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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cover Reveal: A Cut Twice as Deep by Wendy L. Anderson

by Wendy L. Anderson
September 24, 2020 (First Edition)
Genre: Fantasy/ Romantic Fantasy/ Vikings
Twin Sisters with a bond forged in blood and fire, face betrayal and fear.

Twin sisters, Liana and Deirdre were inseparable like the two halves of a double-bladed axe, making the pain of having to leave each other a cut twice as deep. Their father, Gorsedd Gunnarson, King of the great country of Svartur Rokk, did not care about twin bonds or his daughter’s preferences and severed the pair with a single blow. Both Liana and Deirdre have been sold to the highest bidders for ships, weapons, and alliances. For Gorsedd Gunnarson these are very profitable and advantageous marriage arrangements, but the twin sisters would be torn from each other's lives and sent to lands far apart forever! Liana is forced to leave her childhood sweetheart and marry a stranger. Sweet, timid Deirdre would be wed to a Viking warlord. One would leave her home on a ship and the other on a horse. Both would travel great distances to new lands. Given no choice but to embrace the lives planned for them, they find that the future holds more than they could ever have suspected. In a land where blood and ice reign, danger and betrayal war with love and hope.

Can they fight to find happiness in a ruthless world ruled by the sword and axe?

“This night!” Gorsedd Gunnarson’s deep voice boomed out and the men stilled to listen. “We celebrate!” Everyone roared in response and then quieted.

“Raise your mead horns and drink to my daughters!”

The men raised their horns and cheered loudly, sloshing mead on the tables and over their hands.

This was strange behavior coming from their father and Liana and Deirdre exchanged surprised glances as they moved slowly toward the front of the room. Pulled forward by this uncustomary sentiment, their father had their full attention.

“Tonight!” Gorsedd boomed again, waiting for the men to quiet down and regain everyone’s attention. “We celebrate the betrothal of both my daughters! Drink to our good fortune! SKOL!”

All eyes turned to stare, and the men drank to Liana and Deirdre.

“Skol!” they all shouted then quieted as Gorsedd began to speak again.

“For my eldest Liana, I have arranged a marriage contract with Tiernan Lachlan of Lochlannach and Kearn Mac An-Bharain of Noreg for Deirdre.”

He gestured toward strangers in the hall and bellowed.

“Welcome men from Lochlannach to Svartur Rokk, and my great mead hall where the warriors are more skilled at sword and drinking! These men will be taking Liana across Loch Indaal to marry Tiernan Lachlan!”

Loud cheers rang out and the men raised their drinking horns in salute, sloshed mead into their mouths, and banged their daggers on the tables.

Both Liana and Deirdre stared in wide-eyed shock at their father, their mouths falling open. This was the first time they had heard this news, and both girls stood stunned, disbelieving their ears. They turned and looked at each other, terror written on their identical faces. The men at the tables murmured and some continued to cheer, a few fell to grumbling.

Deirdre staggered in disbelief and her frightened gaze stayed fixed on Liana while she slammed down the pitcher of mead she had been holding onto the nearest table. Her furious gaze flew back and forth between their father and Deirdre. Then as the full realization of this announcement sunk in further, her panicked gaze flew to the next table where Thorsten Halfdane sat. She stood frozen as she noticed he was staring at her, both of them equally stunned. Thorsten grew red-faced with anger and rose to his feet. Refusing to drink to the toast he overturned his drinking horn, spilling the contents on the table and stormed from the hall, shoving men out of his way as he made for the door.

Everyone knew Liana was Thorsten Halfdane’s choice. Thorsten and Liana had been sweethearts since they were children. Liana loved Thorsten and she could not believe what her ears had just heard, she was being given to another. She fumed inside at not being consulted before being sold off to some stranger across the loch like a common slave.

Gorsedd sat down and demanded more mead and the celebration continued, growing louder and more boisterous as the night grew old and the mead continued to flow. As the shock settled in the pits of their stomachs, both Liana and Deirdre approached their father together. The torchlight gleamed off their white-gold braids and their identical grief-stricken faces.

“Father, what are these marriage contracts? Why have we not been told of this before?” Liana spoke quickly to her father who grabbed a handful of meat and shoved it in his mouth with a greasy hand.

“Father? I don’t understand?” Deirdre faltered, unable to continue, she looked at him and tried to gain his attention, her blue eyes stricken with sorrow. Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks, and she looked to Liana for comfort.

Gorsedd chewed for a while and washed his meat down with a gulp of mead. The golden liquid dribbled down his beard, and he swiped his massive hand over his mouth. A look of pure arrogance took over his face as he leaned toward his daughters and pointed a greasy finger at one and then the other.

“I do not have to explain myself to you two.” Waving the finger back and forth between them both. “You will do your duty to me and go where I tell you. Liana will marry Tiernan Lachlan of Lochlannach because I say it will be so! Your bride price will bring me an important alliance and two new ships. Kearn Mac An-Bharain will guard my arse in Noreg to the northwest and is sending me three hundred quality weapons made in his forges. The alliances I gain are worth much more than you two scrawny girls. You are of age and will marry as I have arranged, for my gain, and then give me lots of grandsons in the bargain.”

Gorsedd leaned back in his chair and stared at the two girls with a satisfied gleam in his eye, daring them to defy him. Deirdre turned and ran from the room, large tears spilling down her cheeks. Liana hesitated then fixed her mouth in a firm line and leaned forward to speak in a low angry voice.

“You’ve sold us! Your own daughters! What else did you promise? Our dowries cannot be near enough to satisfy two such men as those.”

“It is no concern of yours what I promised. Your duty is to do as you are told.” He growled at her in the tone of voice she knew would not allow further discussion on the topic. So, she changed tactics.

“Father, what of Thorsten Halfdane? You know that he and I…” She faltered and swallowed, trying not to sound as if she were pleading. “We have always planned to wed one day. It is as much as promised!”

“What of Thorsten Halfdane? He has not spoken for you and you see he remains silent and does not challenge for you even now. My decision is made. He will be obedient like the good Thane he is. You will do as I command like the good daughter you are. You have no choice in the matter. It is my right to make these decisions for you. Now, go and get more mead, my throat is dry from all this talking.”

Liana grabbed a pitcher from the table and flung it to the floor. It shattered into a hundred pieces and splattered mead over the floor. She stormed from the room.

Gorsedd’s laughter at her insolence burst loud and harsh, chasing Liana from the hall.

About the Author

Wendy L. Anderson is a writer of passionately charged fantasy. Breaking the barriers of typical fantasy themes, she created the Kingdom of Jior epic fantasy series, a lusty and poetic five-book series that will have you wanting more in her Legends of Everclearing spinoff series. Inspired by authors such as Robert E. Howard and Morgan Llywelyn, Wendy went on to write three other stand-alone works; A Cut Twice as Deep, Ulrik, and Rapunzel's Tower. These fantasy works break free from the usual boundaries of fantasy genres.
A Colorado native and mother of two; she has decided it is time to write down the fantasies from her mind. Writing about everything from fantastical worlds to the stuff of her dreams she takes her stories along interesting paths while portraying characters and worlds she sees in her mind's eye. Her goal is to deviate from common themes, write in original directions and transport her reader to the worlds of her creation.
Wendy L. Anderson's fantasy has action, adventure, and suspense with just the right amount of romance! Find out more at:
Finalist in the 2022 Colorado Author’s League Awards for Rapunzel’s Tower
3rd Place Winner! Romance Writers of America Write Touch Readers; award 2020-Of Demon Kind
Finalist in the 2020 Write Touch Readers' Award Contest
Honorable mention Great Northwest Book Contest

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