Chronicles of Kassouk Book One
by Vijaya Schartz
On the frozen plains of Kassouk, where a few aliens rule a medieval Human world, Tora, Human warrior trained by tigers, seeks her father’s murderer. But what she finds at the point of her sword confuses her. How dare Dragomir, the handsome Mutant, question her bloodline and her loyalties? And could a new enemy control the savage hordes of the fringe?
Dragomir offers to help, but Humans and Mutants are forbidden to fraternize under penalty of death... Should Tora trust her mind, her instincts, or her heart?
In the vortex of war, treason and intrigue, among blizzards, avalanches and ambushes, will Tora solve the mystery of her father’s death and unveil the secret of her birth? Can she and Dragomir escape persecutions long enough to save their planet from the invaders and fulfill their destiny?
"...an exceptional tale that belongs in a place of honor on keeper shelves everywhere." Johnna Flores - Coffee Time Romance - 5-cups rating
"...this is one futuristic that you do not want to miss!" Naomi - Fallen Angels Reviews - 5 angels - Recommended Read
"...kept me enthralled from the first page...a thrilling science fiction romance" Marlene Breakfield, Paranormal Romance Reviews
"...unique and extremely well constructed" Rating: 4 1/2 stars Review by Tami Brady at Book Ideas.com
"I'm adding this to my 'keeper' shelf and on the 'to be re-read' list." Niniri Theriault for The Road to Romance
Tora knocked on the door. It opened on an impossibly tall, muscular man with shiny dark hair falling straight to the shoulders. His fine features included a high forehead, copper-tan skin, and a pair of compelling hazel eyes.
"I was hoping it would be you." A dazzling smile revealed pure white teeth. "Please come into the warmth of my humble home." He let her in and closed the door, eyes sparkling with intelligence, and something else Tora could not define.
"Do we know each other?" Tora had to ask, although she would never forget such a striking man.
"Not yet." He grinned. "Let me help you with your coat. It's warm in here."
Tora handed him coat and hat, noticing the pleasant temperature of the room. The small fire burning in the hearth could not provide such even heat, but she saw no other fire. "This must be the most comfortable cottage in the village. I feel no draft at all."
The young man smiled as he spread Tora's fur by the fire. She removed her mittens, sat on the fur and accepted a bowl of hot kawa.
"Who are you?" Intrigued, Tora tried to sound neutral.
The striking man sat facing her. "My name is Dragomir. What might be yours?"
Unnerved by the stranger's nearness, Tora tried to collect her thoughts. Dragomir looked about twenty-five. His melodious voice, smooth skin, foreign look, the unique quality of the white clothes and the refinement of his manners screamed high nobility. This was no farmer.
"I'm Tora, White Tiger." She felt a strange vulnerability in his presence, as if he could read her most intimate thoughts. She had to steady her voice. "What are you doing here? This is a dangerous place to be alone. Bands of Zerkers have been spotted just south of here. When the lake freezes solid, their invading army will launch itself onto the plain."
"I know." Dragomir held her gaze. "I can see why they call you White Tiger."
"Really?" Amused at his pretense of knowing her, Tora settled on the fur. When she changed position, the jewel on her sword handle caught the light of the flames.
Dragomir reached for the hilt.
Hand on the sword, ready to draw, Tora froze. In the grip of his hand immobilizing hers, she sensed great physical strength. For an instant, their eyes locked, then Dragomir relaxed but didn't move. Tora now stared at the offensive hand covering hers. It had six fingers like hers!
She'd never met anyone else with six fingers before. Who or what was this man? What was she, for that matter? Questions filled Tora's mind but her throat constricted, and she couldn't talk.
Seemingly undisturbed, Dragomir removed his hand then casually opened his silky shirt on a well muscled, hairless chest. Tora skipped a breath. On the smooth copper skin hung a faceted gem, a twin to that on her sword hilt. Unhooking the scabbard, she brought the hilt to the light. Same size, same cut, same azure brilliance, same silver heart in the center...
Dragomir's eyes flashed. "Where did you get it?"
Challenged, Tora finally found her voice. "It was my mother's. Where did you get yours?" she asked, a little too eager. "I've never seen another one before. I was told it was the work of the Godds." Barely containing her excitement, Tora hoped she would learn something about her mother.
"I received mine from the proper source." Dragomir looked grave, older despite a youthful face. "But I can't tell you about it."
Tora had no patience for games. "You can, but you won't. What are you hiding, Dragomir? You are obviously no peasant, so who are you?"
"A man on a mission." He looked away.
Tora sighed. "I wouldn't doubt it. Whose side are you on?"
"There are more than two sides to this war, Tiger." Dragomir raised one eyebrow and took a sip of kawa. "Do you know which side you fight for?"
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