Men of Foxwick by Cherie Reich
A blind teen seeks a place in the kingdom. A dragon seer journeys to Wintermill to spy on the queen. A sword master’s worst fear comes true when he fails to protect the royal family. A king falls in love with an herb witch, but will she feel the same way? A hunter will rise to the challenge to hunt down a man-eating monster.
Short stories in this collection: “Blind Scribe,” “Dragon Spy,” “Sword Master,” “Courting Magic,” and “Monster Hunter”
Dallan counted his steps as his mama and he weaved through the busy streets of Foxwick. Twenty-six, twenty-seven. They’d passed the fruit stand and were now farther into Foxwick than he’d ever been in his fifteen summers. People, just moving shadows, brushed against his shoulder. He scrunched toward Mama to make his lanky frame smaller. The odor of sweat and manure combated the more pleasant scents of flowers and baking bread. A bead of sweat trickled into his hairline, and he longed for the comfort of their small house.
“Keep up, Dallan.” Mama’s skirts brushed against his pants’ legs.
“Where are you taking me?” He clung to her arm and dragged his feet. They’d gone too far. The shadows darkened, as if the sun had slipped behind the horizon, and he had no clue where he was now.
She halted mid-step before yanking him forward. “I do not wish to do this, but we have little c-choice.”
“Do what, Mama?” He wanted to dig his heels into the pavement and halt their progress. Had she decided he was more trouble than he was worth? Times were tough, and he was such little help. He tried to plow straight—despite counting his steps and placing one foot in front of the other—but he often tripped over the rocky soil. He tried cooking, but he couldn’t even boil water without scorching it. Though he wasn’t too bad as a tailor because he could count stitches and feel where he needed to go, he still needed guidance.
She pulled him closer. Rough stone rubbed against his arm through his thin shirt. A sob hitched in Mama’s throat as she emitted a mouse-like squeak. She embraced him tightly and then smoothed his damp hair from his face. “My sweet boy, I’m so, so sorry.”
“What’s wrong?” His heart pounded like a horse galloping across an open field, each hoof beating the ground in a frantic rhythm.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D7ORVGM
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17732987-men-of-foxwick
About the Author:
A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.
Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/j3D5X (She’s giving away Smashwords coupons for a free copy of Women of Foxwick to newsletter subscribers.)