As the daughter of the Pirate King, Tilia Swanson has an unusual upbringing learning skills that aren’t often available for women. As the heir apparent for the Kingdom of Crilan, her skills set her apart as she is trained by the best in the land and taught to harness her magic. However, piracy is in her blood, and draws danger to Tilia in the way that treasure draws pirates. Some treasures are more valuable than others. Will this lesson be learned in time or will the betrayal of those around her be her undoing?
“Ready?” Jared asked me with a wide smile.
“Ready for what?” I asked.
Esmeralda and Jared clucked their tongues and their horses shot off ahead, racing together. “Cheaters!” I yelled, clucking to Duke and squeezing my legs to urge him forward. He reluctantly took off at a canter and then lengthened his stride into a gallop. We caught up and then pulled ahead of them both by a neck.
“Your horse’s size is not fair,” Esmeralda called.
“Your small horse should be faster than this lazy giant,” I called back.
We continued galloping for a little ways farther and then slowed the horses to a walk. I pet his neck and praised him. “What a good boy,” I crooned, “I’ll make sure you get spoiled in Markleville.”
“That horse can really move when he needs to,” Jared said.
“He’s a perfect horse,” I said with a genuine smile and heartfelt appreciation.
“I’m surprised you can even mount him,” Esmeralda teased.
“You should have seen her trying to climb up him the first day I gave him to her,” Jared said with a laugh.
“Well you wouldn’t pick me up and put me on him,” I complained.
“It was worth it to watch you scramble up his front leg and almost pull out the poor guy’s mane to get onto his back.”
“I apologized and gave him three apples that night,” I said as I pet his neck again. “He forgave me.”
“Most men forgive you if you give them something to eat,” Esmeralda teased.
“Don’t put ridiculous thoughts like that into her head,” Jared reprimanded her.
“It’s going to be interesting to see who you end up with,” Faxon said with a smirk at me.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked defensively.
“You are equal parts your uncle and aunt,” he said, “I always knew they were meant to be together because of how they interacted, but seeing you as both parts makes me wonder who could possibly counteract your attitude and personality.”
“Are you trying to imply that by being a little bit of both of us that she is unlovable?” Esmeralda asked with venom in her voice.
“Not unlovable, just…difficult,” he said with a wide smile.
“I’ll show you difficult,” she said, her hands moved and then a fire started on the top of Faxon’s saddle pad. His horse bolted ahead of us, bucking as he tried to dislodge the fire and Faxon.
Faxon somehow held his seat and used his magic to put the fire out. “See what I mean?” Faxon called back to us, “Difficult.”
“I’m not difficult,” I said.
Jared reached over and pet my hand. “You’re right; you’re only difficult eighty percent of the time.”
I let my mouth drop open and then glared at him. “You’re the most stubborn man in the Realm of Olanze and you’re telling me that I am difficult?”
“She has a point,” Esmeralda said.
“Don’t you team up with her against me. I’m your husband,” he growled.
“I’m only speaking the truth,” she said.
“You are rather difficult sometimes,” Griffin agreed with Esmeralda.
“Not you too!” Jared groaned. I stifled my laugh, but he saw me covering my mouth and glared at me.
Catherine Banks is the author of the Artemis Lupine Series, Little Death Bringer Series, Ciara Steele Novella Series, and the novel Daughter of Lions. She began writing fiction stories when she was only four years old and finished her first full length novel at the age of fifteen.
Catherine is a Northern California native and has lived within a twenty mile radius her entire life. She plans to travel to as many places as possible in her thirties to make up for her lack of traveling experience. She is married to her soulmate and best friend, Avery, who blessed her with two amazing children. After her full time job she reads books, plays video games, and watches a lot of anime shows and movies with her family to relax.
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