For The Love Of…Excerpts #8 by Artemis Crow

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Spring is almost here, though it doesn’t feel like it just yet here in New Hampshire! Today I wanted to share the first chapter of a book that will come out in December of this year, titled “Bryn’s Flight”. It’s a Valkyrie book and a little raw yet, but I’m so excited about this story and the amazing women and horses in it!


“Bryn worked her way through the sweaty, testosterone-drenched cretins who’d tightly packed the warehouse that squatted in the middle of the mountains in nowhere Colorado. She could scarce breath in the thick cloud of body odor, beer, and farts without gagging. She certainly couldn’t hear anything over the shouting. You’d think they were in a Roman coliseum the way they were carrying on.

A hand reached out and grabbed her ass.

She whipped her hand back and gripped the offending appendage, wrenching it around as she turned, the man’s thumb bent back until it was close to breaking.

He dropped to his knees and cried out.

She leaned close to the rude bastard. “You aren’t worth the effort,” she said, ending her statement with a growl. She shoved him away and returned to her search, when another hand whipped out, grabbed her wrist and jerked her back.

“That’s my brother you put your hands on,” said a taller, larger, uglier version of the man on the floor.

“He needs to learn some manners. Maybe you ought to see to that before you let him off his leash again,” she snarled, pulling out of the man’s grasp.

He lunged at her back, grabbed her upper arms and pulled her into his chest. He wrapped his arms around her upper body, trapping her arms and squeezing. “No one puts their hands on me or my family.”

Bryn closed her eyes and smiled. That’s all she needed to hear. “I couldn’t agree more.”

She dropped her head and rounded her shoulders as much as her attacker’s arms would allow, then threw herself back, slamming the back of her head into his nose, if the sickening crunch told the tale.

The warm liquid splashing against the back of her neck? Gross. Although, it was the blood of her adversary, so that made it not so gross.

His soprano-worthy scream? Delightful.

He dropped her and reeled back, his hands cupping his nose.

Bryn wiped her hands together, job done, when asshole number one jumped up and roared.

He crouched low and ran at her, his arms out in front, questing for a grab.

Bryn turned sideways to him, bent her knees and clenched her right fist. She waited until she could just smell the halitosis jetting out of his mouth, then she stepped forward with her left foot, twisted her torso to the left then backhanded the man before he could touch her. Fist meet temple.

He was unconscious before he hit the floor.

She stood tall and raised her head.


Every man in her immediate vicinity had stopped shouting and drinking, and started staring at her, their already small eyes growing beadier by the second. 

She smiled and raised her hands. “All good, gents. Nothing more to see here.”

The throng didn’t move, even when the rest of the men in the place shouted and a bell rang. Another match over.

Time to move.

Bryn backed a step and ran into a wall of flesh. She whirled, ready to fight, but all she saw was a flat stomach covered in flannel. She tilted her head back to see who this mountain of a man was, noting his craggy face, a mop of dark brown hair, and beautiful blue eyes. Surprisingly handsome. 

He took her by the arm and turned her around. “Mr. C wants to see you,” the giant said simply.

She tried to peel back one of his thick, sausage fingers gripping her arm, but even she couldn’t budge those kielbasas.

“They started it,” she said, hating the petulant phrase that was unworthy of a warrior, even if it was the truth.

“Mr. C will finish it.”

With that, Paul Bunyan—’cause all this mountain was missing was a blue ox—marched her to a hallway that led to a suite of offices. He passed all the regular sized doors—he probably couldn’t fit through them anyway—in favor of the double doors at the very end. 

Of course.

He opened both doors and pulled her inside. 

The doors closed, not by magic, but by two hulking henchmen. They weren’t the same size as Paul, but they were open carrying. 

And she didn’t do guns.

“Paul” hauled her to the ridiculously ornate desk and forced her to sit in a chair. Then he parked himself behind said chair and placed a platter-sized hand on top of her head and held it there as if she was five years old and she couldn’t leave the table until she ate her carrots.

She hated carrots.

Mr. C kicked back in his reclining throne, placed his fancy Western boots on the desk and studied her. Add in a lasso and a Stetson hat and she could have broken out with a few yeehaws and not felt the least bit embarrassed.

He snapped his fingers and pointed at the security monitors occupying a good portion of the wall to her right. “You took down two men.”

She tilted her head and nodded. “Some asshole put a hand on me, so I put a hand on him. The other idiot objected.”

“That asshole and idiot are my sons.”

