I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on blog tour for THE SLEEPING PRINCE by Melinda Salisbury! I freaking LOVED this book it was so cool getting to meet Errin and hear from a different characters POV!!!! I have a deleted scene to share with you today! And make sure to enter the awesome giveaway for a finished copy of the book!
Haven't heard of THE SLEEPING PRINCE? Check it out!
Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater's Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
Now on to the deleted scene!
This was from the very first draft of The Sleeping Prince, while Silas was still trying on personalities like hats.
He looms over me, tall and thin. “Tincture of monkshood? I put an order under your door,” he says, his voice rasping and low, made for secrets and I feel my hands start to shake.
It was Pegwin who’d told me about him in hushed tones as he’d stalked through the market my first time there two moons ago.
“Watch that one,” she’d said, spittle flying out from between her cracked teeth. “He’s Lormerian. Silas Kolby. Rotten to the core.”
I’d been surprised, given the nature of the village it was rare that anyone spoke out against about their neighbours. “Is he dangerous?”
Pegwin merely gave me a dark look. “The sooner he passes on into Tregellan the better. And in the meantime you stay away from him.”
And I have, until now, when he stands on the edge of my cloak and stares at me.
“I’ve got coin,” he says quietly, patting his pockets where metal rattles freely.
I still can’t speak, which is unlike me, and I keep one eye on him as I rummage in my basket for the vial of deadly monkshood.
He holds out a gloved hand to take it from me and I do the same for the money, keeping the vial in my fist until he reaches into his pocket. His hand is full when he pulls it out, coins and a silver pipe and a glass ball all sit on his palm. He selects a few of the coins, dropping them into my open hand and I drop the vial into his. He gives a brief nod and leaves and I look down at the coins he’s given me. None of them are Tregellian, all of them are old and tarnished and bear the head of some old king from somewhere else.
I can’t use these to pay Unwin.
I can’t use these for the rent. If it were any other week it wouldn’t matter but today I need the florin he owes me for the mixture. I need five florins for the rent.
“Mr Kolby” I call after him, ignoring Pegwin’s sharp intake of breath as I move after him, trying to keep my voice level and respectful. “My Kolby, a moment please.”
He stops dead, turning, and looks me up and down in a way that makes my skin feel itchy. “Did you just call me Mr Kolby?” he says.
“I did,” I swallow, before holding my hand stiff. “I think you made a mistake, sir. This isn’t Tregellian currency.”
“Sir?” he says, narrowing his eyes at me. “Sir? Are you mocking me?”
“I’m not. I just… this isn’t the right money.”
“The right money?” He looks perplexed.
“I need Tregellian coins. This is no good.”
“Throw it away then,” he shrugs and turns away.
“You owe me a florin for the monkshood,” I protest but he shrugs again without turning to look at me and my vision turns red.
I did not spend this morning having piss thrown at me to have some freakish Lormerian put the little I do have in jeopardy.
I will not allow Chanse Unwin to put his hands on me because Silas Kolby thinks he doesn’t need to pay for my work.
Enraged I throw the coins and they bounce off his back.
He stops dead, his shoulders jerking back, his arms held slightly away from his sides and my
hand moves to my knife belt.
As he turns the whole forest stills, as if every person, tree, and animal around us are simultaneously holding their breath. Then the exhale; I can hear the last remaining people behind me gathering their belongings, the clink of metal against metal as possession are thrown into baskets and bundled away, the rustling of branches as they scuttle into the undergrowth and cold hard fear turns my stomach to stone.
Silas Kolby looks at me, then the ground where the coins have fallen, then me again with exaggerated slowness. He opens his hand and looks at the monkshood and my blood runs cold. I shudder involuntarily and he smirks, dipping his hand back into his pocket. He looks thoughtfully at whatever it is he pulls out before he flicks it towards me and I catch it neatly. My jaw drops when I see it is a whole, shiny five florin piece. The entire month’s rent, right there in my hand. Four more florins than I need, four more florins than the potion is worth.
“Keep the change, Errin Vastel,” he says quietly but I know he’s not being generous. It’s a threat, I can tell from the way the words made every hair on the back of my neck stand up. He wants me to know he knows who I am.
I stare after him, watching him vanish into the dark woodland, my heart fluttering in my chest before I realise I am alone. There is a moment when I’m grateful for it and then I curse. Cowards leaving me here alone with him. Alone in the woods is the last place I should be, especially given the amount of money and goods I’m carrying and especially because Silas Kolby knows my name.
I dart back to my basket and cloak, whirling it around me and palming my knife before I begin the walk back. The one advantage to not keeping to a regular path on the way to and from the market is that there’s no route I’m likely to be caught on, but just in case I’ll circle back around the yew trees. I need more nightshade anyway.
There are no birds calling in the trees as I move and I don’t like it, it makes the world feel poised and sets my already jangled nerves on edge. I keep my basket between my feet as I pull my gloves on and hack at the nightshade. When I have as much nightshade as I can wrap in my waxed paper, I twist the ends carefully and wrap it in another sheet, before tucking it as far from the food I’m carrying as I can.
Then I’m away again, darting through the trees. I have a long list of things I need but I’m too anxious to collect it now, I’ll have to come out at dawn tomorrow. No one bad is up and about at dawn; evildoers don’t rise before midday. When the trees begin to thin my heart slows, I can see the afternoon light puncturing the dim forest and that’s when I trip over a root, flying forward, my basket arching up and then down with a sickening crunch as I raise my arms to protect my face.
“Oh dear. You seem to have fallen down,” a jagged male voice drawls.
I turn over to see Silas Kolby balancing a knife on the end of his finger.
Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel, and will be published by Scholastic in 2015. She is represented by the amazing Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.
She tweets. A lot.
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