Amber Wing Press - Books By Leandra Martin
Take a Peek:
Announcing new Fantasy Series:
The Veil of Shadows
Book 1: Through the Veil
A World Imagined
 
Kate sat on the bank of the river, dipping her toes in the ice cold water. The thick stand of trees stood mighty and majestic over her, and the light summer breeze blew the loose strands of her hair, which was long again. The morning sun shone down on her chestnut hair, the highlights shining. She hadn't been here in awhile, almost three years, and she only came today for escape and reminiscing. 
   The notebook she had written her story in for almost her entire life sat closed at her hip. She had taken it out to read over her work again, work she hadn't touched since Ben left. School and jobs took most of her time, but she missed just wasting time here, listening to the rapids rolling by. An occasional boat, whether row or motor, slipped past her, the occupants fishing or just enjoying the swiftly flowing waters.
   She tipped her head back so the rays of the warm summer sun touched her face, closed her eyes to revel in the contentment of the lazy morning. She should take the time to come here more often; it was peaceful and quiet, and her thoughts were not jumbled with the stresses of everyday life here.
   She heard a sound to her left and opened her eyes, dropping her head back and looking around. She was sure she heard footsteps but came to the conclusion it was just a bird hopping around in the underbrush looking for worms or seeds. She closed her eyes once more.
   She heard the sound again, more pronounced this time, too heavy to be a bird or squirrel. She was letting her imagination run away with her, swearing she felt a presence near her. She opened her eyes just to prove she was imagining things, but to her surprise she was not alone. She sat up straighter, startled.
   There was a man there, a young man, who seemed familiar to her although she knew she'd never seen him before. He stood about six feet tall, had muscular arms and legs, a flat torso, and his eyes were a light color of sea green which she could see even from a distance. He made no moves toward her, and she got no sense of danger from him; he simply stared at her, absentmindedly peeling a leaf.  He was dressed oddly, long-sleeved tunic type shirt tucked into black leather tie-front pants, and even from here she could tell how well they fit. His hair was neatly trimmed, and he had just a hint of facial hair, as if he hadn't shaven for maybe a couple of days. He was extremely handsome, and she felt her cheeks flush with heat as he stood there and gazed at her.
   After a few minutes, he broke the silence. “It is amazing that I found you here today. I have been waiting for a long time for you to return. It has been awhile since you have sat on these banks.”
   “How do you know that? Who are you?”
   “You know who I am, Kate. I know you have not forgotten me entirely.”
   “You seem familiar.”
   He laughed. “I should. After all, you created me.”
   She stared at him. Once he said it she knew who he was. She laughed at herself. It was impossible of course. She was obviously dreaming, and she admitted it was a good one. “This is a very vivid dream. I’ve never been in one this realistic. It's almost as if you were standing right here, almost like I could touch you.”
   “You can.” He moved closer to her. She felt she should back away from him, but something in his eyes and the way he moved made her pause. She felt no malice, no evil. She felt more at peace at this moment than she had in a long time. When he reached her side she could see his features up close. Face to face he seemed older than first glance; lines on his face made him look a bit weary. Only the brightness of his green eyes, which dazzled in the sunshine, kept his young features in check.
   “If you do not believe what you see, touch my face. Feel my skin under your fingers. I am here, just as you are.”
   She reached out to touch him, but pulled her hand away as if burned. He took it in his and brought it to his cheek. She could feel the smoothness of his skin, despite the stubble, and the warmth of it. She stared into his eyes, and this close, she could see herself reflected back at her.
   “I’ve never had a dream so real that I could feel another person's skin, feel another person's breath on my face. I don't even remember falling asleep.”
   “You are not asleep, Kate. You are awake. The sensation of our closeness should convince you.”
   “It's impossible. You’re a story, a fantasy.”
   “And yet with each page you felt we were more alive.”
   “You’re my imagination.”
   “Yes, I am, but I am real as well.”
   “I haven't written for years, haven't thought about you in a long time. How could you be here?”
