OS Welcome To EE Montgomery author of Warrior’s Pledge. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Warrior Pledge, released by Dreamspinner Press on 3 October, is a story of two people who love each other but believe they can never find everlasting happiness together. It’s the story of a race of shape-shifting people continuing their fight for recognition in their own land. It’s the story of myths and legends becoming reality, and a story of how one person—or four—can change the world.
I thought I’d give you an excerpt from Warrior Pledge no one has seen before. At the end, there’s a competition.
Checa and Heath are fated mates. They both know it, but Checa refuses to bond with Heath. His reasons are valid but no less painful for them both. Heath decides he has to move on, find another way of living. He tries, he really does. This excerpt shows the results of one of his attempts.
“In the high reaches of the Seven Mountains,” said Ardelle, “there’s a snowstorm. The drought at Esolba will break within the next two days, and beneath us an earthquake is rumbling. It will hit in six hours and forty minutes, and this cavern will be destroyed.”
Heath remained squatted in front of her, hands on her shoulders, staring blankly at her face. He could barely breathe. She could do it too. She was like him. A freak. But she could feel the whole planet, not just the pieces he could read. By the ancestors, she could really do it.
He dragged her forward, pressing his lips against hers, so quick and fleeting it might not have happened but for the force of it making his lips tingle. Then he sat back and grinned. “By the Elders, you’re beautiful.”
Then he left, striding purposefully across the cavern to the crumbled tunnel they’d come through earlier. Before he reached the entrance, he noticed Checa and Rim crouched over packs, obviously checking the contents, and he detoured to them.
“Checa! I’m not the only one.” He couldn’t hold the excitement in one more minute. As with every other time he’d had something wonderful or terrible happen, the first person he wanted to share it with was Checa. Always Checa.
“What in seven kinds of frozen hell were you just doing?” Checa demanded.
Heath froze. Nothing. He had no response at all in the face of Checa’s sudden anger. Guilt flooded him, even though he and Ardelle did nothing more than kiss. The fact Checa often encouraged him to find someone else didn’t ease that. “You know me, Checa.”
He didn’t want to say more about what he’d done with Ardelle until they had some time alone together. He flicked his gaze from Checa to Rim and back again. They were so close together over the pack, so comfortable. Without him. Had Checa ever been that comfortable with him?
He looked back at Ardelle sitting alone at the other side of the cavern; her expression told him clearly she’d just ripped herself raw exposing her deepest secret to him. And Heath had run away, at least, not so much run away from her but toward Checa. As he always did.
And all Checa could do was rebuke him.
As he watched, Ardelle lunged forward, gasping as the skin on her shoulders shredded on the tightly fitted rock enveloping her. Twisting and turning, she ignored the ripping cloth and scraped skin and scrambled from her hiding place, then stumbled a few steps before gaining her footing. By the time she’d wrestled her way to her feet and lurched two steps, Heath had left Checa with Rim and strode along an intercept path to her. He followed as she disappeared down the second tunnel.
He looked up and saw, fifteen feet above, a narrow slit in the rock. The sun was high but past the zenith, the raucous cries of the norrgel a howl on the wind. “That’s our way out,” he murmured. “But opening that up means there’s no time now to dig the dragons out.” His voice was quiet and accepting, but inside he was stiff with anger and loss.
Ardelle stared at him, then quickly turned away.
He scowled as he saw the blood dribbling down her arms. “Medic!” Heath grabbed her arm and twisted it to see the damage.
She brushed his hands away. “There’s no time for that. They’re just scrapes.” She was panting, not from the run across the cave and down this tunnel, but from fear. “We have to get out of here. We have to get to the surface and away from this area. It’s going to collapse.”
“Calm down, Ardelle.”
Her breath hitched, and Heath would bet his mother’s favorite hat that it was because he’d used her name, not her title. She quieted immediately.
“It’s all right.” His fingers slid down her forearms and grasped her wrist.
“We have to leave.” She sounded dazed and shook her head slightly.
Heath hummed deep in his chest. It would be a purr in his other forms. He smiled again at the knowledge he wasn’t alone anymore. “We do, but we have time. We need to work out how to get up there”—he jerked his head above them—“and out.” His hands ran in small circles over her back. “Rest while I call the others. Then we’ll make plans and move out. We have time to be far enough away from here before the quake hits.”
Ardelle nodded. Heath lifted her onto the ledge of a small alcove where a slight rise of the rock formed a chaise. By that time, Jun had arrived and begun treating her wounds. “It’s just a scratch,” she said.
Heath brushed his hand over her scalp and tucked her into his chest, letting another low hum roll through him. She nestled into him, released a long sigh, and slept.
“You’d be perfect for me, Princess,” Heath whispered as she lay on the rock. “You’d be absolutely perfect, if only I could love you half as much as I love Checa.”
But it was no use. Heath didn’t know how much damage he’d done to his relationship with Checa, but he had to fix it. Even if Checa never agreed to bond with him, what they had was more than Heath could dream of having with anyone else. Thinking he could just attach himself to someone else had been foolish.
He stroked his hand over Ardelle’s head again, then went to tell his lover about the earthquake.
When I was young I thought if two people loved each other it was inevitable they’d find everlasting happiness together. I’d love to hear what you think is the most important thing in a lasting relationship and why. I’ll choose one response that resonates with me. That person will receive one ebook of their choice from my backlist.
When the two moons of Thalazar cross orbits, the Warrior Pledge must be completed or the cat-shifting Mafdeti nation will face annihilation. There are four who can save the people and their land: the Silver Shining from Rock, the Great Heart Farseeing, the Changeling, and the Pure. They must find each other before time runs out.
Silver-eyed Checa is Captain of the Guard for the Mafdeti. Thanks to the friendship and loyalty of Heath, son of the Mafdeti Matriarch, Checa has survived and thrived after a childhood of horrific abuse. He knows Heath is his Bond-Mate but refuses to bond with the younger man because he feels he isn’t worthy. Nor does Heath’s mother approve of her son bonding with a lowborn warrior.
Together they face deadly wing-strikes from carnivorous birds, earthquake, betrayal, ambush, and an enemy invasion, only to be confronted with the possibility that the Warrior Pledge will bond Checa and Heath to others. If Checa is to complete the Warrior Pledge, he must overcome the belief that he doesn’t deserve Heath’s love, and fight for the one man who can make him whole.
E E Montgomery wants the world to be a better place, with equality and acceptance for all. Her philosophy is: We can’t change the world but we can change our small part of it and, in that way, influence the whole. Writing stories that show people finding their own ‘better place’ is part of E E Montgomery’s own small contribution.
Thankfully, there’s never a shortage of inspiration for stories that show people growing in their acceptance and love of themselves and others. A dedicated people-watcher, E E finds stories everywhere. In a cafe, a cemetery, a book on space exploration or on the news, there’ll be a story of personal growth, love, and unconditional acceptance there somewhere.
You can contact E E Montgomery at email@example.com; on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ewynelaine.montgomery; on Twitter: @EEMontgomery1; or at her web site: http://www.eemontgomery.com/ and blog: http://www.eemontgomery.com/blog.