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Refrain

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New passions and jealousies threaten the quest for a lost song and lead to the discovery of a terrible secret.
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Sales price: $5.95
Sales price without tax: $5.95
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Author: Janie Franz
Description

Genre  Fantasy Romance

Tags  Fantasy, herbs, paranormal, women, lesbian, songs, lyrics, food, spiritual, dance, quest

Release  April 19, 2013

Editor  Anne Duguid

Line Editor  Nan Swansom

Cover Designer  Delilah K. Stephans

Words  65173

Pages  241

ISBN  978-1-77127-312-1

Price  $5.95


 

Back Cover

As Jan-nell, her son Bearin, the sensuous hunter Bekar, and trackfinder Chandro continue their quest for the lost song, they make alliances with the virile dark-skinned sword dancers, who serve as bodyguards to a king, and the exotic, handsome beast trainers of the desert. Jan-nell is beset with jealousies, new sexual stirrings, deepening spiritual practices, and a growing bond with one of her companions.


 

Excerpt

She looked once more at the rust-red flowers on her tunic. The old women had handwork on their garments, too—little blue buds in clusters, yellow blossoms with reddish-purple tongues, and tiny white flowers like stars. Theirs were worn and faded. Her flowers, fresh as spring, were simple five-petalled blossoms with black centers. She had never seen them before and wondered where the woman who had worked their likeness into the garment had seen them and whether those blossoms spoke of a plant with healing uses.

The pounding of mallet to wood drew Jan-nell from the handwork. While she sat musing, tents had begun reaching to the sky. The purple tent of the Goiya rose first in the center of the camp. Smaller white silk tents like the one she had slept in the night before and plain tan-colored ones sprouted up like toadstools after rain. The smell of wood smoke from cookfires filled her nose, and the whinnying of the horses picketed on the edge of camp drifted to her ears. The jingle of harness behind her was part of the weaving of the music of the camp. Jan-nell sat content for the first time since she had become a part of the caravan.

A stream of rapid words in the Goiya’s language came from the front end of the wagon. She looked to see the driver approaching her side. He stood and yelled up at her, the register of his words getting higher and louder. He gestured wildly with one arm toward the camp. His movements were so forceful the hood of his tunic fell back. He was perhaps fifty summers, with a fat black mustache flecked with gray like his short-cropped hair. His nose was big and hooked like those of the Goiya’s men sent to Hill City to prepare the way for trading.

Jan-nell grew concerned that the man might overexert himself and fall into a swoon if he continued to excite himself in the heat. But she had been told to stay where she was—or was that what the sword dancer meant? He said he would come when the caravan made camp. But did that mean she was to stay in the wagon?

The old man worked his way around to the open end of the cart and continued to yell and gesture. She was sure his loud voice would draw attention to her, so she rose and made her way to the small fold-down step at the back.

Before she had her foot securely on the step, the old man grabbed her arm and propelled her to the ground. She fell hard on her right shoulder and her hip. A sharp pain coursed through her, making her stomach turn over.

Though she was outside, the man continued to yell, his anger growing instead of lessening. She feared he would kick her and raised an arm to ward off any blows. Her own hood fell away as she looked up at him.

The old man choked on his words and made an intricate warding gesture. In any culture, it was unmistakable. Jan-nell had seen it often enough done by villagers and townsfolk when they heard her quick-witted daughter speak in full thoughts when she could barely walk. She wondered what he saw to cause him to need protection against evil. Then she remembered everyone here had dark eyes and hers were green.

Jan-nell pushed herself up into a sitting position to relieve the pressure on her hip. Pulling her hood back over her head, she had no desire to provoke the man further. She rubbed her shoulder, feeling with skilled fingers to see if there was more injury than just bruising. Rotating her shoulder, she was satisfied she would only bear an ugly bruise. Her hip, however, had taken more of the fall. She put her feet under her and was attempting to stand when she heard someone rushing toward them, calling out to the man, who answered with a stream of explanation. Wanting only to slink away from watching eyes, Jan-nell concentrated on getting to her feet.

Hissing through her teeth, Jan-nell stood and began to feel her hip. She lifted the foot of the affected limb and bent her knee. She moved everything around. It pained her as she moved and was worse when she put her weight on it, but it was not broken. She started limping away, wanting to get as far as she could from wagons and people, even from the horses. The exchange of foreign words continued as she made her way around the wagon, gripping it for support, and headed for the edge of the camp.

Stopping at the front of the wagon, she wondered how she would be able to walk away on her own. She wished for her staff, but it was somewhere packed away with her belongings, and she was not permitted to use it here. She took a deep breath and resigned herself to do what she had to do to escape. She took a few painful steps, unable to suppress her grunts of pain as someone came up behind her. She half spun on her good leg, and dropped into an awkward and painful combat stance, fully realizing that, without her staff, she had no skills to protect herself.

A familiar voice said, “Peace.”

Her eyes focused on the muscled black arms spread wide in front of her as if confronting a farm dog that had been kicked too many times.

She relaxed to stand erect. It should have been a fluid motion. But her body complained, shooting pain through her hip and throwing her balance off. She weaved to correct her stance, but could not.

The sword dancer reached for her good arm and brought her erect, steadying her. With gentleness, he urged her back toward the wagon and the center of the camp. She leaned heavily upon his hand grasping her arm, limping and trying to not cry out.

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