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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Dianne Hartsock to Stories That Make You Smile. Dianne is here today celebrating the recent release of her fabulous new fantasy novel, Belega. She’s brought along a generous giveaway and an excerpt that’s exclusive to this blog’s readers. Pull up a chair and learn all about this first book in Dianne’s The Karthagans series! 🌟
Belega by Dianne Hartsock
The power of the mind is immense. In this world, mankind has learned to gather the energies of creation to use at their whim. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Series: The Karthagans (book #1)
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Cover Artist: K.C. Sprayberry
Release Date: February 10, 2020
Length: Novel / 95,000 words / 339 pages
Heat Rating: Erotic
Pairing / Genre: M/M Erotic Fantasy Adventure w/ Romance subplot, adult, LGBTQ fiction, magic, sorcery, mage, good vs. evil, quest, obsession, power, lust, insanity, betrayal, friendship
The Karthagans have regained their ancient powers of manipulating nature, but at the price of madness. In their lust for control they’ve destroyed their island and most of their race. They come now to Belega where one of them, Camron, seeks domination over the known world.
The Mage has come from the northern continent of Sennia to bring peace, but finding his strength no match for the coming struggle, he passes his abilities on to Natan, who only desires a simple life. Now only Natan has the ability to stop Camron, but the personal cost is more than he imagines.
It is only with the combined strength of his friends, his Karthagan lover, Kavi, and his deep desire to bring peace to the earth, that he finds the courage to overcome Camron and restore balance to the world. The power of the mind is immense.
In this world, mankind has learned to gather the energies of creation to use at their whim. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.
☆ Exclusive Excerpt ☆
They spent the morning in silence as Natan trudged doggedly up the dusty road. Niko followed, humming snatches of songs as he tossed pebbles into the tall grass. He just as often pulled something out of his pack to eat, which Natan found extremely irritating. His own provisions were limited, and he had no idea when they might reach another village.
At noon the grasslands gave way to a large oak grove. Natan halted, sitting cross-legged to rest on the thick moss beside a clear spring. The weather proved warmer on Sennia than in his own country, and he removed his cloak and sweater, folding them into his pack. After a short debate with himself, he took out a packet of dried fruit and nuts. He felt Niko’s eyes on him and impatiently rolled to his stomach to eat his meager lunch and watch the sunlight play on the water.
Niko shrugged and sat with his back to a wide tree and played with the dagger he kept in a sheath up his sleeve. Seeming bored, he returned the blade to its hiding place and held out his hand. Natan watched as sweat burst out on his face. His breathing grew labored. Suddenly a tiny glow appeared in his palm and sprang into a flame. It disappeared instantly but Niko leaned back against the oak, looking satisfied.
“How did you do that?” Natan asked, impressed. He’d seen the Karthagans do the same and wondered if everyone on Sennia had the gift. Flattered, Niko moved beside him.
“It’s very difficult,” Niko warned. “Open your hand.” He continued when Natan complied, “Now, command the flame to appear, and it will.”
Natan frowned at his palm. “Command?”
“Yes,” Niko said impatiently.
Natan concentrated and a flame burst to life in his hand, bright but without heat. He watched it a moment then asked it to leave. It made him uneasy to demand anything of nature. Flashing Niko an apologetic glance, he surprised a look of intense jealousy on his face. Natan scrambled to his feet and slung his pack on his shoulder, taking to the road again without a word. Niko trailed behind.
They hadn’t gone far when Natan stopped and held his hands away from his body.
“Why, Niko?” he asked softly as hooded men stepped out of the trees, several with notched arrows.
“Because, my dear friend,” Niko stepped behind him and pulled a leather strap from a pocket. “The people in your country may honor an enchanter, but here in Sennia we know how to deal with the like.” He pulled Natan’s hands together at his back and tied them tightly. “Why do you think my precious cousin fled all those years ago?” He gave a viscous tug on the leather so that it bit into Natan’s wrists.
“You don’t have to do this,” Natan urged.
A man strode out of the group and struck him across the mouth. “None of that. You’ll be putting a spell on us, next. That, we can’t allow.”
Natan held himself still at a strange gleam in the man’s dark eyes. He could feel the malice in him, the delight he took in another’s pain.
The man stared him in the face as he played with another strip of leather. “Smart boy.”
He lunged suddenly and jabbed Natan in the stomach. As he doubled over in agony, the man thrust the leather between his teeth, quickly tying it behind his head. Natan grew dizzy as he fought for air. The leather chewed into the corners of his mouth and forced his tongue back. He gagged several times before he could work his tongue around the leather and open his airway. “Bring him, Danul,” The man turned on his heels and strode into the forest. Rough hands took hold of Natan but he ignored the laughter as he stumbled. Niko’s shocked breath at the needless brutality gave him hope.
Meet the Author
Dianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind.
She now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. Dianne says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee in her hands, which kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Also by Dianne Hartsock
Dianne is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour.
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