   “Did you think we would just fade away into oblivion because you left? We have been born, grew, and have lived our lives according to your will. You have given us life, but things are changing. If we cannot find a way to fight the evil that is coming we will eventually fade away into nothing, and eventually we will cease to be.”
   She looked down at her notebook. A shiver raced up her spine at the inconceivable notion that her story had come to life. “Why are you here?”
   “I need your help, Kate. Faldor has grown strong. He has decided that his brother should not sit on the throne and will do anything to have it, no matter the cost. With the help of an evil sorcerer and black magic, he has begun a campaign to usurp his brother from the throne and take over the kingdom. I need you to help me stop him.”
   She stared at him, eyes squinted in the light of the sun that had shifted positions since she had arrived. She felt his presence just as she did the trees and the water. She wanted desperately to believe that he was flesh, but he couldn’t be. He was just the imagination of a silly girl who felt most alive when creating worlds that only she could see. But she was no longer a girl, and imaginations did not belong to grown-ups.
   “I'm going to sit back down and close my eyes. When I open them again, you’ll be gone, faded from my memory like only a dream does.”
   He grabbed her arms and looked into her face. “I have come to find you, Kate, to tell you that we will all die if you do not help me turn the future around. We cannot fight alone. Things have gone too far. Erryk has tried to talk Faldor into turning away from this path that can only lead to suffering and death, but he will not listen. He wants the throne, and he will get it if you do not help.”
   “How can I help?”
   “You can come with me. Help me turn things around. Help Erryk vanquish his brother and save his throne and his kingdom. The kingdom of Mystral needs you.”
   “What do you mean come with you? You’re pages in a notebook. I can’t come with you.”
   “But you can. Let me show you.”
   She felt her heart sing at the thought of being in Mystral, of seeing things as clearly with her own eyes as she could see them in her mind. See the beauty of the land, the majestic mountains, the thick forests and the sparkling waves of the sea. See the castles of Mystral, gray stone structures with breathtaking panoramic views, endless gardens and powerful armies. She shook out her muddled head. She wanted desperately to go but refused to give in to what could only be a fantasy.
   “I can’t go. I have a life here.”
   “Yes, but can you live your life without us, without the world that brings you peace in your heart? We are a part of you, just as you are a part of us. Help me, Kate. Come with me.”
   He stuck out his hand for her to take, but she could only stare. The real world that surrounded her seemed to shimmer with mist, started to take on a different look. She felt as if she were stuck between two places and couldn't make either one come into focus. She tried to make her body move in one direction or the other, but it would not cooperate. She felt like she was outside herself. She closed her eyes and swallowed, opening them again, hoping something would become clearer. She saw him, standing there looking sullen, his face conveying a fear that hadn't previously shown in his eyes or heard in his voice. She moved closer to him, taking his hand in hers, closing her eyes again. She could still feel his touch, his closeness to her, and the smell of him, soap and leather. His hand wasn't as rough as she had imagined, but she could tell by the feel of them that he was a warrior. She wanted to wrap her arms around him and feel her body against his, but she didn't, she wouldn’t. She opened her eyes again and he was still there, still holding her small hand in his larger one. His green eyes up close were more hypnotizing, and she wanted to get lost in them forever. This was the man she wanted, the man she needed in her life, but he had never come, had never made himself a reality in her life. She remembered back to an afternoon similar to this one, when she thought for sure someone had been watching her from the opposite bank. She was certain she saw someone, but when the mist had cleared, no one was there. Could he have been there that day? She wished he had shown himself before, but he was here now, and Kate decided to take a chance.
   “Kate, do you trust me?”
   She answered before thinking. “Yes.”
   He didn't say another word. He led her to the edge of the river, the water’s sound ringing louder the nearer she got. He turned slightly west and passed a tree that she was sure wasn't there before. They walked hand in hand, never uttering even a sound as they wended their way down the riverbank and out into a clearing. She stopped.


