Please welcome Rowan McAllister on the release day of her new novel
Chronicles Of The Riftlands #2
Brother Tasnerek, one of the infamous Thirty-Six stone bearers, is facing a dangerous crisis of faith after uncovering a secret that could shake the foundations of the Brotherhood of Harot. When Tas is sent to protect a tiny village on the edge of Rassa’s borders from Riftspawn, he struggles to resume his duties, risking his life and the lives of those around him.
Girik has always been an outsider, but to help his sick mother, he agrees to be the village’s offering in a painful ritual deemed necessary by the Brotherhood. But when the priest has a crisis of conscience, Girik offers his help to untangle a web of lies—even if it means getting closer than he ever imagined and committing sacrilege in the process.
With a monster lurking in the forest, a wandering mage mysteriously appearing, and more secrets awakening to unravel the truths of their world, Tas and Girik must make grave decisions. A life without danger seems a far-off hope, but love just might be theirs… if they survive.
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It’s finally release day!
I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to introduce you all to Tas and Girik and the land of Rassa; the second couple and the second of the three kingdoms in my Riftlands chronicles.
Tas and Girik’s story is one of opposites attracting, when a type A clashes with a type B and a seemingly unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
Tas is a hero. That’s the role he’s accepted for himself, all the way to his core. It’s the role he believes he’s been chosen for by the gods and the charge he strives to live up to for all of Rassa. He has grand dreams and ambitions to reach the farthest heights within his order, but he takes his role as protector of the people very seriously. In fact, he takes everything very seriously.
*coughs* “High-strung” and “diva” would not be inaccurate descriptors of our poor hero… and unfortunately, our diva is in crisis.
Enter strong, patient, stubborn, kind Girik, who wants only a simple life. His ambitions go no further than his home, his hound, and the beauty of the wilds beyond his village. If his mother weren’t gravely ill, he’d have everything he could possibly ask for. But she is, and he’s doing everything he can to see her taken care of. He’s a hero of a different kind- the quiet kind- one who doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks, or what he has to sacrifice to shelter those he loves.
A bulwark and a flaming sword might seem like unlikely lovers, but every soldier needs a wall at his back, and every diva needs a stage to stand on… and if you’re hearing the strains of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” echoing in the back of your mind, you and I are sharing a brain right now.
Here’s a little glimpse of Tas-the- overwrought-diva meeting both the bulwark and the ‘wind beneath his wings’ on the eve before he must battle a monster:
Grabbing the lamp, he moved to the window and had to stifle a yelp when a blurred, ghostly face appeared beyond the rippled glass.
The man in question hung upside down, his golden hair creating an almost comical halo around his head. Girik put a finger to his lips and pointed to the window. Tas quickly set the lamp aside and opened it.
“What are you doing here?” Tas hissed, frantically searching the ground below for any witnesses.
“I need to talk to you.”
“And I need to rest and prepare for tomorrow.”
“That’s why I need to talk to you. Step back.”
Tas frowned at the man, but when Girik swung around and hung from the roof by his hands alone, Tas had no choice but to make room for him to come inside before he fell or was seen. Tas tried not to be impressed with the amount of strength it must have taken for a man that size to lower himself silently to the floor using only his fingertips, but he was pretty sure he failed.
He glared at Girik. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I told you. I need to talk to you.”
“What if someone saw you?”
“I was careful.”
Tas folded his arms over his chest and huffed. “Fine. What was so important?”
“I think you lied to me. It can take me a little while to catch up sometimes, but I do get there eventually. I don’t think you have anywhere near what you need to go on the Hunt tomorrow.”
The words were pretty much identical to what Brother Saldus had thrown at him only a short time ago—although Brother Saldus had seemed more irritated at the failure than concerned for Tas or the village’s welfare.
Still fuming from his dressing-down, Tas held on to his temper by a thread. “Who do you think you are, questioning a member of the Thirty-Six? You have no idea what you’re talking about. Now leave before anyone sees you!”
He wasn’t sure what he hoped would happen next, but he was surprised when Girik simply folded his arms over his chest and waited—no angry words fired back, no hurt in his expression. The man just stood there like a big blank wall of bone and muscle.
“What are you doing? Get out!” Tas hissed as loudly as he dared.
How Girik could have imbued one word with not only implacability and firmness, but understanding and sympathy at the same time, Tas would never know. But he did it, and Tas’s anger collapsed under the weight of it. He suddenly felt a hundred years old and like a petulant child all rolled into one.
“What do you want from me?” Tas asked tiredly as he moved away from the man and slumped onto the edge of the mattress.
Girik followed and lowered himself to his knees in front of Tas. “I want the truth. You don’t have what you need for the Hunt tomorrow, do you?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll get the job done. I have to.”
“Any way I can.”
“Not good enough.”
Some of Tas’s anger returned and he lifted his head to glare at the man in front of him, but Girik’s expression wasn’t challenging or judgmental. His blue eyes were soft with concern and kindness.
“Can’t you just take my word for it?” Tas asked with a weak smile.
“We’re not at that point in our relationship yet.”
Tas blinked. “We have a relationship?”
“It’s a bit unorthodox, but I’m not sure what else you’d call it…. Let me help you.”
About the author:
Rowan McAllister is an unapologetically romantic jack of all trades and a sucker for good food, good cocktails, rich fibers, a great beat, and anything else that indulges the senses. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she likes to play with textiles, metal, wood, stone, and whatever other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia—where civilization drops off and nature takes over—sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, three furry rescues, and a whole lot of books, booze, and fabric. Her chosen family is a madcap collection of people as diverse as her interests, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them. Whether her stories have a historical, fantasy, or contemporary setting, they always feature characters who still believe in true love, happy endings, and the oft-underappreciated value of sarcasm.
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Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.