Sunday 9 November 2014

Blog Tour Excerpt - Elise's Choice by Rachel M. Stiber

Elise's Choice
by Rachel M. Stiber
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Date Published: August 25, 2014

Book Description:

Elise and her best friend Anton grew up in the medieval village of Petheralm, where life, though hard, is good. When a stranger arrives in her village injured and unconscious, his handsome face and sweet demeanor take in Elise.

However, according to ancient legend, the forest surrounding their small town is enchanted, and any stranger unworthy to enter the village would be stopped there. The village is leery of this stranger and wants nothing more than for him to leave.

Elise pays no mind to the silly legend, and is shocked to discover that he’s no ordinary peasant as everyone first thought. Before the stranger is strong enough to leave Petheralm, she is forced to make a startling choice between following her dreams and following her heart. Although Elise feels strongly that she made the correct choice, the day soon comes when she and everyone she loves must deal with the repercussions of her choice.

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Excerpt from Elise's Choice

Sunlight slipped through the cracks in the shutters, warming the young maiden’s face. Her eyelids fluttered and slowly opened. Yawning, she stretched her sluggish limbs. First, her arms arched over her head. Then, with toes pointed, she flexed her legs. She flipped on her side, facing the window. Lazy dust motes danced in the morning’s sunbeams. Morning sunbeams? That meant dawn had passed. Why had Grandmama not awakened her by now?

With a delighted squeal, the young maiden arose, leaving the linen sheet in a crumpled heap. Her birthday. Today she turned ten years old. She exchanged her nightdress for her favorite linen one, leaving the former draped across the bed. In honor of her birthday, Grandmama would serve a honeyed barley cake and blackberries for breakfast instead of the usual porridge. Grandpapa had hinted that today would be special. Perhaps there would be a present.

The maiden scurried down the ladder that led from her loft chamber to the main room. In her haste, she missed the bottom rung but regained her balance before she stumbled to her knees.

“Careful, child,” Grandmama said with a smile. “You don’t want to celebrate your special day with a twisted ankle.”

Grandpapa sat at the trestle table, a half-empty bowl of porridge in front of him. He tousled her hair as she settled at the table beside him.

“Ah, she’s alright,” he said, chuckling. “As light on your feet as a little doe, aren’t you, child?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Sven has yet to catch me.” Sven, one of her dearest friends, turned ten a couple months ago. Although he could outdo her in many things, running was not one of them.

Grandmama placed a tin plate before her. The barley cake filled the entire plate, its golden face glistening with honey and freckled with plump blackberries. “Well, you have Sven to thank for the blackberries. He brought them by bright and early this morning. Only a cupful, though. The bushes are lazy this year.”

Grandmama then joined Grandpapa and her at the table. She ate the barley cake slowly, savoring each bite, while her grandparents exchanged small talk. Their conversation ceased when she popped the last juicy berry in her mouth.

“Well,” Grandpapa began, “I suppose you’re ready for your presents.”

Presents? She had only dared to hope for one.

He reached beneath the table and removed a small burlap sack. She chewed her lower lip. How she longed for a bow and a quiver of arrows. Sven allowed her the use of his during their practices at the edge of the forest. She missed more targets than she hit, and several of the massive oaks bore telltale scars from their sessions. If only she had a bow of her own, she could practice more often and learn to hit all of her targets. But Grandpapa’s sack was too small for a bow.

“For you,” he said, sliding the sack closer to her.

She loosened the thin leather strings and reached inside. Her fingers gripped something wooden. She pulled. The sack slipped away, leaving a sheathed dagger balanced in her hand. She traced the symbols etched in the wooden hilt. Santobeian symbols from the looks of them, but she had no clue what they meant.

About the Author
Rachel Stiber lives in a small town in rural Missouri with her husband, three rambunctious cats, and a lovable dog. She has the privilege of teaching English Language Arts to seventh grade students at the local junior high.

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