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Book Gambit Prologue

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Can one woman save a country? TWICE?
Can she do it as a lady musketeer and fencer in 17th-century France, AND can she and the musketeers grant a hero's final wish?

kat jaske

book for honor

For Honor - Book One

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For Honor ->>>
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Righting Time ->>>
Out of Phase ->>>

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Righting Time
Book Three of BY HONOR BOUND
by Kat Jaske

What if Jala really is from the future and the fate of her future does depend on convincing Laurel and the 17th-century musketeers of that truth? Read Excerpts ->>>

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For Love of a Queen

by Kat Jaske

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Queen Anne of 17th-century France has been kidnapped. Can Laurel and the musketeers find and rescue her without telling King Louis XIII? And what happens to the musketeers and France if they fail?

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Prologue - 1639

The merest hint of spring rippled in the breeze as the sun struggled to emerge from behind the voluminous layers of white clouds, shining down on the bleak, sickly, green and brown landscape. Every here and there clumps of dirty snow and slowly melting ice clung tenaciously to withered vegetation, refusing to yield to the warmth of those feeble rays of sun.

In that self-same breeze clung a tang of sulfur fused with a dose of soot and the unmistakable stench of smoke. On the horizon hovered an ominous grey cloud, staining the blue of the sky, a color that resembled the desiccated skin of a porpoise.

Across the winter-scarred terrain a solitary horse galloped, its hooves tearing up chunks of sod and trampling fragile buds as it went. On the nut-brown animal’s back a rider swathed in a billowed, tan, long coat leaned forward, his chest almost touching his mount’s head. From the laboring horse’s nostrils the man almost thought he could see the misty puffs of breath in the chilly air.

A moment longer the man permitted his mount to have its head and then he reined in, and the beast came to a stop atop a hill that overlooked the environs.

His eyes surveyed his surroundings with deceptive equanimity and lingered on the grey film marring the sky. If he were feeling more superstitious this morning, he would have accused the weather of having been tailored to fit his bleak mood, and spring of deliberately delaying its coming.

Of course, it seemed to be the same story every year––spring struggling to break winter’s icy grip. His nose crinkled as the gust of wind brought the reek of smoke and sulfur to his nostrils. Though the fighting was leagues away from his estate, the wind carried the dismal reminder of stark reality to his senses.

Had there ever been a time that war had not been ravaging his homeland? Apparently not in his lifetime. Even his earliest memories bore the brand of war that continually plagued Europe and cost so many good men their lives, limbs, or peace of mind.

As if sensing its master’s restiveness, the horse pawed at the ground and tossed its head. The blond-haired man of roughly twenty and four years spared a moment from his contemplations to try to soothe the beast.

A backward glance toward his home, he stole. Erik was in no particular hurry to return. The news was not likely to be favorable, and the doctor had not held out much hope that his wife and the newborn twins would last out the fortnight; that they had survived the past three weeks had already been hailed a miracle. The assurance that his elder son of two years was in good health, for the time being, brought little solace to the turbulence of his heart.

Nor did it help that his ducal responsibilities frequently drew him from home to Danzig or Königsberg or Berlin or whatever other places service to the crown demanded he travel. Oft enough he found himself fighting the ungrateful thought that he’d rather not wield such tremendous power when it constantly threw him into worlds of political intrigue and expediency that he had always preferred to avoid. Back his mind drifted to his ailing wife and children and refused to let go of the morbid picture. If only . . .

Vivid images from years earlier abruptly reappeared in his mind, in gruesome detail: a man and youth toiling in the battlefield to save the lives of wounded and dying men while guns and cannons clamored around them, while screams and curses ceaselessly rent the air. It had been a long time since he had thought of Thomas and the man’s son, who had in reality been a daughter he had drawn into a tableau of suffering and violence that Satan proudly would have called hell.

And regardless of the father’s and daughter’s allegiance to a rival country, he wished that they—either one of them—were under his roof this very day. When it came down to it, he would trust his wife and children to their ministrations far more readily than to any other so-called doctor, even one of good repute. Even if Thomas’ daughter were the only one present to tend to his family he’d feel more inclined to hope for an auspicious outcome.

A sigh burst from his lips as he caught sight of another horse and rider coming toward him. An instant he was tempted to turn and flee from what was all too likely a harbinger of bad or unwelcome news. Instead he silently watched the approach of the other man.

Herzog?” The messenger glanced at the duke as he spoke, and tried not to let concern for his master creep into his voice. Few could have asked for a better master or better man to serve than this one, and all too often Herzog Erik’s life had been riddled with anguish, horror, and brutally dashed dreams.

Reluctantly, the young nobleman, who was usually of a far cheerier disposition, signaled the messenger to speak. The other man cleared his throat. “I am sorry to disturb you, but I did not think you would wish to wait until later to hear.”

There was a marked pause. “My wife?” Erik finally prompted as the muscles in his stomach clenched and a leaden feeling seized his roiling heart.

“Welcome news, herzog, your wife and the children have improved. The doctor believes there is a good chance they will pull through, though your wife should never bear children again.” Unspoken was the warning that should such a fate be tempted it would kill her. Unspoken was the knowledge that even if she did pull through, her health would always be frail.

“Then what does this concern?”

“There seem to be strange goings-on. Many rumors are flying about possible all-out war with France, others about plots to kill the king, kurfürst,” he amended, as technically there was no king of Prussia, “or the prinz. The latest missives seem to support the contention that someone is slowly poisoning the kurfürst.”

“Someone has arrived with news from Kurfürst Georg Wilhem von Brandenburg himself then?” the herzog deduced.

The other man nodded. “He is worried about his son, and what the prinz Frederick William might be getting embroiled in.”

What mischief could the boy be getting up to in such a retreat as Königsberg? Erik’s brow furrowed. He found the thought bizarre, especially considering the very serious and thoughtful nature of the young man. He was not one prone to getting himself into trouble. “Was anything sent to be given to me?”

The messenger reached into his doublet and withdrew a sealed letter and proffered it to the young nobleman. Without delay, Erik broke the seal and read through the contents of the message. Georg was dying? Unthinkable, and yet the verdict was no more than a year––not that such intelligence was commonly known or completely accurate.

Erik’s eyes darkened as he continued to read. Worse and worse; perhaps Georg had legitimate reasons to be concerned. He would have to investigate, Erik concluded morosely, wondering why he was never allowed to live a peaceable life of a father, friend, and family man but ever had to be embroiled in foreign affairs and intrigue.


“I believe I will be doing quite a bit of traveling in the near future. But for now, let us head back. There is much for us to do here.” And much for him to get in order before he had to thrust his nose into affairs he was sure were going to lead places he did not want to go.

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Kat Jaske giving a fencing demonstration.

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Reviews <<<more reviews ->>>

  • "Best stories and best written books I have read in several years."
    Mark Myers - storyteller - Ohio
  • "Kat's really good at creating characters you care about almost instantly." - Hillary Campbell
  • "Absolutely loved it! Your books are some of the most well-written that I have read. Your ability to maintain complex plots and provide a true flavor of Europe is amazing. Your character development is outstanding." - Linda Lipsitt
  • "I enjoyed it so much I read it twice." - Joe Sinnapan
  • "What a compelling story."
    Dave Keeler
  • "The stories are movie-material in my opinion, and that is a compliment.' - Michiel Brongers
  • Selected by Las Vegas Green Valley High School for 2006 Reading Incentive Program

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