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Kim McDougall

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Thorn of Vioska

A Valkyrie Bestiary Tale, Book 9.5

Thorn of Vioska is a companion novella to Worlds Don't Collide told from Emil's Point of view. It will go on sale in July, 2024, but it will be FREE to all newsletter subscribers before release.

When Kyra asks Emil to infiltrate Vioska and spy on the vampires, Emil jumps at the chance for revenge against the creatures that killed his one true love. 

If the vampires discover him, they’ll kill him or worse—they’ll turn him into an undead lackey. He expects and even welcomes the danger. What he doesn’t expect is to find a new purpose in the slave pens of Vioska. 

Sneak Peek

Leighna considered the opji woman. She was extraordinarily beautiful even with matted hair and dirt smeared across her face. She had dark eyes with thick lashes in a pale, heart-shaped face. She claimed she’d fled Vioska to protect her son, Ichovidar’s son. 

Now she stared up at Leighna with a seemingly guileless plea in her eyes. 

Leighna spoke quietly, a trick she’d learned in Parliament. A quiet voice was one that expected others to listen to it. 

“You will tell me everything you know about your people. About Vioska, this Ichovidar who calls himself king. Everything. I want to know about your religion, your language, your feeding habits. I want to know how you weave your clothes and sweep out your houses. Everything.”

Tereza nodded. 

“And then, I will consider what to do with your child. What is his name?”

“Janzek.” The woman bowed her head. “His name is Janzek.”

Leighna touched the sleeve of her lady-in-waiting. Imogen raised her head from her brother’s body. 
“Imogen, please take Janzek and see that he is fed and bathed.” That would give the woman something to fuss about other than her dead kin.

Imogen Lughwaite wiped her eyes on her sleeve and approached the opji captive. Tereza squeezed her child to her chest and he let out another hearty wail.
“Your son will be cared for, as long as you cooperate,” Leighna said. 

Tereza nodded and sniffled. She handed the bundle over. 

Imogen tucked the baby into the crook of her elbow and cooed to him in a singsong voice. 
Leighna pinned Tereza with on of her best royal glares and pointed to a chair. “Now sit and talk.”
Tereza slumped onto the chair. 

Over the next hour, Leighna would learn the surprising and devastating details of the opji’s new Gazgroda policy, or what Tereza translated as the Holding. Their new king wasn’t just taking humans. He was breeding them! 

Leighna glanced at Hal’s gray face. He had given his life to bring her this news, but to what purpose?
She would have to alert Parliament, but already Leighna knew the ineffectual machine of politics would take months, if not years, to digest this information. And then they would probably do nothing. 

Homesteaders weren’t Montreal citizens after all.

***

In her small suite in the Winter Palace, Lady Imogen Lughwaite bathed the baby with a soft, warm cloth. He watched her with enormous eyes. She grabbed one of his flailing feet and kissed his toes. The baby cooed.

“Such a pretty boy with precious little toes. But what an improper name! Janzek? Whoever heard of such a thing?” She paused and frowned, but contrary thoughts didn’t last long in the lady’s head and she smiled again. “No, Janzek won’t do. I will call you…Emil.”