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Princess Gwyndalin Victoria Alexander, finds herself shipwrecked on a lonely island at the beginning of her voyage to Cornrow, where she is to be wed to King Anthony. She realizes she must survive until she can be rescued.
Prince Laurance del Mar is selected by Brightland’s Head Druid to Companion the future high queen. When Laurance and the king’s messenger travel to Kamlaird to escort the princess to Cornrow, they discover her missing. However, Laurance knows where the lost princess can be found. And find her he does.
King Anthony of Cornrow, seventeen years older than Gwyndalin demands that she convert to Christianity, so he may become the Darkdragon of Brightland, but she pleads with him to retain their Pagan ways.
Years later, the queen learns that somewhere her and Laurance’s love child still lives. But where?
Kicking and clawing, Princess Gwyndalin Victoria Alexander screamed when the captain pitched her over the rail into the turbulent sea. The thrashing waves reached for her, their watery arms striving to clutch her in their deadly embrace. Gwyndalin could not gasp as the icy grip dragged her below the surface. Bubbles jettisoned from her open mouth, streaming upward.
Tons of stormy water closed above her head. The tempest grappled with the empty quarter-keg the captain had bound to her chest. The small brandy barrel surged upward under her chin, choking her. The rope stretched and sawed at her armpits. She managed to clutch the barrel’s rim and lever it downward, fearing it would break her neck. Her hysterical screams reverberated in her mind as she fought to survive… not truly believing she would.
The torsioned current dragged at her ankle-length skirt, sucking her toward the reef. She collided with the jagged coral ridge and her skirt caught. Salt stung her opened eyes. Her long, amber hair floated and tangled about her face, obscuring her view. With her high-topped boots kicking uselessly against the jagged stone that held her captive, Gwyndalin thrashed in desperation.
I’m going to die! Surely my lungs will explode.
Still trapped underwater, she could see the split and dying hull of the cargo sailing vessel being battered upon the jagged ridge. Precious moments passed before the fabric of her skirt finally tore free and the force of the storm-wracked sea swept her away in a matter of seconds. When she broke the surface she threw back her head, gasping for air. She could hear the screams of the crewmen.
From the deck, the captain shouted commands to deaf ears, while sailors still hesitated to jump into the raging sea. The storm shrieked in answer to their cries for help. Lightning pierced the night sky and struck the mast. The world exploded with thunder. The smell of ozone battled with the heavy iodine of the shredded kelp. The force of the wind gave no mercy. The last thing Gwyndalin remembered was watching the shattered mast pitching towards her, the tattered sails flapping and the writhing stays snapping as the mast fell.
~ * ~
When Gwyndalin woke, she lay face down over the barrel. The gulls watched her from a short distance, their sharp cries penetrating her consciousness. Instinct warned her gulls always went for the eyes, and that vivid picture in her mind empowered her as she pulled herself along the sand on her elbows, out of the lapping surf. She struggled to sit up.
Her tangled skirt was heavy with water so she undid the waist buttons and kicked it away. Next she fought the line that secured her to the empty keg that saved her life. The rays of the sun were so warm and comforting that she felt herself nodding, but the vision of the gulls was enough to keep her motivated.
Each time she rested only emboldened the gulls to draw closer to inspect her. “Get away from me!” she screamed and struggled up to swing her arms above her head. The startled gulls took flight, their cries of disappointment ringing in her head.
Fully awake, she took stock of her situation. Looking in both directions up and down the beach, Gwyndalin saw no one. She was the only person on the long expanse of white powdery sand. Her heart twisted with anxiety.
No, she scolded herself, the servants and the ship’s crew could be just down the beach. Surely everyone is safe. It is a modern ship, after all. The captain told her it had been built only two years ago, in 517.
With the barrel free, she shoved it aside and stood to survey the area. “You’re all in one piece, Gwyndalin,” she assured herself. “They’ll find you. Don’t fret.”
The voyage had been undertaken to deliver her and her sire’s tribute to Cornrow and her impending marriage with the aging King Anthony. Nothing bad could happen to her now. She was duty-bound to this arranged marriage.
BIO: JoEllen Conger is not one writer, but two—a pair of twins who have shared their special mind-linking abilities since children. What one doesn’t think to add to a manuscript or story, the other does. They make quite a team. And as they matured and went their separate ways, writing was the one link that always kept them together. Each twin has her own area of expertise, but enjoying their collaboration efforts, they continue to write fiction in several genres and non-fiction articles and books in various topics.
BIO (1): Joan Ellen Powell lives in Santa Cruz, California with her younger daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. She also writes under her married name, Joan C. Powell. Being a long-term member of her community, Joan Ellen is actively involved in many local organizations. She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1989, and has served as an officer of her local chapter many times. Over the years she has been called upon to judge RWA writing contests, critique or advise other writers, mentor and review pre-published galleys and published works. She finds it a fulfilling way to make new friends.
BIO (2) Joyce Ann Kennedy lives with her husband, and a yard full of wild birds, two small dogs, and a number of cats in the dessert heat of Bakersfield, California. She not only critiques manuscripts by mail, and served as a writing contest judge for RWA, she’s accepted a more recent job as submissions editor for a local cyber-magazine, while continuing to co-write romance, fantasy, and adventure tales with her twin sister. Although the twins live miles apart, thanks to e-mail, they are in constant communications.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 350
Paper Weight (lb): 14.6
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