Published by Parliament House Format: ARC, eBook
Publisher: Parliament House
Publication date: December 10th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult (age category)
A treaty upholds the peaceful lands of Ersarence— who have suffered from the spilt blood of their humble goddess, Titania, which stains the hands of the ruthless Urenphians.
Julian Rancewood— a small town delivery boy— wishes he could afford to save his dying mother. He never imagined a larger life for himself until he meets Adrina Hesfetter, the village seamstress’s daughter.
After striking a deal with the elusive King’s advisor and joining the royal army, he finds himself helping to search for a missing, unknown heir. Against all odds, Adrina and Julian soon meet again within the palace walls.
When Julian discovers Adrina’s fire magic— an impossibility among non-royals— they uncover a scandalous secret that will cause whispers of a Urenphian rebellion to travel through the kingdom. A thirst for revenge and a passionate romance causes the two villagers to set the events in motion which will bring down the entire Starlight Kingdom.
A Starlight Chronicles Novella.
He stepped forward, and my heart skipped a beat. His eyes studied mine for a moment, before he gently lifted a hand to trace my cheek. I could barely breathe. “I will never leave you,” he said simply. The look in his eyes was so certain.
He leaned closer, and I reached up to wrap my hand around his, where he held my cheek. I let my eyes fall closed as his lips brushed mine.
I melted against him.
The first kiss was soft— the next firm, and in two short steps I was backed against the wooden door to his room. I leaned into him as our mouths moved in unison— his hand lifted from my cheek to intertwine with mine, and his other hand moved to cup my waist. Without thinking, I gripped the neck of his tunic and the cord began to unravel.
When we finally stopped, I was breathing heavily, feeling dazed and light. I could see his chest partially, with the cord half undone, and felt myself flushing red.
He traced the outline of my face again with his hand. “I will do whatever it takes to get you what is rightfully yours, Adrina,” he promised. “You will never lose me— not to anyone.”
It took me a moment to break the spell that had come over us.
“About that . . .” I breathed, still staring at him. “I don’t know if this is the right thing to be doing.”
He slowly stepped back from me.
“What do you mean?” he asked, as began to retie the cord of his tunic.
“I mean . . . it is the king and queen who did wrong by me. Not Annaliese. She doesn’t deserve to die because of their actions.”
“Annaliese will become Queen,” Julian replied firmly, “Unless we take her out.”
The sun was dipping low behind the clouds on my journey back home. I knew Mother would need me back at the shop—she fussed if I took too long at the market, claiming the streets were a dangerous place for young girls. Thankfully, I knew of a shortcut nearby that I took occasionally. It was a little dark down the pathway, cloaked in shadows from the buildings surrounding, but that didn’t scare me.
I should have known better, but I had never run into trouble, so I continued on without hesitation.
Something hit my foot and I flew forward, crashing into the stone floor. My coin purse flew from my hands, landing in front of me. My hands stung with dull pain as I caught myself on the cobblestone.
“Well, well, what have we here?” a sneer echoed above me, and I realized I had been tripped.
This was a trap.
I was quick to roll over and face my attackers. They surrounded me, three older men with faces filled with greed.
“What’s in the bag, pretty girl?” one of the grubby men asked, drawing a knife from the waistband of his pants.. My breath caught in my throat and I edged my hand backwards, wrapping my fingers tightly around my coin purse. If I lost it and disappointed my mother again, she would kill me. I could suddenly understand Julian’s frustration yesterday at the prospect of losing any coin, and my chest constricted.
My mother cared more about me being better, doing better, than my actual wellbeing. Losing coin would be such as disgrace and burden her for months.
“Cat got your tongue?” another asked slyly, a hint of amusement evident in his voice. I narrowed my eyes.
And then I felt it—a familiar rush: a pulse of energy, flooding through my veins to my fingertips. I knew suddenly that I was going to be just fine.
“Leave me be,” I said simply.
They didn’t know yet, but I had the advantage. The men ignored me, seeing me only as foolish prey. But they were foolish, to bet their lives against a stranger and harass an innocent, hard working girl. They were fools to assume that I was unarmed.
“Does the coin you carry have more value than your life, girl?” another man threatened.
“I said, leave me be you thieving scum,” I snapped. Their eyes darkened and their fists clenched. I got to my feet, standing my ground. They closed in, ready to strike as one lifted a knife.
I smirked at their ignorance.
Lifting my own hand, I created a scorching orange flame with nothing more than the oxygen in the air. They watched me, jaws dropping, as I hurtled a fireball at them. It caught one of them square in
the chest, lighting up his shirt. He shrieked, ripping the shirt off to stamp the fire out. It sizzled into a charred mess on the ground, but the burns it inflicted were still visible, red and swollen on his skin.
The other two watched in confusion and fear, frozen and unable to process what they were witnessing. The man continued to wail in pain, but his screams seemed to fall on deaf ears.
For good measure, I let another flame lick its way across the other two men, inflicting burns along their forearms as they leapt to shield themselves helplessly. They all screamed as my fire left angry red welts along their skin.
We were currently alone in the little alleyway, but we wouldn’t be for long if they kept up their shouting.
“Quiet!” I snarled, grabbing the first man’s arm and bringing his face inches from mine. He stopped yelling, his eyes widening in fear. The injured man now trembled in fear, half naked and as helpless as he assumed me to be only moments ago.
“You three will leave me. You will not breathe a word of this to anyone, or I will personally hunt you down and remove your tongues so you cannot speak ever again. Understand?”
All three men nodded, and I gestured for them to move along. As they scurried away, I exhaled deeply, slumping against the wall. I scanned the streets on either side of me, making sure no one else had seen what had just happened. I didn’t spot anyone, and decided I was safe again. Straightening my clothes, I briskly exited the alleyway.
I could not risk anyone finding out about me—about what I could do.
I did not like to use my powers unless it was absolutely necessary. I didn’t understand why I had them, and if my mother found out she would certainly panic—and with good reason. Only royals should have magical powers, so why a normal human from a lowly village would possess any is
beyond me. If anybody found out—if the royals found out—I don’t know what would happen to me.
I imagined it could not be anything good.
P.S.Malcolm (Pagan) grew up in Proserpine, Queensland– a small, Australian country town on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. She was a storyteller from a young age and spent years perfecting her craft.
For two years, she juggled waitressing in tourist filled coffee shops while undertaking two degrees in Creative Writing online. She has always had an interest in writing, but never saw herself working in the industry until she made the choice to self-publish her debut novel, STUCK ON VACATION WITH RYAN RUPERT. Realizing that she loved the process of publishing her book, she pursued an internship at a publishing house and snagged a spot as Pen Name Publishing’s Marketing Assistant.
In between interning and writing, Pagan opened her first business working as a freelance Marketing Strategist for Paperback Kingdom– which helps indie authors with all aspects of their author careers.
Pagan also enjoys reading– particularly fantasy and paranormal– and is a passionate blogger. She reviews books that she has read on her personal website, and indie books on her business blog. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include Amanda Gernentz Hanson, A.G. Howard, Marissa Meyer and Michele Jaffe. She is a cat enthusiast, tea lover, and floral fanatic.
Her newest book, LANTERNS IN THE SKY, is set to be released by The Parliament House Publishing in Spring 2019.
a Rafflecopter giveaway