The Science-Fiction Series
L'Landra's Tale:
Book 1- A New Day For The Dauntless
I saw the fires blazing from the surface of the planet. I smelled the smoke and singed wood and watched the thick black clouds billow into the air and move across the landscape like the angel of death. I heard the sounds of screams, of people running from the barrage of laser fire that strafed the countryside. Buildings were collapsing, vegetation was on fire, and it was spreading rapidly. I felt helpless, I had no control. How could this have happened on my watch? How could I have lost hold of the situation so badly that my entire world was literally crashing down on me and everyone else under my wing? I yelled out commands, directed people to the ships that waited to get them off the surface of the exploding planet.
The battle cruiser Dauntless was occupied in the sky with the fighters, but I had to make sure the people left, had to make sure as many survived as possible. The smoke was stinging my eyes, and I coughed several times from the stench that choked me, but I kept on. I wouldn’t stop until every last ship was full, and every last survivor was away from the fire, away from the destruction. I didn’t know where we would go, I didn’t know what we would do to survive, but I knew I wouldn’t rest until we were safe. All of us. Time was running out…..

Book 2- Ghosts, Past and Future
“This is the high stakes table, love. What’s in the envelope?”
“The highest stakes there are.”
He reached across and slid it toward him, opening it up. He pulled out the documents, then looked back up at me. “This is your bet?”
“You win, I sign and walk away. I win, I tear it up and you come back with me.”
He stared at me for the longest time, trying, I would imagine, to decide if the risk was worth it. He finally smiled at me and nodded to the seat across from him. I sat down and stared across the table. He blew out another puff of smoke, and it swirled above his head like a halo before disappearing in the ceiling vents. His burnt honey colored eyes sparkled under the neon, and his smile seemed extra electrifying tonight. I felt a small pang of doubt churn in my gut, but I forced it down and smiled back with the best confidence I could muster. If he saw me sweat, he’d have me before the cards were even dealt.
“Pick your game. Ladies choice,” he said.
“Let’s make it simple. Five card draw, nothing wild. Highest hand wins.”
“That’s risky odds,” he stated.
“Are you folding already?”
He grinned at me again behind his cigar. “Nope, the riskier the odds, the better I like it.”
This is what I had counted on. A game of chance, his game, with the highest stakes. I knew he’d bite. 
“Okay then.” I looked up at the dealer. “Deal.”
The dealer dealt the cards, five to each of us, and placed the remainder of the stack on the table. I picked up my cards and looked at them. A nine, Jack and a King, all spades, with two junk cards, a five and a seven. I took out the five and the seven and placed them on the table.
“Two cards please.”
The dealer took the two cards away and dealt two new ones. I slid them over and picked them up. My hands were shaky and all of a sudden, it felt too hot in the room. The neons felt like they were baking my scalp. I focused. I looked at the cards. I couldn’t believe it. A ten and a queen of spades. I had a Straight Flush. I tried to do exactly as Seth and Skyler had taught me. I held back the happiness I felt at the moment. I kept a straight face, unreadable. The only way Dalton could beat me was if he had a Royal Flush; a ten, Jack, Queen, King and an ace, all one suit. The odds of getting that was extremely slim, even with his flawless system. Inside I was jumping up and down. 
Dalton looked at me over his cards, smiling. He placed four cards down on the table. Four cards? He was going to try and win by taking four new cards? Now the odds were near impossible. The odds of him getting a Royal Flush with one card in his hand was astronomical. The dealer took the four cards and dealt four new ones. Dalton slid the four new cards toward him and put them into his hand. He smiled larger now, but I just stared at him.
“Call it,” he said behind his cigar.
I put my cards on the table. Now I smiled, big. “Straight Flush.”
He peeked at his cards and smiled even larger than before, looking from my cards to his. I knew he was bluffing. There was no way he could win; his smile was to try and throw me off.
He laid down his cards, fanned out so I could unmistakably see them. My heart sank. He had a Royal Flush. The odds of getting that hand from four new cards was probably a million to one, but he did it. I swallowed. My hands were shaking;  I tried to steady them under the table. He blew out another puff of smoke. He stared at me, probably wondering what I was going to do. My heart was broken, but I swore to myself I’d be strong. After all, I was the one who risked it. I was true to my word. I would sign his papers and walk away. I would cry about it later. 

