Okay, so we’re most definitely NOT attempting a character interview this week. He and I aren’t on speaking terms, and quite frankly he scares the bejeezus out of me.
Instead, I’m going to offer a rough (unedited) few paragraphs from Sworn. This is obviously spoiler territory, if you don’t want to know anything at all about what’s coming. I won’t give context or even point of view, and I’ve removed a few telling details, but you’ve been warned.
I stopped breathing, as though stillness would hide me. I didn’t dare look any higher than that hand.
Don’t make eye contact. Think only of the present. I checked my mental defenses and tried not to think about them.
The long, elegant fingers tightened, and [she] winced.
“Your king’s magic was never as weakened as you might have suspected based on your assignment,” said a cold voice. It was strong, not nearly matching what Aren had told me about Severn’s physical condition, but I had no doubt about who it was.
The potion’s light left me, leaving only fear. “Your highness,” I whispered, and dropped into a curtsy. I looked up enough to meet [her] gaze. Her face had turned into a blank mask.
“Look at me,” he ordered.
His eyes grabbed my focus and prevented wider inspection. Glacier blue and filled with confident authority, they cut through me. I let my fear take over to a degree that seemed reasonable given my story and focused on his face, allowing nothing else into my conscious mind. If he could see deeper, there was nothing I could do about it.
He released me and took a moment to glance over the rest of my face, my hair, my body. I did the same to him while I had the chance.
Aren had described him to me as he was before his encounter with Rowan. He’d also told me that Severn as he’d last met him was a shadow of his former self, weak and bent, shuffling and thin. This man was none of those things, and no description of Severn’s old appearance had prepared me for this. I saw Ulric in him, in the strong jaw and straight nose. His mouth was harder than the old king’s, and curved up slightly, pleased at what he saw. He stood tall and straight, slim yet strong, and he radiated power from every part of himself. Had I not known what he truly was…
I shuddered and looked away. I should have been accustomed to being around beautiful people by then. Appearances meant nothing, and I knew that. But his eyes, his voice, his very posture drew a person in with magnetic force that surpassed anyone I’d ever met, and I imagined it would be hard to deny him anything if he ordered it. I wondered how Aren had ever found the strength to defy him.
A lovely friend and reader took a road-trip detour to get this picture. Made my day.
Okay, my month.