Thursday, September 6, 2018

Book Spotlight - Harbinger by Nicole Conway + Excerpt + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon

About the Book:
Title: Harbinger (Dragonrider Legacy) 
Author: Nicole Conway
Pub. Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 374
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD 

Victory is written in the blood of the brave. As the armies of the Tibran Empire continue to march across Maldobar, a path of scorched destruction and despair is left in their wake. Even with the formidable princess, Jenna Farrow, leading the charge, the strength of the dragonriders is waning. Tibran victory appears inevitable—especially after Princess Jenna and Prince Aubren are taken hostage by the infamous Lord Argonox. Separated from her brother and tortured for information, Princess Jenna refuses to bend to the iron will of Argonox. But her strength and resolve may only last so long. Held prisoner in his dark tower, it would take a miracle to set her free—or perhaps a pair of demigods and their dragons. With revived dragonrider legend, Jaevid Broadfeather, at his side, Reigh must now make a choice: face the truth about the origin of his dark powers, or turn his back on world in need. But throwing off a lifetime of shame and self-doubt is not so easily done—especially when the cost of failure means the destruction of the world. The long-awaited hero has awakened. The ancient spirits are stirring. The dark goddess has chosen her champion. But is he ready to embrace that rite and become the Harbinger Maldobar needs him to be?

About Nicole:

MY NAME IS NICOLE CONWAY and I love to write stories! I've been writing books since I was very young, and am blessed beyond measure to be able to do it now as a full time career. Although I sometimes step out into other genres, I primarily write Fantasy for teens and middle graders.

I graduated from Auburn University in 2012, which is also where I met my husband. As a military family, we move frequently and have lived numerous places all around the world. We have one very energetic son, Ethan. We also have two dogs (French Brittanys) named Joey (currently 5 months old) and Phoebe (4 years old) and a ball python named Noodle Nagini.

For inquiries on how to book me for a school visit, presentation, or interest in my future or current projects, please contact my amazing literary agent, FRAN BLACK, of Literary Counsel.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Rafflecopter link:

Tour Schedule:
Week Two:
9/3/2018- Reads and RecipesReview
9/3/2018- All the Ups and DownsExcerpt

9/4/2018- A Bookish DreamReview
9/4/2018- BookHounds YAInterview

9/5/2018- For the Love of KidLit- Interview

9/6/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert - Review
9/6/2018- Two Points of InterestExcerpt

9/7/2018- Finding Magic In BooksExcerpt
9/7/2018- Patriotic BookaholicSpotlight

I heard him before I saw him—which was nearly always the case with Phillip.

“Good morning, my love!”

I stole a quick glance over the top of the book I was studying, one centered on aerial battle techniques, as Duke Phillip Derrick swaggered into the parlor and leaned against the arm of the sofa beside me. He peered over my shoulder, invading my space to see what I was reading. Or maybe he just wanted to see what I would do if he let his cheek brush mine.

“I’ve asked you not to call me that,” I muttered, fully aware of the futility of having this discussion again.

“I’ll stop when it stops being true,” he replied.

He probably thought he was being clever, using lines like that.

Calling him ridiculous would have been the understatement of the century. It was just a cruel, inconvenient coincidence that he also happened to be one of the better-looking men I knew. That hadn’t always been the case, however. When we’d been children, which hadn’t been all that long ago, he had been tall, gangly, and awkward. He’d had buck teeth, a face covered in freckles, and a regular riot of loose, black curls on his head that had stuck out all over the place.

Now, in his late twenties, he’d changed quite a bit. He didn’t have the buck teeth anymore. In fact, his were obnoxiously perfect and straight now. I got a good look at them every time he flashed me one of those roguish, coy smiles he most likely thought were charming.

There were still a few freckles dusted across his cheeks and nose, almost invisible now because of his tanned skin. His hair, however, was no less a mess than it had been when we’d been little. It was still as black as pitch, wavy, and tended to poke up if it was even the least bit humid. He wore it a bit longer now, almost to his shoulders, so that those loose curls framed his squared jawline in a pleasing way. Something about how they shone in the light made you want to run your hands through them, just to see if they were as soft as they looked.

Not that I’d ever tried it myself. I had a firm no-touching policy with Phillip. The cheek brushing was a test, I knew. If he tried that again, I’d be forced to smack him to reinforce my rules.

“More battle plans?” he asked.

“We know the Tibrans will strike again soon,” I replied. “Without Reigh here to help even the odds, we’ll have to try some new techniques. I only have four riders at my disposal, counting myself. That doesn’t leave us with much hope when the next attack comes. If the Tibrans have proven anything, it’s that they bounce back quickly and fiercely. We can wager with confidence that their next assault on this city will be far more brutal.”

“Ah.” Phillip shifted and looked down at his boots. “Well, for what it’s worth, I have the utmost faith in you.”

So much for keeping the conversation light.

