Christine N. Kirby is a romance and fantasy author with her debut title, Of Blood and Silver Runes. Living in Florida with her husband and daughter, she loves long walks through Disney parks, sushi dates, and diving into a great book. When she's not working or writing, she spends her time creating art and stationery designs.
You can visit her online at www.christinenkirby.com or on Instagram (@ChristineNKirby).
Magic hasn’t appeared on Myrefall in generations, but that hasn’t lessened the tensions between elves and mortals. Raena lives a simple life, hidden away as the only elf in the mortal town of Moonbridge. An accidental burst of magic chases her from the snowy sanctuary, forcing her to navigate the perils of Myrefall. Alone.
Pursued by the Elven Queen’s Hunters, Raena stumbles not only into the capital city of the Mortal Kingdom but into the king’s court. Approached by the mysterious red priestess who claims that Raena is the answer to the city’s prayers, the Everlasting, promised to protect them from the coming darkness.
Heles the Demon King threatens to claim her realm, but He requires Raena to open the portal. Raena works with the red priestess, using her magic to bestow divine blessings to help the lowliest among them to protect them from the darkness.
But Raena must balance her life as Everlasting and disguised as a mortal courtier. The imminent visit of an elven delegation has her taking matters into her own hands, jeopardizing her role as Everlasting.
If the Demon King escapes the shadow realm, any blood spilled will be on Raena’s hands. How many secrets can she divulge to protect those she cares for while keeping herself out of Heles’ grasp and evading the Elven Queen?
Quickly changing the subject, I asked, “In the event I have another sleepless night, is there anything as interesting as the temple ruins within these gardens?”
“There are fountains and reflecting pools, a greenhouse, a horse-powered well, and a bridge over the lake. There are also two smaller well-kept temples dedicated to the old faith. But those are all better seen in the sun. I could show them to you on a night without an impending thunderstorm.”
As though it had waited for his cue, the first raindrops landed on the greenery around us.
“A storm like this one?” I laughed as a fat raindrop landed on my cheek. “I hope you know the fastest way back to the palace. I’m afraid I’ve gotten turned around in here.”
Untangling our arms, he grasped my hand. “We’ll have to run for it.”
But the storm had other plans. Twenty paces from the terrace, the skies above us opened up and a deluge soaked us both. I let go of his hand, stopping as the cold raindrops landed on me. Closing my eyes and tilting my head to the sky, I laughed.
Zaden turned back for me. “What’s so funny?”
I looked at him. The rain ran down his face just as it poured down mine. Tiny rivers meandered from my face and down the neckline of my gown, plastering my sheer sleeves against my arms.
“I’ve never been caught in the rain before. I must look ridiculous,” I giggled.
Brushing back the hair from the side of my face, he placed his hand on my cheek. “You’re beautiful and captivating, Raena, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.” His thumb brushed across my lower lip, causing my breath to hitch. “May I kiss you now?”
“Yes.” There wasn’t a moment of hesitation in my reply. Or his. The word had barely left my lips before his found them. His arm wrapped around my waist, drawing me closer. His lips were soft on mine and his kiss was gentle, sweet. His tongue lightly lingered on my lips before I parted mine, and I felt a thrill surge through me, the sensation maddening as it danced over my skin. He tasted like a spring breeze after a rain shower, refreshing and intoxicating.
A gentle moan rumbled in his throat, reverberating through every bone in my body. His hand on my waist was hot enough to melt through me, igniting a fire that began in my heart and settled low in my stomach. I shivered, the heat between us enough to turn the rain into steam.
He kissed me with such desire like he couldn’t get enough of me. Every fiber of my body tingled, awakening something deep within me. That kindled passion threatened to consume me, and I happily let it.
Overcome with the desire to feel more of him pressed against me, I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him even deeper. It was as if time had stopped, the raindrops suspended mid-fall and the candles within the palace frozen in their glow. There was only us, only this moment.
A bolt of lightning crashed overhead, charging the air around us with the taste and smell of metal. If not for the storm, I could be convinced that I’d wielded my magic. A gust of wind whirled around us, granting a reprieve from the rain.
I wrapped an arm around him, pulling him closer because I needed more. My left hand grazed over his back as the fingers of my right hand threaded through his hair. It was silky, even in the rain, like golden threads. I’d taken flight or was free-falling from the side of a cliff. Wild, exhilarating, intoxicating. We were drowning in each other and I had no intention to surface for air.
Then his lips released their hold on me. I languished in their absence. What had started softly had intensified between us as our lips clashed together. His breathing was just as ragged and wild as he pressed his forehead to mine. As I slowly blinked my eyes open, tiny purple sparkles of magic swirled around us before they winked out. But I quickly pushed that thought from my mind. Zaden hadn’t noticed so I would draw his attention to the mystical raindrops I’d conjured.
