Life hasn’t been easy for Aeley since she arrested her brother, and her role as a political leader leaves her feeling isolated and lonely. Days before her brother’s trial, she meets Lira, a quiet and modest scribe who makes Aeley want more than just a professional relationship.
When she attends the trial and leaves with a marriage contract, Aeley doesn’t know what to do. She must choose one of two brothers, marrying into a family she doesn’t know. Then she discovers that Lira is part of the same family–a sister to Aeley’s suitors and the family’s disgrace. And not at all opposed to an intimate relationship.
Except random acts of violence against her people test Aeley’s ability as a leader, and a web of lies and deceit threaten not only her chance at happiness, but her life…
"It could be any one of the available men and I still wouldn’t be happy about it." The words tumbled from Aeley's lips before she could stop herself. "It isn't just your brothers being themselves, it's the whole concept of giving myself over to a guy I don't care for. I have no interest in sleeping with them, or procreating. And it isn't because I don't know how—I know how. I've slept with guys before; I just don't care for it. I don't get pleasure from it like everyone thinks I should. I know Father wanted me to find someone nice, but his idea of nice isn't the same as mine."
Top ten snacks while writing?
"Is it the same reason why you and Mayr aren't together?"
"Partially," Aeley replied. "That, and he's my best friend. The only one who really understands me. We never wanted to ruin it." She tilted her head back to stare at the stars. "If only it wasn't your brothers. If only it was y—"
Closing her mouth, she knew she'd said too much already. It always happened whenever they were together. Rarely did she tell anyone her most private thoughts, and when she did, she trusted only Mayr. But even then, she preferred to keep her deepest thoughts to herself, protecting them as if they were precious and easily shattered. Why could she not stop exposing those secrets when she was with Lira?
"What were you saying?" Lira asked softly, her eyes searching Aeley's.
"Nothing. Never mind. I was rambling."
"Or telling the truth."
When Aeley turned, Lira stepped closer. Their chests touched—a deliberate move, Aeley realized, when Lira leaned into her. She watched the rise and fall of Lira's chest under the simple gold pendant around her neck.
"Imagine if you could tell me everything, without worrying about what I'd think," Lira murmured. Her face neared Aeley's. "Maybe this is exactly the change you wanted. Maybe you just need more time to put everything together. Or maybe you just need all the pieces."
There was no time to breathe before Lira's lips touched hers, coaxing a soft kiss from Aeley with a gentle push and tug.
Her thoughts spun. Aeley raised her hand to the balcony to keep steady, only barely registering the fact that her hand made it halfway before stopping in the air. Was the silence just in her head or had the music stopped?
By the time Aeley realized what was happening, Lira's lips left.
"Something for you to think about," Lira whispered. Without waiting for a reply, she walked towards the ballroom.
She paused in the doorway and looked back, the light from the room illuminating her face and giving her skin a yellow glow. Her lips showed the hint of a smile, but her eyes said everything.
A Question of Counsel
Author Interview with Archer Kay Leah
Aside from people or pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your home were on fire?
My CPU!! No contest. That baby contains most of my life on it!
What would your characters say about you? Be honest!
I’m mean, grueling, and crazy. To be honest, I’m pretty sure most of them might want to plot my death. But on the upside, I let them run rampant and control the story. I even let them take over my brain on a regular basis. So here’s to hoping they don’t complain… much.
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?
Erotic scenes, although fight scenes have their moments, especially when I’m trying to avoid describing every single action. What’s really hilarious is that after I write the racy scenes, I often can’t read them without blushing or getting really embarrassed. One of those “I wrote that?!” sort of things.
Let's talk cats versus computers, since your bio says you have a cat. How do you keep your feline companion from taking over your writing time?
I bribe him with soft food, pillows, and blankets. It works most of the time until he gets bored. Then we have to negotiate rights to the spot between the keyboard and myself. Sometimes I even win.
Name 3 quirky things about you!
- I love, love, love the dulcimer.
- I’m left and right brained: while I write speculative fiction and romance, I also went to post-secondary for science and tend to get my geek on. It’s a fun line to walk, especially when the two sides mash up. Or fight. That happens.
- I actually don’t mind doing taxes or edits. Yeah, I said that.
What are your favorite love songs?
I’ll try to keep this list to ten! First off, I have a strange, weepy relationship with “What Is A Youth” (“that” song from the old Romeo and Juliet movie). I don’t know why, but I love it so bad. As for the rest of the short list…
The Cure – Lovesong
Robbie Robertson – Unbound
U2 – The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Mylène Farmer – Innamoramento
Darren Hayes – Insatiable
Ofra Haza – Ahava
Matthew Perryman Jones – Canción de la Noche
Conjure One – Extraordinary Ways
Cowboy Junkies – Come Calling (Her Song)
Light side or dark side?
Dark side! (I really wasn’t kidding about my characters wanting to get some kicks in.) Let’s put it this way… the tortured souls of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The League series? I love, love, LOVE.
Where do you write? What's the environment like when you're writing?
Nowhere fancy. Mostly in my living room. And I bounce around. If I’m not on the couch with my laptop and the cat, I’m at the dinner table or at the PC. Incidentally, they’re all 2 feet apart.
Top ten snacks while writing?
Chocolate, salt & vinegar chips, white cheddar popcorn, cheese & crackers, M&Ms, red licorice, almonds, ice cream, Sour Patch Kids, chocolate. Lots of lots of chocolate.
Any last word to readers?
Thanks for reading along today! I appreciate all of your support. And if you’re looking for a bit of a party, the Release Party for A Question of Counsel is happening next week, May 27th to 28th. It’s online at Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/450660561775319/ – so come in your PJs with your fave snacks and some pals. Win some stuff. Jam to some tunes. The more the merrier!
Archer Kay Leah was raised in Ontario, Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, it has been this diversity that has inspired Archer’s love of toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and crazy situations.
Archer started writing stories at age six and became “that kid” with their nose in the books and a pen in their hand, pursuing the challenges of writing novels at age thirteen and conquering the dread of poetry at fifteen. Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged.
When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek who has too many hobbies, keeping busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along, especially if it is in technological form. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.