The Stray Spirit
An anxious bard with a talking lute—what could go wrong?
Struggling bard Emry Karic has only one path home: impress the Auric Guild, join the ranks of the elite musicians therein, and return to his family with his honor in hand.
Just before the biggest performance of Emry’s life, a talkative forest spirit named Aspen traps themself in his lute. Emry swears the spirit to silence on stage, in exchange for a favor—he will help Aspen investigate the magical earthquake that forced them into the instrument.
But Emry is a bard, not a scholar, and their research leads them straight to the person who resents him the most: Cal Breslin, his academia-entrenched ex-girlfriend. As they delve into the forgotten mythology of spirits and gods, they uncover a much greater threat looming beneath the surface—one that throws his family’s ultimatum into conflict with their very survival.
The Stray Spirit is a low-fantasy novel with a riff of romance, a light-hearted lilt, and as much heart as can possibly fit inside a lute.