Choices Meant for Kings
Chariss is in danger. The dashing Nigel Taiman hides something from her, yet demands she stay at his family’s estate where he and her wizard guardian intend to keep her safe. But the sorcerer Lord Drake and Julette The Betrayer know she’s there, and their monstrous army marches that way. When prophecies stack up to threaten Master Rothahn, Chariss must choose between the dragon that courts her and the ostracized kings of the Southlands for help. Evil stalks her at every turn and madness creeps over the goddess who guides her. Can an orphan-turned-Protector resist the dark side of her heritage? Or will she sacrifice all to keep her god-charge safe?
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First Chapter | Destroying a Castle | Sorcerer Battle
Choices Meant For Kings
Arcana lay in ruin.
The drain of the geasa had eaten at the Taiman home until the pieces of the fortress not destroyed by The Dragon herself were disintegrated by prophecy. The mouth of the Freotho Mountain gaped as if in a scream, left in a state of perpetual terror at what it had seen.
The prophet Jidaw died in the caves of Tiurlang with this vision, whispering, “Sorne Jeel has seen this. He will foretell this.”
The priestess of the Ungol believed she understood Jidaw’s message. She cradled him, her braided hair providing him a sort of curtain to die behind as she leaned over to kiss his head.
Her heart ached for the man, and she wanted to understand his last words. It sounded like Sorne Jeel would be his replacement. Sorne shared the prophet’s final vision, or so Nithi translated for the guards. Sorne would be the next prophet they would bring to the underground world of Tiurlang to watch.
Her heart grieved, not just for the decayed man who died in her arms, but for the boy named Sorne whom she would have to collect from Arcana.
Choices Meant for Kings
Destroying a Castle Excerpt
As they made their way down the last corridor of the entrance onto the courtyard, Chariss reached up and pulled a candelabra sconce from the wall they marched by. It crashed to the floor, its candles bringing the rug to flame. The next sconce they passed got the same treatment.
“Don’t start with me, Rohne,” she warned.
Brendan reached out to knock a candle stand against a tapestry on their way by. As the three stepped through the entryway and into the courtyard, the autumn breeze they allowed in fueled the fire behind them, framing their silhouettes in yellow flame. They could smell burning fabric and wood already, could feel the heat of a large fire behind them.
Once in the safety of the courtyard, a mere quarter of a league from the edge of the fortress wall, she stopped and turned to watch the growing blaze in the windows of the front of the castle. Servants shouted the alarm by then and rushed about with buckets of water. While the scent of burning wood was almost fragrant, serving as a sort of pleasant irony against the scene of chaos and fear playing out before them, the smells of various burning fabrics and dust and scorching brick, marble, and stone reached them as well, and they were not pleasant at all. Ash wafted erratically on the breeze.
Chariss lifted the chalice from her belt and poured the wine she’d stolen into it. Handing the bottle to Rohne, she gave Him a look that said, “Here we go.” She lifted the chalice to her mouth and drank deeply of it, gulping the wine back as if she’d been thirsting for days. She winced from the onslaught against her throat, shaking her head as she pulled the chalice away. She coughed once and looked up at the castle.
Both Brendan and Rohne took a step back from the force they felt growing in her. Her eyes turned a deeper purple, something akin to the night sky as the suns set beneath a storm, and she growled. The chalice dropped back on its leather loop to dangle from her belt, and she raised both her arms, closing her eyes against the power shaking her muscles.
“By the gods,” she murmured. “Henry, get the devil out of there this instant. Leave whatever you don’t already have. Go, go, go.”
Choices Meant for Kings
Sorcerer Battle Excerpt
Years of training with the world’s greatest wizard leave a Geasa’n with the ability to sense spells before they hit. Chariss ducked. She understood sorcerers’ power more than this man knew. He bellowed with anger when his spell shot past her as if it were a beam of light, traveling in a straight line, unable to bend, but radiating out the further it moved from its source. Thus when it hit the Dreorfahn soldiers behind her, it hit three of them.
The three felt their limbs become heavy and sluggish, felt their bodies become like the anchors used on the ships in Arcana’s harbor. And then they felt their bodies start to burn…from the inside out. Their screaming and dropping to writhe alarmed Chariss, but she was focused on the sword fight before her.
“Oh, that wasn’t very nice,” she cooed as she brought Vertigo’s sword up to deflect the next spell he flung at her. The nature of her response, the taunting tone in her sing-song voice belied a confidence she really didn’t feel. All this being had to do was slip one spell past her defense moves and she’d be caught. Oh, why can’t Mahsilette be in this fight? And where is Malachi?
“Afraid, Little One?” the man asked, mock sincerity dripping from his voice. “No one’s coming to your rescue. Surrender now and I’ll let you stay conscious while we take you to Drake.”
Chariss certainly didn’t like the sneer he sported. It gave the distinct impression that she’d be better off unconscious on such a journey, without a sorcerer’s spells torturing her flesh every step of the way.
I’ve got to kill this man.
He heard her thought, threw back his head, and roared with laughter.
To the horror of every Arcanan soldier who watched, their Goddess of War threw her arms around the neck of the enemy and plunged them both over the cliff at their side.
