It’s been a while since I made a ‘fantasy focus’ post, so thought I would bring it back.
Today, I would love to share with you the first book in the Misadventures of Loren by Ines Johnson:
The Spear of Destiny
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Virtuous? Not since…well, none of your business.
The difference between me and the Knights of the Round Table? I make medieval look good.
Loren Van Alst is an independent, twenty-first-century woman, an accused forger, a suspected thief, and the last descendant of Sir Galahad of the Arthurian court. To claim her seat at the Round Table and protect her newly found family of modern-day witches, she’ll need to convince the current Arthur and his knights to let a woman take the knights’ trials. But things go sideways when a crazed wizard goes on the loose with a magical spear that can strip a witch of her powers. As if that weren’t enough, the clique of mean girls from middle school arrives in Camelot and turn out to be witch hunters.
To safeguard a future she never knew she wanted, Loren will have to evade the hunters, defeat the wizard, capture the spear, and pass her trials. No one ever said becoming a kick-ass heroine would be easy!
Check out this quick snippet:
You can tell a lot about a man by the way he wields his sword.
A man who jabs at his opponent’s body with the tip of his blade using quick, jerky motions? That shows he’s eager and unpracticed. If he gets in any good shots at all, they will likely be a hack job on his opponent’s wrists and knuckles. That kind of action will leave him breathless and his opponent in need of a manicure. Also, he will probably never get asked to spar again after such an impotent showing.
Then there are the ones who come at their opponent’s body with a couple of long, deep thrusts. Those lunges might stem from a flexible groin and fluid wrist action, but that kind of foreplay can be misleading. These types of fighters often exert all their energy at the outset, relying solely on their strength and thrusting power. Then, after a moment of fighting, they roll over on their backs with exhaustion. Yeah, those swordsmen can simply have a seat. In fact, they can go and have several seats.
But the one who can hit all the targets by working his sword hand at just the right speed? The one who knows how to put pressure at just the right angle? The one who can use his blade to slice from the breast to the hip? Oh yeah, that type of swordsman can fill my dance card anytime.
Because that’s what swordplay is: a dance. The movements more intimate than a waltz or a tango or whatever Baby and Johnny were doing up in the Catskills in the eighties with their bodies pressed together, their hips jamming to the music, and their legs and arms slicing into one another.
The opponent facing off against me was proving himself a worthy adversary and a superb dance partner. We faced each other with long swords, my weapon of choice. My stance was open at the moment as I prepared to go toe to toe with him. My weight was evenly balanced, my feet eager to advance. He held steady across from me, waiting to see what move I would make.
I took advantage of his courtesy and advanced. Leading with my left foot, I closed the distance between us. I stepped slightly to the right, to avoid any possible counterattack as I brought my blade straight down to his neck, going for the kill strike and preparing to slice his handsome head off from his lean body.
I feared I’d have to pull back at the last moment and not complete the advance, but he did not disappoint. He met my attack with a wrath strike, stepping off his line and bringing his blade down decisively against mine.
He had a good hundred pounds on me. But swordplay wasn’t won with brute force alone. My thumb met my cross guard as my opponent tried to take control of the situation and pressure me off balance.
I swiveled my wrist and thrust my sword, aiming for his heart. I knew by now that I didn’t have to take it easy with him, and I was right. He stepped aside at the last minute and I met with air and empty space. I pivoted, sword raised, ready to advance again.
Wide grins slashed at the corners of both our faces. We both breathed hard from the exertion. There was a hitch of desire to his deep voice as he spoke.
“Do you surrender, my lady?”
“No, sir. Not even when I’m handcuffed to a headboard.”
The Spear of Destiny is available on AMAZON
You can learn more about Ines, and her other books on her website.