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Time travel, romance, and healing hearts.

    Two guys discover a time portal that might allow them to save John Lennon.

Check the author's page on Amazon

This book by A. J. Gallant is a delightful read for lovers of fantasy, particularly with dragons who display humor and one in particular who bonds with a young boy named Marcus. The Dragon, Ryxa, and Marcus contrive a plan of their own to stop the massacre. An improbable idea at best.

Micki Peluso

Books are links so you can click on them.

 

A. J. Gallant is a Canadian author of 15 novels, fantasy, mystery.

    He has two cats that get him up at sunrise and since he's up he may as well do some writing.

    Some of his books have reached the status of best seller and he appreciates every sale.

 
My Books

I Was Murdered Last Night

Suzy Ross

5.0 out of 5 stars A new kind of mystery

March 1, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I loved the concept of a soul connecting with a living person to solve a mystery. The plot was fast paced and kept me on my toes. I would recommend this book to anyone and am looking forward to further mysteries by this author.

Five Minutes After Midnight

DEAD MAN TALKING

Dracula has lived so long that he is bored with life, in fact he's suicidal. He must snap out of it if he is to help rid New York of evil vampires.

The Dracula Hearts Series

Wonderful new story of Dracula, and a vampire dystopia Wow- this is truly one of the best books I've read in a very, very long time. I absolutely love the way Dracula is depicted in this story- he's comical, and deadly serious at the same time, which is just a perfect mix. The characters he has around him simply add to the humor and depth of his ancient personality.***** I totally enjoyed this book. Dracula cracked me up and the ending so not what I expected. This Dracula definitely my favorite vampire***** Dracula made me giggle with his Down and out ways. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for something new and Loves vampire novels.***** Hats off to A.J.Gallant. Loved it!

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The adventures of a barbarian and his amazing horse.

CHAPTER ONE

 

    FIVE CIRCULAR TOWERS DWARF THE LITTLE KINGDOM OF POPIIR, connected by massive walls constructed of bluestone. Windows in proportioned patterns are scattered here and there along with murder holes for the archers to launch their arrows. There’s an enormous boulder that has paths that snake around it.  Construction on several houses is in different levels of completion though at this hour the workers are asleep.

     Under a haphazardly cloudy sky stood Midnight Castle two hours before sunrise. The nearly full moon will soon emerge from behind a cloud, giving some light to Braeden’s castle that he named Midnight because of the mysterious goings on within. Soaked in magic like a wet dog in the rain. At times, it gave Braeden pause as to whether it was a good idea to remain in such a bewitched place, but he was as stubborn as he was courageous. Besides, there was likely adventure in the castle itself. Exploration never hurt anyone he liked to say, even though he knew it killed many, but what was life without a little adventure?  He wasn’t at all sure how long he could stay tied to one place. However, being King did appeal to him.

    A burst of fire high over the castle lit up the sky. Some dragons liked to spew flame after dark because it was quite a sight to see against the night, even having friendly competitions with others. Some nights as many as a dozen dragons would gather and show off their fire in flight.

     In another section of the sky, a complete circle of flame appeared, or close to it as a dragon was flying around and around until she ran out of breath. And then two more side by side simultaneous spewing flame, a test of endurance, with the small one running out of breath first.

    A shriek cut through the darkness. Dasheenta was having a nightmare; another dragon pursued her, and as in real life she had no fire to defend herself. Another horrible scream escaped as she turned and scratched at the air; she was falling to her death. And then with a start, she opened her eyes. Dasheenta stared longingly at the dragons accomplishing their fire dance. All that light against the night sky looked so beautiful. Her head jerked quickly to the right as she thought she heard something.

    High on the castle wall, a window appeared in midair; a warrior woman gazed out and took in the scent, seeing a black dragon high above as it launched a ball of fire. Looking down she saw guards in conversation; that would not be permitted in her realm. How could one hear the slightest sound of an enemy when one was chattering? A stealthy foe would soon make corpses of them.

    And then from the southwest came a firefly the size of a small cat, its illumination was awe-inspiring with a halo of bright yellow light surrounding it. And then a posse of the beetles arrived creating an incredible sight, thousands of them, up and over the castle they went, higher and higher until they surrounded a black dragon who just smiled at the insects, appreciating their beauty against the night, watching as they trailed off into the distance.

