I did say that there would likely be one more preview before Axtara – Banking and Finance launches on Tuesday, didn’t I? Well, here it is. One last sneak peak at the world of Axtara before copies start flying into readers’ hands on December 22nd! Axtara is currently up for preorder, and last night hit the Amazon top 50 in YA Fantasy for Women and Girls! You can jump right to the US Amazon page and secure your own copy by clicking the cover below (as well as keeping Axtara in that top spot) or you can search for it and find it in the Amazon Kindle store of your home country!
But until the 22nd arrives, the preview after the jump will hopefully be enough to tide you over.
Axtara let out a sigh as the cry echoed faintly from outside her door, looking up from her desk and fighting the urge to drag one claw down the side of the lovingly polished wood. Not again.
“Come out and …” The words trailed off, not nearly loud enough to be heard through the thick wooden door or the multiple panes of glass in her front windows. But the last one rang out loud and clear. “—beast!”
Axtara closed her eyes for a moment, pushing down the urge to growl and instead letting her frustration out with a quick lash of her tail “What is with these peasants?” There they were, through the glass, standing in the middle of the clearing in front of her home, wielding a—well, she wasn’t really sure what it was—in one hand. A soldier who was extremely down on his luck—or that had perhaps missed every day of his training—would have been hard-pressed to call it a sword. Or an ax, though it somewhat resembled both.
It might have begun life as a frying pan at some point, Axtara thought, narrowing her eyes as the figure standing in the clearing swung it once more. There was definitely an edge to it. A rough one, to be sure, but an edge all the same.
Other than that, and what looked a bit like a knife at their waist, the figure appeared unarmed. They were barely even armored. There was a heavy leather vest thrown over their chest, yes, and what looked like leather scraps bound along their arms and legs, but nothing tough.
“Come out, beast!”
Axtata’s eyes narrowed. I am not a “beast.” Normally, the barb would have stung slightly, but failed to slip between her scales. However, as this was the third peasant to arrive spouting insults in the last two days, and the second that morning …
Maybe mother was—No! She cut the thought off with a shake of her head. No. No. It’s just … a misunderstanding. Elnacier wasn’t a large kingdom by any means, but that didn’t mean that it was effectively without a population. Or statistical outliers. There had been the day she’d arrived, the day after, which she’d spent most of unpacking, and then there was today. Technically her third day.
But the first “challenger” hadn’t arrived until mid-day through the second day. Not that he’d been much of a challenger. In fact, she still wasn’t sure if he’d intended to be a client or not. He’d wandered up, stinking strongly of cheap spirits, and shouted … something. She’d barely heard it, and certainly not understood it, as slurred as it was. But since he’d been standing in the clearing she’d poked her head out her door to inquire as to what he needed—for all she’d guessed, her home had been built in his private drinking spot—and then watched as the man had turned tail and run, throwing his clay bottle at her but failing to even reach her porch.
So much the better, as she suspected the foul odor leaking from the clay container when she’d disposed of it indicated the liquid would have left quite a stain on any of the wood it had come into contact with. She’d disposed of the offending item carefully, and with one paw shielding her nostrils from the burn.
At the time, she’d simply written it off as a random happenstance, or perhaps a drunk come to see the newest resident of Elnacier. But then the second challenger had owevHowecalled for her to come out before hurling a stone at her with a sling. It had flown true enough, bouncing off of her chest scales with a thwap the moment she’d opened the door, not penetrating but definitely stinging and … Well, her roar had seen the man fleeing down the road as fast as his hairy legs could carry him.
And now this. A peasant dressed in padded leather that a city guard would have been embarrassed to be seen in, swinging a weapon of questionable identity, standing in front of her home hurling insults. Not something that she wished to bring up with the king during their first meeting.
I hope you enjoyed this final preview! Axtara – Banking and Finance releases December 22nd, which I will note makes it a great Christmas gift.
I’ll see you then, folks. Merry Christmas!