EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
A Question of Counsel
(The Republic Book 1)
(The Republic Book 1)
by Archer Kay Leah
Life hasn’t been easy for Aeley since she arrested her brother, and her role as a political leader leaves her feeling isolated and lonely. Days before her brother’s trial, she meets Lira, a quiet and modest scribe who makes Aeley want more than just a professional relationship.
When she attends the trial and leaves with a marriage contract, Aeley doesn’t know what to do. She must choose one of two brothers, marrying into a family she doesn’t know. Then she discovers that Lira is part of the same family - a sister to Aeley’s suitors and the family’s disgrace. And not at all opposed to an intimate relationship.
Except random acts of violence against her people test Aeley’s ability as a leader, and a web of lies and deceit threaten not only her chance at happiness, but her life …
The dreams. By the Four, the dreams. Please don't make me babble about them. We can't get into it.
Waiting for the carriage, Aeley watched Lira fan her hair around her shoulders and tug on her shawl. Though it was a cool autumn morning, not all of Aeley's shivers were due to the breeze. The meeting with Vant inspired her dreams to twist around her desires. Instead of focusing on Allon and her anger, the images revolved around Lira and an intimacy that Aeley could not ignore. She refused to mention the dreams to anyone, including Mayr. He would taunt her without mercy if he knew of her attraction to Lira. It was bad enough she'd woken in a sweat more than once. For certain, she could say nothing to Lira. Anything else would make the ride awkward.
"There it is," Mayr said.
Aeley turned when he raised his arm, his tattoos and scars hidden by his long sleeve and leather brace. Drawn by two grey horses, the small, closed carriage slowed before them. Mayr opened the door and gestured for them to enter. Lira obeyed without hesitation, climbing the small steps and sliding across the black cushions.
"After you." Mayr's hand slid across Aeley's back and gave her a gentle push towards the steps.
"No, after you. No need to be formal. It's a meeting, not a ball," Aeley argued, digging her boot into the dirt.
"That's fine, but I'm still not getting in."
"I'm sitting up front with the driver."
"Why? It's not like she's going to bite—"
Mayr rolled his eyes. "I know that." Turning into her, he lowered his voice. "I'm giving you the chance to bite her."
Aeley caught herself before she fell back. "What?" What was the proper response? Slap him? Stare like a mortified idiot?
With a sigh, Mayr leaned closer and murmured his words. "I've been watching you. Something's going on. Should've seen your face when she walked in on breakfast. Stared at her like any guy would. Nervous, fidgety. Not at all like you."
"That's not—I'm not—she's just—" Aeley bit her tongue and twisted her heel. How could he call her bluff when she did not understand it herself? Her face warmed, the rest of her body feeling hot under her light cloak. If he noticed, had Lira noticed, too? Oh, by the Blessed Four… this could be a long ride if she did.
"If you like her, you like her. Either way, I'm not getting in for the same reason I wouldn't let you bring the gaffa nectar. This is a perfect chance, so don't be stupid." Mayr stepped back. "Now get in."
Praise for the Book
"A very enjoyable well written book. Exciting situations, strong female leads and believable plots and sub plots. Blood family relations at their worst, friend family relations at their most powerful and inspirational. A novel that has both leading women with commendable traits and beliefs while still possessing human failings. In a time when sexuality between couples depended on breeding, valour, bravery, honour and in this case love rather on gender. Both women have very different personalities and upbringing, however, both have their own strengths and each compliments the others mettle as well as combating and protecting each other's weaknesses. A novel that shows strength of family does not necessarily come those we are related too but a novel which emphasis the potency and ultimately the effectiveness of true love. Anyone wanting a rich love story combined with devious subterfuge, a little light comedy, and ultimately a richly deserved happy ending should enjoy this book." ~ Christine Close
Interview With the Author
In ten words, tell us about you.
Introvert, geek, music-obsessed, Canadian, cat person, realist, middle-of-the-road, diverse, oddball.
What motivates you to write?
I’m compelled to write; if I don’t, I get grumpy and feel like there’s a void in my life (a lesson learnt the hard way!). Storytelling is exciting, challenging, and an outlet for all the pent up creativity. All about appeasing the muses!
What inspired you to write A Question of Counsel? How long did it take to write?
A Question of Counsel was inspired from Rule Breaker, a novella I wrote for the anthology, Won’t Back Down, published by Less Than Three Press. The story takes place in the same fantasy realm, and Aeley makes an appearance since her brother is the antagonist. But there was something to Aeley that hollered for a separate story.
The idea existed for months, but I had it on the back burner due to other projects. Then I wrote it in a complete frenzy – something like 39 days? Deadlines are awesome like that.
What are your favorite things about Aeley and Lira? What makes them dear to your heart?
I love Aeley’s spunk, how she doesn’t like taking crap, and she always wants to do the right thing, even when it’s at cost to her.
On the flipside, I love how Lira doesn’t want to live for everyone else. She cares about others, but she won’t compromise who she is. She’s not the perfect, proper lady by societal standards, but she’s not going to apologize.
Did anything surprising pop up while writing A Question of Counsel?
A couple fun things happened. The first was Mayr, Aeley’s best friend. Originally he was just supposed to have a *couple* lines at dinner and a brief appearance. Yeah … no. He decided he wanted a larger part – REALLY large. It increased further when working with my editor. Readers beware: Mayr wants to steal a piece of your heart!
The second thing was thanks to some tips from my editor, Tan-ni Fan. The result was a set of brothers who are even bigger jerks (and more unhinged) than I realized in the beginning.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Do you think it captures the spirit of the book?
I L-O-V-E the cover! It was designed by the incredibly talented Natasha Snow, who turned a photo I loved into something even more beautiful. I really do believe it captures the book. Other than the fact the model resembles Aeley, the blindfold reflects the fact she’s blind to so many things and needs to question the advice she receives.
When you completely finish a book, how do you celebrate?
Sadly, I don’t have a ritual. Usually it ends in sleep. Lots and lots of sleep, due to the crazy amount of editing I do. Although in the case of A Question of Counsel, I went grocery shopping. That’s something, right?
Sure! Are you working on anything right now?
I just finished For the Clan, a M/M/F dystopian romance with a personality disorder (it’s fantasy and science fiction, too). Set in Canada in 2165 AD, it features two real sweethearts, one of which needs a really big hug.
Just as I was finishing For the Clan, I got smacked with a new project. Apparently Mayr (from A Question of Counsel) wants some love. I outlined his story in the two days after submitting For the Clan. Again, Mayr wants a larger role. I’m now officially working on Four, next in The Republic series. So any readers who enjoy Mayr … he’s getting his own story with the thoughtful, conflicted priest, Tash.
Any last word to readers?
Thanks for reading along today! I appreciate all of your support. And if you’re looking for a bit of a party, the Facebook Release Party for A Question of Counsel is happening next week, 27-28 May. So grab your computer, fave snacks, and some pals. Win some stuff. Jam to some tunes. The more the merrier!
About the Author
Archer Kay Leah was raised in Ontario, Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, it has been this diversity that has inspired Archer’s love of toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and crazy situations.
Archer started writing stories at age six and became "that kid" with their nose in the books and a pen in their hand, pursuing the challenges of writing novels at age thirteen and conquering the dread of poetry at fifteen. Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged.
When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek who has too many hobbies, keeping busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along, especially if it is in technological form. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card. The prize will be sent out after 15 June.