Guest Author and Giveaway: Renee Wildes - Melissa Schroeder

Guest Author and Giveaway: Renee Wildes

Spring – A Time of Hope & Renewal
            Today’s my birthday! I love being born in the springtime. Everything’s fresh and new.
Hearing the honking of returning geese for the first time is the first sign of spring for me. Figure skating winding down for my daughter Tami, and the landscape changing from white to green. Kids play Frisbee while they dream of water parks. Also a time of hair—with 2 horses and a chow shedding out, every bird within miles has a fiesta getting fluff to line their nests. Glad someone can use it! Our chow Abby saw her first squirrel, and her first bunny. (Might have been the Easter Bunny…) Birds are moving into the trees by our house.
Soon our next door neighbor will be readying her plot for the new garden. We’re still trying to decide if our baby pine tree survived the winter indoors.
            With everything coming out of hibernation and returning from their wintering grounds, it’s like the whole northern landscape comes to life. Still the risk of one last snowstorm, but the air is full of hope and promise. I hate the winter cold, driving on ice, not being able to see my horses. It’s amazing when “spring ahead” kicks in and I can still see the sun when I get out of work at 7 PM. Definite mood elevator.
Springtime for me means horse time. Always astounds me they remember me. (We live in the city of Wausau, WI so we board—get out to see them on the weekends.) I’ve always had horses, and they are an integral part of my life and my books. Funny watching two woolly mammoths turn back into horses. I have 2 half-Arab mares and love riding through the woods with my daughter Tami. It relaxes me, out in the sun, with bird song and a fresh, still-cool breeze rustling through the branches that might still have buds or new pale-green leaves, depending. Hooves squelching through mud, my Sassy snorting and tossing her head when a squirrel cusses us out for coming too close. She insists on jumping obstacles she could easily step over and spooks at bunnies.
The horses got out the other day. All of them. I was working, my trainer Lori was also at her day job, and her HUSBAND took the call from an irate neighbor saying “Come and get them.” So, here’s one guy w/TWO hands. TWO halters & leadropes. For FIVE horses. But he goes down there and manages to catch the baby, Long John, and Uno. A horse in each hand. Angel, Moonlight and Sassy followed him like the Pied Piper down a country road in Hatley, WI. Jeff just said he was glad no cars came along until he could get them back in their home pasture—and fix the hole in the fence.
(Compliments of MY Morab, Sassy. She’s done it before. She’s like an equine security expert—if there’s a flaw or weakness in the system, she’ll find it and exploit it, therefore helping us dumb humans keep the fence solid and secure. She’s a very dedicated investigator.)
Tami’s pony Moonlight is twenty and still going strong. They’ve formed a tight bond, although Moonlight’s a bit old and slow for an active 11-year-old girl, they’re still best buds. She’s with us for life, even though Tami’s threatened to trade with me, stealing Sassy for herself and leaving “the two old ladies together.” (Thanks, sweetie!)
            The hope and promise of a new season translates into writing. In my current release, RIEVER’S HEART, the setting is an alternative Arctic Circle/Iceland-esque land where it’s dark all winter. Spring, when the sun finally returns to banish the winter darkness, is cause for huge celebration. The hero, Daq Aryk, has greater hopes for THIS spring. Hopes to unite his warring clans into a single nation and finally have a lasting peace.
            Spring is for renewal and hope. Gives the world a fresh start. Ongoing themes in my Guardians of Light series. Peace and tolerance and cooperation. Hope for a future without prejudice and fear and war. A gal can dream, can’t she? As a fantasy romance writer, that’s what I do best—good triumphs over evil, the girl always gets the guy and they lived happily ever after.
            Just a matter of time before that happens in real life.
            Spring keeps me hopeful.

The warrior in her was ready for anything. But she never saw him coming…

Guardians of Light, Book 5

Verdeen is on the brink of becoming an elite warrior ranger until the ultimate humiliation—no war mare chooses her for advanced training. King Loren’s consolation prize isn’t much better. Journey to the Isle of Ice as bodyguard to a human riever. Daq Aryk. Barbarian. Prince of thieves.

Aryk dreams the impossible: unite six fractious clans into a peaceful nation. Failure means they are all doomed to kill each other off—and the nightmares of his son’s death by sword will come true. The new elven ambassador rouses his ire, not because she’s female, but because she’s inexperienced. Her possibly needless death weighs on his already overburdened soul. Her beauty is a distraction he can’t afford.

In a fragrant, moonlit garden, Verdeen dares yield to an irresistible compulsion to kiss the mortal riever. The heat shakes her to the core, and frees a desire that should occur but once in her life. With a mate.

As their quest twists down ever more dangerous paths, though, their bond is the asset that could assure peace…or the liability that could send a dream down in flames. 

