All My Love

Final BOOK 5 in The Love Mark Series
Adult Fantasy Romance
Orginally published June 2022
About 135,250 words, 418 pages
4-Flame Sensuality Rating

Dori Baquet never thought her life was all that remarkable. A single waitress living in New Orleans, she was just trying to make it through the pandemic in one piece until one little brick to the head unexpectedly sucked her into an alternate dimension.

Now, she’s navigating an unfamiliar, medieval-type world called the Outer Realms, where there’s no chocolate…or books, and everyone lives in castles and rides horses while carrying around their own personal sword. If that weren’t strange enough, she learns she’s actually a descendant of the oldest, most cursed family here. Plus, she has magical abilities.

But the craziness doesn’t end there. She only got one of their love mark tattoo thingies to fit in with the locals and avoid being burned at the stake or some such atrocity. Except the very day she realizes how to get back home, her freaking love mark alerts her to the presence of her soul mate nearby. And Dori can’t seem to resist her insatiable need to see what this dude’s like.

Meeting the king of Lowden, however, changes everything, and Dori soon learns her adventures in this oddball world are just beginning.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

I'd never been the type to get carsick before.

My mom got seasick a lot, though. I remember riding the ferry once when I was a kid, from Canal Street to Algiers Point, where she spent the entire trip hanging her head over the railing, just puking her guts into the Mississippi. My dad had to rub her back while I fed her a continuous stream of saltines until we landed, and then we had to take the bus home.

Today, I totally sympathized with how pathetic she'd looked back then because the motion sickness currently kicking my ass was definitely no joke.

With a weak groan, I cracked my eyes open and immediately decided that was a bad idea. A very bad idea.

The constant, jostling, back-and-forth rock of the wagon I rode in was unbearable enough. Its bumbling grind and jarring shuffle had flipped the switch in my stomach to gurgle mode from the moment I'd climbed aboard and settled myself on the hard, wooden planks next to the other women.

Within minutes, I was resting my cheek on the sideboard and panting miserably over the side with one arm limply dangling down, too exhausted to move.

But opening my lashes to discover nothing except violent crashing waves under me was quite another matter altogether.

I'm not sure what had happened to the harmless gravel road we'd been traveling on, but it wasn't there now. I found myself staring straight into an abyss of what had to be at least an eight-hundred-foot drop-off over the side of a cliff that plunged right into a brutal, surging sea.

And at the very moment I beheld this frightening sight, the wheels of my ride got caught on some uneven ground, causing the entire wagon bed to flounder unsteadily and tip toward the side of the cliff, threatening to spill its contents—which, yes, included me—directly into the waters and jagged rocks below. "What the hell!?" Gasping, I lurched upright and clutched the sideboards for dear life.

This was not how my day was supposed to go.

Continuing to pant and will my heartbeat back to normal after the wagon settled down again, I clenched my teeth and shook my head because honestly, this was just my luck.

I mean, if I was going to be suddenly sucked from the only life I'd ever known and get thrown through some freaky, Bifrost-looking portal thing until I landed in a completely new world, I couldn't have found myself in some technologically advanced utopia in the tropics, could I?

No...not me.

I just had to end up in this...this frigid, medieval nightmare.

Except I'm not sure medieval was exactly the right description for the Outer Realms, either. Sure, the place had castles and queens with knights in shining armor. I'd even heard rumors of dragons being around at one time, but they had no coffee or chocolate.

I'm totally serious; no chocolate at all.

In my book, that was about as medieval as it got.

The wagon I was riding in looked more like something from the eighteen-hundreds Oregon Trail, minus the pretty, white bonnet sheet that usually covered them. Then again, the people here used toilet paper—today's version of toilet paper...on rolls with two-ply and everything.

They didn't talk all that medieval-ish either, at least not how medieval-ers from the movies I'd seen talked. Their dialect was kind of a hodgepodge of present-day and old-timey American English with a splash of a British accent thrown in.

I know, I know. So weird. Don't ask.

It made no sense to me either, to be honest. The Outer Realms was downright impossible to compartmentalize into one single category.

I just knew I wasn't home.

And I was really missing New Orleans right about now. Especially its transportation system. Gah, give me a streetcar or Uber any day over this.

"Where did the road go?" I asked, gulping unsteadily as I glanced ahead to see that every carriage, wagon, and horse in the royal caravan I'd decided to stow myself away on was also riding this close to the side of the cliff.

These people were freaking crazy.

And the most bewildering part was how my question was met with a chorus of laughter.

Laughter!

Oh, the clueless earthling had a very logical inquiry. Let's point and snicker like she's a freak. Ha-ha, so funny.

Even the driver glanced back to snort at me, and I hadn't heard him speak a single word since I'd climbed into his wagon for a free ride.

Finally, one of the women paused her amusement long enough to furrow confused brows and demand, "What? Are you serious?"

I didn't see how the question could be taken as a joke, so I blinked at her before squeaking out my alarm and clutching the sideboards when we hit yet another bump. Then I groaned because, wow, this wasn't helping my nausea at all.

"Honestly," I muttered, cringing out my fear. "Do we have to travel quite this close to the edge of a cliff?"

I told myself not to look down—do not look down, Dori—just before I glanced down, looking straight into the angry sea.

Oh God, why had I looked down?

My stomach roiled. I spun back to the harem girls I'd been riding with for the past few hours and listened to them laugh some more at my expense as I concentrated on breathing through my nose and not vomiting. "Are you sure you're a High Clifter at all?" another one of them finally asked.

Eyes widening in worry, I reached up to gingerly touch the tattoo I had on my temple. It told everyone who looked at me that I hailed from the kingdom of High Cliff because all High Clifters had them. If you didn't have one, you weren't a High Clifter.

Unity had thought it'd be a good idea for me to get one too so I wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. I didn't exactly want to be discovered as an outside invader in this unfamiliar world and run the risk of being burned at the stake, hanged, or maybe even stoned to death for it, so I'd acquired one of their marks to fit in with the locals.

And yay, go tattoo, it always got me a foot in the door until I opened my big mouth and ousted myself as a clueless newcomer with just about everything I said.

"Well, I...I…um..." I shrugged helplessly and flailed out a hand. "I've never left the capital before." "But how could you live in Elaina and never even heard of the Cliff Trail?"

The Cliff Trail?

Casting the inquirer a tight smile, I muttered, "I've been incredibly sheltered."

"Apparently," one of the ladies said in a dry voice, while all of them continued to stare as if I were some kind of alien.

Admittedly, they weren't wrong, you know, since I hailed from a far-off world. But still

Rude.

Books in This Universe

With Your Love One True Love Trust in Love Mark of Love Wait for Love All My love