Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 84,000
To bring peace to her war-torn country, disfigured, sheltered princess Feyana Belmaron must journey deep into hostile territory to find—and court—a ruthless enemy prince. If only she weren’t falling for someone else.
Tavor Castle is beautiful, for a prison. The white stone castle is small but well-kept, and its fields and woods cover almost a square mile. Even the looming, twenty-foot walls enclosing the grounds have an odd charm to them. To protect you, Father says, but I know better. It’s to hide me. The only ugly thing in Tavor Castle is its princess.
I jam my foot into Lulari’s stirrup and glare up at the walls, wishing my hate could melt them. Only a little longer, until the war ends, and I’ll be free. Father promised that much, at least.
I turn away and cluck Lulari to a walk. The warm breeze ruffles my fascinator and fills my nose with the ripe scent of horse. I smile. Outside, there may still be walls, but at least there’s no ceiling. I brush back a lock of hair—and an ashen, black-cloaked woman appears in my path.
I clutch at her mane but grasp nothing. The ground races up to slap me, and pain jars through my shoulder and back. A stablehand races toward me, her dark hair flying behind her.
Breathing hard, I stir my arms and legs, then probe my ribs for tenderness. Nothing broken, thank Dal. I sit up and groan.
“I’m fine,” I say. “Is she all right?”
The mysterious woman lies crumpled beneath her cloak, her face unnaturally gray. I crawl toward her, my shoulder throbbing, but the stablehand pulls me back sharply.