October 16, 2018

Firstborn Trilogy + BRAND NEW #Estilorian Short Story only $0.99 Thru 7/5!

Estilorian fans, I have some exciting news: I’ve just released the Firstborn Trilogy as a bundled box set!

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(Psst…that’s not even the best part.)

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I’ve also written a BRAND NEW Estilorian short story called I Do! This short story will ONLY be published in this box set, so if you want to read it, you need to grab the box set today!

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To make this fair to my loyal Estilorian readers who have already read the trilogy, I’m releasing the box set at only 99 cents until July 5th.

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Don’t miss your chance to find out what happens after Elder and before Deceive!

Synopsis

This complete set includes all three books in Raine Thomas’ Firstborn Trilogy (Defy, Shift, and Elder). The award-winning Estilorian series continues with the electrifying next generation. Follow the descendants of the daughters of Saraqael as they embark upon their own thrilling adventures and race against time to save the Estilorian plane…battling for love along the way.

DEFY 

Seventeen-year-old Tate is about to make her parents’ dreams come true. Unfortunately for her, their dreams foretell her death. With the help of a shadowy male named Zachariah, can she defy her fate?

SHIFT

Having the ability to shapeshift, Sophia is familiar with change, but even she struggles with the changes bombarding her life. When she’s thrown into the hunt for the Elder Scroll, she’ll have to overcome her insecurities…or two of the beings she loves most will die.

ELDER 

On the journey for the Elder Scroll, Clara Kate has endured heartbreak, terror, pain and loss. She’s even been brought to the brink of death. She thinks things can’t get any worse. She’s wrong.

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And now read on for an excerpt from I Do (an Estilorian Short Story)

and find out how to buy it today!

During their travels, Tate had met other Mercesti like Zachariah and his chosen class leaders. But then there were Mercesti like these, she thought sourly, bringing up her nunchucks to block a slicing sword. Mercesti who refused to fall in line with Zachariah’s leadership. Mercesti who thought they should have the right to take anything they wanted, including the lives of any Estilorians who got in their way.

Mercesti who stood between her and her wedding day.

This group was larger than most of the others had been, Tate observed as she used Tiege’s bent knee to launch herself at another opponent. They were also more trained and organized.

Their leader was a tall, dark-skinned male named Cain. Zachariah had barely approached Cain and introduced himself before the aggressive male and his followers raised their weapons to fight. It seemed they had already heard of Zachariah’s ascension to elder and had been seeking him out to challenge him. Now, Cain and Zachariah were battling across the forest clearing where the combat had initiated.

Fighting this group was the last thing Tate had wanted, though. She had even asked Zachariah to pass them by. After all, she, Zachariah, Tiege, Ariana, and the Mercesti who had been invited to the wedding were on their way to the protected area surrounding her family’s home. Her mother and aunts were all waiting for them to arrive to begin the celebration.

Her stubborn avowed could not be swayed, however. Tate wasn’t actually that upset about the delay. She was proud of Sparky’s determination to clean up his class and integrate them with the nine other Estilorian classes. But lord, she was tired.

She had lost count of the number of small battles they had waged since Eirik’s defeat. It felt as though they finished one battle, got a few hours of sleep, and headed on to the next. Yes, there were days when they met up with friendly Mercesti and took some time to introduce themselves and get to know them, but those moments hardly made up for the time they were fighting.

We’ll wrap this up soon enough, Beautiful.

Tate heard her avowed’s thought as she spun out of the way of an axe’s downward swing. Her gaze lifted to Zachariah’s across clearing. She realized she had unintentionally broadcasted her thoughts to him.

I know, Sparky, she returned.

If she could keep herself focused, she privately added.


Buy Links

About the Author


Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
Author Links 


 

#TeaserTuesday and a #FabulouslyFree Short Story!

Today begins the promotion for my Estilorian short story, The Prophecy, on Amazon.com! From today until Friday the 16th, The Prophecy is free! For those of you who don’t know, this story serves as a prequel to my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy. Thus, it’s a great way to get your feet wet if you’re not yet familiar with the Estilorian world.

Here’s the story blurb for a little more enticement:

“Saraqael hadn’t intended to fall in love with Kate. It shouldn’t have even been possible. His kind didn’t experience emotion, and they certainly weren’t supposed to become attached to humans.

When he discovers that Kate’s dying and there’s nothing he or her human doctors can do for her, Saraqael realizes how deep his feelings for her run. And he understands just how far he’s willing to go to save her.

