Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Queens of Mareb 1: Temair's Fyre by Violet Summers

The Queens of Mareb 1: Temair's Fyre
by Violet Summers
cover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN: 978-1-60521-331-6
Genre(s): Paranormal, History Rewritten
Theme(s): Magic and Mayhem, BBW
Series: The Queens of Mareb
Length: Novella

On the world of Merab, women rule, while men wield the magic. It's been an equitable system, until now. Temair knew that one day she'd have to step up and take her place as Queen of Emetra; she just didn't expect for it to happen so soon!
Now she finds herself on a Tour of the Queendom in search of her four Consorts –- the four men whose Elemental magic will awaken hers. The first stop of her journey is in the Fyre Lands, where a stern and sexy Fyre Lord strikes sparks off the prickly princess.
It's only when Temair's life is threatened by rebels that Miach, Lord Fyre, realizes the depth of his feelings for the princess. Faced with rebellion and betrayal, Miach and Temair must find the strength within themselves and within each other in order to take the first steps to being true rulers.

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The Queen's private bed chamber was one of Temair's favorite rooms in the palace. The warm cream and gold of the walls was offset with vibrant jewel-toned accessories that reflected the Elements -- and personalities -- of all four of Temair's fathers. It was comforting and familiar.

What was not comforting and familiar was the sight of her mother, sitting up in bed while Torrent, Temair's Rayne Father, held a cloth to Akasha's head.

Temair shot a furious glance at Denich. "You said she was fine," she muttered as she ran to her mother's side.

Her mother smiled and pulled Temair down to cuddle beside her, much as she'd done when Temair was a small child. "Don't worry so much, Temmie. I am perfectly all right."

A snort had both women turning to Tobin, her Aire father. He was all but vibrating with suppressed excitement; his long, snowy hair lifting faintly in an unseen breeze. The Queen laughed. "My Lord Aire, do you wish to tell our daughter our news?" Tobin's pale gray eyes sparkled, a sure sign of good things to come.

Tobin laced his hands behind his back and rocked back on his heels, grinning. "We're pregnant."

Temair didn't know whom to hug first. She turned and wrapped her arms around her mother, tears of joy flooding her eyes, then rose to throw herself into her Aire father's arms. He was laughing as he spun her around and passed her to her Rayne father. By the time she ended up in the arms of Marl, her Earth father, Temair was dizzy with more than joy.

Moving back to her mother's side, Temair snuggled down with her head on her mother's shoulder. "Everything's okay so far?" The entire family had grieved Akasha's inability to carry another baby to term, but Temair had also battled loneliness until Nuriel and Sorcha had come to foster with her, as their mothers had with Akasha. The castle could be a very empty place for a small girl alone.

She sat up abruptly as a horrifying thought filled her mind. "Oh, no," she breathed. Her mother's sigh verified the horrible realization she'd had. "It's time, isn't it?"

Akasha pulled her back down, into her embrace. "I'm going to the country, at least for the duration of my pregnancy," her mother confirmed. Temair gave her a pleading look, but subsided immediately when her mother added, "I won't let anything interfere with this child's well-being."

"Of course," Temair responded quietly. She'd known this day would come, but her mother was still so young and vital that she hadn't expected it for years. Her stomach cramped at the thought of the responsibility.

"There's more, Tem," Denich added, sitting next to her on the side of the bed.

Her tummy tightened further. "I'm... I'm expected to find my Consorts... Now."

Denich took her hand and sent healing warmth surging through her body. "You must be bound to your Consorts before you can ascend."

Temair bit her bottom lip. She barely knew what to do with one male, much less four. She was only twenty-four! She should have years before she had to think about this. Oh, and by the four elements, she would have to visit each royal house in search of her mates.

She was well on her way to a full out panic attack when her mother's words penetrated. "Of course, I won't abdicate until you've returned from your tour," Akasha was saying. "Once you've returned, the ministers will help you to untangle all the political red-tape involved in ruling." Her mother paused, looking worried. "There is one item that I need to tell you about."

Temair waited. Her fathers, all four of them, looked outraged, while her mother looked troubled.

"There are rumors throughout the land that factions of men plan to rebel against us and our sister Queens."

Temair sucked in a startled breath. That was the last thing she'd expected to hear. "Why?"

The Queen shrugged her shoulders. "There are several theories floating about. Some men have claimed abuse by their wives. Others don't like how property rights are distributed. We have always had grumbles but now there have been a few skirmishes between our guards and the rebels."

"Idiot men," muttered Marl. The Earth Lord had no patience with what he saw as foolishness, and clearly this supposed rebellion fell into that category. "Maybe if they were doing their job and protecting their women, they'd get the rewards they feel they deserve."

Akasha sent Marl a loving smile. "Not all men are as remarkable as my men, my lord."

Marl returned her smile with one of such surprising sweetness it nearly caused Temair's tears to return.

Akasha turned back to her daughter. "Temair, my darling, you are more than ready to take my place. Choose your mates well. Choose men who will be good advisors to you, but choose also men who light your heart." Another painfully sweet look passed between the Queen and her four Consorts.

Temair nodded her head and kissed her mother's cheek. Inside she was all but screaming in terror. While she didn't much care for it, she'd learned the protocol and history. She'd read every biography and autobiography of the Queens of Merab she could get her hands on. But all the book-knowledge in the world couldn't prepare her for the actuality of being Queen. There was no point in arguing about it, though. The only thing begging for a delay would accomplish was to add stress to her mother's already perilous pregnancy. No, Temair would have to suck it up and do what was best for her country, her family, and her unborn baby sister or brother.

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