Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Disciple Pt 2 by L. Blankenship: Excerpt


Back cover of Disciple, Part II

The prince first kissed Kate Carpenter for fear of missing the chance if they didn’t survive the journey home through the monster-prowled mountains.


Now that kiss seems like a fever dream. It’s back to work for her, back to the fellow physicians jealous of her talents and the sneers of an infirmary director who wants her shipped off to some tiny village. Kate means to be on the front lines to save lives. She’s worked too hard to overcome her past to let them deny her the chance to serve her homeland when the enemy’s army reaches their kingdom.


The grand jousting tournament is a chance to prove she can manage combat wounded, and at the royal Solstice banquet Kate means to prove she isn’t an ignorant peasant girl anymore.


But the prince’s kiss still haunts her. Their paths keep crossing, and the easy familiarity they earned on the journey home is a welcome escape from their duties. It’s a small slip from chatting to kisses.


This is no time to be distracted by romance -- a vast and powerful empire is coming to slaughter anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical fount.


Kate ought to break both their hearts, for duty’s sake.


Disciple, Part II on sale now

along with Disciple, Part I



Disciple, Part III coming in late 2013

Disciple is complete in six parts and will make a lovely doorstop

when all 400k words have been published.


Goodreads links:


Excerpt from Disciple, Part II

Kate and Prince Kiefan steal a moment to talk during the autumn jousting tournament.
“You found a book, you told me in your letter,” I said.  
“Yes.” He shifted to the new subject gratefully. “Vysokov suffered a fire, not long ago, and some books were damaged. I found them laid out for the chamberlain to see what could be salvaged. I noticed the title of the essay — ‘On Truth’ — and d’Ovio’s style on an open page. I brought it with me…”  
Kiefan gestured toward the doorflap; we had stood in front of it for some time already. The promise of a new book put a smile on my face. “It wasn’t badly damaged?” I asked.  
He held the flap open for me and led the way through the bustle outside. Preparations for the mid-day meal were in full roll, and we darted through it all as we went. “Singed a bit,” Kiefan said. “It was doused with water, but it’s dried now. A bit fragile, perhaps. I wrapped it well for the journey.”  
We angled across, into the area behind the King’s pavilion, and the bustle fell away as we entered a cluster of smaller tents. Kiefan nodded to the knight standing watch as we passed — he was one of the Prince’s Guard.  
“Hold the flap for me,” Kiefan said, stopping at one of the tents. The grey-cast canvas and the shade of the pavilion made for a dim interior, so I stood outside letting a bit of light in to help. He knelt down to untie a saddlebag and dug out a cloth-wrapped bundle. I’d never seen inside such a tent, before. Behind him, on the camp bed, his mail was laid out in pieces, the great helm and spurs with them, and a dark red tabard. His sword and shield leaned against the frame. The tabard struck me as odd. He wore black, usually, with the king’s sigil. 
When he stood with the bundled book, I caught a wince. “A headache?” I asked. “Do you need —?” 
I reached for him again, meaning to check his kir, but Kiefan handed me the book instead. “I am well enough, for now.”  
I took the book, but shot him a frown as well. He smiled and looked away, caught.
“Truly, Kate, I am well enough. I would not lie to my physician. Or to you.” 
He joined me just outside the door as I untied the bundle, and he tossed the cloth back inside when I got it free. “Are these all new essays in this book?” 
“I leafed through and saw several new titles. But I haven’t read any yet. I decided to wait when I came to one…” Kiefan faded into uncertainty, then, and I looked up from the page I’d opened to. His grey eyes had lost their smile, and that sank my heart. But he finished, voice low. “I found one titled ‘On Love and Fidelity’ and thought we could start with that. Forgetting, for a moment, what passed in the garden.”  
Sitting with him by a fire, warm and indoors rather than under a storm-beaten tarp, sharing an essay and the questions it posed — longing tore at me. “There wouldn’t be time, even if we could read it together,” tumbled out of my mouth. “They already think me an upstart peasant girl foisting some scam on the Elect. Whenever they look for me, I must be busy and sure.” 
I shook my head. “I can prove myself.”  
“Kate —”  
“I will prove myself,” I said. I tried to hand the book to him. “Perhaps after… Arcea is turned back?”  
“Take it,” Kiefan said. “Read and remember it, and we can talk as I read it. You can return it at the Solstice banquet, if not sooner.”  
My brows took flight on their own. “The banquet?” 
“You’re physician to the castle. You’ll be expected,” he said.  
“Me?” My voice faded, still disbelieving.  
“Yes, you.” A bit of a smile tucked up the corner of his mouth. His fingers nearly stroked my cheek before he caught himself, clenched that hand in a fist. “I insist. You must return the book to me for Solstice. And we must get back before we’re missed.”  
We both regretted that, but it was true enough.

About The Disciple, Pt 1


The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.

And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.

She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too

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