He vows to search until he finds a way to save her life. With the help of his best friend, Quincy, he embarks on a quest spanning the Estilorian plane…a quest that will forever change the future of his kind.”

Now, on to the teaser!

The first book in my upcoming Firstborn trilogy, Defy, releases on April 30th. I’m organizing a cover reveal blog tour on March 29th, so be on the lookout for that. Today, I thought I’d post another new excerpt from Defy to tide my Estilorian fans over for a while. Visit these posts to check out the prologue, chapter one, and part of chapter two. And now we’ll continue Tate’s story…

Defy (Book One of the Firstborn Trilogy)

Part of Chapter Two

Quincy walked with her out to the training paddock with his packed satchel. Tate realized that all of her family members were nearby, despite the early hour. A number of them were stretching or completing their cardio warm-ups before the weapons training ahead.

Tiege stood with Aunt Amber and some of their cousins performing tai chi. Her dad and Uncle Gabriel spotted for her brothers, Nick and Alex, as they lifted weights. Her mom glided around the side yard with her younger sisters and cousins, instructing them in dance. Aunt Olivia and Uncle James watched the littlest of the children as they played with the family of panthers before beginning school for the day.

Sophia sat on a large rock about twenty yards from the paddock, looking quite glum as she awaited the day’s flight efforts. Tate’s heart went out to her. She knew how discouraged Sophia had been to fail again and again at bringing forth her wings during the lessons her parents started after her eighteenth birthday several weeks ago.

Plastering an encouraging smile on her face as she and Quincy approached, Tate said, “Hey, Sophia! You’re looking particularly pretty today.”

She heard Quincy mumble something under his breath and fought a giggle even as Sophia gave her a baleful look. The comment was true enough, though. Sophia’s turquoise sundress flattered her petite frame. The long skirt of the dress, pooled around her slim legs, made her look very delicate. She had secured her golden hair at the nape of her slender neck in an intricate knot, drawing attention to her wide blue-green eyes and the blue-green butterfly wing patterns around her eyes, indicating her second power. Although her small size and fair coloring differed from the rest of the Kynzesti, Sophia managed to outshine them all, in Tate’s opinion.

“Thanks, Tate,” Sophia said, barely glancing at Quincy. She looked irritated about something and Tate wondered if one of the scientific experiments her cousin so enjoyed was giving her trouble. That always tended to spoil her mood. Of course, she could have just been nervous. With Sophia, it was a little hard to tell.

“I can’t wait to hear how everything goes today,” Tate ventured, keeping her tone light.

“Hmm,” Sophia responded, shifting and getting to her feet. Now, she spared Quincy a glance. “Well, let’s get this over with.”

“Ah…” Quincy said when she caught his gaze. He didn’t manage anything more.

“Your parents are coming to send you off,” Tate threw in, trying to help. Quincy gave her a grateful look.

Uncle James and Aunt Olivia approached, trailed by a group of giggling and bouncing children. Tate smiled as her aunt pulled Sophia into a hug, then passed her over to her uncle so he could repeat the gesture.

“We’re proud of you, honey,” Aunt Olivia said, her light green eyes damp. “I wish we could be there, but…I’m sure Quincy’s right. We were inadvertently restricting you in our lessons. Without us there, you’ll have the faith in yourself that you need to extend your wings.”

Sophia shifted uncomfortably and looked at the ground. Her father gave her a gentle smile.

“We look forward to hearing all about it when you get back,” he said.

She looked up and nodded. Quincy adjusted the satchel he wore across his body. It rattled as the items inside shifted. Although Uncle James raised an eyebrow over the obviously full bag, he didn’t comment. He did, however, catch Quincy’s gaze.

“Take care of her,” he said.

Quincy nodded. Then he looked down at Sophia. “Ready?” he asked.

“Sure,” she said.

Tate saw the lie resonate in the word. Sophia caught her gaze in warning, not that Tate was going to call her on it. She smiled and stepped forward to give her cousin a hug.

“Try to have fun, Soph. I know you’ll do great.”

As she watched Quincy lead her cousin into the forest toward adventure, Tate felt the desire to go with them like an ache in her chest. Instead, she turned with her aunt and uncle and headed to the training paddock. And the mundane.

The tai chi session came to a finish as she neared. Aunt Olivia led the children to their lessons as Uncle James joined her father and Uncle Gabriel near the weights. Aunt Amber watched her approach as she wiped her face with a towel.

“You need to stretch?” her aunt asked. She was never one for idle chit-chat.

