Amber Wing Press - Books By Leandra Martin

Have you ever wished you could step into a fantasy world and get lost in it? Have you ever wished that you could live in that world forever? Well, that's exactly what Kate Byron wanted. She wanted nothing more than to live in the world she created, live the lives with the characters she had dreamed and written about all her life. Her wish is about to come true.

When Kate's best friend and the love of her life moves away, she is devastated. When she realizes that her story, the one that her best friend helped her create, is no longer possible without his companionship and love, she stops writing it and resolves to live in the real world, a world she doesn't fit in.

While resting by the river where her and her best friend used to spend most of their time, a man comes out of the mist. At first she doesn't believe her eyes, for the handsome man of her dreams is only a character on paper. Soon she realizes when he touches her, that he is indeed real. Mystral is falling apart he tells her. Mystral is the world she dreamed about, the world she created, and she needs to save it at all cost. But will that cost be too high? Once crossing through the veil, will her dream world be everything she hoped, or will she discover that it holds far more pain and loss than she ever imagined?

Take a Peek:

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.



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