 

    The morning sun appeared to be resting on the horizon, rays peeking through clouds and lighting a shittah near the castle, a thorny tree with a reddish shade of bark, its feathery leaves said to protect the bark from hot winds. A Desert Hare was chewing on a blade of grass; the rabbit was the same color as the red desert sand though here it was visible, even the coloration inside its ears was as red as the dunes.

    The town of Popiir was on the outskirts of the Irahalak desert. The nearby forest was thought to have been conjured by a wizard as there were strange goings-on there, trees moving around and changing places with one another was only one thing observed. Some nights purple lights were perceived amongst the whispering trees though no one dared to enter to see what was occurring, at least not after the sun fell.

    A doe stopped drinking from a puddle when the dragon screamed as she flew over. The animal bolted for the woods. The majestic Dasheenta was in a panic over something. The dragon had a black head with bright yellow eyes, the black of her head seemed to bleed down into her red body, visually appealing. Unfortunately for Braeden, she was no ordinary dragon; she was the opposite of brave, and usually desperate to head in the opposite direction of trouble.

    Braeden stepped out of the castle and stretched. The King wore spiked shoulder guards with spiked bracelets, steel arm bracers over his forearms and a small leather covering over his manhood. His stomach nicely rippled, and his arms were also well-defined, making most men wary. On his waist, he carried a Brocathasdo sword and a jewel-encrusted sheath that he found in the castle. This King was in his prime and an excellent specimen of a man.  And so handsome that women fought for his attention. “Dasheenta, what are you screaming about so early in the morning. And what were you crying about last night?” 

    “I had a nightmare. Look, Dragon!” she screamed as loud as she was able, which was deafening. “Up there, look!”

    Braeden thought that even a deaf person would have been able to hear that shriek. Why couldn’t the castle have come with an ordinary dragon that was willing to defend Popiir valiantly? Instead of this broken, paranoid, frightened creature that felt inferior to just about everyone and everything. Observing a dragon panic was a pitiful sight to see.

    There was an enormous black dragon circling, and Dasheenta, having no fire, was afraid of it. She was sure that such a monster could do a lot of damage; the black dragon would kill her if he got the chance. Dasheenta had come with the magical castle that not so long ago had been able to fit in the palm of the Braeden’s hand.

    Braeden looked up, seeing the dragon he turned his head toward Dasheenta. “Fight him if you have to; you’re a damn dragon, aren’t you? You’ll gain courage from battle.”

    Dasheenta pumped her wings as she hovered in place. “What? Oh, no, no, no! You know I have no fire. What am I supposed to do? Spit on him? And look how high up he is!”

    Braeden now stood akimbo and laughed. “Don’t tell me that you’re afraid of heights?”

    “No, of course not.” Then she cleared her throat and under her breath said, “Maybe just a little. I’ve never been up that high. No reason to fly way up there. He’s just boasting.”

    The King considered that Dasheenta had more chicken in her than dragon, not to mention that she was most decidedly paranoid, but was she becoming even more so? Dragons passed over on a regular basis, and most could care less about the machinations of insignificant humans and usually paid her no attention either.

    “Look; he’s coming down. Talk to him and see what he wants. Better yet use your feminine wiles and befriend him.” He was tempted to say that he could use a real dragon around here but didn’t.

    Dasheenta flew to the castle as fast as she was able though she got stuck in the entrance, unable to get past the portcullis, her tail and rear end protruding from the entry. The ground shook as the black dragon landed with a loud thud. Braeden didn’t think there would be much he could accomplish against such a massive beast.

    “What do we have here?” said the dragon. “I could smell the female from way up there, a comely dragon she is. And now I get to see the best part of her.” Ceriothian lifted her tail with his nose and sniffed forcefully. “She smells delightful.”

    Dasheenta was not impressed. “What’s going on back there? Who’s sniffing my butt?”

    “Dragon!” hollered Braeden. “Back your fat ass up! She’s under my protection.”

    Ceriothian turned and snorted on the barbarian, and the heat was like sticking his head in a fiery hearth. “You are as silly as you are small. A human can’t protect a dragon.”

