Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor: Caitlin Sinead
Mentee: Luanne Smith
Title: THE PROTECTOR OF THE SEVERN
Word Count: 106,000
When a treaty negotiation turns into an ambush, Protector Cira Conwy is forced to outrun assassins with her only surviving bodyguard, Lt. Ethan Daniels. While escaping across the Severn midlands—and falling hard for the lieutenant—Cira is blindsided by the reemergence of a weapon that could change the course of a brewing war. But when that same weapon threatens heartbreak, she’ll have to confront the demons in her past if she wants to change her future.
I blew on each lens of the binoculars, then buffed them with the hem of my bloodstained shirt. A hairline crack in the glass distorted the view, yet I could still pick out the distant silhouette of a skulking Crau ship, should one approach. The horizon remained empty, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Lt. Daniels cleared his throat. “They’ve finished loading the bodies onto the ships, Protector.”
I zoomed in on the time-eaten remains of a once prominent pier jutting out of the water. A pair of beach-rammers lolled in their wake as my men jumped off into the shallows, towropes in hand.
“Make sure they haul the ships past the breakers,” I said, lowering the binoculars. “I don’t want them washing up on shore before the bodies have been found.”
The lieutenant trudged through the sand, pointing seaward to the half-dozen rowboats. The oars hit the water, and the enemy ships heaved loose, sliding out to sea as silent as the souls they carried.
“You’re not one for subtlety, Cira, I’ll grant you that,” Will Gruffydd said.
I had launched a brutal message on the waves: thirty-eight bodies, greasy pickings for birds, set adrift to rot under a hot sun for their kinsmen to find. But I’d had enough of this game of raid-and-seek with the Crau.