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Authors: Marissa Campbell

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith

BOOK: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
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Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

www.marissacampbell.com

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

Quotations may be used for the purpose of book reviews and marketing if permission is granted by the author prior to use.

Represented by: Margaret Bail, Inklings Literary Agency

Cover by: Jenny Q with 
Historical Editorial
Edited by: Sherry Hinman with 
The Write Angle
Formatting by: Deena Rae with
E-BookBuilders

To anyone who’s ever had a dream. Never give up.

What you are holding in your hands is more than the wandering of words, the spattering of sentences, the placement of paragraphs. What you are reading is a labor of love—the embodiment of passion and determination. I love these characters. I love their world and enjoy every moment I spend creating the fascinating twists and turns they get themselves embroiled in, but their path to publication was an adventure in and of itself.

I made the bold decision to self-publish
Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
, forging into the murky depths of the unknown. It was not the easiest path, but fortunately I had a lot of help along the way.

To my agent extraordinaire, Margaret Bail, who stuck with me through thick and thin, and to Inklings Literary Agency and its tireless captain, Michelle Johnson, thank you for standing by me and supporting me through this interesting plot twist in my author career.

To my editor, Sherry Hinman, thank you for once again cleaning, purging, and polishing a rough jumble of words into a polished manuscript.

To my cover designer, Jenny Q, at Historical Editorial, thank you for producing a stunning work of art.

To my content formatter, Deena Rae, at E-BookBuilders, thank you for whipping into shape a lowly Word document and turning it into a real book.

Great big hugs to my handsome Vikings, who posed tirelessly with fans and made each book signing an event to behold. What a blast.

A huge shout-out to my writing group, the B7, who continued to rally, never wavering in their support. Also a big thank you to The Writers’ Community of Durham Region, who continued to provide the camaraderie and kinship I’d come to depend on.

To my beautiful friend, Melissa Robertson, thank you for always making me laugh and never failing to pull me away from downtrodden days.

To my husband, David, and my beautiful boys, Lochlin, Aidan, and Brendan, I love you all so very much. You are my ground, my rock, and my heart. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I couldn’t do it without you.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to everyone who read and loved
Avelynn
. You’ve made my dreams come true. This book is for you.

No matter the obstacles in your path, if you want something badly enough, never give up until you achieve it. A dream is a wondrous thing. Never lose sight of it. Always follow your heart.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Somerset, England
March 21, 871

I was not a traitor, and I didn’t mean to run. The crux of the problem, however, would be swaying Alrik to my point of view—a task that would be rendered easier once he woke up.

It was just after dawn, and I lay nestled in the crook of his arm, my head rested upon his chest. His heart beat a slow, steady rhythm, a pulse echoed in my own. The wood of the long, shallow-hulled boat creaked as we rocked and the tidal flow of the River Parret ebbed beneath us. Near our feet, the cauldron hung from a post attached to the mast, jostling from its chains. The fire inside its belly filled the boat’s tent with warmth. I’d not slept all night as the vision of my mother warning me of my Uncle Osric’s treachery played over and over in my mind. If I wanted to stay and fight, I needed to find a way to convince Alrik to remain in England.

He stirred, and his hand searched until it cupped my buttocks. He pulled me closer. I lifted my head and kissed him on his chin, inviting a raised eyebrow as his two bright blue eyes opened. A luscious grin tempted my resolve. His lips sought mine, while fingertips, light as a quiver of wind, traced the indent of my thigh, the swell of my hip, and the valley of my waist, stoking embers of desire. My skin caught fire.

“Avelynn.” His voice was a low growl.

“Good morning.” I played with the soft waves of hair that curled over his shoulder. I couldn’t believe, after all we’d been through, that I lay here safe at his side.
For now
. I pushed the foreboding away.

His languid lips traveled to the side of my neck, just beneath my ear. “I like waking up to you in my arms.” He nuzzled his chin against me, his trimmed beard tickling, and I scrunched my neck in an effort to block his attack. He pressed his advantage, and I squealed as gooseflesh rippled along my back and arms. “And I like the spots that turn you to butter.” His teeth grazed, and he pulled the flesh of my neck deep into his mouth.

I pushed at his shoulders, desperate to get away, while my hips pressed tight against his, desperate to get closer.

A low chuckle escaped his throat. “Vixen.”

“Tease.” I wriggled free.

He laughed as he rolled onto his back, and I climbed on top of him. My legs straddled his waist. I positioned his erection behind me. “I want to stay here.”

His hands held my hips. “Stay all you want,
hjartað
, dear heart, but move a bit lower.” He tried to wiggle me down, but I tightened my grip on his waist.

“I mean in England.”

His eyebrows creased together.

“Yesterday, in the clearing, my mother appeared to me. She told me my uncle would cast out my people, labeling them as traitors for their connections with me. They will flee here, to Avalon. This is the only place safe from persecution. No one but Bertram and I know the secret pathways through the swamps. I have to stay and fight. I have to find a way to bring my uncle to his knees. I need to take back what is mine.”

“And how might you do that?” He propped himself up on his elbows. “You have run away with the enemy—set sail with Norsemen. Your people saw you. The king’s brother saw you leave of your own free will.”

I climbed off Alrik and walked to the chest where I’d thrown my shift the night before. After pulling the soft linen over my head, I sat down, corralling my coarse blond hair and weaved it into a long braid. I tied the end with a leather thong and straightened my spine. Squaring my shoulders, I readied the argument I had thought out as I’d lain awake.

BOOK: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
9.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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