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The Persnickety Princess

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Two mismatched royals encounter many misadventures when they try to undo the love spell binding them together.
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Author: J.D. Waye
Description

Prince Roland hopes to save his realm from financial doom by marrying Princess Penelope, but in a magical mix-up, he ends up tossed in her dungeon. Victim of a misguided love spell, he can either rot in a foreign prison or abscond with the impossible-to-please princess—a tough decision, either way.

The quest to undo the spell takes Roland and Penelope deep into the heart of the Enchanted Forest where they battle a sly dragon, rogue trolls, and each other. How can they possibly be in love, when all they do is argue?

One more problem stands in their way. The evil witch Cressidia lurks in the woods, hungry for revenge. She knows the secret to breaking the spell, but the answer comes at a terrible price: one of their royal lives.

Title The Persnickety Princess
Author J.D Waye writing as Dianne Waye
Genre Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
Release April 12, 2016
Designer Suzannah Safi
Length 89 pages
ISBN 978-1-77127-793-8
Price $3.99
Tags Fantasy, magic, historical, medieval, love, middle grade, princesses, princes, castles, dragons, trolls, witches.
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Excerpt

The line-up of suitors flowed all the way across the Great Hall, out the double doors, down the corridor, disappearing around the corner. Everyone brought presents. The first man in line had a tiger on a leash. The second one had a huge treasure chest full of gold. The third man brought a ruby as big as a baseball, a box of jewels, a rolled-up exotic carpet, and a baby elephant.

Roland was fourth in line. He had nothing impressive, just his grandmother’s old engagement ring that needed polishing, and a bouquet of flowers he had picked on the way. He glanced down at his bouquet, which wilted along with his hopes.

“Nine Lords a leaping, where is she?” the man in front of Roland said. “This is taking forever.”

“Good thing we got here early,” Roland said. He had received the notice like every other eligible man in the land: On the third day of May, all candidates interested in marrying Princess Penelope have the opportunity to propose. Signed, King Wilhelm.

Roland expected other suitors to show up, just not so many of them and with so much more to offer.

A trumpet sounded.

“Here she comes,” whispered the man, as everyone turned toward the doors.

But it was just King Wilhelm and Queen Gertrude. The Queen flopped onto her throne and yawned, as if expecting to be in for a long day. The King’s eyes scanned the line-up, searching for something. Or someone. He smiled, nodding and winking Roland’s way.

Is the King looking at me? Roland moved to the side, and the King’s gaze stayed put. No, those winks were meant for that fancy gentleman third in line.

The smells wafting from the buffet table made Roland’s stomach rumble, delightful roasted pheasant, fancy pastries, fresh fruit and old cheese. He didn’t dare get something to eat or he would lose his place in line. And as for being hungry, well, he better get used to that gnawing empty feeling. He wouldn’t be the only one going hungry if he failed at his quest.

“You’ve got the loudest stomach I’ve ever heard,” the man behind him said.

“That was the tiger,” Roland replied.

From the heat on his cheeks, he knew his face was turning red, so he tugged at his weather-stained jacket, smoothed his hair, and readjusted his hat, hoping nobody else heard. Thankfully the musicians started to play, drowning out the grumbling of his stomach.

The string quartet didn’t drown out the gossip going on around him. On the other side of the velvet rope keeping the candidates in order, a lady-in-waiting leaned toward a courtier.

“She’s late again,” the woman said.

“Aye, she’s always late,” the courtier replied. His voice rose to imitate a high mocking pitch. “Oh, my breakfast isn’t hot enough. My milk isn’t cold enough. My dress is too wrinkled to wear.”

“Oh, there’s a frog in my soup. I should kiss it.” The lady stifled her laughter and whispered, “She’ll never find a husband. Even a fool is too wise to tangle with her.”

“Pity the poor sot that gets stuck with her. They should have named her Persnickety, instead of Penelope.”

“Aye, right you are,” she said. “Princess Persnickety. My heart aches for the man that takes her hand. Doomed, doomed.”

The suitor in front of Roland blanched, leaning in close to Roland. “I can count on both hands the number of charming women at home awaiting my return. So that’s where I’m heading—home. Good luck to you. But you’ll require more than luck if you win her hand, by the sounds of it.” He winked at Roland. “Anybody point the way to the nearest garderobe?” he said in a louder voice, as he shuffled his way through the crowd.

This placed Roland third in line on this historic day, as the line-up waited and waited and waited for the princess to appear.

Trumpets sounded again.

“Here she comes,” whispered the courtier. “Finally.”

Penelope floated into the room, her ethereal beauty outshining the sun, and perched herself upon a chair on the dais. With golden hair rippling like fields of autumn wheat, eyes the deep blue of a summer sky, skin smooth as cream, lips red as sun-kissed apples, she surpassed any wonder Roland had laid eyes upon.

Like a gust of wind blowing through the Great Hall, the crowd’s sighs set the chandeliers swinging.

“Presenting Sir Wallace of Worsterchestershire,” the seneschal announced.

Twin guards ceremoniously uncrossed their swords. The first candidate stepped forward, a square-jawed fellow with bulging biceps, dressed in his knightly best.

Surely he will be the winner today, Roland thought. Who can compete with those looks? And he’s got a tiger.

The knight bowed and swaggered to the base of the dais. “Her Highness will grace me with her delightful hand in marriage. Your gift is my devotion.”

Roland patted his pocket where he kept that little ring of gold and gemstones. That’s a good one. I wished I’d thought of that.

Penelope inspected the man, her mouth drooping into a pout. “No.”

Stunned, the knight staggered away, dragging his tiger along.

“Presenting Baron Brian Von Brimsbucket.”

The second candidate stepped forward and bowed, dipping his hat. He wasn’t much to look at—a skinny fellow, sporting a thin goatee in a failed attempt at dashing adventure. He hoisted a chest of gold across the gap in the carpet, nervously shifting from foot to foot.

What could compete with that treasure?

“Will her highness . . . please . . . for sure you are the most delightful woman I’ve ever laid eyes upon . . . I would be so lucky . . . if you would . . . please . . . see fit to . . . .”

“No.”

The second candidate was not so surprised, and skulked away.

“Presenting Lord Lewis of Lothlouwellyn—” the seneschal began.

“You’re next,” hissed the line guards as Roland hesitated to step forward.

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