    “What a humorous dragon you are.” Breaden pulled his sword as if he could intimidate such a beast. “Now back away before I throw a spell on you.”

    Ceriothian shook his head disdainfully and went back to sniffing Dasheenta; the opportunity to mate was much too tempting to bother with this little fellow. She kicked him knocking one of his teeth out, and it hurt. “She knocked out my tooth? Oh, I like them feisty. Come here you!”

   “You don’t want to be mating with her.” Braeden would endeavor to outwit the dragon, just like people, they weren’t all smart.

    “And why not?”

    Breaden scratched his head. “She’s of inferior stock.”

    Ceriothian brought down one of his huge red eyes to the barbarian’s level.

   “I would have thought that you might have smelled it, a superior dragon like yourself. Dasheenta doesn’t have fire. And she a scardy cat, frightened of everything. And she has the ganawuwi disease, only affects dragons you are a dragon.

    Ceriothian backed away from her. He had never heard of it, but it was best not to take chances. “What will that do?”

    “It won’t kill you, but all your scales will fall off and eventually you’ll have no fire.”

    Ceriothian envisioned such a dilemma, without scales he would have little defense against other dragons, and he did like to battle occasionally. “She still has all her scales as far as I can tell?”

    “Yes, but they will fall soon.”

    Of all the luck. It wouldn’t be wise to mate with an inferior dragon and a sick one at that. He took to the air, his right wing almost hit the barbarian as he lifted off, and it wasn’t long before he was out of view.

   Dasheenta struggled to back up. “Is he gone?”

    “He’s gone. Are you stuck?”

    “I think so.”

    “I’ll go the other way and see if I can’t raise those bars so that you can back out.”

    “All right then. What did he want?”

    “You couldn’t hear? He wanted to mate.”

    “Oh? Mate with me?”

    “He damn well doesn't want to mate with me.”

    Dasheenta giggled at that last statement. Mate with me? Why would anyone want to mate with me? I am such an inferior dragon. If only I had fire. She had an unexpected thought, and that was she might be receptive to hatching some eggs. Having baby dragons to raise might take her mind off of things. Dasheenta might not be so scared all the time, and eventually, they would be able to protect her. Yes, under the protection of her children might just be the way to go? Did she dare consent? Would she die of fright from mating with such a monster? That didn’t seem likely. It was something to think about, and already she was becoming preoccupied with visions of baby dragons. But would they be normal or end up just like me? Normal I think; I know of no other dragons like me.

    The bars raised and Dasheenta managed to back out.

    In the courtyard, Braeden examined the rectangular rocks on the ground that made up a part of the area, surprised to find several with his likeness on it. On one, he was riding Finn, and on another, he was sitting on his throne. Although the images were relatively small, he was able to make them out. The King imagined that magic could accomplish just about anything and often that was a problem. And how dangerous was it going to be to live in this castle? He knew of at least one ghost that haunted the halls.

    The ground, saturated from a thundershower that went through the area overnight, showed reflections of the magnificent castle. Braeden went from staring at one of the reflective images to wielding his sword as several men looked on, impressed with the talent of the new Barbarian King. Battling no one, he was going through thrusts and parry movements, his muscular frame a sight to behold, his speed and the sound of his sword cutting through the air inspiring to hopeful knights. No one would want a battle to the death against such a formidable fighter. Braeden turned and saw a swarm of pink and black butterflies emerging from one of the windows of the fortress, many of them touching down in a puddle for a drink.

    The scent of bacon, eggs, and coffee found the barbarian.

    The cook staggered out obviously having a little too much to drink. Braeden received a large steak on a silver platter; he nodded to his servant, took the meat and ate; slightly burned, just the way the King liked it. He finished, savoring the fat and tossed the bone.

    Training in the far corner across from the stables was a group of men, the sound of sword against sword adding music to the morning. He was trying to raise an army before word got out of such a unique castle and a horde of devils showed up to claim it. Twelve days ago the place was nothing more than a rundown village, but with the aid of magic and a conjured castle, Braeden had kept his word to be King. He had agreed to run the kingdom if they could build him a castle, which he was sure was an impossibility at the time, but magic had reared its ugly head. 

