Passing the Mantle – An ill-fated hunting trip
Forging Friendships – Recruiting able-bodied men ineligible for knighthood
The Sword of Korma Monroe – A sword made for trouble
Turning Point – A duke and an earl plot treason
The Bittersweet Pear – A marital misunderstanding
Isbeth’s Redemption – Dentin doesn’t make a good first impression
A Squire’s Love – Reginald’s quest
Restoration – A trip to Braulyn produces unexpected company
Rachel Rossano specializes in clean romantic fiction set in historical-feeling fantasy worlds. She also dabbles in straightforward historical romance and not-so-strict speculative fiction.
A happily married mother of three small children, she divides her time between mothering, teaching, and writing. She endeavors to enchant, thrill, entertain, and amuse through her work. A constant student, she seeks to improve her skills and loves to hear from readers.
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“Cursed rain!” Blair’s normally blotchy face deepened to almost purple as he screamed his anger at the sky.
A bolt of lightning washed the dark afternoon sky blinding white. Thunder answered, drowning out Blair’s tirade. Another flash blinded us again. Water poured over our heads in great waves, miring the heavy wagon all the deeper in mud.
I turned my mount, prepared to redirect the men’s focus to wrestling the back wheels of the vehicle free, but their superior officer spoke first.
“Cease your bawling, soldier.” Major Dyrease’s cool tones cut through Blair’s bluster. “Save your breath and put that anger to the task.”
“I don’t see mud in your boots, sir.” The challenge in Blair’s words interrupted the other men’s murmurings. Attention shifted between soldier and officer and back. The wet plops of raindrops striking wet leather filled the tense silence.
The major dismounted. The mud swallowed his legs to the knee with a squelch. He tested the resistance and then slogged through the muck to the back of the wagon. Setting his shoulder to the waterlogged wood, he prepared to push.
“Ready back here.”
The men resumed their places around him. Blair sullenly returned to set his grip on the wagon side.
“On three.” Dyrease’s voice carried despite the rain.
“One.” The men tensed their muscles.
“Two.” They breathed deep.
“Three.” The air filled with a chorus of guttural sounds. Hardly music by the loosest definition, but the groan and creak of protest from the wagon’s axels as the heavy vehicle lumbered forward elicited a cheer from the onlookers.
“Keep those oxen moving.” The major’s voice cut off the celebration. “It isn’t free yet, men. See the task through.”
A few less strenuous heaves and the wagon found purchase on the ever-worsening road and resumed its tortoise pace. The men scattered to reclaim their discarded gear.
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