We're not that far out from Enduring Fate's release, I know, but I'm editing Concealing Fate (available for pre-order!) right now, my next Fate of the Gods Novel(la) and just falling completely in love all over again with Garrit and Eve.
Patreon Patrons have already gotten a sneak peek of this one, which tells the story of how Garrit and Eve met BEFORE the events of Forged by Fate, but it's time to give you all a taste, too, I think! So how about a #WiPpet?
The wine arrived, and her breath caught at the lion’s head on the label. She barely held herself back from tearing it from the waiter’s hands, forcing herself to wait until he had poured them each a glass and Garrit had placed their order. Until they were alone again, and she reached out, only allowing herself to trace her fingers over the golden embossing. The mark of the House of Lions.
“You’re familiar with the label?” Garrit asked, pleased again—just as he had been when she’d approved of his wine choice at the café, before. She could well imagine that her taste in wine might influence his opinion of her, all things considered.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, deflecting. She would have to lie, otherwise, and she couldn’t bring herself to do it. “A lion’s head on a cross.”
“It was meant to look like one, certainly,” he said. “But the story goes that the DeLeons were pagans of a sort, disinterested in the Christian faith that had spread. But of course, after France became Catholic and their lands annexed, they could not defy the Church so openly without courting trouble, and their hammers, placed four together, formed crosses instead.”
She laughed, not only at the cleverness of the design, but at the absurdity of the conversation. That she might be sitting across from a man who thought he knew more about her family than she did. Perhaps he did know more—of how they were seen by their neighbors, at least, if nothing else. “I almost forgot you’re from that same part of France.”
“Quite near,” he agreed.
“Do you know the family?” she asked, unable to help herself. “One vintner to another?”
He made a soft sound, not quite an agreement or a denial, and raised his glass instead. “À ta santé.”
“À la tienne,” she replied, lifting her own glass and meeting his eyes.
He grinned, taking a drink, and she had no choice at all but to do the same, or risk offending him. The wine—her eyes fell closed, the familiarity, the complexity of flavors and aromas just as she remembered. How much of this wine had she drunk in her last life? How much five hundred years before? She would never lose the taste of it, never fail to recognize its character. No matter how it changed, season to season, good year or bad, she knew these grapes. Had brushed her fingers along every vine.
“I knew you’d like it,” he said quietly, and not without a certain amount of pride. “You have a taste, I think, for good wine, for all you cannot have had much of it before coming to France.”
She snorted at that, opening her eyes. He was watching her with naked delight, as if he’d shared some portion of her pleasure in the tasting just by seeing it on her face. “Because there’s no such thing as good wine in London?”
He lifted a shoulder, dismissive. “It isn’t the same, drinking it abroad. Some wines travel well across the channel, but the DeLeon wines are best enjoyed here, in France.”
“Are you sure that isn’t just clever marketing?” she asked, laughing. “In my experience, there are very few wines that don’t travel perfectly well, regardless of where they’re made and with what grapes.”
“Ah, but you do not have access to their best pressing,” he said, smiling now with just a hint of teasing condescension. “Those wines do not leave the country, bought up too quickly by our own countrymen—which of course drives up demand for the lesser table wines that do. Clever marketing and truth, both, for the finest DeLeon wines do not travel across the channel at all.”
Cover Reveal and Pre-Order link are coming soon! I can't wait to share this Forged by Fate prequel with all of you!!
Amazon | Barnes&Noble
Amazon | Barnes&Noble