A Princess of Valendria Novel
Sequel to Quest of the Hart
Genre Young Adult Fantasy
Release August 9, 2013
Tags Fairytale, princesses, castles, mermaids, princes, quest, romance, adventure
Prince Trevor has always placed duty to his kingdom above the desires of his own heart. But when his betrothed is lost at sea, he finds himself torn between honor and love.
After four years of searching for the missing princess, he begins to secretly long for Lady Bri, the Woodland Guide he works with each day. But the law says he must marry a princess, and Bri is barely a noble.
When Trevor learns that Bri was shipwrecked at the same time and place as the princess, he begins to believe he has finally found his bride-to-be. But his happiness is short lived. Bri has no memory of her past, and the princess wasn't the only girl who disappeared from the ship.
Desperate to prove Bri is his princess, Trevor unwittingly places the two of them in grave danger. Buried in Bri's memories are deadly secrets someone wants kept from the light of day, and learning who she is may cost more than either is willing to pay.
“I can’t believe my luck.” He brushed a finger over her cheek, barely touching her, yet her skin burned at the contact. “All this time searching for you, and you were right by my side.”
He set his palm on her cheek and leaned in, brushing his lips over hers.
She gasped and jerked away.
“What are you doing?”
“I thought that was obvious.” He moved closer, his mouth grazing her cheek. “Here, let’s try again.”
She knew she should turn away, but she had longed for this moment for so long. Her eyes drifted closed as his lips touched hers, soft as a butterfly on a flower. He slid his hands into her hair, tipping her head, deepening his kiss. She trembled at his touch. Frightened by unfamiliar feelings, she pulled away, her breath coming in ragged gasps.
“This is wrong.”
“No.” He reached for her, but she stepped back, the incoming waves swirling around her ankles. “I’ve waited two years for this moment. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“Two years to kiss me or Elsbeth?”
She moved past him, sloshing through the water. When she felt she was a safe distance away, she turned, hands on her hips. “I’m a shipwreck victim with no memory of my past.”
“You’re Elsbeth. I know it. I can feel it.”
She threw her arms in the air. “You don’t know that. How could you?”
“No. You need to listen. For two years you’ve stolen bits of my heart. I never told you of my feelings, knowing we had no future together. But now you think I might be your princess and that makes it right for you to kiss me? How dare you insult me that way?”
“But, Bri, if you are Elsbeth, we have a future together.”
“That’s one mighty big if, Your Highness.”
“I’m willing to stake my crown on it.”
“But what will you do if I’m not her? Do you choose another or choose me?”
“I’m bound by contract—”
“Which we both know became void when your princess disappeared. I’m not ignorant, Your Highness. I know how contracts work.” She waved a hand in the air. “We don’t know who I am. The only one who does is a mermaid, and she can’t speak to us."
“No, she isn’t the only one. Your family will know you.”
The pounding of her heart was the only sound she could hear over the roaring surf. “You mean to take me to Delphine.”
“Of course. You need to go home. To see your family. To remember.” He moved closer with each word.
Bri’s entire body trembled at the thought of crossing the sea. “No.” She shook her head so hard her vision blurred. “I can’t do that. The mermaid said not to look for my family. It isn’t safe.”
He pulled her close. “Surely the danger has passed after all these years. And I promise to keep you safe.”
She hesitated, then leaned her head on his shoulder, absorbing his strength. “If you have any feelings for me at all, you’ll find another way.”
“Have feelings for you?” He tipped her head up until her gaze met his, then feathered his fingertips over her cheeks. “Of course I have feelings for you, which is why we have to go to Delphine.”
Turning away, she stared out at the waves, wishing there was another option. If only they didn’t have to cross the sea, but she knew there was no other way. She had always wanted to learn who she was. Her family had only told her they found her on the beach, the lone survivor of a shipwreck. With no memories of her past, she had turned to building her future, but not a day went by that she didn’t wonder where she came from and who she had been. Should she cast this chance aside, just because she was afraid to sail?
“Fine. I will do whatever I need to learn who I am. Now, we need to settle whatever this is between us.”
“What do you mean?”
“There is no us.” Tears trickled down her cheek. “There can’t be. Not until we know who I am.”
“Stop! You keep saying that because that’s who you want me to be. Yet earlier today, you turned away from kissing me.”
“Because it wasn’t fair for me to kiss you, knowing nothing could come of it.”
She gaped at him, stunned at his words. “Not fair? You think it fair to have kept your feelings from me?”
“You’re one to talk, Bri. You were going to run away because of your feelings for me.”
She laughed, mirthlessly. “Because I didn’t think you felt anything more than friendship for me. I couldn’t say anything to you. You’re the crown prince. I’m barely a noble. What would you have had me say?”
He shoved a hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I never said anything as it seemed wrong to do so. How could I tell you I loved you then marry another?”
She shook her head. “If you had asked me, I would have given you my love, knowing we had no future together. I find it very telling you chose not to act on your feelings until you wouldn’t have to give up anything for me. I wonder, did you not think me worth the cost?”
I smiled often reading this book! Don’t be fooled though .. this story isn’t just fluff. There is mystery, intrigue and suspenseful moments, vengeful people and betrayal. This with all the happy .. well it makes one great read! THE READING CAFE