“Nah,” Tate replied. “I did my warm-up routines earlier.”

“Cool. Why don’t you and Tiege pair up? I’ll get everyone else set up with their weapons and then we’ll see how you’re coming along with your new form.”

“Okay.” She glanced at her brother as he finished drinking some water and strode toward her. “Ready for some hand-to-hand?” she asked.

“You mean am I ready to kick your ass?” he returned with a grin. “You bet.” When she didn’t return his smile or give a snarky rejoinder, his grin faded. “You’re still upset that Mom and Dad said no?”

She shrugged. He already knew the answer. They knew each other as well as any two individuals possibly could.

“You know it’s a lousy idea, Tate,” he pointed out pragmatically. “We have no idea what things are really like away from home.”

That was exactly her point, she thought in growing frustration as she glanced at the break in the trees where Quincy and her cousin disappeared. She didn’t have any idea what it was like out there. And she very much wanted to.

“You’d only get yourself into trouble,” Tiege continued as he twisted sideways in another stretch. “Your skills aren’t sharp enough.”

That set her temper to a fiery pitch. She was sick and tired of the lack of faith in her abilities. How on the entire Estilorian plane could anyone know she would fail to protect herself if she’d never been given the chance to prove it?

Teaser Tuesday: Excerpt, Title Release and a Totally-Free Download

Along with a new teaser, I have some exciting news to share with my Estilorian fans: The Prophecy is FREE today on Amazon (more about this below), and the titles of the books of the upcoming Firstborn trilogy have been set! Deciding on book titles is a challenge, but a fun one. After much deliberation, the final titles will be (drum roll please…):

Defy, Shift and Elder.

What do you think? Do the titles succeed at capturing your attention?

I’m having so much fun writing this trilogy! Defy introduces Zachariah, a complex character that I suspect will reluctantly grumble his way into the hearts of many. Shift brings back Quincy, a beloved character we met in Foretold whose story I felt needed to be told. And Elder ultimately concludes Ini-herit’s story, begun in the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy.

Want to know more about the Firstborn trilogy? You got it! Here are three brief synopses for you:

Defy
As her eighteenth birthday approaches, Tate knows she’s ready to experience more of the world outside of her protected homeland. Her parents, Skye and Caleb, however, refuse to allow it. When Tate takes her future into her own hands, she’ll learn that defying them will lead to disastrous and deadly consequences.

Shift
Being different from her Kynzesti kin has never sat well with Sophia, even if she does enjoy the unique ability to shapeshift. When she discovers just why she’s so different, she feels like an even bigger freak. Only if she changes her mindset about herself and her abilities will she have a chance to help stop a Mercesti plot involving a powerful artifact called the Elder Scroll.

Elder
The daughter of the Gloresti elder and firstborn of the Kynzesti class, Clara Kate knows she has a lot of responsibility to shoulder at her young age. As the situation with the Mercesti hunting the Elder Scroll grows more dire, C.K.’s abilities are put to the test. She’ll find out if she has what it takes to be a leader…and whether she can help another elder finally learn to love.

Hopefully this gives you more of an idea of what to expect in the new trilogy. Now…the teaser! Below is the beginning of Chapter Two of Defy. You’ll learn a bit more about Quincy and his relationship with the Kynzesti—the children of the Daughters of Saraqael. If you missed my earlier teasers, you might want to read the prologue and Chapter One first.

And speaking of Quincy, if you haven’t already checked out my Estilorian short story, The Prophecy, it’s currently FREE on Amazon for today only! This is the story of Saraqael’s quest to save the human woman he loves…and his best friend, Quincy, is right in the middle of it. Please download it if you’d like a taste of the Estilorians! In the meantime, I leave you with this teaser, and look forward to your comments.

 

Kynzesti DEFY: Book One of the Firstborn Trilogy
Chapter 2

The following day, Tate visited Quincy in the clinic attached to the cottage he kept not far from the training paddock. Although each of the families had gladly offered him room in one of their homes, he insisted that he didn’t want to impose. Plus, although the homes were relatively close to each other, the cottage was a nice central location that made it easier for him to get to any of the expecting mothers he was assisting. And since it was a fully stocked clinic, the fact that it was located near the training paddock was helpful, too. Aunt Amber and Uncle Gabriel weren’t always around when someone needed healing.

Tate privately thought that Quincy preferred the solitude over trying to get any peace in a houseful of other beings, something she could well understand.

