Hi guys, we have Antonia Aquilante stopping by today with her upcoming release The Sorcerer’s Guardian, we have a brilliant great post, a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! ❤ ~Pixie~
The Sorcerer’s Guardian
Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.
Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.
Hi, everyone, and thank you so much to MM Good Book Reviews for letting me visit today! I’m Antonia Aquilante here to talk with you about The Sorcerer’s Guardian, which will be out from Dreamspinner Press on November 28th. The Sorcerer’s Guardian is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, though it can be read as a stand-alone, as can the other books in the series. It’s the story of Savarin, a powerful sorcerer, and Loriot, captain of the royal guard, as they clash and get closer and ultimately fall in love while on a mission from the prince to solve the mystery of Tournai’s weakening magical protections.
Today I want to tell you a little about Savarin and introduce you to him if you haven’t met him in previous books. Savarin is the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai—perhaps in more of the world than that—and he’d worked very hard since he was young to control his power and to learn as much as he can about using it and about magic in general. Years of study and travel have brought him to this point, but his studies continue. He first appeared briefly in the first book in the series, The Prince’s Consort. As he is in this story, then he was working on magical problems for Prince Philip as well. He’s played that supporting role in the series, and I’m excited for you to read his story. Savarin is arrogant about his power and intimidating to almost everyone, but he is also devoted to using his knowledge and power to serve Tournai when he’s needed.
Savarin was born into a poor family, something that few know, and it was only his Talent that gave him the opportunity for a different life. When his Talent manifested itself when he was young, another sorcerer offered to mentor and educate him, starting him on a path toward being the man is he now. Savarin’s power has brought him wealth and the favor of the royal family, but it hasn’t alleviated his isolation or softened his fierce independence. He feels set apart because of his origins, and others often put distance between them because they fear his power. As a result, he has few true friends. He presents a certain face to the world and lets few people see past it to his real feelings, which makes it so surprising even to Savarin when Loriot begins to see past the mask.
In The Sorcerer’s Guardian, Savarin is trying to solve the mystery behind Tournai’s magical protections, powerful old spells that protect the country from magical attack. The spells are so old that little to nothing is known about them anymore, which is a problem because the protections are weakening, leaving Tournai vulnerable to magical attack by its enemies. Savarin has been fascinated with the spells for years, but he hasn’t had the time or opportunity to learn about them. Now that the protections are weakening, finding out more about the spells and how to strengthen them has taken on new urgency, and Savarin is under orders from the prince to find a solution to the problem and fix the protection spells. It’s just the kind of problem Savarin loves, but the stakes are high and the task is made immeasurably more difficult because no one knows anything about the spells. Savarin is arrogant about his abilities and insists on presenting a sophisticated, confident face to the world, but this time, underneath that surface confidence, Savarin is worried and frustrated when his research turns up little information. His frustration doesn’t stem only from his pride, though he has enough of that—he knows the importance of this mission. At times he doubts his ability to find the answer they need and fears for the country if he doesn’t; at the same time, he refuses to give up and will push himself past every limit to see the magical protections put to rights. He just doesn’t want anyone to see the vulnerability inside him. Too bad for him that Loriot sees more than Savarin would like.
AS AFTERNOON waned into evening, Loriot approached his house on Dove Lane. Weariness dragged at him with each step. He hadn’t slept more than a few minutes in the last few days, and now that the crisis had passed, he felt the fatigue down to his bones. But the lack of sleep was worth it for the good outcome of the situation.
He trudged up the few steps to his front door, its rich blue color recently freshened, and let himself in. The key turned smoothly in the lock, and the magical protections on the house recognized him as belonging, allowing him inside. He shivered even though he didn’t feel anything as he crossed the threshold; perhaps someone with a Talent would, but he had neither Talent nor any sensitivity to magic.
Inside, the house was quiet. The formal parlor was empty, which was unsurprising as they rarely used it—only when Joceline and Oriana chose to entertain. He wanted more than anything to go up to his bedchamber and collapse into his bed for the next few days, but he couldn’t. Couldn’t even collapse for a few hours without checking on his family. But he knew where at least one of them was likely to be at this time of day.
The sitting room at the back of the house was quiet too, so quiet he could hear the scratch of his sister’s pen on paper as he stepped into the doorway. Joceline sat at her writing desk, papers spread around her, pen flying across the page. Despite the silence, she didn’t notice him. A good writing day, then. He hated to disturb her, but she’d want to know he was home.
“Story going well?” he asked, keeping his voice quiet so he wouldn’t startle her. He’d learned it was better to have to repeat himself than to scare her when she was absorbed in a world of her own creation.
But he didn’t have to repeat himself today. She looked up immediately, her eyes hazy then sharpening. “There you are! I was wondering if you were ever coming home.”
He hadn’t been gone that long—only a couple of days—but he did try not to let a day go by without returning for at least a little while. He stepped farther into the room and sank down into a comfortable chair. “It was unavoidable. You got my notes?”
