With: Amanda Bouchet
Breath of Fire comes out on January 3rd and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I hope that readers who met Cat and Griffin and followed their exploits in A Promise of Fire will be looking forward to this second installment in The Kingmaker Chronicles, and I hope that new readers will be interested in giving this fantasy romance trilogy a try. The story picks up right where A Promise of Fire left off and with a shocking moment of truth: Cat’s secrets are finally revealed to all. But with the cat out of the bag (pun definitely intended!), important plans can now form to move Thalyria toward unification under Cat and Griffin’s joint rule—plans that will certainly keep Beta Team on their toes. But while Cat’s violent past and lingering self-doubt still haunt her on a deep level, Griffin won’t let her back down from the fate she’d love to avoid. As Griffin propels her toward her inevitable destiny and Cat tries to come to terms with the prophecy that’s haunted her for eight years, readers can expect plenty of adventure and danger, more of Cat’s smart-mouthed humor, exciting Beta Team moments, and a romance that heats up to positively scorching levels. Friendships solidify into unshakable bonds, and perilous quests lead the members of Beta Team into uncharted territory where monsters, magic, and mayhem abound. With Breath of Fire, I hope that readers get swept away and caught up in the emotion and adventure as Cat and Griffin try to navigate their developing and intensely passionate relationship while also taking on the daunting and dangerous task of conquering the world. But most of all, I hope you simply enjoy the book!
SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a warrior queen to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.
Award-winning author Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French.
We assemble in the Athena courtyard after breakfast on the fourth day. Griffin and I are already mounted, but the rest of Beta Team—Kato, Flynn, and Carver—are still finishing their good-byes, strapping on the last of their gear, and readying their horses. If I’m not mistaken, Flynn is moving slowly because he keeps shooting discreet glances toward Jocasta from under lowered auburn brows. Carver, his long, leggy gait slower than usual, only just left his family under the shaded arcades that band the castle’s ground floor like an ornate, marble ribbon. And Kato, all blond hair, blue eyes, and corded muscle, moves with casual purpose and lionesque indolence—unhurried in his stride but powerful and inherently ready for action. Despite the stakes of the journey, none of them seems to feel any real urgency to leave.
I don’t like lingering over farewells, and their lagging makes me feel like I have ants in my pants. It’s all I can do not to start hopping in the saddle. Panotii is champing at the bit, and so am I. He prances sideways and bumps into Brown Horse. Brown Horse doesn’t move an inch and regards us with calm, intelligent eyes. He’s so much like his rider that I almost laugh.
Unable to hold back a smile, I drink in Griffin with my eyes. Actually, I look at Griffin all the time. I think about him even more, and every time I do, it’s like a wild kick of adrenaline straight to the heart. It’s distracting. distracting.
A tingling warmth spreads beneath my skin. “I can’t wait to gallop.” I haven’t been outside the city walls since Ios. Panotii and I need to stretch our legs, see for miles, and feel the wind in our faces. It’s good for a horse. For a person who’s been confined to a cage, it’s cathartic. Castle Sinta and its grounds may be big, beautiful, and full of Griffin, but in some ways, it’s still a cage. Real freedom is answering to only yourself, and being responsible for no one. Since that’s a moral vacuum, none but the truly wicked are ever truly free.
That must be how Mother feels—free.
Panotii keeps dancing, and I stroke his sleek, chestnut neck, trying to soothe him. “Panotii wants to run, too.”
“You’ll burn yourselves out.” Griffin’s silver-hued eyes hold a hint of warning. “And you’ll burn us out chasing you. We have a long way to go.”
I make a sour face. “Did I ever tell you I detest the voice of reason?”
“Did I ever tell you you’re adorable when you’re riled up?”
I scowl. “I’m never adorable.”
“You’re right,” he says mock-seriously. “You’re very scary. Especially with that curl bouncing over your cheek.”
I shove the stupid curl behind my ear. My wavy hair is turning even more unruly with the approach of the rainy season. It’s overcast for the first time in weeks, and I can smell the moisture in the air, somehow both sultry and refreshing, as if a cloud were about to burst over the scorched land, but the Gods aren’t quite ready to stick a dagger in it yet. My hair doesn’t know the difference. Anything too short to stay firmly in my braid is now springing out with gusto and frizzing all around my head.
Out of habit, I check my knives. My old set hangs from multiple belt loops. My new set is secured to flat, leather straps circling my thighs. My sword is on my back in a sling Griffin had fashioned for me along with the thick boar’s hide armor that hugs my upper body from shoulders to waist in a sleeveless, close-fitting shell. A direct hit will pierce the leather, but it’ll provide protection from slices or glancing blows, as will the new vambraces on my forearms.
I told Griffin I’d be too hot and confined, which I am, but he insisted in that steady, intractable voice of his that if I want to ride with warriors, I’d better have the equipment.
He knows I’ve been fighting without any of this since before I could walk, but I humored him because I love him. Apparently, that’s how couples work. . Now there’s so much metal and leather weighing me down that I almost couldn’t get on my horse.
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