About the Book
The Heir. Princess Elea should be the Queen of Urka, but her uncle usurped the throne while she was away in Sania. Is her small goddess gift enough to fullfill an ancient prophecy and save her throne?
The Spare. Princess Nora takes her cousin Elea’s place when they are captured by Captain Batard, the illegitimate son of the King of Kaul. She has been blessed with the strength of ten men, but can she survive?
The Captain. Gerard has known no home but the sea. His mother abandoned him and his royal relatives refuses to acknowledge him. He is nearly killed by one princess and gives his heart to the other.
The King. Matteo is the new King of Sania. He is willing to go to war to save the princess he loves, even if he doesn’t know her true feelings for him.
About the Author
Samantha Hastings met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, having tea parties, and chasing her four kids. She has degrees from Brigham Young University, University of North Texas, and University of Reading (UK). She's the author of: The Last Word, The Invention of Sophie Carter, A Royal Christmas Quandary, The Girl with the Golden Eyes, Jane Austen Trivia, The Duchess Contract, Secret of the Sonnets, The Marquess and the Runaway Lady, and A Novel Disguise. She also writes cozy murder mysteries under Samantha Larsen.
“Taking a peek at your purple-haired princess?” Xavier teased, elbowing Matteo in the
Wincing, Matteo felt blood rush to his face. He had been caught watching her windows
and balcony, hoping for a first glimpse of his wife. “You would be too, if you had been married
by proxy to a complete stranger.”
“Not a stranger, a princess,” his best friend said, a smile still on his taunting lips. “And
not just any princess, an Urkan princess reported to have magical powers.”
Matteo shook his head. He didn’t believe in goddesses, prophecies, or any sort of magic.
They were made up stories to make naughty children behave.
Xavier put a large hand on Matteo’s coarse curls and ruffled them. “If you’re so sure,
why don’t you go into her courtyard and see for yourself?”
Matteo elbowed his friend again in the ribs to get him off. “Send one of your bloody birds
to spy on her.”
A crow as black as his hair, flew onto Xavier’s shoulder and he lightly petted its feathers.
His friend had an unnatural affinity to winged creatures and used them as couriers in their spy
network. No matter where they were sent, the birds always came back to Xavier.
“There, there. He didn’t mean it, Precious. Matteo is simply too chicken to do it himself.”
The last time he’d taken one of Xavier’s dares, he’d ended up with a broken arm. Still, he
wanted to see Princess Eleanora so badly that his hands were shaking and he felt light-headed.
Was she beautiful? Sweet? Kind? Pleasant company?
“Would you like me to fetch some of your poems to read to her?” Xavier teased. “I’m
sure she’ll be unable to resist your hand-written verses.”
Matteo hushed Xavier, before removing the sword at his waist. “Fine. I’ll do it. No
mention of poetry.”
Xavier laughed loudly, echoing like a cricket in the night. “Good idea. After she hears
your terrible poetry, she might prefer me.”
They were both twenty-four years old. His friend was slightly shorter than him and had a
lighter shade of brown skin. Xavier was handsome with sea green eyes, a nose with a bump in
the middle, and thick lips. Matteo was taller, darker skinned, stronger, and his features were more
classical. But neither had any difficulty finding young ladies to flirt with.
He gave his friend one last shove. “She would be the first woman to do so.”
“Nonsense,” Xavier said, striking a pose, the crow still perched on his shoulder.
Ignoring him, Matteo climbed over the wall to her private courtyard. Which was a stupid
idea, he thought, as his feet hit the grass. The lanterns in the pointed arch windows bathed the
square in a soft light. But there was no one in sight. Not the princess or her companion; she was a
cousin or something. He was about to turn around and scramble back over the wall, when he was
tackled from behind.
Matteo fell on his face and ate a mouthful of grass. Winded and embarrassed, he rolled
over to his back. Once the guard saw his face, there would be an apology. Except the attacker
wasn’t a guard. It was a woman and she sat down hard on his chest, knocking the wind out of
him for a second time. With one arm, she pinned his two hands to the ground and with the other
she held a silver dagger at his throat. He knew he ought to be afraid, the dagger was sharp
against his neck, but he wasn’t.
He was fascinated.
Even in the dim light of the courtyard, he could see that her hair truly was purple. Her
face was all sharp lines, from her cheekbones to her chin, and her pale skin was covered in tiny
brown freckles. Her eyes shined like blue gems and were circled in black. It should have made
her look fierce, but they accentuated her beauty.
“Who are you and why were you spying on us?” she demanded, in the high tongue. Her
eyes swept his body, making him blush.
Matteo was about to answer that he was her husband, but that made him feel like a
complete and utter fool.
“I meant no harm,” he whispered. It was hard to talk with a sharp object pressing against
his Adam’s apple. “I only wanted a glimpse of your beauty.”
The fierce princess rolled her jewel-like eyes at him. “The truth, before I gut you like a pig."
Author Samantha Hastings has written a fast paced, page turning, fantasy adventure, that readers will be captivated with from the gorgeous cover to the turn of the first page. From the very beginning, Hastings captures the attention of her readers with the unveiling of a bodyguard/decoy princess. Hastings does an excellent job of jumping between the point of view of 4 different characters (Nora, Elea, Matteo, and Gerard), as they help tell the story and move it along. Readers will immerse themselves in this magical story that will keep them wanting more and not wanting it to end.
Genre: historical, fantasy
Publisher: Scribbling Pens
Publication date: October 2, 2023
Number of pages: 314
Disclosure statement: A complimentary review copy of this book was provided from tour groups, publishers, publicists, authors, and others, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, Or borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR borrowed from Deseret Bookshelf, OR pre-ordered/purchased for review, including Audible. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
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