Grudging by {Michelle Hauck}

Author: Michelle Hauck

Pub. Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Format: eBook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.
The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.
On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.
But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power.  And time is running out.
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.
Shortly after the combat, Ramiro made his excuses to the men at the wall and left,
returning to the citadel and taking the stairs to the roof. Some alcalde’s wife from the past had turned
this spot into an outdoor garden and dining room, making it a favorite retreat
for many. A peaceful place when he felt anything but.
Other people’s blood spotted his white shirt. Had things gone differently, it could
easily have been his own. He needed a bath and a rest, but his mind hummed from
the conflict, leaving him unable to stop pacing. Cold chills claimed his limbs.
His stomach was sourer than when alcohol had filled it. With no clear single-combat
victory, he hadn’t earned his beard. The night reeked of disappointment.
How long? How long could they keep the Northerners out?
Stars spotted the night sky here, where the citadel met the top of the world. Or so
it had always seemed to him as a child. Life was no longer so certain now that
he was older.
He drew in the cool scent of creeping jasmine, carefully tended and watered by
hand in pots across the rooftop. Colina Hermosa spread before him, a humbling
sight. The city stretched away from the citadel on all sides, a jewel shining
with lights. It spread down the hill, becoming wider and grander as it
sprawled, with imposing avenues and white-clad stucco buildings whose thick
walls and small windows kept out the noonday heat. There was squalor and dirt
as well, fits of temper, rudeness, and often impatience. But the darkness hid
all that, washing the city of its faults and giving it a fresh life until it
tumbled like the sea against the immovable stone walls that now held out the
His heart swelled with love. Something worth defending. Home.
Outside the high, white walls, well beyond arrow shot, was a sight not so welcoming.
There, jammed between the city and a deep, old quarry used to build the city
walls, campfires burned. A red swarm of rage and death, brimstone and smoke,
offering a grim contrast with the peaceful firmament. Not by the hundreds did
they burn, but by the thousands, mirroring the stars in the sky. How many
peasants’ houses did they demolish to feed so much hungry fire? They must be
down to burning cacti. How they kept it up night after night, he couldn’t begin
to comprehend. Salvador had talked on about supply trains and quartermasters, but Ramiro had let his
imagination dwell on his first ride instead. An indulgence he regretted now.
If only each fire meant a single enemy, but that was wishful thinking. Each fire
contained tens of men. Tens and thousands. And behind them, the siege machines
waited their turn. A lethal combination for Colina Hermosa.
He touched the spot above his spleen, and whispered, “Santiago, don’t let me give in
to despair.”
About Michelle: 

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Published by


Come in for some coffee and homemade plum jelly. My husband, Farmer Bill, made it. It’s the best in our part of Texas. I promise, between incubating peafowl eggs and bottle-feeding farm babies, I’m currently stuck in elsewhere worlds out the wahzoo. So, if you stick around a little while, you’ll get to join me on some of my adventures… plus chickens. Official Bio: Bokerah Brumley lives on ten permaculture acres, complete with sheep, goats, peacocks, turkeys, geese, guineas, ducks, chickens, five home-educated children, and one husband. For more information and a complete list of published works, please visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s