Ella Bandita isn't your typical fantasy protagonist. She's ugly. She seeks out bad men to destroy them. She's contemptuous and confident. And she's got hidden vulnerability that flashes only every so often.
Ella Bandita is a badass anti-hero who struggles with her own feelings of grief, loss, and identity as she hunts down her prey.
Here's a chance to find out why Ella Bandita lures men into traps to steal their hearts, and what makes her vulnerable despite having lost her own heart a long time ago.
Introducing: Ella Bandita, Thief of Hearts
At first, Ella Bandita didn't have a name. Until she reached her 20th year no one called her by any name. She was tolerated by the Patron's servants, but shunned by her father, the Patron, and the rest of the village community.
Brief glimpses into her past suggest a sad upbringing, but not without bouts of freedom riding through the fields, and the hint of a child hood love.
Unable to go on with a life lacking in love and decency, the girl decides to end it all and prepares to throw herself into an icy river, dangerous with rocks and a wild current.
But a hand stays her demise...
From the novel:
“There’s a better way.”
His voice rang clear, even over the thrashing water. The girl froze, and her fear exploded
into terror. She could feel him right behind her, standing at her right shoulder. Turning her head, she saw that the Sorcerer of the Caverns looked just like the Cook had always described him. His hair and beard were the color of dust, hanging in matted ropes to his waist. Lines were etched into the papery skin of his face and his frame was shrunken from the unnatural passage of time. The blood drained from her face and her head grew light. The girl opened her mouth, but no words came out. She should have known better than to come here. Pieces of legend about the Sorcerer came to mind. He’d been born an ordinary man until he sold his soul for the powers of magic. Then he preyed on virgin girls so he would never die.
The girl is given a choice...continue her life of sorrow, or earn knowledge of the dark arts of seduction.
Thus, the woman who will become Ella Bandita's education begins.
From the author:
I once heard an editor say: "Don't tell me your story is about love and redemption because all stories are about love and redemption." She was right and mine is no different. But isn't it marvelous how many different stories can come from one theme? My particular take on this theme involves a predatory seductress who is mad, bad, and dangerous to know - and the people who helped shape her, and an adventurer frozen in grief who won't go away because he can't bring himself to go home.
Ella Bandita's world opens up when she meets the Wanderer, a man, like herself, who is full of grief.
Something in her awakens. Having steadily worked through her goal of annihilating vile and contemptuous men in villages around the world, she's paused for a moment upon meeting the wanderer.
From the novel:
From the abyss between sleep and consciousness, he heard the humming growl. He was confused by the sound until the heavy cloth collapsed, and he woke up with the burden of his tent upon him. Flailing through the canvas, the Wanderer pushed his head and shoulders through the flap into a whirlwind of dazzling colors.
“Hey!” he shouted. “What are you doing?”
His heart pounded and the Wanderer was suddenly dizzy. He squeezed his eyes shut until the feeling passed.
“How strange. I was about to ask you the same thing.”
The Wanderer recognized her voice. The girl he followed into No Man’s Land had finally come awake, and she was now standing over him with one hand wrapped around her necklace. He swallowed hard. She had the coldest blue eyes he’d ever seen. She opened her palm and dropped a crystal in the folds of her shirt. Her glare seared into him.
“So what are you doing here?” she asked.
The Wanderer felt foolish on his knees with his tent collapsed around him. The girl’s presence was unnerving. Even though she was angry, she made his flesh come alive as soon as he saw her.
“Making myself at home,” he said, stepping out of the heap. “Same as you.”
He noticed that she was dressed like him, in a loose shirt and pants, but she also wore a holster, a small pouch slung around the belt at her left hip, and a pistol and dagger held in sheaths on her right. The Wanderer glanced at her face and saw the corners of her mouth twitching. She might be an adventurer, but not of his kind.
Ella Banita's quest takes a different kind of turn after meeting the Wanderer, as if he woke in her something that had long been dormant. A care for the state of her heart.
To read the rest of the novel and get to know Ella Bandita in depth, get the full novel here.