Author: Colleen Helme
Genre: Romance Fantasy
As the ambassador from Braemar, Bran is sent on a diplomatic mission to the Old Country to establish trade relations. But the real reason for his mission is to uncover the secrets of a potent elixir that can give magic to anyone who drinks it.
While there he encounters the Songbird, a beautiful, exotic woman, and the king’s most prized possession. Her song is full of magic, and he determines that her people must be connected to the deadly elixir. In exchange for her help, he is willing to risk his life to set her free. What he doesn’t expect, is to fall under her spell…
The first few notes took him by surprise. They were light and clear, shinning like sparkling water under the sun, and carrying an underlying tone of reverence. The tones conjured golden images of light, and bound to the intensity of her voice, created a feeling of wonder and awe. As the beautiful tones rose in volume, the air became drenched with glittering light. Swirling around her, the light shifted in color and size, growing and changing with the music.
He could only describe this display as fireworks bursting with color and then trailing away into sparkling diamonds of light. The beauty took his breath away, and it seemed as if the entire hall was enclosed with torrents of golden light.
The steady light grew, and he watched with amazement as it fell down from above and encircled his body, even becoming the air he breathed. Incredibly, his skin and clothes took on a golden hue. As he tried to understand what was happening, the tones grew in intensity and lifted his soul to another sphere beyond his wildest imaginings.
Time slowed, and almost stopped. Then the moment passed and he could breathe again. His senses reeled like he had just been taken for a wild ride. As he gathered his wits, a low echo filled the hall, soothing his nerves. The melody and harmonies changed, whispering of tranquility and peace.
Within this blanket of warmth, his defenses fell away, one by one. An air of complacency relaxed his breathing and peace surrounded him. He vaguely sensed his vulnerability, but couldn’t do anything about it, nor did he want to. Even the air he breathed seemed laden with calming hues of green and blue.
All at once, the tones changed into a twisting dissonance, sending his blood racing with distress. Bran instinctively covered his ears along with everyone else in the room. Startled cries of pain from the crowd joined the dissonance, cutting into him like nails.
The Songbird’s beautiful face twisted with her own pain as she forced out the notes and struggled to stand upright. Fighting obvious agony, she continued to sing, and the notes rose in a crescendo that swirled in the air around the king. Bands of dark light descended over him and tightened in a vise.