    Zack, Braeden’s friend, left the others to hone their skills as he approached. “Your Majesty, another beautiful morning.”

    “Sure, until some army shows up and kills us all.”

    Zack laughed. “Always looking on the bright side. Should I start digging my grave?”

    “I would if I were you.” And the King had to laugh. Perhaps he had gotten out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. But he knew it was going to be a monumental task to defend this patch of soil from brigands, and God only knew what else. If he had a few thousand men capable of wielding a sword, he would rest easier.

    Finn, Braeden’s horse, exited the castle, urinated for a good long while and then apparently stopped to listen to the conversation. Instead of the stable, the horse was residing in the castle, much to Zack’s chagrin.

    “You know, the longer you let that horse live in the castle, the more he’s going to think he belongs in there.” And with that, he gave the horse a harsh look.

    Finn pushed Zack knocking him into a puddle, making him furious. “Horses belong in the stable!”

    Finn reared up to show his displeasure, telling Zack that he would kick him if he weren't more civilized and that he would sleep wherever he pleased. After all, he was the King’s horse.

    Zack shook his head and growled. “I’m sorry Finn; I forgot that you were running things here. Everyone listen, we’re taking orders from the horse now! The horse is king!  Maybe the people should live in the stable.”

    Finn nodded vigorously.

    The kingdom was starting to take shape though there remained much to do. Many houses needed to be torn down and replaced with others, and at least two more wells needed digging for drinking water. The barbarian wasn’t going to reign over a ramshackle kingdom if one could even call it that. It was more like an old town with a magnificent castle that was out of place. The castle was enormous and searching through it’s every nook and cranny would take time, but that is what Braeden intended. Anything that had the slightest potential for adventure and he was usually game even though he might feign otherwise. God only knew what treasure or trouble was hidden within, but he was going to find out.

    Zack continued to stew about Finn and had a momentary lapse of judgment, perhaps a brief moment of insanity as it had been building for awhile. Almost as a reflex, he slapped Finn on the rump, and the horse’s hoof went right for his head. The barbarian swept the feet from under his friend, just in time to avoid a fatal blow to the head.

    “Zack! Are you alright? Have you gone mad?”

    Finn was attempting to get around Braeden so that he could trample him, but the barbarian wouldn’t permit it. “Finn, calm down, we don’t kill our friends.”

    “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking!” He got up and dusted himself off.

    “Finn, stop it! We are all friends here. Zack just thinks of you as a horse; he doesn’t know any better. He’s a bit on the dumb side; you know that.”

    Finn nodded.

    “Hey! I’m right here I can hear you.”

    “Finn, you need to calm down. Zack saved my life in the past, and you never know it could happen again.”

    That resonated with Finn as he was, of course, no ordinary horse, a spell on him made it that Finn would live as long as the barbarian remained alive, and the horse knew it. So in a way, he had saved Finn as well. The animal would defend Braeden to the death even if the enchantment didn’t exist. They had fought many battles together and had a great fondness for one another. And so the horse calmed down.

    Zack stood and realized how close he had come to death; it was necessary to respect the animal. Otherwise, he would bury him. “I don’t know what came over me Finn; I promise that I will never touch you again unless you want me to touch you. Wait that sounds a little weird.” 

    Braeden looked at the horse and then at Zack. Finn stared at Braeden and then gave Zack a stern look. Yes, for the barbarian’s sake, he decided not to kill Zack, at least for now. And who knows, that hunk of meat might come in handy at some point.

    Jourdan, one of the few men that had the potential to be a knight, moved forward towards them though he was looking up at the castle, seemingly thunderstruck. Jourdan stood and gazed with his mouth open, making Zack and the King wonder if he were staring at some monster though it was a different look than fear on the big blond man’s face. They moved back to be able to see what he was looking at and their mouths hung open as well.

    Zack and Braeden spoke simultaneously. “She’s mine!”

    The woman warrior stood in the window, black hair and chain mail armor only covered half of her breasts. On her beautiful head, rested a chainmail cap. Wouldn’t be much aid in defense against a sword, but it did add something to her ensemble. The beauty was holding a round shield and resting a sword over her shoulder, and from the angle, they were viewing her exquisiteness, they could see her nipples.

