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Return Of The Goddess
JoEllen Conger
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Grand Princess Iona Anders’s world turns chaotic on her 16th Natal-Day Celebration. With her king away at war, her scheming cousin, Prince Sweetbrier, arrives to claim Iona as his bride. He imprisons her for her refusal to wed him. When a mirror is brought to her cell to aid her in her nuptial preparations, she falls through the magical glass into a parallel world, meeting the man of her dreams. Iona must learn to fight like a warrior to save both realms against the invaders, and the wicked wizard, Nickademus The Bold.

Natal-Day Celebration

Once upon a time, on a world far away, the nations of the land lived under the rule of The Way protected by Goddess Anoona, a double-headed dragon. Knowing of her dualistic ano-ona powers of Light and Darkness, the nobility of that far and distant planet vowed to uphold and preserve this mystical knowledge. In this way, they balanced the dual powers of Peace and Chaos--until a time when mankind forgot to keep the ways of the Brotherhood.

Their world fell into upheaval, and man began to fight his own kind. It was this sad state of affairs which brought the only daughter of the grand king, Princess Iona Catherine Anders of Glastershire, to stand, alone, on the battlements of Northernwild Castle, on the eve of what should have been the happiest day of her life--her sixteenth Natal-Day Celebration.

The cold wind lashed at her fur-lined cape. Princess Iona tugged it more securely into place and continued to pace the turret. Stubbornly, she had maintained vigilance upon the high road since dawn, determined to ignore the cold fingers of wind whipping the strayed ringlets of hair that escaped her ankle-length braid. Still she waited.

She leaned stiffly against the cold stone at her back, and watched the road across the valley for any sign of her father’s return. She ached from watching. Restless, she roused herself and began to pace again. She looked even taller than her five-foot stature, with her erect form silhouetted against the leaden, spring sky.

How can Papah not come on such a memorable occasion! He’s the only parent I’ve known these past eight years since Mamah died. But nay! He’s not even here! He’s off fighting the Kerdsman!

Iona tossed her head in annoyance. She had lost her mother, the Grand Queen Lillianna, to the Misty Veils of Death. Not having her mother, to tend to the ritual details, Iona thought surely he’d return for her celebrated transformation to womanhood!

Still, Iona was reluctant to recognize her responsibilities as Grand Queen-in-Waiting, even in her private thoughts. What did she know about the obligations and responsibilities of leading a nation? Or warfare? She just wanted to be like other girls of sixteen, unfettered to romp across the moors as free as a butterfly, flirting with life, having fun.

Beth, Iona’s maid, suddenly appeared near the princess’s elbow. “Why not come below out of the cold, Your Majesty?” Iona only waved her away.

“Then at least eat a little of this bread and meat.” The girl held out the packet she carried.

Reluctantly Iona accepted the proffered package and unwrapped the toasted slices of oven-baked bread, stuffed with butter and venison strips. She tore off a chunk, popped it into her mouth, and chewed vigorously.

The princess leaned over the parapet and cupped her small hands against her brow to shade her eyes against the afternoon sunlight. With squinted eyelids, she examined the moving patterns of light and shade that swayed beneath the trees lining the distant high road. Nothing moved but the trees and their shadows. Iona sighed, and took another small bite of her repast.

Beth spoke to distract her mistress from her gloomy mood. “The preparations for the celebration are nearly finished. And young Drew left this morning to fetch a fiddler--from Bestenshire. In fact, he should be back by now.”

Iona whirled on one heel to face her handmaiden and childhood confidant. “How could I possibly celebrate without His Majesty? Who will serve as my Kin Witness?”

“One of us could, I suppose.”

“That’s not possible! None of you is kin to me!” Iona retorted.

Then, with second thoughts, she pictured the troubadours and their lively music. How could she refuse her people an evening of entertainment? Especially now with so many families torn apart by the terrible war. They could use the diversion--and so could she.

“Who will dance with me?” Iona exclaimed.

“Well,” Beth began thoughtfully.

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.

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Fantasy Books

ISBN: 1597059978
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597059978
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 526
Paper Weight (lb): 21.8

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