Today, I've the lovely Cathi Shaw on with her brandy new cover for Five Corners, The Marked Ones.
Five Corners: Book 1
The Marked Ones
Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls. Kiara's suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life.
Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do. After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn't trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.
Kiara felt her face heat with anger. "You judge me too quickly, Outlander," she said coldly.
Kiara felt Thia's fingers grasping her arm. "Kiara, stop, this is not helpful."
Caedmon nodded. "Listen to your little sister, girl. She at least speaks sense."
Kiara shook Thia off. "What do you know of it?" she demanded as she took three steps closer until she was within arm's length of Caedmon. She forced herself to ignore the fact that her head barely reached his shoulders. Showing Caedmon how his physical size affected her would not help matters.
"Hey, I was thinking of going into the Village to see what we could find. How about it?" Teague broke in with a grin and a nod toward the street. "C'mon Caedmon, you know a pint of ale and a pretty new face might lighten your mood."
Caedmon ignored his brother and took a step closer to Kiara, erasing the little space that had remained between them. Kiara fought the sudden urge to step away again. Instead she smiled dismissively.
"Yes, why don't you listen to your brother, Caedmon, and go find a sweet Village lass to dally with. Stars knows, our serving maids have had their fill of you."
Caedmon's dark eyes were devoid of emotion. "How many men have you killed, Kiara?" he asked, his deep voice taking on a menacing tone as it radiated through her.
She tossed her head. "I've had plenty of kills."
He shook his head. "Animals, perhaps." He leaned closer using his size and physical proximity in an attempt to intimidate her.
Realizing what he was doing, Kiara forced her lips to tilt up in a shadow of a smile. Then she leaned even closer and whispered, "Same thing."
His eyes hardened. "That statement shows how naïve and unprepared you are." He turned away in disgust and said to Teague, "They really thought she would help? Are we to babysit?"
Teague's teasing manner disappeared swiftly. "Caedmon, you know why we're here."
"Why are you here?" Thia asked suddenly. "I, for one, would like an answer to that question."
Her sister had a point. What was the reason for their sudden appearance at the Inn?
Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.