    The King rushed into the castle with Zack hotfoot behind. They rushed up the stairs hoping to find her, but after much searching, they were unable to locate the chamber where she had been looking down upon them. The King thought it was either hidden or in another realm, and he was not at all pleased by the turn of events. Now that he thought about it, there hadn’t been a window in that location before.

    “This is weird,” said Zack.

     Where the chamber should have been, they found a wall with a painting of two horses fighting, but if it existed there was no way inside. There would be both good and bad things associated with the castle being a creation of magic. Breaden had once fought a knight wielding a magical sword and had almost died. He considered it not fighting fair, but now would use one if it were necessary.

    “I’ve been thinking,” said Braeden.

    Zack pounded on the wall, but no one pounded back. “You’ve been thinking? I think that means trouble.”

    “What is the name of that guy that sought out the spell to make this castle?”

    “You mean Hunter?”

    “That’s him. Summon him and tell him his king has a quest.”

    Zack nodded. “You gonna task him with finding that vixen?”

    “No, something else. Fetch him.”

    “Say please.”

    “Just get him before I put my foot in your arse.”

    “Close enough.” Zack didn’t take Braeden seriously, but he did head down to see if he could find Hunter, curious about the quest. It didn’t take long to locate him as he was sitting on a pile of hay watching two of the King’s more promising fighters go at it with dull swords. The battle had been great, but now they had played one another out, and no longer had the strength to lift their longswords. Heward had just enough strength to bump Dreu and knock him down; he watched as he fell over and then lay beside him.

    “Hunter! Come with me. Thy King summons thee.”

    Hunter wondered why Zack was talking in such a manner. “What does he want of me?”

    “He has a quest.”

    “Wot? A quest? Wot kind?” He could talk funny too.

    “He wouldn’t tell me.”

    They discovered the King in the lobby as Finn was bringing in Zack’s mare. Zack wished for a horse just like Finn, and maybe he or she could knock Braeden around for a change.

    Zack ran to Finn. “Is she ready to foal?”

    Finn whinnied and nodded.

    “Breaden you gonna let her have it in here? That is disgusting!”

    Finn whinnied his displeasure and approached Zack with a disproving look, remembering that he might need Zack alive just in case.

    “My apologies your Majesty. Why don’t you take her to the Great Hall and she can have the colt right on the table where we eat?”

   The King acknowledged Hunter. “Don’t give Finn any ideas.”

    “You’d let him wouldn’t you?”

    “He’s his own horse.”

    “He’s his own horse?”

    “You summoned me, your Majesty?” Hunter liked both men and was impressed with their skill and the in particular way the King handled things, like keeping his word to stay and rule. Due to the number of times they had suffered abuse by mauraders they were happy to be under his protection and the way he had rescued that boy was inspiring. The barbarian had the confidence of ten men.

    Braeden nodded as the horse shook his head no. “I have a quest for you. Do you think you could find fire for a dragon?”

   “Fire for a dragon? What do you mean?”

    The King placed his hand on Hunter’s shoulder. “Our dragon Dasheenta, for whatever reason has no fire. Is it possible that you could search out a spell and put fire in her belly?”

    “Your Majesty, I ah, I’ve never heard of such a thing. I would have no idea where to look for such magic.”
   “What about where you discovered the castle?” said Zack.

    “I have dreams about going back down there, and I do not survive. I won’t return except under the threat of death.”

    A couple of awkward moments of silence. “I won’t force you to go down. Recompense would be a bag of gold coins should you succeed.”

    “How many coins in the bag?”

    “A baker’s dozen.”

    “Zelfarian gold?”

    “Of course.”

    That gold would help me to build my own stable and have my own horses, but a dead man has no need of either.  I wonder if the witch could help? “Well, I do know of a witch in the Dark Forest of CondorFell, but just getting to her is a risky undertaking. And if she is unable to help I would be at a loss of where to go next.”

    “Then it is settled. I will send two men to accompany you, and you will do your best. I would go myself, but I need to explore the castle. Zack, select the men for Hunter and promise each a parcel of land to the south.”