“The sequel to Choices Meant for Gods is an exciting Machiavellian epic fantasy as everyone seems to have secret agendas in order to gain power. The story line stands alone as this reviewer did not read the previous tale, but had no problems diving into Choices Meant for Kings… Fans who relish complex action-packed fantasy thrillers in which no one is quite like they first appear will appreciate Sandy Lender’s superb tale.”
—Harriet Klausner, Amazon No.1 Reviewer
“Choices Meant for Kings is exactly what a sequel should be. Sandy Lender keeps up her fast paced writing style to send us even deeper into her fantasy realm. Fantasy/Suspense was starting to fall into a sleep spell, until Sandy woke it up. Sandy needs to be considered one of the top Fantasy/Suspense writers right now. We are honored to have found her and have started the countdown to the third and final book of the Choices Trilogy!”
—John Raab, editor, Suspense Magazine
“If it’s possible, there is even more action, more romance, more suspense than the first novel. Sandy Lender has avoided the middle book blues and given us a second book in a trilogy that truly sings. I was hooked from the first page of Choices Meant for Kings and couldn’t put it down. I felt like I was there with Amanda, Nigel and Hrazon, so vivid is the world that Lender has created. I lived with them, breathed with them and felt my heart race with their adventures. Not only is Choices Meant for Kings an incredible love story but it’s also one of the most amazing high fantasy novels that I have read in years.”
—Jamieson Wolf, American Chronicle
“Choices Meant for Kings is a stunning tale that will capture your attention and fuel your imagination, leaving you absolutely breathless. Filled with rich and robust characters, this page-turner will leave you mesmerized. Sandy Lender has managed to create an utterly brilliant balance of action coupled with a timeless love story for the ages.”
—Angi Holmes, Vivid Valentines
“I love Chariss! She is a strong charismatic heroine with integrity, grit, and a good sense of humor. Amid the dangerous turmoil of dragons, gods, wizards, wicked adversaries, and confusing prophecies, she makes difficult choices and takes decisive action—no matter the risk to her own life.”
—Virginia McMorrow, author of Mage Confusion series
“I very much enjoyed Amanda’s take-no-prisoners attitude…For those of you who are new to these books by Sandy Lender then you are in for a treat. If you like fantasy, adventure, and humor then you need to read these books. Thank you Ms. Lender for making me such a fan.”
—Cheryl, Cheryl’s BookNook
“Sandy Lender has done it again! She’s cornered the “recipe” for creating a reading experience that is equivalent to trying methamphetamine for the first time: It’s highly addictive and should come with a warning from the CDC. Make sure when you begin reading this book you warn your friends and family you won’t be available…You will find that from the opening page to the final page, you simply cannot put this book down!”
—Laura Crawford, Crawford Writing & Marketing
“Sandy Lender grabs the reader by the hand and pulls him along until the finish with her exceptional writing style. The quick-witted dialogue keeps the story moving along at such a clip that the reader is grateful for a pause so he can catch his breath. Lender creates a fantasy world with gods and goddesses, dragons and wizards, swords and daggers, love and betrayal, that feels incredibly real. The characters are multi-dimensional and quite interesting. Lender’s style makes it seem like you’re watching a movie rather than reading a book.”
—Lisa Haselton, reviewer
“It took 2 days and a night but I couldn’t put it down. Choices Meant for Kings is a winner. I now have to admit that Sandy Lender has become my favorite author. I don’t say that lightly because I have read thousands of books in my lifetime and Lender is right at the top of my list.”
—Mary Willis, world traveler
“Sandy Lender has outdone herself in Choices Meant for Kings. In true sequel form, her dynamic characters explode from the pages. If you read one book this year, you should read Choices Meant for Kings!”
—Shane Moore, author of the Abyss Walker series
Suggested Book Club Questions/Topics for Choices Meant for Kings
If you’re a member of a book club or other reading group, you might use some of these questions to start a discussion about Choices Meant for Kings. Keep in mind that Fantasy Author Sandy Lender is available to attend book club meetings by phone or to speak at book festivals. Contact her publicity manager to work out the logistics.
What scene (or scenes) in Choices Meant for Kings disturbed you or made you second-guess a character’s motivation? Did it change your opinion of the character?
What scene (or scenes) made you rally to a character’s cause or inspired you to believe in a character’s resolve?
Given the low opinion Rohne and Mia have of Mahsilette, do you believe it’s wise for Chariss to follow the goddess’s advice so closely? During Malnos’s birth, both Chariss and Mahsilette were in agreement that he shouldn’t be born, but Mia was adamant about saving the baby’s life. Who do you think was in the right? Who acted rashly and who acted to protect those in the Taiman household?
Do you believe Lord Jamieson Drake has been relegated to the position of Julette’s lapdog, or does his position in Onweald society and his power as a sorcerer give him any leverage? Is he as much of a threat to Chariss and her duty as Julette is?
Now that Julette has captured the lad who is a prophet, how do you think that will influence her plans in the war?
Is Nigel playing with fire by using his power? Why do you think the way you do?
Is Chariss playing with fire by trusting Captain Naegling?
If you were Jake Taiman, would you bring your injured bride back to Arcana for help or would you risk finding help out on the road?
If you were King Vrel Wendan, whose side would you have joined and committed your troops to? Why?