Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gingersnaps: Christmas Knight by Alecia Monaco

Gingersnaps: Christmas Knight
by Alecia Monaco

cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN (13): 978-1-59596-614-8
Genre(s): Fantasy, Hot Flashes
Theme(s): Magic and Mayhem, BBW, Christmas, Seasonal Themes
Series: Gingersnaps
Length: Hot Flash


It’s Christmas Eve, and a blizzard has struck the war-torn land of Amberlyn. Nox Blackthorne, a noble knight, wounded in battle against the repressive forces of the new regime, seeks refuge at the only light in the storm: a solitary cottage set on a snow-covered hill.
Marisol St. Claire is a witch, an expert in the ways of sexual healing now outlawed by the new regime. While she’s willing to shelter the wounded knight and share her Christmas Eve with him, she’s reluctant to heal him for fear of being reported and imprisoned. But soon, more than a need to heal overcomes them both…


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“Come on, Rudolphus,” Nox Blackthorne urged his horse. “Another mile or so, and we’ll be in safer territory.”
The horse wouldn’t budge. Proof, Nox mused, that the steed had better sense than the rider.
It was no small wonder that Rudolphus refused to move another inch. They’d endured a close skirmish with King Edouard’s forces earlier -- Nox almost spat at even thinking of that scurvy illegitimate cur as the king -- leaving both horse and rider with injuries. A lance had grazed the black steed’s flank, only to make a detour and pierce the knight’s war-torn armor. Nox had his own suspicions about how a lance managed to pierce chainmail, none of which flattered the king.
With a groan of pain, he clutched his side, wincing. When he pulled his hand away, it was covered with a sticky reddish-black liquid.
He was losing blood, rapidly.
Not that he regretted his service to King Reginald, the true king. Ever since Reginald’s half-brother Edouard had overthrown the old monarchy, the land of Amberlyn had been caught in the throes of a civil war so violent and bloody, it dwarfed every conflict of the past ten centuries. Edouard had instituted a new regime with laws banning magic and wizardry, draining the life’s blood of Amberlyn with one stroke of his quill. Now there were no healers, save a few clumsy apothecaries. Midwifery had become a crime, and it had become illegal to practice alchemy or any of the old arts.
Humans were dying like the proverbial flies.
And things were worse for non-humans. The elves, dwarves, and pixie folk who’d coexisted peacefully with their human neighbors were now all but outlaws. Such restrictions had been placed on them that they could hardly leave their homes.
It was a travesty, Nox thought for the thousandth time. Ending Edouard’s reign of terror was worth enduring an injury, a dozen injuries.
It was worth his life.
But it was Christmas Eve, and even the most loyal servant of the true king couldn’t help but long for the comforts of home -- a warm hearth with a crackling fire, the scent of evergreen boughs decking the room, the cozy glow of candles in the window, and a hot meal to share with a beautiful woman.
A dream, Nox thought with a rueful sigh, which had about as much to do with his present circumstances as all of the king’s stolen gold. He’d be lucky to find any sort of shelter for himself and his horse on such a night. The December wind bit at his exposed face, and the beginnings of what promised to be an avalanche of a snowstorm had begun to drift to the ground.
“Merry Christmas, Rudolphus.” The knight shook his head. “May we be so lucky as to find a cave before the storm strikes.”
The horse, seeming to understand, began to trot wearily up the hill.

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