Elf Defence | Lisa Henry & Sarah Honey
Adventures in Aquillo #2
Release Date: October 22nd, 2020
Royal envoys Calarian and Benji embark on a quest in the alpine duchy of Tournel. Things go rapidly downhill when the duke plummets to his death from the tower wall. Whoops—that’s going to be hard to explain. And it’s not as though they can just grab the nearest human and make him the new duke.
Or can they?
Enter one Lars Melker, a slightly gullible cowherd built entirely of muscles and sunshine, who happily accepts their word when they tell him he’s the duke now.
Soon Calarian and Benji are knee deep in teaching Lars how to fake it until he makes it. They’re also dealing with mountain trolls, a monster, a missing cow, and, most shocking of all, a growing realisation that their elves-with-benefits arrangement might be turning into something with feelings.
Add in their mutual attraction to Lars, and suddenly the hills are alive with the sound of emotionally compromised collectivist anarchist elves.
Also, what’s the deal with those leather shorts?
Benji wiped gingerbread crumbs off the front of his black shirt and glowered at the town square. And then he smirked and snorted, because Calarian was looking a little bit flustered as he stood and stared at one pretty major roadblock on his and Lars’s little mountain troll highway: the pond in the town square with the ugly fountain in the middle of it.
Lars hovered by Calarian looking serious and attentive, and Benji kind of wanted to go over there and push them both in the water. But he didn’t, because he was pointedly ignoring them, and if he pushed them in the pond then they’d know they were getting to him. He settled for glowering instead.
“Good morning!” chirped a golden-haired apple-cheeked little cherub of a child.
Benji glared at it for a moment, but it didn’t seem to take the hint. “Um,” he said. “Death to all kings.”
“Death to all kings,” the child parroted, dimples appearing as it beamed up at him.
Benji felt a little better, then. He peeled himself off the wall he was leaning against, tousled the tiny human’s golden curls, and decided to go back to the bakery and buy more gingerbread.
On his way there he was distracted by the crash of metal on metal and the wall of heat emanating from an open doorway. He stepped inside the doorway, squinting in the fiery glow inside, and his breath caught at the sight of the woman working at the forge.
Did he say woman? No, she was clearly some kind of alpine goddess. She was tall, with muscles that would make Lars look like a stripling. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a thick ponytail, but tendrils escaped and framed her red face. Her sleeves were rolled up, revealing swirling blue tattoos running up her forearms, and her biceps bulged. Her skirts were hitched up as well, and Lars caught a glimpse of a thigh that could crush a man’s skull—and he had a feeling that if she asked for volunteers they would all go willingly. Her skin glowed with sweat, and sparks flew as she slammed a hammer down onto whatever piece of metal she was currently trying to flatten into a pancake. Benji wasn’t sure she needed the hammer to be honest. She looked so fierce that she could probably have just yelled the metal into submission.
“Watch out, pretty boy,” the woman said as a shower of sparks flew in Benji’s direction.
Pretty boy? Benji had never been so simultaneously offended and turned on in his life. Clearly this woman was his previously undiscovered humiliation kink come to life. He hooked his thumbs into his studded belt and crooked an eyebrow at her. “Excuse me, human?”
“You really want to test how flammable you are, cutie pie?” the woman asked.
Benji wondered how much charcoal dust he’d absorbed into his pores after living in the Swamp of Death. He took a step back.
“Smart boy,” the blacksmith said.
Benji hated her. He also kind of wanted to lie naked on the floor so she could step on his balls and make him cry. It was very confusing. He lingered, glaring suspiciously, while the blacksmith finished what she was doing, finally immersing the glowing metal in a tub of water. The water hissed, and steam billowed throughout the workshop.
The blacksmith set the metal aside. “Now, what is it that you need, cutie?”
Benji narrowed his eyes at her. “I am not cute.”
The blacksmith folded her arms over her ample chest and laughed. “Whatever you say.”
Benji curled his lip and strutted forward. “Actually, I’m very interested in knives. For all my murdering.”
The blacksmith was unperturbed. Her mouth curved into a smile, and her blue eyes sparkled. “Is that so?”
“Yes,” Benji said. “I’m an anarchist. I want to burn the world down, and assassinate the ruling classes while I’m at it.”
“Aren’t you the kings’ representatives?” the blacksmith asked. “You and the other elf?”
“I’m bringing the system down from within,” Benji said haughtily.
“Fair enough.” The blacksmith held out her hand. “I’m Gretchen. Nice to meet you.”
“Benji,” Benji said, taking her hand. “Likewise.”
About the Authors
Lisa Henry likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.
Sarah Honey lives in Western Australia with her partner, two cats, two dogs and a TARDIS.
A teacher once told her life’s not a joke.
She begs to differ.
Her proudest achievements include having kids who will still be seen with her in public, and knowing all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Elf Defence is her second published novel.
You can connect with Sarah on Facebook, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To celebrate the release of Elf Defence, Lisa & Sarah are giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card!