Sunday, February 8, 2015

Book Blitz, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Mardan's Mark by Kathrese McKee!

Mardan's Mark (Mardan's Mark, #1)
Release Date: 12/25/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Srilani is second in line to the throne, and she’s always known what is expected of a princess — bring honor to her family and marry well. Aldan has been a pirate’s slave for as long as he can remember, and all he wants is to be free. The Twin Kingdoms have been sister nations for centuries, but now their unity and existence are threatened by enemies both inside and outside their borders.

After pirates abduct Srilani and her three siblings, they are stranded behind enemy lines and across the Great Gulf. As the eldest, Srilani is faced with the dangerous task of bringing her father’s heir home. She convinces Aldan and his two fellow slaves to share their journey to freedom. These unlikely allies — seven young captives — must defeat the web of lies, murder, and betrayal tearing the kingdoms apart.


“Aldan, bring wine!”

Aldan stopped polishing the brass lantern in his hands and hung it back on its hook. Wine? In the middle of the day?

A watchful silence fell over the pirates on deck. Captain Rozar rarely drank and never before nightfall. Aldan turned to see what held the crew’s attention and noticed a tiny sailboat approaching from the west.

Rozar glared around at his men. “Get back to work, you lot.” The captain’s attention swung back to the sailboat. Scar, the first mate, was out of sight. Aldan took the chance to linger near the hatch.

The craft drew up along Cathartid’s port side, and a stranger in riding boots and a green tunic climbed the ship’s ladder, greeted the captain like an old friend, and spoke near Rozar’s ear. A wicked smile bloomed across the captain’s face.

Aldan slid down the ladder without touching the rungs and hurried to fetch wine and two goblets on a tray from the galley.

Biscuits, the cook, delayed him with questions, but Aldan broke away, promising to talk later. He reached the captain’s stout door and listened hard. The door masked most of the words, but they were speaking in Marstan instead of Norlan. He knocked on the door, waited for Rozar’s answer, and swung it open.

“Ah, Aldan. Come in, come in.” Rozar laughed and rubbed his palms together.

Aldan set the tray on the captain’s table and backed into the corner to watch, as stealthy as a ship’s rat, taking care not to rap his head against the angled beams.

Rozar poured a liberal amount of wine into each vessel. “Join me in a toast, my friend.”

“With pleasure,” Green Tunic said. He took the proffered drink and waited.

“You’ve brought me the best possible news at exactly the right time.” Rozar set aside the flagon and lifted his goblet. “To Fortune! May she shine as brightly on you and me as Sol shines today.”

“Hear, hear,” Green Tunic said, lifting his glass to touch Rozar’s. “To your success.”

Rozar took a long sip. “Mmm,” he murmured.

Wait until Sam and Linus heard about this. Aldan dug his bare toes into the captain’s prized silk rug and relished the cool sea breeze flowing through the open porthole. He studied the stranger, memorizing every detail. A golden wolf’s head adorned his uniform’s left breast. What was the man’s name? If the stranger was Rozar’s friend, why hadn’t they seen him before?

Rozar took another swig of wine and thumped his goblet down. “Please, sit with me a few moments before you cast off again.” His dark gaze darted to Aldan, and he snapped his fingers. “You. Out. Wait outside the cabin door until I call.”

Aldan bowed himself out of the cabin and pulled the door closed. He didn’t dare listen through the keyhole. No news was worth a thrashing. He put his back to the beam across from Rozar’s cabin and listened to the sounds of the pirate ship and her crew.
Cathartid creaked and groaned around him, complaining about being too close to land when she could be hunting in the Great Gulf. A shadow fell over him, and he ducked in time to avoid Scar’s beefy fist.

“You got time to stand around, do you? I know you have work to be doing, you layabout.” The first mate grabbed Aldan’s wrist and gave it a vicious twist. “Well? Why are you still standing here?”

“Captain Rozar’s orders,” Aldan said through gritted teeth. He met Scar’s bloodshot eyes glare for glare. Every detail of the mate’s disfigured face sprang into sharp focus, including Azor, the alligator god, tattooed on his cheekbone.

“Oh, that’s likely.” Scar gave his arm a wrenching yank and let go. “You know Marstan. What did they say?”

Aldan shook his head. “They drank a toast to Fortune, and Rozar told me to get out and wait here. That’s all I know.”

“Don’t know much, do you?” Scar spit at his feet.

Aldan didn’t answer or move a muscle.

“Stupid slave.” The first mate turned on his heel and ascended the nearby ladder to the deck above.

Aldan checked both ways before he grimaced and rubbed his throbbing wrist. A whisper of sound captured his attention.

Linus emerged from the space beneath the ladder. He wore unrelieved black. Combined with his ebony skin, his clothing acted like camouflage in the ship’s gloomy interior.

Linus paused, tilting his head to listen. “That one is the son of a devil,” he said.

Aldan nodded. “His mother was a squid.”

“Indeed.” Linus gestured to Rozar’s closed door. “No news?”

“Not yet. Rozar’s half-crazed, he’s so excited.”

His friend heaved a solemn sigh. “Someone will suffer.”

“Better clear out before anyone sees you, Brother.” But Linus was already out of sight, gone without a sound.



About the Author
Kathrese McKee writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life's difficult questions.  She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.
Mardan's Mark, the first book in the Mardan's Mark series, has won a couple of awards:
Winner: 2014 Novel Rocket Launch Pad Contest, MG/YA Category
Finalist: 2014 Phoenix Rattler writing contest, Christian Writers of the West (CWOW) - Arizona's ACFW affiliate

The sequel, Mardan's Anointed, is in process along with a related novella.

Author Links:

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  1. A princess, pirates and freeing slaves, what's not to like? I enjoyed the excerpt!

  2. Replies
    1. I agree- let me know if you decide to check it out :)

  3. They say don't judge a book by its cover but look at it! It's calling my name and telling me it's just right for me. I need it.

  4. the excerpt got me already, what's not to like pirates, ahoy d'matey!