An excerpt from Rescued by the Woodsman

So I just released a new short (long short) story, entitled Rescued by the Woodsman. It’s book one in a series called Darkholm, set in a world I’ve been hesitating over writing about for almost a year. I kept telling myself not to, because I have been categorically told there’s no market for the concept, but then this story sort of wrote itself last week, while I was in Shanghai.

I self-published Rescued by the Woodsman on Monday morning, after deliberating over expanding it out into a longer story, because it seemed to fit 12,500 words perfectly, so it’s not the right length to send to a publisher. So, instead, I made it free here on Instafreebie.

On top of that, it’s written in the same universe as my single worst-selling book to date (Sharing the Princess). There are a few things that wouldn’t work in any other story world. As well as that, the content of Rescued by the Woodsman is pretty dark, so all in all, I decided self-publishing the Darkholm series was my best plan, although it’s not the super-dark WIP that I’m currently writing; that’s also on its way. The idea for this dark fantasy series has been at the back of my mind for a while, however. I also haven’t put it on Amazon for the time being. I thought about it, and decided I’ll see how it does on Instafreebie, then I’ll maybe put it on Amazon at a later date, when the next book in the series is released. Maybe.

Sharing the Princess isn’t quite part of this series, but it’s set in another kingdom (called Dovedalethorpe. Rescued by the Woodsman, and the next book, Shared by the Beasts, take place in Darkholm) in the same world as Rescued by the Woodsman. 

Do you like the cover? I am really pleased with how it came out, although I can see that there’s room for improvement.

Here’s an excerpt, and the blurb and a free download link are both below it:

Emmett Hartley had watched the young redheaded witch as she made her daisy chain. Since he came out here regularly with his axe, he knew her by sight, although they had never spoken. Sometimes, he saw her crying, and wondered what an evil sorcerer possibly needed to cry over. Witches had killed his mother, and he had sworn if he ever saw a witch he would kill it.

He hadn’t gone near the girl yet, though. Something about her reminded him of the gazelle he hunted sometimes with his cousin Benadrin, when he visited him in the kingdom of Dovedale. The big, soulful, green eyes had the look of one who knew they were prey, and who saw the hunter’s arrow hurtling toward their heart. She never settled, even when she was occupied with a task. Then, every so often, she would pause, staring off into the distance, before dropping everything, waving a hand and teleporting away. He didn’t know how she did that. Now, he went to where she’d been playing with flowers, but all he found were the destroyed remnants of the daisy chain she’d been making.

There was a mystery there, and while she clearly used witchcraft and therefore was his mortal enemy, she was still so young. He knew that one day she would be older and stronger, and would probably kill him, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to take her life. She was barely an adult.

He sighed and ran his hand over the stubble on his square jaw, finding no useful information to explain where she went or why she’d been tearful. Instead, he occupied himself with looking for a good tree to fell.

A Will-O’-The-Wisp fluttered into his path. He paused, knowing they led people to their doom. It hovered near him, waiting. The creatures were fey folk who had been cast out, and now they scoured the world for remnants of fairy dust dropped by other fey. This one didn’t have the wild eyes or the shredded wings of the others Emmett had seen.

“Begone!” he grumbled.

It beckoned to him. He threw a stone at it. Hateful magical creatures, haranguing him in every direction. It continued to hover. When he stepped toward it, it moved away, but as soon as he returned to his task, it was back.

With a sigh, he heaved his axe over his shoulder and followed the Will-O’-The-Wisp. He’d never seen one behave like this before, and all things considered, it was probably something else under a spell or geas. This was why he detested magic. It confused everything and created mysteries where there didn’t need to be any.

He really hoped he didn’t need to kiss a frog.

Continuing after the Will-O’-The-Wisp, he found himself going into a part of the forest he’d never thought of as interesting. Everything in his brain told him to stay out, to turn back, that nothing good ever came of being here. The trees seemed mostly dead, and charred. The static stench of evil witchcraft filled his nostrils.

Adjusting his grip on his axe, he stepped through a wall of trees, and found an abandoned, ruined tower surrounded by a high fence. The Will-O’-The-Wisp wasn’t done, however, and it flew to the twisted iron gate, then reached out its tiny hand and touched it. The gate sparked for a moment, and the Will-O’-The-Wisp jumped back, as though shocked. Emmett stepped closer, and the creature flew through the opening in the gate.

Emmett followed, and frowned. The garden of the tower had looked like it was overgrown with ivy, nettles, dandelions and tall thistles from the outside. Green things. Now, however, he saw only twisted, dead roots, grasping out of the ground like hands trying to escape the underworld. He turned to the gate and pushed a stone against it, so it couldn’t close on him. Emmett had no intention of getting trapped in this place. Clearly, foul magic was afoot. Why the Will-O’-The-Wisp had brought him here, he had no idea, but this might be a nest of witches, and he didn’t know if he’d ever get another opportunity like this to strike a blow against them.

