For seventeen-year-old Jocelyn, being betrothed to the charming Prince Zven should've been perfect--instead it's hell. After moving into his palace, Jocelyn's world collapses when she discovers he's murdered her family.
Trapped inside Zven's twisted world of animal torture and indiscriminate murder, Jocelyn's convinced she's his next victim. Once she discovers Zven's plan to poison the King, she escapes with her life and the prince's secret.
With the entire kingdom searching for her and winter biting the forest, Jocelyn refuses to drown in panic. She accepts help from the mysterious soldier Taggert--a thrill-seeker more than willing to protect her.
Together they form a plan to cross the Kingdom of Zire and retrieve a letter from the royal apothecary proving Zven's poisonous plot. Taggert uses his questionable connections to elude the prince and enlists an unlikely group of allies to aid Jocelyn: a drunken rogue, a jilted pirate princess, and a silent enigmatic spy.
Soon Jocelyn and Taggert's plans are interrupted when one of her allies informs the prince of her whereabouts. Jocelyn must find a way to use the prince's secret to stop him and outsmart the traitor before the prince finds her and forces her into marriage. She cannot fail. Experience has taught her--no one lives to cross Prince Zven.
First 150 Words:
Jocelyn swallowed her panic in breathless gulps. It’s too late! I didn’t get far enough.
With guards chasing her, she had two options—run or hide.
She chose the latter.
Now she waited.
Jocelyn lay flat—her stomach pressed into the frosty ground. Was it the cold or the fear making her skin rise in complaining goose bumps?
The relentless pursuit moved closer with each shallow breath. She touched her neck and her fist closed around a broken locket—its jagged face cut into her flesh. You’re still alive, the pain reminded her. She willed herself to remain still, fighting every screaming instinct to—Run!
The earth throbbed as boots hit the ground in a chaotic cadence.
They’re going to find me. He’s going to kill me!
Polished boots stopped inches from Jocelyn’s nose and she stiffened. The guard cursed under his breath. He pushed aside the leaves on a bush across the trail and they crackled like angry paper.