Those of you who follow my blog have already seen this blurb, but for those who haven’t, this is the back cover copy for my soon-to-be released sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN (epic fantasy).
THE PRINCE’S SON
Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.
Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.
And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.
Something moved beyond the picket line.
Nessa froze. Her heart stopped beating, and then thudded so loudly she was certain whoever was there must hear it. Surely it had to be one of their party slipping away to relieve themselves? It could not be either Rustam or Sala unless they had circled around beyond the horses, and why would they?
She stumbled an involuntary step back, gave a little cry as metal dug into her back, then realised she was pressed up against one of the ribs of the wagon.
The shadowy figure stopped, appeared to be sniffing the air.
That made up her mind. No human scented like that. She did not know what it was, but it wasn’t one of them.
The horses began to move restlessly, tossing their heads and tugging at their tethers. Clamping her teeth shut against the scream that bubbled at the back of her throat, Nessa dropped to her knees and scuttled crab-wise underneath the body of the wagon. Silently she cursed her bulky gown, wishing for the first time for a sensible split skirt such as Princess Annasala wore for riding.
The wretched fabric caught on something and she fumbled in the dark, finally grasping a handful and giving it a hefty wrench until it parted with a frighteningly loud rip.
Nessa fell forward. She curled up and rolled like a child tumbling down a grassy slope, fetching up against a pile of tack and saddle blankets. Spitting goddess only knew what from her mouth, she struggled to her feet and in ten steps was at the side of the startled guard commander.
“There’s something out there,” she whispered urgently, “near the horses.”
The commander, an older man named Gresham, opened his mouth to answer and Nessa could already hear the soothing words ready to placate the highly strung young noblewoman. Fool! They would be too late!
But her warning was backed up by the scream of a horse.
“Arms!” yelled Gresham and jabbed his finger at six men. “Guard the ladies!” he ordered and took off running after the rest of his men as they sprinted towards the picket lines.
Nessa watched them disappear beyond the circle of firelight before glancing around for her sister. Julin and Enya huddled near the fire with their arms around each other. Sala’s maid and the cook hovered anxiously near them. Screams and yells sounded from behind the wagons.
An officious young guardsman intercepted Nessa before she had taken more than four steps. “Please stay where we can see you, my lady. It would be better if you moved nearer the fire.”
She knew he was only trying to protect her, but Nessa wanted to see what was going on. Disgruntled, she went to stand with the other women, wondering what Princess Annasala was doing at that moment. Certainly not cowering by the fire with a guard of six men to protect her.
“Whatever were you doing out there alone?” demanded her sister. “You might have been killed!”
“And just look at your gown, Lady Nessa,” cried Enya, letting go of Julin and kneeling down beside Nessa. The girl lifted two layers of rent fabric to show Julin, and then squealed suddenly as the shadow of a guardsman fell across them.
“Be gone,” she scolded. “Lady Nessa is not fit for the likes of you to see.”
“Oh really, Enya. It’s just a tear,” Nessa protested, but her sister stepped closer to protect her modesty.
“Nessa, I don’t think you should go outside there again without an escort. I certainly won’t be, and nor will Enya. What were you thinking of?”
The ruckus beyond the wagons had subsided, and a tense hush fell in its place. Nessa peered out into the dark. Rustam, where are you, my love?
I AM ALSO LOOKING FOR MORE BETA READERS for THE PRINCE’S SON.
If that might interest you (it can be read as a stand alone, so no need to have read The Prince’s Man first, although I’d recommend it), please contact me via my website contact form here.