In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to bePrincess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father's death, and he reveals the girls' deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.The sequel to the Princess in the Opal Mask.
Now on to the post!
Distant laughter echoes through the halls as Stefan Strassburg walks the corridor leading to his bride-to-be’s chambers. Behind him, a line of guards silently follow him.
It is the longest walk of his life.
Lord Royce’s words still ring in his ears: “They discussed sending a decoy to Kyrenica. We cannot be sure that the woman you are to marry is in fact Wilhamina Andewyn.”
At first Stefan had laughed at the Guardian. For how could it be? No one could be that conniving, that deceitful. And yet…hasn’t he wondered at her slips in memory? At her strange mix of elegance and ignorance? At her fiery spirit, so at odds with everything he ever heard about Wilhamina Andewyn, the Masked Princess?
He knocks on her door and she lets him in, while the guards wait behind. They make small talk, but he feels he must be giving himself away somehow, for her eyes are shifting around, like a cat caught among wolves. Would she look this way if she was innocent?
“I had the most interesting message from your brother Andrei, accompanied by the most interesting messenger. Do you want to hear it?”
He watches her as he relays the message. Her face drains of color, and she looks frightened. And all at once, he realizes he doesn’t need to hear her answer. He was right to summon the guards. The message is true.
The woman in front of him is an imposter.
She doesn’t give in, not at first. But finally: “I’m not her. I’m not Wilhamina. But I swear I’m royal. I’m not just a look-alike. I’m Wilha’s—”
“I don’t care who you are!” He pushes all his anger, all his hurt into his goblet. Then he hurls it at the wall and the glass shatters, just as he feels shattered. But there’s no sense of relief, no lessening of the pain raking his heart. She’s a liar, a manipulator.
“Stefan, I can explain—”
“Explain? I was falling in love with you,” he says and he can’t keep his voice from breaking. “I would have married you and spent my life trying to win your love in return.” For he’d always known she didn’t love him as he did her. But he didn’t care. He wanted her. It didn’t matter that their marriage was the key to keeping peace in the region—he wanted her, the girl who told such enthralling tales around the fire. The girl who seemed to genuinely love his sister. The girl who, it turns out, never existed at all.
But if he was honest, he’d thought he’d seen small sparks, small clues that her heart was softening to him, even if she rarely let her guard down. But it must have all been lies; it was all in his head.
This woman didn’t love him, and never would.
The guards enter and surround her, and he’s sickened as, in the course of a few minutes, she fades from a princess, and into a criminal. Ruby, his small, impressionable sister, bursts in, and even as he’s shouting, telling Ruby to stay away, already he’s thinking ahead, to what he knows will come next. What will happen when the others hear. Some will call for her execution.
And he knows no way to stop it.
Thanks Jenny for the awesome scene!
Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.
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10/20/2014- Tales of the Marvelous- Review
10/21/2014- The Reading Nook Reviews- Interview
10/22/2014- A Dream Within A Dream- Review
10/23/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
10/24/2014- The Paige-Turner- Review
10/27/2014- A Backwards Story- Interview
10/28/2014- Bibliophilia, Please- Review
10/29/2014- Stories & Sweeties-Guest Post
10/30/2014- Jessabella Reads- Review
10/31/2014- Me, My Shelf and I- Guest Post