Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Title: Breath of Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles, #2
Pubdate: January 3, 2017
Genre: Fantasy Romance
SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a girl to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or not at all.
“Piers should stick to his plan. Keep recruiting.” Anatole looks first at Piers and then at Griffin. “In the meantime, secure the border.”
Griffin spreads his hands, leaning back. “With what army? There aren’t enough trained soldiers yet. I can’t take anyone away from Sinta City, and there are barely enough people stationed elsewhere. If the major cities fall, the rest of Sinta falls, too.”
“Invading forces can’t get to cities if they can’t cross the border,” Anatole reasons. “Put our soldiers where we need them the most.”
Griffin shakes his head. “Too risky. It’s a good idea, but it’ll never work. Foot soldiers can’t move fast enough to cover the entire border. There’ll be huge gaps to get through.”
“What if they’re mounted?” Jocasta asks.
“There aren’t enough horses,” Griffin and I say at once.
“I have two horses,” Kaia volunteers. Always eager and full of energy, she shifts forward in her seat. “You can have mine.”
Her spontaneous offer sends a stab of something hot and twisting through my chest. I wouldn’t offer up my horse now, and I certainly wouldn’t have done it at fifteen. Griffin’s youngest sister is a constant surprise to me. Her straight dark hair and gray eyes mirror Egeria’s—although with a touch more blue and a good deal more fierceness in Kaia’s youthful gaze, there’s nothing subdued about her. I’ll bet she battles Dragons in her daydreams.
Next to her, Nerissa takes Kaia’s hand. In turn, Anatole takes Nerissa’s. Husband and wife. Parents and daughter.
Emotion swells inside of me. Is it envy? Sadness? It expands in a rush, and I don’t think it’s either. I’m pretty sure it’s something much more dangerous and frightening than mere self-pity. I think it’s a deep, stomach-hollowing longing accompanied by a terrifying sense of hope. That could be me. Not the daughter. That ship sank on Poseidon’s sea a long time ago. Not the daughter…but the mother.
“I know two isn’t many, but what if everyone around Sinta did the same? We could…rent the animals and then give them back once the danger passed.” Kaia’s face brightens. “I could be in charge of that.”
For reasons I don’t fully understand, my throat is suddenly too thick for breath.
Anatole gives her a patient smile. “That’s a generous offer, glikia mou.”
His sweet. I love how the southern tribes retained the old endearments, things that northerners never seem to say.
Kaia sighs. “But…”
“But people depend on their horses for their livelihoods. It’s almost harvest time. There won’t be a horse, ox, or mule to spare for the next two months. Taking animals now could not only chip away at the goodwill Sintans feel toward us, but also endanger our entire food supply.”
Kaia slumps in her chair. “That’s what the royals did before. They just took everything, and we hated them.”
Jocasta nudges a pair of cheese-stuffed olives around her plate. “So where does that leave us? Building the army and hoping it functions properly before Acantha decides to invade?”
“Yes.” Piers reaches over and steals her olives.
“There is something else.” I glance at Griffin, sure he remembers our conversation about gaining the assistance of creatures. “Something we could try.”
I sense Griffin’s mood souring even before his eyes settle on mine like boulders, and he was already pretty tense. I’m undaunted. Mostly.
I hazard on. “If we have magical creatures patrolling the border, it’ll send a clear message to the other realms, and even to our own people. Strength. Power. Boldness. It’ll be proof of resources they didn’t think we had. It’ll make them wonder what else we have in our arsenal, which, in turn, will make them hesitant to cross us. Creatures move fast, their hearing is acute, they’re huge and intimidating. A herd of Ipotane, for example, could block Sinta behind a nearly impenetrable wall.”
Egeria looks bemused. “But we don’t have any Ipotane.”
“Not yet.” I sip my wine. It’s white and tart.
“It means going to Fisa.” Griffin’s voice is like a gathering storm. “I don’t want you anywhere near there. Near her.”
Yes, she is a delight. I set down my glass. “You want to conquer Thalyria. That includes Fisa. What do you expect me to do while you’re at it? Ignore my Dragon’s Breath? My ability to turn invisible? To detect lies? To steal magic? Sit on my knowledge of creatures and royals and Oracles? Play with my knives instead of using them? Just wait for you? I might as well go back to the circus,” I say hotly. “At least I’d be entertained.”
Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.
Her first novel, A Promise of Fire, won several Romance Writers of America chapter contests, including the Orange Rose Contest and the paranormal category of the prestigious Golden Pen.
A French master’s graduate and former English teacher, Amanda lives in Paris, France. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.
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