Hi friends! I’m super excited to share an exclusive excerpt with you on a book out in just a few hours! Yes that’s right! Bright Familiar is out July 9th! And Jeffe Kennedy is a fabulous romance writer that has so many delicious high fantasy romances especially. Incidentally you can read Aidee’s review of the first book Dark Wizard here. And isn’t the cover of Bright Familiar so pretty?! <3
Lady Veronica Elal has been freed from her tower—and entered a life of servitude. It doesn’t matter that her wizard master has odd ideas about circumventing Convocation tradition and making their relationship equal. Nic prides herself on her practicality and that means not pretending her marriage is full of hearts and flowers. Besides she understands that, despite her new husband’s idealism, they face obstacles so great the pair of them could be crushed to nothing, even without dashing themselves brainless trying to fight the Convocation.
Lord Gabriel Phel has come this far against impossible odds. He was born with powerful wizard magic, the first in his family in generations. He’s managed to begin the process of reinstating his fallen house. And—having staked his family’s meager fortune to win a familiar to amplify his magic, a highborn daughter to be mother to his children, his lady, and lover—he rescued Nic in a distant land, successfully bringing her home to House Phel. Though she’s cynical about their chances of success, he’s certain they can defy their enemies and flourish. Together.
But, the more Gabriel discovers about working with the fiery Nic, attempting to learn the finer points of wizardry and marriage, the more illicit fantasies plague him. His need for Nic—and the dark cravings she stirs in his black wizard’s heart—grow daily. Though Nic has reconciled herself to being possessed by Gabriel—and indeed yearns for even more from her brooding and reluctant master—creating a new life for herself isn’t easy. Especially when Gabriel seems determined to subvert the foundation of her world. Starting with her father.
Aghast, Gabriel swallowed against his dry throat. The image of Nic in the wedding dress she would’ve worn to marry him if she hadn’t escaped nearly crowded out his other thoughts, and he had to sternly order himself to focus. “Why do you think he did that?”
Canting her head, jaw firm, Nic gave him a hard look. “To remind me that a familiar is subject to their wizard master’s rule. Maman had raised the concern that you might not be able to restore House Phel, that I’d belong to a no-tier house with little fortune and meager prospects.”
“A valid concern,” Gabriel admitted, folding himself to sit cross-legged on the floor, keenly aware of the warped boards beneath the antique rug.
“I told you before, I don’t care about that. Besides, with me on the finances, House Phel won’t be impoverished for long.” She smiled thinly, and he took heart to see her fiery nature reemerging. “But the implication that I might try to evade being tied to you made Papa angry. Remember, I told you before that Papa likes you.”
“It didn’t seem that way to me at our single” —and singular— “meeting.”
Nic looked sympathetic. “He was in a rage, no doubt.” Her gaze strayed to the discarded letter. “He still is.”
As worry clouded her gaze again, Gabriel sought to distract her attention. “What did he say about me to make you think he liked me?”
“Fishing for praise?” she asked, clearly amused.
“I’ll take any I can get from you,” he replied lightly, abruptly aware of how much he craved that assurance of her regard. He had no illusions about their relationship, not with how he’d taken away her one chance for freedom. He also understood that she didn’t love him, possibly never would—and he frankly didn’t blame her—and that the Fascination would always complicate her feelings for him. Still, from their first meeting, he’d discovered the uncomfortable sensation that her good opinion mattered to him. He wanted to be worthy of her admiration, for himself, not because the magic demanded it.
“When he first approved your application for the Betrothal Trials,” she replied, “Papa told me that you deserved a chance to rebuild your house, same as any other man, and more than the soft, indulged, barely talented scions of established houses.” Her smile deepened. “He said you had balls even trying for me.”
Wasn’t that the truth? More than once, Gabriel regretted the ambition that drove him to try for a wife and familiar as talented and high ranking as Nic. Before he knew her, and before he understood how the wizard–familiar dynamic worked, he’d been sanguine about the gambit. Why not go for the very best? All of it had been a risk—and a lot of it had felt like a game. He hadn’t had much to lose. Yes, the fate and fortune of House Phel had rested on him, but in the end, the worst that could happen was they’d let the rotting structure sink into the marshes again, and his family and people would return to the living they’d been scraping out before that.
Now he knew better. He’d seen how the people of the Convocation lived, which was leaps and bounds ahead of even the easier life they enjoyed at House Phel since his wizardry took him by violent storm.
But Nic… Without realizing it, he’d ruined her life by tying her fate to his.
If he’d known, he’d go back and change it. At least, he liked to tell himself that. In the darkest corners of his heart, however, the knowledge lurked that he was savagely glad he couldn’t change the past. Nic was his now, and he wouldn’t let her go. It’s in a wizard’s nature to be commanding, Nic had said, only half because she liked to tease him. Before this, he’d have said it wasn’t in his nature to be dominating, but Nic changed everything. Her magic called to his with a siren song, seductive, sweetly tempting, and part of him hungered for her with an unslakable need. Even now, that silver bed in the arcanium, with its chains and whispers of erotic anguish, called to him. Monster…
Thrusting that image away, he shook his head, bewildered that he could feel such tender affection for her, could want to protect her with every fiber of his being, and also brew such dark sexual fantasies.
“You don’t agree?” Nic asked, canny green eyes studying him with alert interest. He had to think back to what they’d been discussing before his thoughts took him down such dark, twisting paths.
“That I had balls to try for you?” he asked, going for a lighter tone. “I suspect it was more the bliss of ignorance. You, more than anyone, are aware of how little I understood—and still fail to understand—about the Convocation. You called my applying for you in the Betrothal Trials a fool’s gambit, and you are likely correct.”
“We agreed last night: no regrets.”
So what did you think? 😀 Have you read Dark Wizard? Or any of Jeffe’s other books? Is this one in your TBR? Did the excerpt convince you to add it? 😉 Anyway I hope you enjoyed it! Also, you can buy a copy here! Thanks again for sharing this exclusive excerpt with us Jeffe (and Carien!) – and congratulations on your newest release! <3