Excerpt from Serpent Cult
The re-release of the Heroes series is right on track. Books 1 & 2 are now ready for publishing, thanks to S Pro Designs, and book 3 is nearly done with editing thanks to Sandra Nguyen's "Fresh Set of Eyes." On top of that, book 4, Princess of Lanfor, is nearly halfway done! Later this month I will post the new cover for Book 3, and trust me, it is the best one yet. For now, here is an excerpt from the revised book 2 as promised:
A dozen yards back down the trail lay a large smoldering ball of fur. It was still for a few moments, then slowly uncurled itself and rose up onto all fours. A pair of baleful eyes fixed on them, and a menacing growl escaped a rather impressive set of jaws. The creature had the appearance of a wolf, but nearly twice the size, yet it was the face that sent chills up Glo’s spine. It was goblin-like, with hard, yellow eyes, long pointed ears, and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
“What is that thing?” Aksel asked, his tone betraying a mixture of curiosity and fear.
Lloyd’s response was grim. “I don’t know, but I don’t like the way it’s staring at us.” The young warrior moved forward, drawing his blades and positioning himself between the creature and the rest of the group.
“Barghest,” Glo hissed. Now that he saw it face-to-face, he remembered reading about it. The pictures in his father’s books did not do it justice.
“Barghest?” Aksel repeated. “A demon?”
Glo nodded. “A shape-shifting demon. They take on the form of goblins, or wolves, or even mix them.” He paused and gulped, his mouth suddenly dry. “But make no mistake. It is neither. It is all demon. Hell-bent on killing and devouring innocents, body and soul.”
The barghest remained still, growling ominously as it continued to stare at them. Its malevolent eyes shifted around intelligently, assessing the group. Deep down inside, Glo was petrified, yet he pushed down his fear and moved forward, taking up a position next to Lloyd. He was not about to let this thing get anywhere near the sisters. The creature was staring at neither him nor Lloyd; instead, peering past them. Glo chanced a look over his shoulder. The demon was looking directly at Ves. Strangely, the young woman did not appear afraid. In fact, she stared back at the demon, her eyes burning with anger.
Glo did not know what to make of it. These three sisters were not easily frightened. Glo turned his gaze back toward the demon. The creature was now acting rather oddly, shifting uncertainly on its four legs. It gave one angry snort, then spun around and broke for the water. It loped across the isle and reached the water’s edge before any of them could react. The creature then leapt into the air and dove into the sea. Lloyd led the way as they rushed to the water’s edge. They had almost reached the spot where the demon entered the water when the creature resurfaced. It was fifty yards off shore, and took off west at a fast pace toward the mainland.
“We could be in for more trouble if it’s going for reinforcements,” Aksel noted.
“Don’t worry. I’ll find out what it’s up to,” Ruka responded. She pushed her way through them and ran to the edge of the isle. She paused a moment, turning toward them. “You better keep an eye on Maya while I’m gone. If anything happens to her, I will hold you responsible.” Her eyes shifted from Lloyd to Aksel then Glo. She then spun around and launched herself into the water, disappearing beneath the surface.
They stared in silence after the blonde girl. About a half minute later, she resurfaced about one hundred yards west of the island. She swam at a pace to rival the barghest. These girls were fast swimmers indeed. They were nearly as fast as their dolphin friends.
Lloyd turned toward Ves. “Will she be alright?”
Ves appeared genuinely surprised by the question. “Ruka? Don’t worry about her. She can handle herself.”
Glo stared at Ves, his eyes narrowing. Is she serious? A barghest is nothing to trifle with. Yet Ves appeared completely unconcerned. A vision of the large stone breaking on Maya’s shoulder flashed through his mind. He also remembered how easily Ves had dragged him around the lighthouse. In fact, she had practically flown him through the door with that last leap. Furthermore, the barghest ran from them without a fight. That was definitely not demon-like. The creature had appeared almost scared—right after it had locked eyes with Ves. Maybe it sensed something they did not about the three sisters. Yet if that were true, what was it about them that they could scare off a demon?