Things did not go as planned when we arrived in the Capital. To be fair, my expectations were based off of the book plot. In the story, the protagonist met a lot of resistance among the nobility, who were jealous of her favored status with the prince. Katrina of course, worked furiously behind the scenes to make friends with anyone who disliked Autumn and fan the flames as much as possible. This meant it was my time to shine, when I could masquerade as the worthless antagonist side character while protecting sweet little Autumn from anyone who would go against her.
At least, that’s how it was supposed to happen.
Everything went wrong right from the start. I had prepared extensively for our arrival. We were to act out the scene from the book, where Katrina tripped Autumn on her way out of the carriage. Autumn would be unhurt but embarrassed, while Katrina would be securely placed within the “anti-Autumn” faction.
It didn’t take too long for Duchess Savalle’s men to grab me again. I was brought before the arrogant woman, fighting off a sad sense of deja vu as she stared down her nose at me.“You ruined everything, you stupid girl.” She snapped at me as soon as I arrived. “Why in the world would you wear the poisoned necklace instead of giving it that pretender?”So that’s how we’re going to play it, huh?I went into full spoiled brat mode.“Are you kidding me?! It’s all your fault for coming up with such a stupid plan! Why would she accept a cheap necklace from her maid?” I stomped my feet and produced a couple crocodile tears. “It’s your fault she made me wear it! I threw up in front of the prince! He probably thinks I’m disgusting. Now I’ll never be queen!”My voice ended on a shri
It took a little bit of time, but eventually I pulled myself together. No matter how the plot changed, or how terrified I was, I could not let Autumn get kidnapped tonight. That was the only path I refused to go down. All I could do was trust in my preparations.I got changed, leaving the blue ball gown behind and changing into my black sparring clothes. I tied my hair back and wrapped my hands to protect my fists. Poisons went in one pocket, antidotes in another. I strapped knives to my arms, waist and legs. Feeling better now that I was armed head to toe, I went in search of Captain Alexander.When Autumn and I had first come to the capital, he and a group of the guards I frequently sparred with all volunteered to follow us and arrange for security. Although not thrilled about losing the captain of his guard, Autumn’s father agreed that in the end, his daughter’s safety took first priority. I was thrilled to have a
I woke up sitting in an ice-cold room. My head was throbbing, my mouth was dry, and every inch of my body ached. I slowly tried to peel my heavy eyelids open, frustrated when all I could see were blank walls.Where am I?Trying to straighten up, it became immediately apparent that I was tied up at my wrists and feet once more with physical restraint magic. I was unable to counter it, just like that last time at Savalle’s hideout. Which meant… I stiffened in place as I remembered the events before I was knocked unconscious. Groaning with embarrassment at how easily I had been tricked, I looked around, surprised when I saw Savalle sitting on a chair in the corner of the room. His posture was relaxed, the picture of a gentleman waiting for his afternoon tea rather than a villain staring at his kidnapping victim. Seeing my eyes open, he smiled humorlessly.“Welcome back. You woke up sooner than
“James…”I heard her voice call out my name before her eyes rolled up and she fell unconscious to the ground. My heart stopped and I ran forward, catching her head before it could strike the hard floor. Holding her in my arms, I anxiously scanned her for signs of life. I pressed my fingers to her neck, relieved to feel a strong pulse and her warm breath on the back of my hand.Why had she passed out though?I patted her cheeks, trying to wake her, desperately suppressing the panic growing in my heart.“Katrina! Are you ok?”Her eyes fluttered opened, her gaze vague and unfocused for a few moments before training intently on my face. Once she recognized me, she broke into a bright smile, causing my breath to catch in my chest. Even dirty bloody and injured she was heartstoppingly beautiful.I couldn’t let myself
“Marry me?”I heard a voice whisper in my ears as I drifted in and out of consciousness. Was I hallucinating? Did I want to hear those words from James so much that my brain was having him propose to me in my sleep? I opened my eyes, the first sight that greeted me was the tired and drawn face of Duke Harrington. He held me closely in his arms, and for the first time in a long time I felt safe. Before he could notice I had woken up, I closed my eyes again, my mind racing.Had I heard correctly? If I had, what would I say?I fell back asleep shortly, stress and exhaustion taking over my body.When I woke up, my body felt refreshed but my mental state was confused and overwhelmed. I quickly got dressed and headed out, trying to sort out my thoughts.“Miss Katrina!” A voice called out to me. It was Captain Alexander, he strode up to me
Rachel, long time editor and friend to authors, let herself into the empty apartment, looking around sadly.“You really had to go and get hit by a car right before you finished your last book?” She laughed, a lonely sound in the dark living space. “I bet that pissed you off. You were so excited about the ending.”Looking around, she couldn’t help but slump a little. She knew the manuscript wasn’t finished, otherwise she would have gotten the celebratory text. That left her with the headache of publishing an unfinished book or asking someone else to contribute.Maybe I’ll luck out and she was almost completely done.She turned a corner into the office and stopped with a gasp. She couldn’t help the dramatic reaction, however, the sight greeting her was truly shocking!A thick finished manuscript sat on the desk