Ever since the launch of Witch Flame a few months ago, I have not been happy with the cover. It was okay, but didn’t have the punch I felt the story deserved. Then I came across this fantastic artwork on Deviant Art by Maiarcita and I knew I had to have her artwork for my story. After making arrangements with the Maiarcia and the beautiful photographer and model, Charligal from Deviant Art this cover was mine!
Witch Flame (A Keepers of the Stones Novelette) by Tara West
From the bestselling author of the paranormal Whispers series, comes a new fantasy saga…
Feira, a fledgling witch just discovering her own powers, must battle warriors and monsters before she and her true love can find a safe haven away from the vengeful eye of a jealous goddess.
Bonus origin myth included: The Beginning of Time
This short story is a prelude to Curse of the Ice Dragon, Keepers of the Stones, Book One.
Excerpt from Witch Flame:
Feira was just sixteen summers when a booming knock shook the door of her foster mother’s small hut. She knew it wasn’t her foster mother, as Akahi had left just moments ago to pick berries and would not be back until evening. Feira quickly dropped the wooden spoon into the cauldron of Akahi’s special healing brew and rushed to the door.
What she saw before her nearly made her knees buckle—her beloved Tumì, draped over his brother’s shoulder, with a cracked and bloodied skull.
Tumì’s mother, Katriana stood beside her sons. She looked at Feira with keen eyes and a twisted scowl. “He calls your name, but says nothing else,” she said in a voice that was surprisingly devoid of emotion.
“Bring him inside,” Feira beckoned. “What has happened?”
“He was struck by a palma. Foolish boy,” Katriana growled as she followed them inside. She looked around the modest room with derision in her cold eyes before plopping down on a nearby stool and helping herself to a cup of Akahi’s wine. “I told him to be careful around those heavy fruits. Now who will take care of me if he is dead?”
Feira pulled back the furs of her own small cot. “Lie him down here,” Fiera said to Tumì’s brother, while trying her best to stifle her rage at Tumì’s heartless mother.
Tumì’s beefy brother, Nuk, who had been born a mute, answered with a grunt. He dropped Tumì onto the cot without care and stepped back, a vacant expression in his hooded gaze.
Feira often marveled at the differences between Tumì and his family. His mother and brother had rich, golden skin and flowing chestnut hair like many inhabitants of the nearby seaside village of Aloa-Shay. Tumì’s skin was dark, and his hair an unruly mess of black straw that he had to weave in a tight braid, else it would spring wildly from his head.
Feira leaned over Tumì and brushed her hand across his brow. His eyelids fluttered open, but his pupils had receded somewhere in the back of his skull. Sticky blood clung to his matted hair and skin. One corner of his temple had been crushed. Feira shook her head as silent tears cascaded down her face. Most likely, he’d been trying to chop down a palma pod so that he could add more coin to his greedy mother’s purse. The large palma pods that hung from tall trees could yield hundreds of small, sweet fruits. But the pods were heavy, and falling palmas had killed more than one hapless villager. Feira wondered how Tumì had managed to speak her name, or anything at all with such an injury.
She bit her bottom lip while stifling a sob. Tumì would die without her care, but if Feira healed him, she knew she would be marked as a witch. No mere doctoring could bring someone back from the brink of death.
Her gaze shot to Tumì’s mother, who was looking at her expectantly with that serpent cold gleam in her eyes. More than once, Katriana had accused Feira of bewitching her son. Now the cold bitch would have proof that Feira was a witch, for Feira knew she could not take another breath if her true love was gone from this world.
Feira was only glad her foster mother wasn’t here to see what she was about to do. The Elements save she and her mother, once Katriana knew the full extent of Feira’s powers.