BOOK DETAILS

Grasping Destiny

Grasping Destiny

by Keegan Harkins

ASIN: B0777L6J4X

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Christian Books & Bibles/Literature & Fiction/Fantasy, Christian Books & Bibles/Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality/Fiction, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

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Marcus, raised to be the next king of Morovia, finds his world falling apart at the twist of fate. As he struggles to survive, he must learn to trust God and walk by faith. This epic tale features daring sword fights, manipulative plots, intrigue, love and forgiveness. As Marcus and his friends journey to grasp their destiny, they must learn to let go of the pain of their pasts. Can they find the blessings in the chaos and learn to trust God when everything falls apart? Will Marcus be able to regain the throne stolen from him?

Sample Chapter

Fate’s Cruel Joke

Marcus’s battle with fate begins while he isn’t looking. It creeps up behind him and attacks when childhood is at the pinnacle of carelessness. The day fate decides to strike its cruel blow doesn’t come with premonitions. It doesn’t announce its devious plans in the normal way. There are no strange clouds over the wasteland. No screechbirds nestle on the boy’s window. No dreams send him a warning.

This day, like all the others, begins with the sun barely peaking over the pale rock wall out of which they carve their existence. Marcus awakens to the normal sounds: servants scurrying about their chores, the clang of pots echoing from the kitchen below, a dog barking in the distance. Already, the day’s heat begins to soak into his bones. The rooms in the back of the fortress, the ones carved deeper into the mountain, offer much cooler and inviting living arrangements, but they don’t have this view. For as far as the child can see from his balcony, there are mountains and hills just beginning to awaken for the day. Small, twisted trees cling to life from the sides of the cliffs and protect deer dozing in their shade. The morning sunlight dances off the tops of rocks and gives the dry clumps of sparse grass a warm golden hue.

His father once asked him if he wanted to move deeper in to the comfort of the dark caves, but he prefers the sun. He prefers the view. He prefers the feel of wind and the sound of the night. Maybe if he had desired the lamplight, he might have seen the worried looks on the servants’ faces. Maybe if he had forced himself to grow accustomed to the sound of stale air flowing from the venting shafts, he might have heard the hushed whispers and murmured gossip. Maybe then he would not be caught so off guard. This morning, like every other one, begins with Marcus carefully carrying a small cup of water to give his precious little tree a drink. The tree, with its tiny orange fruit, had been a gift from one of his father’s many tributes. A gift for the powerful king’s only son. To let this tree die would be an insult. This had been his first lesson in diplomacy. He would not fail his father. Of all the things he could never do, that was the most important on his list. Don’t disappoint. Learn everything. Be the leader he was born to be. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know fate has already made other plans.

. . .

The world knows no furry like that of a woman cast aside. How much more so when that woman is queen, the world is about to discover. While her son dutifully waters his tree, Queen Aeda races through the shadows. Her long, brown hair teasing the flames of the lamps as her dress scrapes the walls in her haste to demand answers. The ink from her husband’s treacherous Annulment Proclamation smudges her clinched fist as she pummels the great oak door that leads to his throne room. Immediately, a collective gasp rises up from the small crowd gathered within, followed by snickers and conversations whispered behind bejeweled hands.

A cracking and unsteady voice stops her, “I’m sorry, Your High… my Lady, you can’t be here.” The guard’s hand nervously blocks her path, but Aeda hasn’t come to be turned away by a man-child who has never tasted battle.

“It is fine. Let her pass.” The king dismisses the young guard with a wave of his hand. “I assumed you would be coming.” His voice, regal and deep, carries a note of exhaustion as he adds, “Though to be honest, I thought you would wait to be announced.”

“I am sorry,” she responds sarcastically. “I feel this matter necessitates a breach in protocol. It is, after-all, my life.”

“I understand your concern…”

Aeda steps forward as she spits, “I don’t think you could possibly understand my concern!”

Lord Berge, the king’s closest advisor, steps in Aeda’s path. He makes no show of hiding his dislike for his king’s former wife. “You will watch your tone, my lady.”

Color rises in her face as she fiercely responds, “You will watch your tone, Lord Berge.” Her slim finger jabs his chest as she warns, “Don’t underestimate the scope of my reach. This…” She shoves the crinkled documents into his hands, “does little to change that. I would be leery of testing me.”

“Enough!” The booming voice of the king ends their display of mutual hatred.

King Justus, still strong and handsome despite the age beginning to creep into the corners of his eyes, motions for his friend to return to his position at his side. Lord Berge nods and shoves the annulment papers back in Aeda’s hands before reclaiming his seat.

She wants to scream, to argue and fight. She wants to smack the feigned look of calm from her husband’s face. She wants to scratch the eyes out of that deceptive little vermin of an advisor by his side. She wants to, but a lifetime of conditioning lifts her head high to meet the judgmental stares of the various people clumped in small groups around the room.

