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I’m delighted to be able to confirm that “The Art of Forgetting : Nomad” will be published by Kristell Ink on 24th MAY 2014 – that’s only two-and-a-bit months away! *kermitflails*

I have had a sneaky peak at the cover art and it looks fantastic, even without the words on yet; I can’t wait to share it with you, but I’m going to have to, at least for a bit longer…

But what I can share is a little bit of an edited extract. The book carries on from where “Rider” left off, and this is how it starts :

It wasn’t long before Rhodri heard the sound of pursuit. He said nothing, but his arms tightened around the girl. If they wanted to take her, it would be over his bloodied corpse. He was sure Drusain would be keen to make that a reality.

“Head to the river,” she said, with no hint of fear. “It will hide our tracks.”

He steered Liberty towards the water. It was deep here, the northern banks overhanging steeply. The opposite shore was churned into soupy mud by the hooves of the goats that fled bleating as the mare leapt from the bank and splashed into the river. Rhodri had an idea. He slipped from Liberty’s back into the cold, swift-flowing river and, with much cursing and floundering, he removed her tack and pushed her towards the mud. “Go on, Lib!”

She looked back at him, flicking a curious ear.

“You love rolling in the mud, you silly mare! Go on!” He slapped her rump, indicating she was free to play. Liberty needed no further prompting, dropping to her knees, then rolling and squirming on her back, staining her dapple-grey coat dingy brown. She heaved to her feet with a snort, glancing at him, and he waved her away. “Go!”

It would not withstand close inspection, but from a distance, she was one brown horse among hundreds. With a sigh, he let her tack fall to the bottom of the river. Riding bareback for a while was a small discomfort if it would save their lives. He swam back to the Atrathene girl, who trod water beneath the overhanging bank. She had pulled trailing fronds of grass down to form a curtain that might conceal them from searching eyes, if they were lucky and those eyes were blind. It wouldn’t fool a determined hunter for a moment. The river was cold, and even stretching down with his toes Rhodri couldn’t feel the bottom. He clutched hold of a protruding root beside his head, and kept as still as he could.

“We’ll be safe here,” he whispered, to reassure himself as much as the girl. He didn’t feel safe. It was too much to hope Drusain would give them a quick, merciful death. With luck, Liberty might get away. He hoped she wouldn’t come snuffling back to reveal their hiding place.

They hid in silence, shivering and afraid. Rhodri tried to judge the passing of time, but the sun was masked by thick, grey clouds and the waving strands of green offered the fugitives fragile concealment. They could have stayed there a few minutes, or a few hours, with no sound from above to tell them if their pursuers were near or far.

“Come find us, Dru, if you’re coming!” Rhodri muttered through teeth clenched against the chill that seeped into his bones. The girl looked at him curiously. “I wish this would end,” he added in Atrathene.

She nodded. “Me too. Rhodri?” she asked, as if wrestling with some internal dilemma. “That’s your name, isn’t it? Rhodri?”

“It is.”

She extended a hesitant hand towards him. “My name is Nasira.”

Her fingertips felt like an old woman’s, wrinkled with cold. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“I wanted to be sure I could trust you. My tribe keeps our names close.”

“Then I’m honoured. Thank you.” He hoped he would live long enough to be worthy of her trust.

She drew closer to him. Her skin had a greenish hue, either due to the light falling through the leaves, or genuine sickness. He felt grinding nausea in his own gut at the sound of approaching hoof beats.

If you want to know what happens next you won’t have long to wait!