K.T. Munson is an independent author. First published at 5 years old in a young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.
Excerpt from Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand
He released her and took a step back, turning away from her to look up at his great city of Sol. She looked to the sky, but after a moment her neck hurt from the strange angle. She glanced at Aleron who was still looking to his city, obviously lost in thought. Without hesitation she laid her robes onto the sands an instant before falling onto them. Aleron turned around and came over to stand above her, obviously confused.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Looking at the stars,” Azel said. “This is the best angle to admire them from.”
“It is not safe on the sands at night,” Aleron pointed out, crossing his arms.
“It is very lovely from here,” Azel countered. “Unless you are too afraid.”
“Hardly,” Aleron retorted before dropping down next to her on crossed legs. “A Liege cannot risk lying in the sands.”
She laughed. “There is no one here, Aleron, and it isn’t like the Horiti are going to gossip about you to the servants.”
He faced her, propping himself on his elbow. “That is the first time you have used my name.”
She was suddenly self-conscious. She looked to the sky so that he would not see her face. “You gave me permission to use it. I see no reason that I shouldn’t.”
Aleron rolled over onto his back and put his arms across his stomach as he too looked to the heavens. They sat in silence, neither daring to break the stillness of the night. She could not help but think back to the kiss. The sweetness of it had formed an ache in her heart. Azel closed her eyes and took a deep breath that she hoped would steady her.
“Do not move,” she heard him say as she opened her eyes.
He had a dagger and was half leaning over her and she tensed up in fear. When she tried to move he put a hand on her arm, and it was then she noticed he was looking beyond her. Slowly, she turned her head to her left, and she saw the slight movement in the moons’ light. A sand crawler, with pinchers that snapped and a long arching tail that was filled with poison was moving towards them.
She instinctively put her hand on his arm and her fingers gripped the fabric of his shirt. Her eyes were wide with fear as he held the dagger in place, waiting for the moment when the sand crawler would try to attack. The air in her lungs felt constricted but for some reason her fear seemed to disperse. The sand crawler was not nearly as scary as the man who had killed her mother and tried to kill her.
Before she could try to calm herself enough to focus her power, Aleron brought his arm down. The dagger penetrated the shell of the sand crawler and Aleron pulled back before its tail could strike. He rolled back and pulled her along with him, as though he feared it could jump towards them.
Their eyes met and Azel was paralyzed. “I thank you,” she managed.
His fingers came up and laced in her hair. They were firm as they stopped at the base of her neck. She didn’t fight him as he pulled her down to kiss him; so familiar his lips seemed to be to her and yet foreign. He deepened the kiss and she didn’t fight when his tongue slid into her mouth like a sand viper hunting its prey.
Something had changed between them, and even Azel could not deny it. Her disgust had turned to mild distrust, and her view of him became more favorable with every new day. She turned her head and buried her fingers in his hair. One of his hands was against her face while the other one was against the lower part of her back. He urged her legs to part by putting his own between them and she realized she was straddling him.
He rolled her over and rose above her, and for a moment Azel was mesmerized. His eyes looked so dark and the shadows across his face made him look powerful. She could barely think as she took in the intensity of his stare. She could feel his desire for her, hard against her leg, and she tilted her head to allow him greater access to her mouth. Despite there not being enough air in her lungs from a sudden need that rocked her to her core, she felt herself hesitate. When he bent his head to kiss her again she brought a hand up against his lips.