Right now, she wandered around the clinic while Quincy stocked a satchel with every conceivable kind of medical implement. The sunlight coming in through the two windows in the room glinted on his blond hair as he leaned intently over the satchel resting on one of the examination tables in the center of the room. Although he usually wore his hair short, it was presently long enough that there was a noticeable curl to it. It nearly touched the neckline of his black tank top. She personally liked the way the longer hairstyle complemented the lines of his handsome face, though she knew he’d be changing back to the shorter style before too long.

When he turned again to one of the many cabinets lining the walls, the sun also gleamed on the silver markings lining his broad shoulders and the backs of his muscular arms. The markings were a result of his transitions to the human plane. As a Corgloresti, he was a harvester of human souls, the only way full Estilorians had to reproduce, since Estilorian females didn’t have the same reproductive systems as humans. As far as Tate knew, Quincy was the most successful Corgloresti in history at bringing souls over through the very complicated Corgloresti Embrace.

He’d never failed.

As he pulled a glass container from the cabinet and started unscrewing the lid, Tate let out a snort of laughter. “Do you really think you’ll need tongue depressors to teach Sophia to fly?”

His silver eyes narrowed and shifted briefly to her. “Don’t give me a hard time right now. You already know how stressed I am about this.”

She did know. Over the years, Quincy had become a very dear friend. And she had long ago reasoned out how he felt about her cousin. She knew he was quite nervous over the prospect of being alone with her for an extended period of time. Even if she hadn’t had a second power that allowed her to see the truth of any matter, his uncommonly jerky mannerisms as he packed his satchel and the more pronounced accent in his words certainly would have tipped her off.

“You know,” she casually pointed out, “if I went with you, I’m sure it would be less stressful for you.”

He replaced the tongue depressors and lifted a container of cotton balls, giving it a thoughtful study. Tate bit her lip against another laugh even as he shook out a few fluffy balls and absently replied, “Nice try.”

“It’s true,” she insisted. “I could serve as a buffer for you so you wouldn’t be forced to try and make conversation with Sophia.” She paused to watch him fumble with the lid as he tried to screw it back on the container. Then she pointed out, “I’m sure she’ll look especially pretty today.”

“Sophia isn’t pretty,” he said in an affronted tone. He was so flustered that he dropped the jar. Fortunately, it hit an area rug and didn’t shatter, though it did roll across the floor toward the open window where Tate stood. Quincy cursed and shook his head at himself as he hurried after the container.

Tate laughed again and bent to help him pick up the displaced cotton balls. “Okay, okay. I’m sure she’ll look gorgeous, breathtaking and heart-stopping, then.”

He caught her gaze and some of the tension in his shoulders eased. One corner of his mouth rose. “Well, that’s a slightly more accurate description, at least. Though you did leave out spectacular and magnificent.”

“I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Sighing, he walked to the trash can to throw away the cotton balls that had escaped the jar. Then he secured the lid and put the container away. “I’m pathetic.”

“A completely lost cause.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “Why did I suggest this again?”

“Because you’re hopelessly in love with my cousin and don’t want to see her fail at this,” she answered, running her finger idly along the frame of the painting hanging on the wall between the windows. The painting had been done by Sophia’s twelve-year-old sister, Leigh, and depicted the family of panthers that lived within the area of protection.

“Oh. Right.”

Empathizing with him, she walked over and rubbed his upper arm. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come along?”

“Well, that would certainly make things easier for me in one respect,” he admitted, giving her an appreciative grin. “But it would get me into all kinds of trouble with your father. You know him, right? Big guy? Handy with a sword? Deadly glare when he’s angry?”

Her lips twitched despite the fact that she knew her attempts to convince Quincy to take her along with him and Sophia weren’t going to succeed. “Yeah, yeah. Well, I believe in you, Quincy. I know that if anyone can help Sophia discover the faith she needs to learn to extend her wings, it’ll be you.”

He sighed again. “Thanks, Tate. No pressure, though.”

The Prophecy (An Estilorian Short Story)

The Prophecy, an Estilorian short story for young adults

When I started writing the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, I had a clear-cut plan. I wanted to write three YA books following three sisters. The books had to be different from anything else available…not conforming to any particular paranormal or fantasy trends, but falling enough within the fantasy genre for readers to enjoy and connect with them.

And, of course, they would include romance and happy endings. (You know me by now, right?).

That was as far as my plans went at the time. Write the books, make sure they could each stand alone, then publish them. By the end of July of this year, those goals were achieved.