    Zack nodded. At least he didn’t ask me to go with him.

    Braeden followed them outside and when they were a ways from the castle they turned and looked up and again saw the beautiful warrior. Such a vision of loveliness that they couldn’t help but stare.

    “Ah, my future concubine,” said the King.

    “You wish,” said the beauty. Aria liked what she saw in the barbarian.

   “I command you to come down here,” Braeden declared. When Braeden took his eyes off her for a second, she dropped an empty spittoon on his head, and it sounded rather melodious as it hit.

    “Demand all you want. I am in a different realm and have no need to obey your commands.”

    “Who the hell hit me?”

    They both pointed but didn’t take their eyes off her.

    “What a beauty!”  Hunter uttered. “Can I have her and my gold in payment for the quest.”

    “Nice try,” said Braeden. “But she’s mine. What’s your name?”

    “They call me Aria.” She rested her sword on the window sill. Are all men the same?

   Braeden was wary that she might throw something else at him. “Aria, why don’t you come down here and talk to us?” Braeden couldn’t get over how lovely this wench was; he would be dreaming about her this night, the contours of her naked body.

    “Have you men never seen a woman before? If your eyes weren’t attached, they would roll on the ground.”

    “Come down and I’ll give you a prominent station in the kingdom.”

    Aria smiled. Beneath you I imagine. “I have enough stupid men to battle in this realm. Besides, it’s not likely that your so-called kingdom will survive the oncoming horde.”

    Zack shook his head. “I don’t like the sound of that.” Why must it always be all about fighting? Someone is always trying to stick a sword in your gut.

    “Of what horde do you speak? We see no one on the horizon.”

    Aria picked up her sword. “Not yet.”

    “Marry me and be my Queen.” I’m not saying when I’d marry her, so not precisely a lie. Those breasts are magnificent!

   Hunter thought that it would be difficult to concentrate on anything else if she were Queen. “Why don’t you invite us into your realm so that we can see what’s it’s like?”

    “Good luck finding the entrance.” And with those words, she began to walk away.

    Zack looked puzzled. “Isn’t that window the entrance?”

    “Wait!” the King shouted.

    Aria returned to the window. “Make it quick.”

    “How long before the horde shows up?”

    “My magic allows me to see glimpses of the future but doesn’t show me when something is going to happen.”

    Zack looked up at the window and then at Braeden. “Get the dragon to fly us up to the window so we can get in there.”

    Aria shook her head disapprovingly.

    “Zack, not a bad idea. Dasheenta!” The King called for the dragon several times, but there was no sign of her. After a time, she flew down and landed with a thud.

    “You called your Majesty? Oh, did I tell you that I mated? I did, I mated with that big black dragon.”

    Braeden was doubtful that she had coupled with the black dragon. “I told him you were sick because you didn’t appear interested in his advances.”

     Dasheenta nodded. “He still thinks I’m sick, but he couldn’t resist my beautiful behind. Don’t you think it’s beautiful?”  

   Zack shrugged. “It’s very nice?”

    Hunter thought it would be marvelous to see baby dragons; he wondered if he could befriend one. “When will you lay your eggs?”

    “Well, you see, Ceriothian did make a deposit, but it is only when there is a sufficient amount of his ah essence that the eggs form. And so it could take several more matings before my eggs are fertilized.

    Hunter shrugged. “I know nothing about dragons, only that they’ll burn your ass should you annoy one.”

    Breaden liked the idea. Dragons born and raised to defend the kingdom. The tides would turn then; not many would dare attack a kingdom guarded by dragons. “That would go a long way in protecting the territory, a bunch of fire-breathing dragons.”

    “Yes!” shouted Dasheenta. “And they will have fire and, of course, protect their mother, that’s me! Isn’t it exciting?”

    Now it made sense to the King. She would be looking for protection and comfort from her children. “Dasheenta, can you fly Zack and me up to the window? Zack, the window’s gone!”

    Zack couldn’t believe it. “She stole the window?”

     Braeden crossed his muscular arms to make a point. Realms were vexing things.

    Zack scratched the back of his neck. “I can’t believe she took the damn window. Never thought I’d be saying that.”

 
 

A. J. Gallant

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