The Warrior Hero

FE 200 x 300Hello, everyone! I’m Rachel Leigh Smith, author of romance for the hero lover. Tracy kindly let me come on to tell you about my sci-fi romance series A’yen’s Legacy. As a writer and a reader, I have a preference for a certain type of hero, the warrior hero. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear warrior is probably a hero who’s a soldier, or former soldier. But a warrior hero isn’t what he does. It’s who he is.

First up, a bit of background on the series.

I wrote the first book, My Name Is A’yen, over the summer of 2012. It was a magical experience, and the first time I sat down to write exactly the book I wanted to read. As A’yen’s story unfolded, I was shocked at the depth and the complexity of the world he lives in. I knew it had to be explored to find out what else might be there. And boy, has it been one surprise after another!

A’yen is a humanoid alien, and his species has been enslaved to humanity for so long that they no longer believe they were ever free. A’yen is an anomaly among the Lokmane in that he refuses to be treated as the slave he is. He’s a person, dammit, and he’ll fight for his right to be one even if it costs him his life. Which it almost does in book two, The King’s Mistress.

With my first hero, A’yen in My Name Is A’yen, The King’s Mistress, and To Save A Life, it’s obvious he’s a warrior. He fights for those he loves, and he does it openly. Taran, the hero of A’yen’s Legacy #4 Freedom’s Embrace, is A’yen’s opposite in many ways.

A’yen doesn’t believe in subtlety. Taran’s life requires subtlety. A’yen isn’t afraid of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. If Taran makes a mistake or says the wrong thing, the only people he cares about might die. A’yen has no patience for politics or putting on a front. Taran is a master at the political game, and only a handful of people around him know the real Taran.

Taran is also a man afraid to trust, because he was abandoned as a child. He takes refuge in his work and hides behind his master’s power and influence. His master is the youngest brother of the Marcasian emperor.

Until he meets the heroine, Da’Renna. The more time he spends with her, the more he finds himself wanting to protect her–and growing more and more willing to risk his own safety to do it. Yet when it comes time at the end of To Save A Life for him to make that last choice and step into the role of a warrior hero, he shrinks from it.

His fear costs him everything and leaves him lost in a fog of loneliness. No matter what he does, things between them get worse. Until he makes the ultimate bad decision and refuses to attend her brother’s wedding. Instead, he goes with his master on a fact-finding mission to a planet called Corsica, where they’re kidnapped.

All Taran can think about is how he screwed up, and maybe lost his one chance at true happiness. Then she comes for him, and things get worse. This being a romance, of course they end up together, but the path to happily ever after is anything but easy.

Freedom’s Embrace is Taran’s journey to becoming a warrior hero who will fight for his girl. And himself.


Their food arrived. In an effort to hear more of her beautiful laughter, Taran regaled her with tales of his and Nic’s adventures at boarding school, at university on Titan, and the many ways Taran had of sneaking girls in and out of Nic’s rooms without the emperor’s knowledge. Ren laughed until she cried. They shared dessert, and after three of the most pleasant hours of his life, he took her back to the brothel.

“Please tell me you won’t be in trouble.” He held both her hands and drew her close to his chest.

“I won’t. You seeking me out, in his mind, means I’m doing what I was told.” She leaned into him, lips parted. “It’s okay, Taran. He won’t hurt me for this.”

All oxygen fled Taran’s body as he stared at her upturned face. He’d never kissed a girl before. Never deemed one worth the risk. Until now. He tilted his head, leaned down, and covered Ren’s soft mouth with his own.

Hints of the connection they shared burst through his field like fireworks, in brilliant yellows and pinks, with hints of orange and blue. Her mouth was soft and warm. So inviting, and he wanted to stay there and get drunk on it. But it was too dangerous for her.

He pulled back reluctantly. Touched his forehead to hers, eyes still closed. “Whatever is happening here, I don’t want it to stop.”

“Me either.” She backed away. “But it does for tonight. Thank you.”

He brushed a strand of hair from her face. Ran his thumb across her mouth. Pressed a kiss to her forehead. “You’re amazing, Ren. I think I could love you.”

Tears filled gorgeous blues. “Please don’t. We can’t have a happy ending.”

“There’s two words I hate above all others. You can’t, along with all its variations.” He cupped her face between his hands. “I will find a way, Ren. I always find a way.”


They made the wrong choice. Putting it right requires going into a war.

A’yen’s Reign: Year Two

Taran has served Nicco, prince of Marcase, for twenty-three years. While on a fact-finding mission to Corsica–a planet annexed by the empire thirteen years ago–Taran and Nicco are kidnapped by the Freedom Alliance and taken deep into the Corsican hardwood forests.

Da’Renna, sister to King A’yen’s linked bodyguard, has loved Taran since the moment he saw her. Leaving him behind wasn’t easy, but her brother needed her more. Hearing about Taran’s kidnapping makes her wonder if she made the right choice.

With the help of a friend from Corsica, Da’Renna and her brother sneak in to find Taran. When mercenaries take her hostage, Taran must make the choice he dreads most: his master, or his soul-mate.

If Taran loses his girl, he’ll never find his way to freedom.

Note: This novel stands alone and is a great entry point into the A’yen’s Legacy futuristic romance series.

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Author bio:

Rachel Leigh Smith writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and a half-crazed calico. When not writing, which isn’t often, she’s hanging with her family, doing counted cross-stitch, or yakking about life, the universe, and everything with her besties. There may also be Netflix binging…

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America. She blogs sporadically at, hangs out on Facebook at, and can sometimes be found at You can sign up for her newsletter here.

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