Tiptoeing around the side of the tower, which didn’t seem to have a door, he watched a wizened old man in a black robe being followed extremely reluctantly by the girl who’d made the daisy chain. He spoke some words, then indicated for the girl to sit in a chair. With a lurch of horror, Emmett realized it was a ducking chair, of the sort used for killing witches. Why did he care what one witch did to another, though? Surely it meant one fewer for him to deal with later.

“Do you have perfect trust, Eskara?” The man asked, grinning. He was pure evil, and Emmett didn’t think anyone in their right mind ought to trust him.

“Y-y-y-yes, master,” she stammered. Eskara. Her name was Eskara. Nothing about her reminded Emmett of any of the other witches he’d seen. Even the younger ones were usually arrogant, over-confident, fake-nice, and far too self-assured. But she was something else. Was she even a witch?

“Hmmm… we shall see, won’t we?” The old man spun the wooden beam around, and plunged Eskara into the water. Her terrified eyes met Emmett’s for a split second, and his heart wrenched.

What would fix this? He gripped his axe, and went toward the man quietly, ready to fight him. Apparently, the man had eyes in the back of his head, because he waved a hand and suddenly Emmett was thrown back twenty feet. Every time Emmett ran to the girl, he was thrown back again. It was impossible.

***

And here’s the blurb:

Darkholm 1: Rescued by the Woodsman:

Eskara has been enslaved to the evil warlock Garamond for the last three years, and tonight, on her eighteenth birthday, she is doomed to become a sacrifice for one of Garamond’s spells. She doesn’t want to die, but she is resigned to her fate.

Until Emmett steals her away, that is. The hot, gruff woodcutter doesn’t know why he’s drawn to the young witch, but when he sees an evil old man trying to kill her, he has to intervene. Emmett inadvertently claims Eskara, and he has to consummate before the sun goes down or they both die. But when Garamond uses his great power to steal Eskara away again, how can Emmett ensure Eskara is safe, permanently?

Note: This is a standalone M/F short story in the same universe as Sharing the Princess, but it’s darker. The bad guy is a complete bastard. This story contains much unpleasantness. If you prefer Katie’s softer writing, this one is probably not for you!

If you want to read the rest, it’s FREE and EXCLUSIVE to Instafreebie right now! Even if you’re already signed up to my newsletter, come on over and grab a free copy as a thank-you for all your support! 😘 Get it here!

The URL is here, if you want to share it: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/fatFm

The Last Rancher is Nearly Here!

For WipItUp Wednesday, here’s another excerpt from The Last Rancher. This one is darker than the one I shared last week, but I hope it’s a good taste for the side of this story that’s not all cow-milking and sexytimes (you HAVE been warned lol):

 

Ember:

“Ember, do you think it’s just the Brotherhood that are involved in this?” His question surprised me.

“Regular people don’t have an interest in crap like that, they’re far too busy with football player exchanges or the latest music.” It was inconceivable that regular people would be involved in this.

All regular people?”

“Sure, I mean… that stuff’s pretty all-consuming. Even my companion-doll used to think sports were important.” I remembered her voice fondly. She had been my best friend growing up. My parents even used her as a babysitter regularly.

“Companion doll?” Hadley looked baffled. I realized he probably never got one out here.

“When I was a kid, I was sent a little talking doll. Every child got one when they turned three. I called mine Sherry. She had a touchscreen in her stomach, and she taught me to read and write, how to do a bit of math, and every day, she reminded me at the right time to do dance-along with the big purple cartoon dinosaur on the TV. Sherry would do the exercise with me so I was never lonely.” At my words, the expression on Hadley’s face grew darker. “When I got older, she used to find other robot dolls nearby to wirelessly connect to. She would always seem to connect to robots with owners who shared my exact interests. That’s how I met three of the girls on the skating team, before I joined. Sherry even had a camera in her eyes so I could make videos of my day.”

Hadley sighed. “Novara just gets more fucked up every time you open your mouth.”

“Hey! She was my best friend growing up. I guess those dolls were everyone’s best friend until they were old enough to go and meet people. I shared everything with her.” I was eager to defend her. Sherry had left me with nothing but good memories.

“Why?” His question irked me.

“She wanted to know. She asked me questions about my day, what my parents had been up to, that sort of thing.” It had been nice. She had been the only thing in my life that had ever taken an interest in how I was doing.

“Holy fuck.” He ran his hands through his hair; a sure sign he was stressing.

“What?” I didn’t understand his reaction.

“You had a talking doll that spied on you and trained you to do exercise and vetted your friends before you ever met them.”

Now it was my turn to stare at him. Bile rose in my throat and the ground seemed to sway beneath me. I shook my head. “No. That’s not fair. Not Sherry. You can’t take Sherry away from me. She was my friend!” I began to cry because I realized what he said was true.

He put his arm around me and reassured me. I just wanted one thing to be real from my whole life before I met Hadley.

