Dark One’s Bride
by Aldrea Alien
(Dark One’s Trilogy #2)
Publication date: October 31st 2019
Genres: Young Adult Gothic Romance
A royal wedding. A fiery heroine. And a brazen act of sabotage that could topple a kingdom.
It has been five months since Clarabelle Weaver saved the life of the infamous Great Lord and happily accepted his unexpected marriage proposal. With their wedding less than a week away, she is finally stepping into the unfamiliar world beyond her village to face nobility she never knew existed.
But it’s not only them who are interested in her presence.
The enemy is also stirring for this historic occasion. Their focus not on the man they see as their reviled “Dark Lord”, but on her as the young woman who supposedly carries his heir.
Clara must weave a path through attempted assassinations and poisonings whilst also proving to the court that she’s suitable to become their ruler’s Great Lady… all before taking their vows. But has her training prepared her for an attack that could send the kingdom into war?
Clara hit the cobblestones and rolled until her back slammed up against something as equally unforgiving. Her breath rushed out her lips, leaving her chest burning. Through the ringing in her ears, she caught the muddied chatter of a gossiping crowd.
Lucias? No, he wasn’t nearby and he’d only ever spoken her name with such concern.
She rolled her eyes, searching for the source of the sound. All she could see was the shimmering grey of the clouds and buildings. Moving anything else seemed impossible. Everything ached. Her mouth silently opened and closed, the fire in her chest desperate for air. Tears blurred her vision, their passage down her cheeks turning icy in the chill breeze.
Finally, in one massive gasp, she could breathe again. Clara raised an arm, stiff from the tumble, to dash her tears across her sleeve. More took their place. She sniffed in an effort to halt their flow to no avail. Sitting up proved a far harder task, her back stiff. Something wet hit her neck. She patted her hair, cringing as her fingers came into contact with something slimy.
People suddenly filled her vision. Concerned faces floating above the uniform of the Endlight guard. One helped her to her feet. “Are you badly injured, my lady?” he asked her before shouting over his shoulder. “Someone get a doctor!”
“No,” she croaked. The stiffness in her right hip suggested it had taken the majority of the impact, but she could deal with that later. She clutched at the man who still supported her. “The Great Lord!” she blurted, pointing the way Sable had come. There was no sign of the battle, hidden by the press of the crowd and the land. “Over the hill. Bandits. You’ve got to help him!”
“Easy, my lady,” the man said. “You hit the ground pretty hard. We can’t all just… leave our post at your word. Why don’t you rest and tell us what happened?”
Clara stared at the guard, her mouth dropping open. The bandits could have Lucias knocked to the ground by now, barely warding off blows and they wanted her to chat like she was describing some back-city thief? “A fine lot you are.” She shoved the man, although it was herself who took a few staggering paces back.
“My lady,” the man protested. “We can’t help if you don’t—”
“If you won’t help, then I’ll do it myself. Where’s my pony!” She searched the immediate area for the animal, finding him in the possession of another guard. Snatching up the reins, she attempted to mount him. Her skirts tugged at her legs, hindering any chance of lifting them high enough without exposing herself to all and sundry.
Clara dropped back to the cobblestones. There was only one thing for it. She whirled on the nearest guard. “You!” Her ankle twinged with each step and had her silently lamenting how the Citadel, with the training ground’s healing magic, was so far away. “Your dagger,” she demanded.
The guard objected in a stream of incoherent babbles.
Snarling, Clara plucked the dagger from his belt. She sawed through the hem of her dress. After that, tearing a long enough slit through the skirts was a swift matter. Unhindered, she clambered aboard the pony and aimed it the way she’d come. Her body protested. She wiggled, searching in vain for the same comfortable position she’d used for half the day. It only seemed to increase the ache in her legs.
Higher up, she spied the man Lucias had spoken to during their departure. “You there!” The crowd parted around the man as she singled him out with a wave of her hand. “Lieutenant…” Did Lucias ever mention the man’s name? “You! You saw me leave through this gate with the Great Lord, correct?”
The lieutenant nodded as he halted at Sable’s shoulder. “Yes, my lady.” He looked around them, puzzled at first, then panic took over his face as he seemed to realise Lucias was not with her. He twisted to eye the road leading to the Pillars with sick dismay. “Is he still—?”
“Out there.” She levelled her pilfered dagger at the road. “An ambush.” How many men had swarmed out of those carriages? Eight? Ten? Even with the destrier’s might at his control, she’d no idea how Lucias could fight off so many.
The man’s ruddy, olive face grew pale. “To arms, men!” the lieutenant bellowed. He scrambled towards a horse tied up at the guard post and leapt into the saddle.
Giveaway ends November 14th.
The grand prize is:
- Print copy of Dark One’s Mistress
Aldrea Alien lives in New Zealand with their family, including a menagerie of animals, most of which are convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats! By day, they wrangle the family, often writing romantic fantasy by night.
Visit their website to sign up for their newsletter so you can stay informed about new releases.
To get behind the scenes, join Aldrea’s Facebook Group.