           Book 3- Riding The Storm Out
Commander Watts sat in his chair on the bridge, listening and seeing commotion taking place on the ship in front of them. The general was firing at the captain, but she had anticipated his moves, and he was missing. She managed to slip past him and out the bridge doorway. Then all of a sudden all hell broke loose.
There were explosion noises, yelling and blaster fire, then the screen went dark, so did the audio. He turned to his communication officer. “What in the hell happened?”
“Communications from the general have been disabled. I cannot get a fix on him or detect him at all.”
“She got the drop on him? How in the hell did that happen?”
“The sensors picked up several detonation devices having blown. I believe she is blowing up the ship from the inside, sir.”
He turned back to the screen. “Did he get out?”
“No way to tell, sir, all communications are dark.”
The commander waited patiently and nervously for some sign that the general had escaped and would soon emerge from the imploding ship. After a few minutes he saw a small ship make its way out of the launch tube and into open space, the Wayfarer a ball of flames behind it.
“ID confirmation on that ship, Lieutenant.”
“Not ours, sir.”
Commander Watts slumped back to his chair. He was in command now. “Lieutenant, we have a mission to finish. All hands on deck, prepare for annihilation.” A message was sent over the communications band for all battleships to open fire on the base. All ships pushed into overdrive to prepare for open war.

The Fantasy Series
The Tanith Prophecy
Book 1- Dark One Rising
 King Randor Breslin of Aaralyn, and his son, Kevaan Reese, looked down on the courtyard from a second- story window, watching the display of men-at-arms below. Two figures moved around the fighting arena with fury, feet kicking up the dirt underneath them, attacking and parrying each other’s onslaught with refined skill. One was large and strong, with fully defined muscles, the other small and quick, looking too frail to possibly win this match. The show was lengthy, but they were tiring, and soon a winner would prevail. The smaller figure finally beat his opponent, knocking the sword from his hand. The figure pulled off the safety helm and loosened a thick mane of golden red hair. She looked upon her opponent with a disarming smile. The other figure picked up his sword, bowed to his victor and walked away.

Book 2- Aelethia's Hope
Kevaan’s men pounded the army for days with sword, mace and trebuchet boulders, pushing them back for a while, then pulling back themselves. The army of creatures were relentless, another gorgon entering into the mix, spewing fire at the running men, singing the earth with blazing flame. He knew how to take the creature out now, after having rid Lachlan’s walls from the previous beast, and the last one to have arrived into the battle, but instead of taking it out with sword like on the wall of the castle, the arrowmen battled it with arrows. It took considerably longer, but he knew trying to slice it down by sword on the open plain would be suicide.
The dwarves were short, but they were strong and fierce, wielding their axes and maces with fury. Dagon led his men with stern orders but did not hold back himself from the fight. He dug in and attacked the enemy with gusto. Kevaan was fond of the small but gruff dwarf and was honored to have him in the fray. They were all fighting strongly, but he could see from the way his men moved that they were tiring. They had been at it for several days without much rest. The creatures in Fallon’s ranks didn’t require sleep, but humans did. He ordered his men to take rest in shifts, but he admitted that with everything going on, sleep would be difficult. If they didn’t stop for solid rest soon, they may tire themselves to the brink and they would be overtaken. He cursed Fallon under his breath. Even when he wasn’t here, he was a formidable force to be reckoned with, and Kevaan was worried. He didn’t know how much longer they could hold on; even he was tiring to the point of exhaustion. He fought just to keep himself in the saddle, much less keep his sword arm swinging. He flit his mind for just a moment to the other end of the kingdom and wondered how his friends were faring. He feared that they may also be feeling the effects of a never ending onslaught. He hoped that Melenthia would be able to endure, and soon, before they all gave in to exhaustion.

Here is a sneak peek at an excerpt from my latest book- 
Dragon Walk. Coming soon...
“Maybe it’s your Calling Summons.”
Hawley looked over at his friend. “Already?”
“Already? You turn seventeen next month, or did you conveniently forget?”
“No, I didn’t forget. I was trying to, but I didn’t.”
“What’s the big deal?”