“We should return to the palace now. I think we’ve tempted this storm enough,” he whispered, his voice smoky and thick.
Q&A with the Author
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how became an author?
A: I’m a wife and mom living outside of Orlando, Florida. By day, I work a day-job, oversee my daughter’s fourth grade classes, and all the other tasks of life. By night, I escape into worlds where dragons and magic exist.
I was a creative person before I began writing. Outside of my fulltime job, I own a wedding stationery business, so the rightside of my brain is engaged daily. When a story idea came to me, I learned that the only way I would see how it ended was if I wrote it myself. So I woke up one day, and decided to write. (And I don’t say that to downplay what it means to be an author - it’s been a lot of long nights and chapter rewrites.)
But, as silly as it might sound, I don’t think that I saw myself as an author until I held the first copy of my book.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: It’s organized chaos. I have a notebook for each book, where I start by writing out traits, abilities, and any other notes about each major character. That’s followed by pages of ideas, from names of flowers to book pacing maps.
By the time I open a document to begin writing, I might not know every detail, but I have a pretty good idea of where things are heading and the main idea of each chapter. Occasionally, I have a character that goes against my plans in a certain scene which has led to some rewriting to make it work better. One particular Crown Prince in this book decided he knew better than I did, and I had adjust the rest of the story for him.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I enjoy reading, watercolor painting, or taking walks with my nine year old daughter. It’s usually on those walks that inspiration strikes me.
Q: How do you celebrate when you are finished writing a book?
A: I ordered a sushi dinner from UberEats. Since this was my first book, I also treated myself to a Disney Loungefly bag.
Q: How do you celebrate when your books are released?
A: This will be my first release so I don’t have any traditions yet. But there will probably be cake, since it’ll publish on my husband’s birthday.
Q: Can you tell me how the book/series came about?
A: One night, I was in the place of limbo - between awake and asleep - when the idea formed. I never would have guessed that it would stick with me when I woke the next morning. It wasn’t like anything I’d read before and I needed to know how it ended.
Q: Are any of your characters similar to real-life friends or family?
A: Being in Raena’s head for so long, she accidentally picked up some of my tendencies. I hadn’t intended for her to but they made sense so I kept them. Everyone else has remained independent from real-life influences, but as the story continues, that may change.
Q: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
A: I faced some challenges with a few of Raena’s scenes. She’s been hidden away for nineteen years, raised by mortals, and suppressed everything that may have given her away as elven. When she’s yanked from that life, she would do or say something that came from a place of naivety. I had to really put myself in her shoes because the way I would handle a situation came with my life experiences, and didn’t fit hers. My editor (the awesome @UglyCatPress) helped me refine those instances to show her as innocent and unworldly.
Q: What part of writing this book was the most fun for you?
A: I think it’s weaving the breadcrumbs throughout. Some of those payoff in this book, but there are a few for the larger arc of the series. A few of them have me grinning, because one day I’ll be able to say “it was there all along”.
Q: What Authors or other Books have inspired you to write this book?
A: There have been so many, and each for different reasons. But to pick one: Angela J. Ford. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s written 31 romantasy books and is a bestselling author. I devoured her Gods and Goddesses of Labraid series and her most recent, Married by Wind, is waiting for me on my Kindle.
Q: What is your favorite passage from this book?
A: From Chapter 26 - it still gives me goosebumps.
“I can’t stop thinking about you.”
I stopped but didn’t turn to face him.
“During the day, I swear I catch glimpses of you and hear your voice whispering to me,” he continued. “Seeing you this evening took every ounce of willpower not to rip you from the Duke’s attention. But even that torture is nothing compared to the way you haunt me at night. In my thoughts, my dreams.”
“I can’t.” I shook my head.
“Tell me you don’t think of me. That you hate when our eyes meet. That when your heart beats, it doesn’t say my name. Tell me, and I’ll never speak to you again.”
“And what if I can’t?” I spun to face him, my shawl fluttering around me. “What if I didn’t want to walk away from you in the library? What if a part of me shattered when she was paraded before you? What if I would crumble to know there’ll be others?” I climbed a step with each question. Standing close enough to him in the shadows that I risked the flame of my candle igniting us both, I asked, “What if I wish you could be with me?”
Q: If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them?
A: While he might scare me a little, I’d love to sit down with Heles. I’d tell Him that this isn’t the only way, but He wouldn’t listen. I already know that He has quite the story to tell and I’d listen to each detail, knowing that He believes He’s the savior in this story. And at the end of it, I’d be the one leaving that conversation more heartbroken than I went into feeling.