Product Warnings

This tale illustrates what happens when adventurous dreamer meets seen-it-all cynic. Contains hot, no-holds-barred sex, voyeurism, and some self-loving. Also betrayal and some graphic (but never gratuitous) battle violence.

King Loren approached, pausing to kiss his wife’s flame-haired temple. “You did us proud, vertenya. I would introduce you to some special guests who traveled here from Shamar with Cianan. Daq Aryk, Valkyn, this is Verdeen, the young graduate you saw triumph in the tournament this morn.”
Verdeen blinked. They’d watched the tournament? She vaguely remembered seeing unfamiliar faces in the royal box. What were humans even doing in Poshnari-Unai? Why had King Loren allowed them, utter strangers, at tonight’s celebration? She inclined her head, flustered by their bold perusal. Warriors both. She read it in their assertive stance, their hyperawareness of everything around them. The taller of the two, Valkyn, had golden blond hair and a braided beard to match.
Daq—was that a title or his name?—Aryk had no beard to hide his granite jaw. His tawny mane looked to be the one soft thing about him. His gaze captured hers as he took her hand, and she gasped at the shock of awareness that zinged through her, making even her fingertips tingle. The rest of the room just faded into the background. No one had ever caused such a reaction, not in a century surrounded by elven warriors and princes. What made this one mere human different?
She studied his eyes, trying to see the man behind the gaze. She read intelligence and resolve in the shifting depths. What color were they? They blurred from hazel green to golden brown. Calloused fingers caressed the skin on the back of her hand, making her gasp. His gaze dropped to her parted lips, and she shivered at the heat in his languid perusal. For a single wild moment, she thought he might kiss her—and was shocked to find herself disappointed when he didn’t. What madness was this? Her heart pounded in her throat at the warmth of his hand, the strength in the hard planes of his body. She needed to breathe. Where was all the air?
“The honor’s mine, kyra,” he murmured. “I’ve looked forward to meeting you this evening. Congratulations on your victory today. You were remarkable.”
She didn’t feel victorious or remarkable, more like exposed, oddly vulnerable. What did kyra mean? His intent interest stole her breath. Stars, they stole her wits. Time for some distance. She pulled her hand free, hoping it didn’t look like the confused retreat ’twas.
“My lords.” Verdeen had worked too hard at being a warrior to revert back to a mere woman. But Aryk was so primal. The harsh angles of his face, strengthened by that rugged jaw and the firm, uncompromising line of his mouth, riveted her. Solidly human, with layers of muscle rippling beneath weathered skin covered in short, sun-burnt hairs. So unlike the long, lean hairless elven males.
So unlike pesky, refined Prince Brannan, who even now headed her way. His pale healer robes stood out in the deep green sea of military uniforms. Verdeen groaned and glanced around for an exit. No such luck, hemmed in as she was. Dara and Cianan appeared sympathetic. Amusement shone in King Loren’s leaf-green eyes. The king knew how she felt about his younger brother’s pursuit. Empaths knew everything.
Aryk, in contrast, looked ready. She feared to speculate for what.
Brannan-the-Oblivious smiled and handed her a green-to-rose changling-glass goblet of golden wine. “Congratulations, Verdeen. Graduation day. ’Tis what you always wanted.”
Not quite. Not hardly. “Thank you.” Verdeen sipped, trying to ignore Aryk’s rude stare. Prince Brannan’s persistence baffled her. She wasn’t his lifemate, and naught would ruin her warrior reputation faster than becoming a prince’s sensuri. She’d avoided any and all romantic liaisons. She hadn’t met anyone worth fueling more gossip. But Brannan wouldn’t take a hint.
Stars, Aryk was distracting. Too intense. Too there. She clenched her fingers around her goblet to stop their trembling. Did no one else feel the challenge pulsing off Aryk’s hard, too-still body? Her gaze slid to Loren, who raised a pale eyebrow and looked bemused.
Dracken rue, there was no way to hide from an empath. If he caught the attraction sizzling in the air…
“Excuse me.” Unable to take the tension another moment, Verdeen slipped around Cianan and fled to the buffet table. Let them make of it what they would.

The giveaway is reader’s choice, any ebook in Guardians of Light series. Just leave a comment and email to be in the running.

Renee Wildes is an award-winning Wausau WI writer. She grew up reading fantasy authors Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey and is a huge Joseph Campbell fan, so the minute she discovered romance novels it became inevitable that she would combine it all and write fantasy romance. Renee is a history buff, from medieval times back to ancient Greece, esp. Sparta. As a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes and heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, so became the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series for Samhain Publishing – fantasy, action, romance, heroics and lots of critters!
Visit Renee At:


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