Friday, September 7, 2018


Sting of Victory by S.D. Simper - Cover Reveal

The Sting of Victory
Fallen Gods
Book One
S D Simper

Genre: Adult Dark Romantic Fantasy (LGBT)

Publisher: Endless Night Publications

Date of Publication:  September 14th 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7324611-1-6

Number of pages: 400
Word Count:  102K

Cover Artist: Jade Mere

Tagline: The cost of love is always high.

Book Description:

“When faced with monstrosity, become the greater monster. The sting of victory will fade with time.”

When Flowridia, a witch granted power by an unknown demon, deceives an alluring foreign diplomat, she is promoted to a position of power to conceal her falsehood. Thrust into a world of politics and murderous ambition, she has her gentle heart and her Familiar to guide her – as well as a drunk Celestial with a penchant for illusion.

Meanwhile, Lady Ayla Darkleaf, Grand Diplomat of Nox’Kartha, smiles with predatory charm and wields her blades with a dancer’s grace. Flowridia falls into a toxic love affair, one she knows will end in heartbreak. But as Ayla’s legacy as a vampiric creature unfolds, Flowridia begins to see the broken woman behind the monster.

When a foreign emperor dies at the hands of a mysterious interloper, one who seeks to collect the greatest sources of power in the realms, Flowridia’s kingdom is charged to stop him. But Flowridia’s devotion becomes torn between duty to her own and the woman whose claws grip her heart.

In the ensuing clash of Gods, Flowridia must choose her loyalties with care – the fate of kingdoms rest in her hands.

Excerpt 1:

Moonlight brushed
the air in silver wisps, barely perceptible through the thick cover of trees.
But enough shone through to cast a shadow upon the secluded cottage, that of a
wolf coated in mud and grime.
From within,
Flowridia ripped the door open. “Aura!” she cried, weeping as her arms tangled
in the damp fur of her beloved companion – Aura the wolf, her lost friend and
familiar, had come for her at last.
Noxious odors
from the swamp mixed with the earthy, rotting scent of mushrooms and the
horrors that fed them. Aura’s golden eyes shone bright, reflecting the filtered
celestial light and the phosphorescent glow of fungi dotting the walls and
moist garden plots. More garden than room, the fungal forest grew in patches,
some of the mushrooms taller than Flowridia herself.
Aura had grown
during their three years apart, standing nearly at Flowridia’s shoulder in
height. Even matted in swamp filth, her silver fur matched the dim moonlight.
Despite the joy
at their reunion, urgency tugged at Flowridia’s panicked heart. “Aura, we have
to leave. If she hears us-”
Shattered glass
broke the fragile peace. Flowridia, her arms tight around Aura’s neck, saw a
dark silhouette in the doorframe of the bedroom and the remains of a ruined
potion on the floor. “Flower Child, what is this?” The woman spoke gently, the
eye of a storm Flowridia knew capable of tearing them both to oblivion. Odessa
the Swamp Witch stepped into view, beautiful despite her sneer, a distorted,
matured mirror of her cowering daughter. Eerie green shone from within her
eyes, her mouth, even the pores of her skin. “All of my love, and this is how
it’s returned? Slinking off in the middle of the night?”
Growling from
Aura’s throat vibrated against Flowridia’s arms. Mother merely chuckled. “Your
familiar is every bit the hero that you are the coward.” She turned her gaze
onto Aura directly, stepping forward as that same green began to swirl at her
feet, smoke before a raging fire. “Stay with us. She’ll be better with you and
I both to guide her.”
A snarl tore
from Aura’s throat. Flowridia’s grip on her neck tightened.
“No? A pity,”
Mother said, and as she stepped, Flowridia watched her form shift and elongate.
“So much wasted potential.”
Flowridia had
seen hints of Mother’s shadow, one that never quite matched her sultry figure.
Now the woman twisted and grew, her hands gnarling into vicious claws, her skin
shriveling and turning grey. Those eyes, still illuminated by sickly green,
grew large, bird-like. The woman, once beautiful, became hunched.
Flowridia tugged
on Aura’s neck, pulling her to the door, but green fire – the same shade as the
smoke swirling around Mother’s grotesque form – blocked their exit.
Aura tore
herself from Flowridia’s grip, a beastly roar at her throat as she bolted
forward. Leaping, the wolf tackled the monster and ripped at the woman’s face
with her teeth. A swipe of Mother’s mutated hand threw Aura aside. Bleeding,
cackling, Mother pulled herself to her feet in time for Aura to pounce.
This time,
Mother braced herself. Her hands dug into the wolf’s fur and skin, blood
seeping from her nails as Aura struggled in her grasp.
The light
shining from Mother’s eyes changed from green to deep purple, and the smoke
swirled to match. Aura released a pained howl, and Flowridia screamed as the
wolf’s body began to shrivel, withering away as though starved.
On the table, a
knife – encrusted with dried blood – caught her eye. Heart pounding, Flowridia
didn’t think; she grabbed the knife and threw.
Blood sprayed.
The knife embedded into Mother’s throat, soaking Flowridia and the limp wolf in
the monster’s vital fluids.
Mother shrieked,
that same purple glow bursting from the wound, the hilt protruding from beneath
her chin. The smoke, once peaceful, spun into a violent torrent. Aura fell
motionless to the ground as Mother’s cry grew higher, louder. Her clawed hands
shook as she reached toward the knife.
All at once, the
light ceased. Smoke dissipated. Mother fell to the ground, her monstrous form
dissolving into the air. A woman’s corpse, a knife jutting from her throat, lay
in a pool of her own seeping blood.
Flowridia’s sob
cut the taut string of peace. She fell to her knees, giving no mind to how her
skirts absorbed Mother’s blood. Silver fur, stained red, met Flowridia’s
fingers as she desperately pulled Aura’s emaciated form to her lap. The wolf’s
coat, once soft, had become coarse, aged by Mother’s dark magic.
No light in
those golden, clouded eyes. Already, Aura had gone cold. With that came an
awareness of the hollow in Flowridia’s soul. Her familiar, the animal companion
granting her mysterious power, lay dead, and with it her connection to the
world of magic. Muted, all she had worked for; the power she had gained gone
Three years
trapped in hell, but never had she felt so lost. She held Aura’s body to her
chest and wept.

*          *          *
“Here lies Aura
– a friend.”
The words shone
pristine, carved in stone, the last gift she could give her dearest companion.
Content to lie down and starve to death, Flowridia might have lain on the grave
forever had red eyes not shone from the woods.

The demon began
to hunt her then.

About the Author:

S D Simper has lived in both the hottest place on earth and the coldest, spans the employment spectrum from theater teacher to professional editor, and plays more instruments than can be counted on one hand. She and her wife share a home with their two cats and innumerable bookshelves.

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