“Well you know, my father is a general in the guard, my grandfather was a general, my great-grandfather was a general. It’s expected that I follow in their footsteps. I don’t want to be in the army.”
“What do you want to be? A hunter-gatherer?” He sniggered.
“No, I wanna be a Dragon Walker.”
Tam stopped dead in his tracks and looked at his best friend. He and Hawley had known each other their whole lives, going on almost fifteen years now and he had never heard Hawley mention it, much less talk about it. Dragon Walkers were an elite group of men and women who were picked by their skill to walk with the dragons and lead armies into battle. You and your dragon were joined mentally and you walked with your dragon for life. It was a high honor, a difficult job, and you could never quit or retire. It was your life, literally, until the day you died. Not many people could hack it, that’s why you were chosen and you couldn’t apply. You didn’t seek to be a Dragon Walker, they sought you. Hawley had never even picked up a sword, he doubted he would ever be chosen for such a high honor but Tam would never berate him for having a dream.
“Wow, Haw, I’ve never heard you mention that before. I know you’re fascinated with the whole concept and you’ve loved dragons since you were a child, but I’ve never heard you talk about wanting to do it.”
“I know. It’s not something you talk about because it’s not something you should ever think about unless you’re approached by the White Council, but lately, in the last couple of years, I’ve thought about nothing else. I never told you because I was afraid Annika would find out and she’d blab.”
“You don’t give your sister enough credit, Haw. You’re her hero. She would never betray your trust on something like that. She’s old enough to understand the concept of it.”
“You’re her hero. I’m just her brother.”
“Wrong. She has a crush on me, but you’re her real hero. She sees you as someone who could do or be anything. She would probably understand more than anyone, even me, about what it would mean.”
He shrugged. “Maybe you’re right.” He glanced quickly at his best friend. “You think I’m crazy don’t you?”
Tamalyn Watkins was taller than Hawley by about five inches, and he had tan skin and straight teeth. His chest was broad and when he was shirtless in the arena working with the horses, Hawley could see the ladies gawking and swooning at his manly physique. Hawley wasn’t gangly or scrawny, at least not anymore, his chest was broad and his skin was also tan, but he was awkward around the opposite sex and that made the girls gravitate more to Tam. Tam had blond hair, which he wore longish and a lock was always falling on his forehead, like now. His pale blue eyes always held a boyish sparkle and gave him away anytime he was up to no good. Hawley’s brown hair was bland in comparison and his ordinary hazel eyes held determination, but no boyish charm. He was the more serious of the two boys, and Hawley sometimes wished he could let himself enjoy life more, instead of always being worried about his future. “I don’t think you’re crazy, Haw. I think having a dream is great.”
Hawley stole a look at his oldest friend, then looked away and continued to walk. “You didn’t elaborate on that so I assume that even though you think having a dream isn’t crazy, acting on that dream is.”
“Not crazy, just risky.”
“Isn’t life about risk? About not sitting around doing what everyone else thinks is best, but what you think is best for yourself?”
“Sure, but not many people know what’s best for them.”
“Well it certainly isn’t following blindly in the footsteps of my ancestors if I know it won’t make me happy.”
“Then don’t you think you should’ve acted on this before today? What if the dispatch from the palace is your Calling Summons?”
“What if it is?”
“What are you going to do? Say ‘thanks for thinking of me, but no thanks?’”
“Why not?”
Tam stopped walking and stood in front of his best friend, placing his hands on his shoulders. “Haw, you’re my best friend and I care about you more than anyone. You know that, right?” Haw nodded. “I would never berate you for what you want, and I will support you in whatever you choose, but before I do, I want to make something perfectly clear. You’re going to be scorned, and yelled at, and punished until you are too old to care anymore, if you go through with this. You know that, right?”
“Yes.”
He removed his hands. “Alright then. Just so you know.”
Tam started off down the path again and Haw took extra steps to catch up with his best friend’s long-legged stride, smiling. Just when he thought Tam wouldn’t understand, when he thought Tam wouldn’t surprise him with his practical admonishment, he proved Hawley wrong.
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