the picture of Thorn Changer for the Look Inside option, and scroll up (this also gives you a chance to see the beautiful detail of the cover).
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Excerpt from Thorn Changer by Christy Reed
She was a fool to wait. Her travel-worn boots clattered against the street stones. She started to glance over her shoulder, but stopped at the sound of heavier treads. They hadn’t given up yet. She shouldn’t have lingered. She bent her head against the beating rain, and ran faster.
“Why did I wait?” she swiped at the raindrops. “If I’d run when I realized they followed me, instead of laughing at them…”
But the past couldn’t be rewritten. Why else would she live this way? She just had to keep running until she could think of something to shake them off her trail.
She veered into an alley, and skid across the cobbles toward the stone wall. Her eyes measured the distance between the top and the ground. Shouts rang out behind her.
She ran, and jumped. Her fingers didn’t come close. She let herself fall back down. If she tried to climb it now, they would just shoot her down. There was no escape. She’d have to fight.
She slung her harp off her shoulder and leaned it against the wall, dropping her cloak over it. She tugged at her leather gloves, first one then the other. The moon’s beams glinted off the metal knuckles. “At least I was smart enough to keep these on.”
“There she is.”
She turned, and smiled at the two men blocking the alleyway. The same two who had watched her all evening, and followed her out of the inn after she had sang one last time “The Lay of the Thirty Warriors.” Had they tracked her since her escape?
The taller one stepped forward. “Skey the minstrel, of the kin of Kirei, you’re under arrest for breaking out of the Tower. You’re to return to your cell, and await your trial. For high treason this time.”
Skey threw off her cloak. She flicked back her yellow hair as she squared her shoulders. Her hands rested on her hips. “Why, my good fellows, you’ve both been watching me long enough to know I’ve not caused a soul the least bit of harm, much less His Excellency. Why should the mighty emperor concern himself over me, when I’m sure there are more worthy subjects to spend his time on?”
The shorter one now stepped forward. Slo. Cinote really did give him the worst jobs. He cleared his throat. “You know you are a danger to all, Skey. The emperor can’t let creatures like you roam free.”
Skey dropped her hands to her sides. “Yes, that’d do for most Arilians.” A fist shot out, and caught the tall one on the chin, as a kick slammed into Slo’s soft belly.
Slo stumbled back with a cry. The other was knocked to the ground, but leaped to his feet and rushed at her. She kicked him over onto Slo. “Did Cinote think two clouts like you could catch me?”
A green glow filled her vision. The two froze. She couldn’t help a smirk as the pin feathers broke out across her back. Good. Let them fear. The glow grew until it surrounded her, and expanded as the form took place. When it faded, the giant vulture form was complete.
Inky wings shot out, cloaking the ground and them from the steady rain. She arched her neck, clacking her red-tipped beak. The puddle at her talons reflected her green eyes back to her, the only thing that remained unchanged.
Slo took a step back. The soldier he’d brought with him was still frozen. Even after seeing this all before, they still weren’t used to it. She threw her wings up toward the clouds. “What? Do I see the soldiers of Lord Cinote trembling? Pathetic.”
“Guards,” the soldier pushed away Slo as he drew his sword. “Quick. To me.”
Steel clanged. Men in full armor rushed into the alley. Cinote had learned his lesson this time.
She let out a shriek, and dove at the tall one. Talons flashed as they tore through armor and sunk into his arm.
The guard yelped, and slashed at her. The blade bit into her right shoulder as she tossed him into the group of soldiers. With another shriek, she swooped to snatch up her harp and cloak. A great gust of wind from the massive wings, and she had cleared the wall. She dropped out of sight on the other side just as the arrows whistled through the air.
Her talons touched the ground as the green flash came again. Skey ran. The angry shouts of the soldiers and the clang of steel echoed around her. She ran down the alley, out onto the main street, and slipped into another of the narrow corridors just before the guards reached the street.
They rushed by her hiding place. Skey leaned back against the wall and shook her head. The oafs. As if she’d have stuck around waiting for them. But they would soon realize their error.
Her shoulder throbbed. The cut was now a shallow gouge. She gritted her teeth, and tore a wide strip from her cloak. She reached into her belt pouch. She didn’t have many of the healing herbs left. She spat into the powder, mixing it with her finger into a paste. Fire burned her shoulder as she smeared the mixture of lavender, arnica, and calendula on it. She bound it tightly, tightening it with her teeth. That would do for now.
She slung her harp over her other shoulder. She groped in her pouch. Where was that map? Oh well, she knew where she was headed. She could always get another.
In the harbor, a ship crept its way out to sea. Drat, she had missed it. She moved her arm, and winced. If she hurried, though, she’d be able to catch it. She fastened on her cloak, as green filled her vision. A seagull soared up into the air, and sped toward the ship.
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That's the end of Chapter One Part One. I hope you enjoyed it. For right now, Thorn Changer is available exclusively on Amazon. Feel free to share this excerpt, just please include all text between the asterisks (* * *), and include a link to Thorn Changer's Amazon page. This will give your viewers a link to where they can purchase Thorn Changer if they're interested. Thanks.
Chapter One Part Two will be available tomorrow.