Bryn sat very still and wondered at the vagaries of the universe. Not how she’d planned to introduce herself, but if her training taught her nothing else, it taught her how to role with the punches. “Seems they need a little training up before they’re let loose in society again.”

Mr. C narrowed his eyes—so that’s where his son’s beady eyes came from—and pondered her for more than a long minute.

She was about to get antsy when he slapped the top of the desk and turned his focus on the giant. 

“You got any slots open tonight?”

She tried to turn her head to look up, but Paul squeezed her head a little tighter, keeping her in place.

“Slot? What do you mean by slot?” she asked, when she found her words.

“A fighting slot,” Mr. C said.

“There’s Jimmy. He’s been wanting to get put in.”

Mr. C shook his head. “Nah, Jimmy’d never hit her, he’s too soft on the ladies. Probably ask her to marry him,” he added, pointing to her face, “if it weren’t for that road-kill-ugly scar on her face.”

Bryn bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing at what the human thought to be an insult. Instead, she stuck her bottom lip out and gave him her best I-been-whooped look.

“Aw, did I hurt your feelings?” Mr. C asked in a soft, chiding voice.

She stuck her lip out farther since she couldn’t nod with Paul holding her head.


That was the moment Bryn decided she didn’t like Mr. C. She definitely didn’t like his sons.

Mr. C dropped his feet and leaned forward, his elbows on his desk. “Why are you here? This isn’t a place women come to, except for the adventurous whores who don’t mind the rough trade. The men out there get their juice up and they want to stick it hard to anything that can’t run away.”

Correction: she hated Mr. C.

“I came to fight.”

“Oh, you’re going to get a fight. The question is: who can I put you in the ring with to teach you a lesson without killing you? I don’t like dealing with dead bodies.” He waved a hand in front of his face. “It’s the smell.”

“And the mess,” Paul added in.

Mr. C pointed at him and nodded. “Too right.”

Correct the correction: she loathed Mr. C with the fury of Surt on Muspelheim.

“I already know who I want to fight,” Bryn offered to get them to shut up.

“Well, it couldn’t be Buddy,” Mr. C said. “He’s even bigger than Ira here.”

She jerked her head hard to free it just because she had to see the giant’s face. But no go. “Your name is Ira? Your parents named you that, when you’re this big?”

“I wasn’t born this big.” Ira grunted and pressed down a little on her head like he was trying to compress her spine. “Family name.”

“They named him after his mom’s favorite Chi-Weenie dog. The little bitey bastard,” Mr. C added helpfully.

Bryn could feel Ira tremble through the grip he had on her head. Scratch that, the gleam in Mr. C’s eyes spoke of cruelty, not in an interest of “the more you know”. He was the type to belittle and bully until you were down, then crush you out of existence.

Bryn savaged the inside of her cheek this time because she had to survive this interview. Too much was riding on getting in the ring with the right person. Neither laughter nor derision would get her what she wanted.

“It’s not Buddy, whoever he is,” she said. “And what’s with all the names ending in –y? Jimmy, Buddy, I mean, come on.”

“We’re simple folk here in Colorado,” Mr. C said, a slight frown of irritation at her mocking pulling his jowls down. “You’d know that if you were from here. You’d also know that no one messes with my kin.”

She held up her hands. “Alright, fine. I’m sorry I hurt your precious boys. Are we good?”

“You aren’t getting out of a fight that easily, girlie. Tell me, who did you come to fight with?”

She folded her hands in her lap and smiled sweetly, ignoring the stretch of the scar on the left side of her face, pleased when Mr. C flinched in disgust. Her scar had been hard won and she was proud of it. Didn’t mean she couldn’t have fun grossing out any human in her vicinity.

“I came here to fight your undefeated champion. I came here to fight Rota.”

Mr. C and Ira remained completely still. So still Bryn itched to snap her fingers to get them to wake up from the hypnotic trance she’d inadvertently put them in.

But she needn’t have worried.

All four men in the office burst out laughing at the same time, as if they had coordinated the move for the greatest, most insulting effect.

Correct the corrected correction: she wanted to flay all four with flames from the god of fire Loki himself until all that remained of them was ash.”

I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt!

May your words flow freely,


The Zodiac Assassins series
Available on Amazon Kindle and Print, Nook and Kobo

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Lyon’s Roar –

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Leona’s Descent –

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Libra’s Limbo –

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Leona’s Cage –

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Gemini Asunder

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