Since then, the response to the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy has been overwhelming. I’m both thrilled and deeply humbled when readers reach out to me via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail to tell me how much they enjoyed the books. And it was the resounding response to the first trilogy that cemented the idea of continuing the stories of the Estilorians.

By the time the first review came in for Becoming, I had begun the outline for book one of the upcoming Firstborn trilogy. I had so enjoyed writing about the Estilorians that I definitely wanted to continue the series. Once the positive reviews came in, I knew it was the right path to take.

Books take time to write, however. I was now not only working full-time as a wedding planner and trying to balance that with my family time, but I was promoting my books during every possible free moment. Writing the next trilogy would take some doing.

How would I keep my readers engaged?

It was my husband who suggested writing an Estilorian short story. In truth, I have no idea where the thought came from, as he hasn’t read a short story since it was required of him in high school. Nevertheless, it struck me as brilliant, and (more importantly) very doable.

So I got to work. Fortunately, I had the foresight to ask fans of the Estilorian novels what characters they liked and what story lines they would enjoy seeing expanded upon in future books. The most common response was that readers wanted to know the story of Saraqael and Kate, the couple who really started it all.

I couldn’t think of a better topic for a short story. Thus, as soon as I finished the first draft of book one of the Firstborn trilogy, I went to work on a short story that features part of the tale of Saraqael and Kate. Titled The Prophecy, the short story serves as a narrative bridge between the Daughters of Saraqael and Firstborn trilogies.

If you missed the teaser last week, please check it out! The Prophecy is now available for the Kindle at Amazon.com.

For more insights on The Prophecy, please visit these wonderful blogs featuring interviews about the short story launch: The Book Hookup and Sarah’s Books & Life Blog (which, ahem, also features a giveaway for a signed copy of Becoming!).

Thanks again to all of you for your support, and I hope you enjoy the first Estilorian short story!

New Short Story and Four Months of Thanks

Four months ago almost to the day, I sat in front of the computer with my husband. We had just spent two months preparing the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy for publication. After trudging down the long road of traditional publishing, attempting and failing to catch the attention of literary agents, I had decided to take the plunge into the world of indie publishing.

But reality hit as we sat in front of that computer screen. With a click of the mouse, Becoming would be uploaded to Smashwords, followed by uploads to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There was really no turning back once we did this.

We exchanged looks. We grinned like idiots. And we clicked PUBLISH. Then I’m pretty sure we indulged in an adult beverage or two to celebrate, never thinking we had made the wrong decision.

So…here I sit, four months later, once again in front of the computer. And I’m giving my books their four-month check-up. Have I now changed my mind, you might ask? Did I make the right choice in choosing to self-publish?

It’s interesting. Everyone has a different measure of success. For some, you’re not successful unless you’re accepted and published by a traditional publisher and your books appear on the shelves of the local bookstore. For others, the only true measure of success might involve books being on The New York Times Bestseller List.

Personally, I think a writer’s success begins the moment she puts a pen to the page. That’s the moment where she’s committing to telling her story, the moment where her soul starts seeping onto the page. Her success grows with each written word, and blossoms once those words are shared with others.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve engaged with a couple of very talented writers who were brought low by disappointments in their careers. One had just received a rejection by a literary agent and the other felt that no one wanted to hear what she had to say, nearly giving up writing altogether. Fortunately, both rebounded from their individual setbacks. To me, they’re both successful just for writing and persevering.

In using this particular yard stick, the Daughters of Saraqael books have certainly been successful. But is just being complete and published works enough to consider these indie-pubbed books a “success?” Some would argue no.

Thus, since I’m doing my four-month check-up here, I’ll mention that to date, the books have exceeded 5,500 sales. Becoming has reached #15 on Amazon’s Kindle Bestseller list in the Romance/Fantasy & Futuristic category. This past weekend, it was at #715 overall in Paid Kindle Books–a category that contains hundreds of thousands of titles.

To say I’m grateful to my readers would be the understatement of the year, but especially in the week of Thanksgiving, I absolutely have to say it: thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has bought my books. A special thanks goes out to everyone who has also supported me and my work via blog posts, tweeting or Facebooking, liking and/or reviewing on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and rating and reviewing on Goodreads. Every single effort has contributed to the success over the past four months, and there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude.

