Today is a special blog post and I’m ridiculously excited about it.
A few authors from my publisher, Snowy Wings Publishing, were invited by another publishing collective to participate in an eBook sale. From January 26th – February 1st, Sere from the Green is one of the eBooks that will be available for 99 cents.
Another simply phenomenal eBook that will be available for 99 cents: Dorothy Dreyer’s fantastic YA novel Phoenix Descending. Today, I’m featuring an excerpt from the book.
So, without further ado …
WRENA APPLIED A SMEAR of pink tint to her lips. It was a gift from Lady Tori, who delivered on her promise to make some simple supplies for her and the ladies-in-waiting.
She could almost tell by the sound of the footsteps in the corridor that Aurora was near. With a small grin, she jumped from her chair and ran to the door to open it. Just as she had suspected, Aurora ran toward her. But taking in the expression on Aurora’s face, Wrena’s grin disappeared.
“What is it?” Wrena asked, pulling Aurora into her room and closing the door.
Aurora’s eyes were wide, the color drained from her face. “It’s Patrick. Rudy’s lover. He was found hung in the dungeon.”
Wrena dropped Aurora’s wrists, her hands flying to her face. “Someone killed him?”
“No. He was alone in his cell. It appears he hung himself.”
They stared at each other, the news and its connection to them sinking in. Aurora closed the space between them and wrapped her arms around Wrena. Wrena squeezed her tightly against her, not wanting to let go. How could this feeling between them lead to something as sinister as death? How could such sadness and grief come from something so wonderful and uplifting as love?
Slowly, they parted, sorrow still apparent on both of their faces.
“Your lips look pink,” Aurora said.
Wrena placed her fingertips on her bottom lip. “It was a tint from Lady Tori. Does it make me look foolish?”
The hint of a smile appeared on Aurora’s face. “No. You look lovely, as always.”
“Do we really have to attend the Solstice feast?”
“There will be talk if we don’t.” Aurora shrugged. “Besides, according to legend, if you don’t show the Divine Mother your appreciation for the Solstice, ruin shall follow.”
“You don’t believe it’s true?”
Wrena let out a breath of defeat. “I believe ruin has already begun.”
Aurora let her weight fall into a chair, her brows knitted. “What is happening with your aunt?”
“I do not know. She has changed.”
“Beheading people for minor crimes? Dropping people into the Rift? That’s beyond cruel.”
“I can’t even imagine how she came up with the punishment. It’s inhumane.”
“Not to mention punishing innocent people. Those girls did nothing wrong.”
“I know.” Wrena closed her eyes and shook her head. “It’s horrible.”
“Can’t you speak to her?”
“And say what?”
Aurora stood and stepped toward her, joining their hands. “Fight for us, Wrena. Fight for the people.”
“I’m afraid my pleas would fall on deaf ears. She won’t hear me out. I can’t even talk to her about the real reason I don’t want to marry Prince Liam.”
They were quiet for a moment, each of them pondering their fate.
“Perhaps we should run away,” Wrena suggested. “We could go to stay with my uncle, Prince Rainer, in Creoca. He would take us in, give us sanctuary.”
Aurora blinked, letting out a laugh of disbelief. “Creoca? It’s always cold there.”
“Aurora.” Wrena knew she was simply trying to avoid the subject of escaping Avarell.
“I don’t know if I could.” She turned and toyed with the ends of her hair. “I can’t leave Father. And Bram. Besides, you are to rule here. What happens if you go to Creoca? Will you lose your claim to the throne?”
Wrena took Aurora’s hands from her hair. “Alliances change. But my heart hasn’t. It is with you.”
“Leaving wouldn’t change things, though, Wrena. Things will keep getting worse here. You are the only one who has even a hope of talking some sense into your aunt. If only your mother—”
Silence filled the room. They knew better than to rely on the possibility that the Queen would recover from her illness.
Still, Wrena didn’t have it in her to give up. “My aunt says she’s doing everything she can to find a cure for her. She’s employed the very best apothecaries from around the world.”
“I’ve seen them. Once in a while. But not very often. They’re in and out of the castle so quickly no one would realize they’d been here.”
“They travel from great distances. I pray one of them will be able to cure her. She might be our only hope.” She moved her hand to stroke Aurora’s cheek, but then stopped short, a troubling thought suddenly coming to her. “Wait. You said Patrick hung himself?”
“Where did he get the rope?”
Aurora shook her head, her brows lowered. “I do not know. I can’t imagine anyone would have given it to him. Only the guards had access to the cell.”
“Not only guards. So did Duke Grunmire.”
Who must she become in order to survive?
Since the outbreak of the phoenix fever in Drothidia, Tori Kagari has already lost one family member to the fatal disease. Now, with the fever threatening to wipe out her entire family, she must go against everything she believes in order to save them—even if that means making a deal with the enemy.
When Tori agrees to join forces with the unscrupulous Khadulians, she must take on a false identity in order to infiltrate the queendom of Avarell and fulfill her part of the bargain, all while under the watchful eye of the unforgiving Queen’s Guard. But time is running out, and every lie, theft, and abduction she is forced to carry out may not be enough to free her family or herself from death.
I cannot wait to read this book and highly recommend readers go out and pick up a copy. Dorothy is a fantastic writer and I’m ridiculously excited to read this book 🙂