Truth be told, I was no good with that sort of thing. Social grace and appropriateness might as well have been foreign tongues. Being aprincess didn’t grant me an innate sense of grace; and when it came to interacting with other nobles, I had a long track record of embarrassing myself.

It was easy to play it off like I didn’t care what they thought about me, most of the time. I think many people, even my own brother, believed that ruse—that it really didn’t bother me not to be very refined when comporting myself in court. But there were moments when I wished I could come up with the right things to say; moments when I wished I had just a single ounce of social confidence. Half the time, whenever I opened my mouth, it was the soldier in me who spoke rather than the princess.

I managed to smile back at him slightly, which was a huge mistake.

Phillip grinned and leaned in closer like he was trying to dazzle me with his sharp, vibrant green eyes. “You’re so lovely when you smile, Jenna.”

I immediately scowled. “Stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“Whatever it is you’re trying to do.” I raised my book up again and all but buried my nose in the crease of the pages. “Go away, please. I’m very busy.”

He sighed. I felt his presence withdraw from looming over my shoulder. For an instant, I dared to hope he really had gone away.

I should be so lucky.

The couch where I sat minding my own business and hoping for a few minutes of quiet to read and plan suddenly lurched. Phillip flopped down onto the opposite end of it, reclining back and staring at me while he scrunched up his mouth and rubbed his chin.

“You’ll fall for me one day, you know.” He sounded so sure. “Maybe not tomorrow, or next month, or next year—but eventually. My love for you knows no limits. I’ll wait forever, if that’s what it takes.”

I resisted the urge to hurl my book at him. One well-aimed shot and I was pretty sure I could break his nose with it. If I’d thought for even a second that might humble him a little, I might have tried it. “You’re impossible.”

“Impossibly handsome, maybe.” I could hear the smirk in his voice without looking.

I rolled my eyes. Like I said—ridiculous.

His antics weren’t a recent development, though. Phillip had been antagonizing me this way for years, baiting me for any response he could possibly get. I thought he honestly just liked getting me riled up and he’d discovered that flirting with me shamelessly was an easy way to do it.

This game of his had started when I’d turned thirteen. I’d grown from my own awkward childhood body into adolescence and finally become a figure of interest for young men in the court. Hooray for puberty, I suppose. Most girls would have been delighted to suddenly be regarded as beautiful. I was cautiously intimidated by those kinds of compliments, however, especially from the boys my age.

I wasn’t sure how many of them actually saw me—or were just looking for an easy leverage point to get to the crown. Fortunately, my father, King Felix Farrow of Maldobar, was protective. He wouldn’t allow most of the suitors who wanted to spend time with me to come anywhere near our family. I was grateful for that.

It felt like I might be safe to make some of my own life choices, after all.

And then Phillip began professing his undying love for me.

He was older, the son of a longtime family friend, and I’d known him literally since birth. He and Aubren, my older brother, had been partners in crime for as long as I could remember. We’d all played together as children. He was already inside my father’s barrier of family trust, so when he started to show interest in me, everyone just seemed amused by it. Perhaps they assumed we would be married eventually, anyway.

I found it completely annoying and humiliating—like he was making a joke out of me.

Now, more than ten years later, nothing had changed in that department. Phillip was one of the only men in my father’s court that still didn’t seem thrown by my determination to follow what I knew to be my destiny and become a dragonrider. It wasn’t a womanly thing to do— hefting swords, smiting enemies, riding in a dragon’s saddle. At least it wasn’t in Maldobar. I was undeniably good at it, though, and that only seemed to make my father even more irate. He’d been staunchly against it from the very beginning.

But when my dragon, Phevos, had chosen me— that had left no room for anyone’s objection, not

even the king’s.

I was born to be a dragonrider—in body, in heart, and now in destiny.

“Would you go for a walk with me?” Phillip asked suddenly.

I lowered my book so I could glare at him. “Why?”

He put on one of his rare, businesslike frowns. If he’d known I found that look slightly less annoying than any of his other expressions, he might have used it more often.

Of course, I would die before I ever told him that.

“I’m having the catacombs and undercrofts below city opened for anyone who wants to begin moving there in the event of another attack. I’ve encouraged those with young children, or any who might have difficulty moving quickly, to depart now. I’ve also opened two of the escape tunnels for anyone who may want to escape to the mountain passes. We know those paths are clear of Tibran forces—so far. They should be safe,” he explained. “Like you said, we have to accept the reality that the Tibrans are going to come back. I’d like to go see how everything’s progressing.”

I arched a brow. “That’s so … responsible of you.”

His brow puckered with a wounded expression. “I can do my job, you know. My love for you hasn’t blinded me from all the things your father expects of me as duke. I mean to take care of the people here as best I can.”

“And that’s the only reason? Worry for their welfare?”

Phillip made a snorting sound, as one side of his mouth curled up into a half smirk.

“That and the remote chance you’ll hold on to my arm or hand while we walk.”

I closed the book and narrowed my eyes. “Don’t count on it.”

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