She knows better than to believe they are her friends, but still feels the sting of their whispers. Their sideways glances do nothing to hide the sense of excitement their flickering smiles reveal. It takes every ounce of her strength to smooth her voice into icy indifference. “Surely this is a joke, my lord.”

The king’s voice matches her eerie calm, “It is not.”

“No?” Her laugh holds contempt as she makes a show of holding up the crumpled document to read, “The marriage of His Highness, Lord King Justus of Morovia and Queen Aeda, daughter of King Silas of Picidae, is hereby and shall forever be considered void and annulled on grounds of…” Her jaw subconsciously clenches as she spits, “fraudulent misrepresentation on the part of the former Queen of Morovia concerning her purity.”

“I know what it says, Aeda.”

Justus’s voice betrays the smallest flicker of pain at hearing the words spoken out loud, but she cares little for his pain. She must make him say the accusation to her face. “Would you care to explain it to me then?”

With a sigh, he rubs his temples. “Why did it have to be this way?” his mind pleads with no answer. Fate will not explain itself; not even to a king. With a calm he does not feel, he coolly answers, “You know very well what it means.”

“Do I? Foolish me. I thought that I had been your wife for the last twenty years. Now, I come to discover it was merely a mistake, a dream I am only just now awakening from.”

“Don’t make this harder than it already is, Aeda.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she feigns a laugh as she continues, “Silly me. I wouldn’t want to make this hard for you.” Her smile melts as she throws the document at his feet. “This is nothing more than an excuse to be rid of me.”

“An excuse to be rid of you!?!” King Justus thunders. His hound barely pulls her nose out of the way before his fist slams into the arm of his throne. His voice grows louder as he stands to his entire, menacing, height. “An excuse to be rid of you?” He repeats. “I haven’t seen you in…. in months. You hide in the shadows and sulk around this fortress. Every time I invite you to dine with me you decline.”

“So that is why you have concocted this audacious lie? To find yourself a better diner companion? Am I now being punished for fulfilling the duties you asked me to fill?”

“ENOUGH!” He can see the hurt in her eyes; knows the humiliation she must endure, and his heart softens slightly. He knows the path has already begun. There is no looking back, no room for pity in the life of a king. Without looking at her, he sympathetically adds, “You know the law.”

Her teeth clench as she declares, “I have broken no law. I arrived at this fortress a child! You know this is a lie!” Her eyes dart to the triumphantly gloating Lord Berge. She knows he is behind this latest blow. “You allow swine to deceive you with flowery promises of earthly pleasures…”

Barely had her words escaped her lips before she knew she had tread too far. Her words trail off in the shock of finding her wrist seized by Justus’s massive hand. Before she can form a protest, she finds herself being pulled close enough to feel his heart pounding in his chest. His voice, low but full of furry, freezes her words before they can escape. “You will control yourself, Aeda. That… swine… has been by my side since we were children. He has stood next to me on many a battlefield and defended this kingdom more times than I can mention. I owe him my life. Don’t say something you can’t take back. I would walk carefully right now if I were you.”

He had made his choice. She no longer doubted that friendship with Duncan Berge meant more to him than she did. Her strength, withering with each passing moment, threatens to leave her legs and she sways momentarily. Justus leans her up against the wall to steady her; however, to the vultures crouching in the room, his gesture appears threatening. She can almost feel their excitement at her shame. Only Aeda sees the sorrow and struggle in Justus’s eyes. Her sliver of opportunity quickly fading, she races to find any way to alter the course of this decision.

“What about our son?” she pleads. His eyes flinch with pain. She knows she has struck his weakest point. He loves her dark-haired son. She must find a way to use that love and continues, “What of him, Justus? What of Marcus? Did you think of him before you let… your… friend… convince you of this… this foolery? What will become of him?”

The fire melts from his face and he leans against her. His voice sounds tired as he responds, “I have thought of Marcus. I am not an animal, Aeda.”

“No? What then? If our marriage never happened than he is illegitimate. You have stripped him of his crown before he ever receives it.”

Justus doesn’t get a chance to reply to his former wife’s cruelly accurate statement. Lord Berg places a hand on his shoulder and leans in to quietly whisper, “Perhaps this is a conversation better spoken behind closed doors, Your Highness.”

Justus, instantly aware of the eyes recording every move he makes, nods in agreement. “Certainly, we have given the gossips enough to keep them busy,” he whispers in reply. Taking a deep breath, Justus stands to his full, regal height and coolly commands, “Walk with me.”

Continues...

Excerpted from "Grasping Destiny" by Keegan Harkins. Copyright © 2017 by Keegan Harkins. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Keegan Harkins

Keegan Harkins

Keegan Harkins lives in rural Montana with her husband and two sons. She writes daily devotions for the Facebook page: Coloring Through the Bible and also makes weekly Bible study videos on YouTube.

View full Profile of Keegan Harkins

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