Antonia Aquilante stopping by today with her new release A Dance of Water and Air from NineStar Press. We have an exclusive excerpt to share with you.
Title: A Dance of Water and Air
Series: Elemental Magicae, Book One
Author: Antonia Aquilante
Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, fantasy, trans, magic, elements, court intrigue, arranged marriage, friends to lovers
Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.
Arden is the younger brother of Aither’s queen and a wielder of Air magic. Raised in the politics of the court to support his sister’s rule, he understands the alliance is important to Aither, even as he worries about his sister marrying someone she’s never met. When Edmund arrives in Aither to prepare for the wedding, Arden is tasked with helping him settle in at court. As they spend more time together, Edmund and Arden develop a close friendship, then stronger feelings, but with Edmund’s wedding approaching, they must hide their feelings, even from themselves.
When someone tries to assassinate the queen, Edmund is blamed, and Arden rescues him before he can be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To prevent a war between their kingdoms and protect them from a dangerous enemy, Edmund and Arden will have to discover who wants to pit Aither and Thalassa against each other and mend relations between the two kingdoms as they evade those searching for them—all while finding a way to be together.
The Dance of Water and Air
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Today, the throne room was crowded with courtiers. Their period of heavy mourning had ended just recently. Arden found it inconceivable that Father had been gone over six months, so the brightly dressed courtiers were somewhat jarring. He still expected the somber colors of mourning. Only Mother preferred the darker colors still, though she’d put aside her blacks and grays, because to not do so would be to show disrespect to the new queen. He’d had to remind himself that the pale blue of his chosen attire was perfectly appropriate and stop himself from reaching for something darker.
Part of him truly couldn’t believe that Father was gone at all, let alone had died—had been killed, murdered—months ago. He still thought he would find Father in his study, hunched over his desk, if he went looking. But if he really thought about it, perhaps it felt even longer. So much was different.
Hollis sat on the throne from which Father had reigned for years, for almost as long as Arden could remember. The elegant throne was made of silver swirls, mimicking the sweep of wind through the sky. The throne looked deceptively delicate but was heavy and strong in truth, something Father often used as a metaphor to Arden and Hollis. Arden still wasn’t used to seeing Hollis on the throne, but she sat there naturally, with all the authority of her position as queen. He’d never doubted her ability to rule—she’d been learning from Father since she could walk—but he was still proud of her.
Her new council hovered on the other side of her throne, Jago beside her and the others on the floor below the dais. Their constant presence struck Arden as odd, and a little irritating. Aither hadn’t had a queen in her own right in several generations. Perhaps her new council just didn’t know what to do with the idea, despite having all of Hollis’s life to get used to it.
Hollis interrupted his musings by gesturing with one hand, the pearly white paint on her nails gleaming in the light. The herald struck his staff against the floor. The room quieted immediately, the assembled courtiers turning their attention to the doors. He then announced the prince, calling out the long string of names and titles in a voice that carried over the crowd to the dais where Arden waited beside Hollis. Though Arden knew every one of them, he found himself turning the names over in his mind, wondering what the man would be like.
He would know soon enough.
The tall doors, polished wood with silver and gold set in a fluid pattern over the entire surface, were pulled open, and Prince Edmund stepped through.
Arden hadn’t expected the punch of instant attraction and didn’t much care for it. He had certainly been attracted to people before and had a couple of discreet liaisons when he’d found a potential lover he could trust, but he’d seldom felt an attraction so sudden and visceral, one that had him wondering what it would be like if he dragged Edmund off to bed.
But this was his sister’s intended—for an alliance marriage that was meant to secure the safety of their kingdom.
Still, Arden understood his own reaction. Edmund was breathtaking. He had light brown skin and shining dark brown hair that waved around his face. He was tall, with broad, strong shoulders tapering down to a narrow waist and hips and long legs. The heavily embroidered silk jacket and slim pants he wore—obviously in the style of the Thalassan court—showed off his body to its best advantage. He carried himself as the prince he was. No uncertainty, no unnecessary deference in his posture, even as he walked into a foreign court very nearly alone, and Arden respected him for it.
Edmund stopped at the right distance from the dais and bowed to exactly the correct degree and not one bit more, holding it for the correct amount of time as well. He’d studied their protocols. When Edmund straightened, he looked to Hollis first, of course. But Arden found himself wanting this man to take notice of him too.
Edmund glanced at Arden a bare moment later, as if he’d heard Arden’s silly thought. Arden had to swallow back a gasp. Because Edmund’s eyes were as beautiful as the rest of him, and telling. Dark, rich brown, shot through with vibrant green. Arden hadn’t been aware that Edmund possessed such a strong Affinity for Water magic, or that he’d become strong in its practice.
Meet the Author
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
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