“Of course. You know I was just teasing.” Joceline narrowed her eyes and studied him with an intensity he could almost feel. “Is everything all right? You look exhausted, and I heard yesterday that the guard was searching everyone leaving the city.”
He scrubbed a hand over his face. Sitting had been a mistake. His eyelids wanted to droop; his body wanted to melt into the cushions. “There was a kidnapping.”
“Not Prince Julien?”
“No, no. And it’s fine now,” he reassured her, trying to keep her from coming out of her chair in her alarm at a threat to the heir to Tournai’s throne. “It wasn’t a member of the royal family at all.”
“But you were involved?”
As captain of the royal guard, Loriot normally wouldn’t be directly involved in such a situation. “The baby taken was the daughter of Prince Amory’s friend, Master Tristan. The merchant. Though if what I saw means anything, he’ll likely be a member of the royal family soon.”
“Really?” Joceline leaned forward, her interest of a different kind now. “There’s going to be a marriage? To whom? The princess?”
He shook his head. He didn’t need to tell her that what he said should go no further. He didn’t ever tell her anything truly secret, but Loriot didn’t see the harm in a little meaningless court gossip now and then, especially since she wouldn’t spread it. “No. Lord Etan.”
She sat back with a huff. “Well, they really are bucking tradition aren’t they?”
He let out a half laugh. But what she said wasn’t untrue. Both Tournai’s prince and his cousin, a royal duke, had married men in the last couple of years, and now it seemed that Lord Etan, another cousin of Prince Philip’s, would do the same, eschewing the tradition that titled noblemen married women to provide bloodline heirs for their titles.
“Good for them,” Joceline said. “I hope they’re happy.”
“Now that Tristan’s daughter is back with them, I believe they are.”
Concern flooded back into her pretty face. “You found her? And the person who took her?”
“Yes, with Master Savarin’s help.” He’d gotten over any resentment he might have had that he needed the help of magic long before today and was happy to use any tool that came his way. Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, was not someone whose help should be turned away, and Savarin never withheld it, serving Tournai whenever he was called upon.
“The sorcerer? How did he help?” Joceline sat forward, a gleam in her eyes that he recognized well. She wasn’t just curious; she wanted to know because she might use the information in a story.
He sighed and shook his head. “He used his magic to try to track the kidnappers and then to try to find the baby directly. He pointed us in the right direction, let us know where to search for them.” Loriot didn’t bother mentioning the help they’d received from someone else, a scholar at the university. If he read Savarin right, Savarin would be finding Master Corentin at the university soon and asking him about the magic he used, because it also sounded as if Savarin hadn’t heard of anything like it.
“Let me guess, your new story has a sorcerer character.” He arched an eyebrow at her, his mildly disapproving tone mostly put-on. Which she would know, as she knew how proud he was of her accomplishments.
“I have an idea that would call for one. What’s Master Savarin like?”
“I don’t know him that well.” He tried to think of anything he knew about Savarin beyond the surface. “He’s powerful and arrogant with it.”
She shrugged. “I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. Aren’t all powerful sorcerers arrogant about their power?”
“I wouldn’t know. I don’t know any others.” He resolutely pushed his newly acquired knowledge about the royal family’s secret Talent from his mind. He didn’t need Joceline seeing something in his expression and trying to badger it out of him. Not that he would ever tell, but life would be easier if he didn’t have to fight Joceline about it.
“All the ones I’ve read about in stories are. Especially the evil ones.”
“Tell me you’re not going to base a character on Master Savarin and make him evil.” Making the most powerful sorcerer in the country an evil character in a book sounded like a horrible idea.
Another shrug. “Powerful sorcerers always seem to be evil characters. Or self-sacrificing ones that save the day.”
Loriot shook his head and heaved himself to his feet. If he didn’t move, he’d end up sleeping right there. “Alain is upstairs?”
“Yes. But wait,” she called after him as he walked toward the door. “You must know something else about Master Savarin.”
“I really don’t.” He didn’t turn.
“Is he handsome?”
Savarin’s image filled his mind—his height and broad shoulders, perfectly carved features, blond hair that looked as if it would be soft under his hands. His stride hitched, but he shook the image away and ignored Joceline calling after him. Perhaps she would forget the idea entirely if he didn’t encourage her.
He doubted it, but he could hope. The idea of Savarin as a character in a book on the shelf of a bookshop made him cringe.
Trudging up the stairs took the last of his energy, but he forced himself to bypass his own bedchamber. He couldn’t go to bed without seeing Alain. Not after so long away, not even if it hadn’t been that long. The door to the room at the back of the house was partially open. He peeked in as he pushed it open the rest of the way. The room was tidy, except for a veritable city built of blocks in the middle of the rug. The nursemaid noticed him first, but Alain wasn’t far behind. He looked up, his bright green eyes—twins of Loriot’s own—lighting up, and Loriot felt something inside him melt, just as it always did under those eyes.
With ease of long practice, he caught the five-year-old bundle of energy that came flying at him and swung his son up into his arms, cuddling him close for as long as Alain would allow. As tired as he was, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “There’s my boy. I missed you. Show me what you’ve been doing.”
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.
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