Also, here at the mark of the four-month anniversary of the publication of the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming launch of my first Estilorian short story, The Prophecy. This coming Monday, November 28th, The Prophecy will be made available for free download via Smashwords, followed by Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

When the Daughters of Saraqael books were first released, one of the most common things I heard was that readers wanted to hear more about Saraqael and Kate. So when I decided to release short stories between writing the books in the forthcoming Firstborn trilogy, I balanced this popular reader request with a tie-in to the new books. The Prophecy centers on Saraqael’s quest and also includes his best friend, Quincy, one of the central characters in the Firstborn trilogy.

Without further ado, I leave you with another resounding thanks, wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving and presenting you with a teaser for The Prophecy, coming soon to e-readers near you…

 
THE PROPHECY

“I love her, Quincy.”

Looking up from the medical journal in front of him, Quincy blinked and caught the gaze of his best friend, Saraqael. He reasoned he had been distracted by his studies, because he surely hadn’t heard correctly. “What was that?”

Saraqael grinned, a very rare thing to see on the Estilorian plane. “You heard me. And I would appreciate you keeping this to yourself. Try not to let the Orculesti or Wymzesti get into your head. They will certainly try to stop me.”

Quincy let his hand slide from the pages of the journal to the top of his well-worn table, his studies forgotten. “You mean…the female you met on the human plane?”

“Yes. Her name is Kate. And I need your help.”

“My help?”

Quincy knew he sounded ridiculous, echoing everything his friend said. But this made no sense. Estilorians didn’t fall in love. Estilorians, in point of fact, barely knew what it meant to like. Ever since the nine Estilorian elders had joined together to create a separate plane of existence from humanity more than two millennia ago, the understanding and experiencing of emotions among Estilorians had greatly diminished. Now, the only emotions generally exhibited were negative, such as jealousy, anger, competitiveness and fear.

Only the Corgloresti class had the ability to transition between the Estilorian and human planes. As members of this class, Quincy and Saraqael both now understood the dramatic differences between emotional humans and their own kind. Like Saraqael, Quincy had crossed the planes only twice so far because he was so young—just over two centuries. But it had been enough for him to understand the dire results of the elders’ choice. It hadn’t been known that Estilorians were inherently unemotional beings until it was too late.

So to hear that Saraqael thought himself in love…well, it confounded him.

Because Quincy’s quarters weren’t very large, Saraqael walked four paces and then turned and strode the other way as he paced in front of the table. He ran his hand through his dark hair in a way that seemed to communicate agitation or impatience. Corgloresti were trained in how to interpret body language to aid them in their time on the human plane, since they were largely unable to experience emotion themselves. While some of what he had learned from his Estilorian teachers had been a bit off, Quincy’s experiences among humans during his first two transitions gave him confidence in his interpretation of his friend’s behavior.

“Yes, I need your help, my friend,” Saraqael said now as he paced. “You have trained in the human medical sciences so that you can assume the form of a physician on the human plane. You know that I chose to focus on human theology in my studies, which is of little use to me now. I am in need of a solution to save Kate’s life, and I have nowhere else to turn.”

“Saraqael…” Quincy trailed off, uncertain what to say. Eventually, he hazarded, “We were trained not to become attached to those we choose to Embrace. Though I know it has proven challenging for the two of us, most Corgloresti distance themselves as a matter of instinct.” Again, he hesitated, watching his friend pace. “Do you really believe that she will unquestionably accept the fact that you are a non-human being with exceptional powers and the ability to fly? A being that can live for centuries without aging?”

“Yes.”

That gave Quincy pause. Despite his friend’s conviction, he felt compelled to point out, “You know once you mark a human soul for transitioning into an Estilorian form that you are the only one who can Embrace it. And if you do, her soul will retain none of its human awareness once it is brought over here. Including any memories of you.”

“There must be a way.”

Before Quincy could respond, Saraqael abruptly stopped pacing. He braced his hands on the table and leaned closer to Quincy, his silver eyes flashing with something indefinable.

“Kate is unlike any being I have ever met, Quincy. She has the most amazing smile. Just the sight of it does things to me that—well, you cannot even imagine. Although her body is frail, her courage is unsurpassed. She is kind and giving. She is intelligent and good-humored. When she sings, I swear the birds stop to listen in envy. And her faith…well, she has at least as much as you, and you have more than anyone I have ever known. I need that faith right now, Quincy.”

He may have been inexperienced with emotions, but Quincy understood the tone of his friend’s voice. He noticed the light sheen of moisture that accompanied his friend’s intense gaze. And he knew he couldn’t ignore either.

Nodding, he said, “Okay. Tell me what her human doctors have shared with you.”