So, if you follow me on any of my social media outlets, you probably already know that Withering Rose goes on-sale in TWO WEEKS!!!!!!
*momentary freak out*
WOOHOOO!!!!!!! Here's a teaser for the teaser because that's how excited I am!
Anyway, I want everyone to start getting on the same slightly deranged page that I am, so I decided to host a little first chapter reveal!!
If you haven't read Gathering Frost, DON'T WORRY!
You can still enjoy Withering Rose which tells the story of completely different characters! You can enter the world of Once Upon A Curse through my Beauty & the Beast retelling if Sleeping Beauty wasn't really your thing!
And if you did read Gathering Frost, this should hopefully be a no brainer :)
Anyway, no more stalling!! Enjoy!
I'll never forget the exact moment I started to die.
The day the world fell apart.
The day my world fell apart.
The morning of the earthquake began as a morning like any other. The air was cool and crisp, blowing through the slightly ajar carriage window and stinging my nose. I sat beside my father, hands encased in delicate lace gloves and folded perfectly on my lap. The dainty gold crown marking my station was pinned neatly into my hair, nothing compared to the brilliant, jewel-adorned one atop my father's tanned brow. I sat with my ankles crossed, trying my best not to kick my feet, though they dangled a foot above the carriage floor. And my eyes were glued out the window, transfixed by the snow-capped mountains cutting through the horizon like a sharp blade.
The mountains of the beasts.
A place of legend and myth.
The night before, I had overheard my father's guards telling stories about the bear king and wolf queen who roamed those jagged peaks, rulers made of flesh and fur. They thought I had been sleeping, as a proper princess would have been. But though I was a princess, I loathed being proper.
"Omorose?" my father asked, pulling me from the view that was beginning to make my heart thud in my chest.
"Yes, Papa?" I murmured.
"I'm not used to such silence from you. Are you nervous?"
I bit my seven-year-old lip, trying to ignore the flurry of butterflies that suddenly zipped across my chest. Was I nervous? Yes. Would I admit it? No.
I shook my head demurely. "No, Papa."
"The prince will still be the same boy you met before."
I nodded, swallowing. The prince was Prince Asher. My friend. A boy I had met a handful of times. But now I would be meeting him in a new light—as my betrothed. The contract was signed. And even as a young girl, I knew the gravity of that decision.
Prince Asher, son of the Ice Queen, the woman without feeling, the woman whose magic was to steal the emotions of everyone around her, the woman who ruled a desolate, heartless kingdom. My mother's magic was beautiful, filled with light and life. The magic I would inherit was beautiful. But the magic Asher would inherit was cold and scary and unfeeling, and it made me shiver just thinking about being married to a man with such power. I remembered him in my thoughts as a kind, lonely boy, who liked to dream and play as much as I did. But would he always be like that?
"Omorose?" my father prodded, reading my heavy thoughts—far heavier than a girl's of my age should have been. But being royal left little room for a normal childhood.
"I just miss Mama and sissy," I mumbled, lips wobbling, not needing to use too much energy to convince him of the truth of my words.
"Your baby sister is still too young to travel, but you'll see them both soon."
He patted my hands gently, a loving, worried touch.
And then our world shattered.
The ground shook, and we toppled, flipping end over end as the carriage rolled from the dirt road, smashing against the ground. I screamed as my body floated in air for an instant before slamming against the hood of the carriage, which was somehow now the floor. My vision went black as my head hit the heavy, gilded wood.
"Omorose," my father was pleading. "Omorose!"
His hands caressed my cheeks, a light kiss pressed against my temple, and then my eyes flickered open. The dull ache in my head grew as soon as the light hit my pupils, blinding me.
"Omorose," my father cried, clutching me to his chest.
I glanced over his shoulder, trying to understand what had happened. The snow-covered fields were a mess of dirt and ice, shaken apart by godly hands. The mountains in the distance were haloed in rings of flurries and dust. The carriage was by our side, broken into pieces. One of the guards was covered in blood, lying still against the ground. Two more were looking beyond me, behind me, with an expression quivering between awe and alarm.
I trailed off as I spun, my father still holding me tight.
I gasped, unable to breathe as a fear I had never known washed over me.
Gone was the dirt road.
Gone was the snow-kissed field.
Gone was everything I had ever known.
A city in chaos rested a few feet away from my frozen body. I didn't know what anything was at the time, everything was foreign and loud and unfamiliar. The only thing I recognized were the sounds of human screams and the sight of human tears. But everything else—impossible. I know now that what I saw were cars and cell phones and office buildings. I know now that the clothing I was startled by were jeans and sweatshirts and down jackets. I know now that the sounds blaring in my ears were car alarms and fire trucks. But at the time, I was overcome by panic and confusion, overcome by the otherworldliness of it all.
And then the very thing I feared most in my life happened.
I felt a tingle in my heart.
A warm, powerful tingle.
And it moved across my chest, down my arms, over my stomach, around my legs, spreading heat and strength across my entire body.
"Papa!" I cried.
I didn't want it.
He met my eyes and instantly he knew that the shriek in my voice wasn't because of the unknown scene before us. It was the panic of my inheritance coming all too soon.
Pain flashed over his umber eyes.
Pain and hurt and a longing I will never forget.
But before I could say anything, before I could apologize for taking any ounce of hope he had left, the trickling heat exploded in my chest as the magic washed over me.
My mother's magic.
And the fact that it was now becoming mine could only mean one thing.
She was dead.
I tried to cry, to scream, to do anything to express the despair breaking my tiny heart apart. But I was lost in the burn of the magic as it funneled into me from some invisible place, pushing and pulling against my body, burying itself deep inside.
I distantly remember hearing a low voice shout foreign words. Through eyes that felt not my own, I remember seeing two blurry figures in blue pointing weapons at us, yelling at the two royal guards behind us, forcing them to drop their swords. They ordered my father the king around in a way no one dared before, shouting, using hand gestures when he didn't understand. My father listened, standing when they told him to, holding my limp body in his arms, refusing to let go. He walked and walked and walked, holding me silently. He only said three words the entire time the foreign men led us deeper into their unknown world.
"Don't use it."
And I knew what he meant.
Don't use the magic. Don't show them what we are. But more than that. Something deeper. Something only the members of my family knew, a secret we held close to our hearts. Because that moment, still as death in my father's arms as my mother's magic raged through me, that was the exact moment I started to die.
I felt it as the torment of heat and strength and power finished devouring my seven-year-old body. The fire ebbed. Delightful coolness sprung to my toes, covering my body in a blanket of much-needed ice as the magic settled into its new home. The last place the warmth lingered was down in the center of my chest.
One moment, I was a happy, healthy child.
And the next, I was slowly beginning my descent toward death.
Because my magic came with a price. A curse my family had kept secret for generations. We had the power to give nature life, but only at the cost of our own. And as the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name—a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty.
From that moment on, mylife would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as thepetals of time slowly started to fall.
Thanks guys! I hope you enjoyed this preview!
WITHERING ROSE is now available to pre-order, so I hope you buy a copy and enjoy :)