“It’s going to be okay, Ember. I’m going to fix this, I promise. I’m sorry I asked. If they controlled everyone that much, I don’t think they trusted them enough to let anyone else in on what they were doing to people.”

“Hadley?” I was still sniffling. I felt so despondent.

“Yeah?”

“How can we fight a secretive boys’ club who can do that to twelve million people? There’s only two of us!” It seemed like such an impossibly huge undertaking, and we weren’t anything special. We were both honest and hardworking, neither of us were especially smart, and we didn’t fully understand everything about our opponents. They, on the other hand, were smart enough to enslave a whole city, they understood everything about both of us, they knew exactly how everything in the city worked, and they didn’t play fair.

“I don’t know, babe, but we’ll think of something.” He kissed me on the forehead and his determination warmed me a little. “I promise you, we’ll think of something.”

* * *

That’s all for this week’s, but The Last Rancher is out on Saturday, and I am fizzing with excitement to share it with everyone!! In the meantime, I made this:

Do you like this picture I made?

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

His Little Earthling Lands Today!

Unbelievably exciting news… His Little Earthling is here and it can be yours if you go get it on Amazon! It’s book 2 of my sci-fi series; the first book, Her Daddy and Her Master, is currently on an UNBELIEVABLE offer of $0.99 until tomorrow, so get it before the offer ends!!

Here’s the blurb:

Thirty-one-year-old Sarah Bryan is surprised and confused when she wakes up in a medical exam room with no recollection of how she got there, but the real shock comes when she learns that she has been cryogenically frozen for hundreds of years and she is no longer on Earth.

Ralnar Rowardennan, the huge, handsome alien astro-archaeologist who found and rescued Sarah, takes it upon himself to care for her. He does his best to help her adjust to an unfamiliar world, but when Sarah’s impetuous behavior puts her in danger Ralnar does not hesitate to put the beautiful little human over his knee and spank her soundly.

Though she has always longed for a firm but loving daddy, Sarah quickly realizes that being a good girl is much more difficult than she expected, and she soon discovers that naughty girls get their bottoms punished both inside and out. No matter how thoroughly and shamefully she is chastised, however, Sarah delights in being held and comforted afterwards, and when Ralnar takes her in his arms his masterful lovemaking is better than she would have ever imagined.

Over time, Sarah begins to find a place for herself in this strange new world, and with each passing day she falls deeper in love with her stern, sexy, alien daddy. But when memories of her past suddenly resurface, will the painful revelations tear her away from Ralnar forever?

Publisher’s Note: His Little Earthling is a stand-alone book which is the second entry in the Twenty-Fourth Century Daddies series. It includes spankings, sexual scenes, and age play. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

And here’s the simply delicious cover art from the ever-talented Korey Mae Johnson:

What are you waiting for? One-click them, quick!
Buy His Little Earthling.
Buy Her Daddy and Her Master.

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

So Many Changes (and the latest Katie Reads video)…

So some readers already know that yesterday was my final exam at university for my master’s degree. It was the toughest exam I’ve ever sat, and afterwards, I went to one of my friends’ houses and we all partied until quite late at night.

Waking up brings a fresh perspective on reality, though. My master’s degree isn’t actually over yet; I still have to do a piece of research and hand it in. Our group doesn’t graduate until late late late in the year, by which time, I will be living in a different country.

My husband got a job abroad, way wayyyy outside Europe, and we’re going there for the foreseeable future. Whether I can fly back for graduation or not depends on how much flights cost to and from my new country (I promise I’ll tell you where I’ve gone once we get there… I just don’t want to accidentally jinx it). But, before then, it’s all happening.

We’re actually leaving before the hand-in deadline for my research, so it’s been non-stop recently; ditching our worldly goods, trying to find someone to rent the house, and trying to pull yet more money out of anywhere to get repairs made to the place so our future tenants don’t have to worry about anything when they move in. Then there’s keeping this website running, making a webcomic every week, writing my books (actually, I have such a long backlog of books waiting to be published at this point that I seriously don’t need to write anything for AT LEAST a couple of months, but I do have edits to make), then there’s the monthly YouTube videos, and lastly, there’s my research, for which I have to go across the country and collect field data this week.

SO it’s hard to tell if I’m coming or going at the moment! But I’m looking forward to it all, even if it’s going to be complicated to get it all sorted out in time.

One of my friends said yesterday, “Not having to pretend like you have your shit together — because it’s actually together — is a sign of being a grownup. Then it’s game over and everything becomes predictable and boring.” Perish the thought. So maybe a bit more chaos is a good thing.

And with that in mind, here’s the link to this month’s Katie Reads video – where I read an excerpt from my F/f/F menage, “Serving the Immortals.” And I call it by the wrong title. 😂 When I tried to fix it, I discovered that YouTube has helpfully removed annotations, like, it’s not a thing any more.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-iaLFkafQY

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx