Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Arianna has lived in fear of her father, the king, since the day she saw him throw her mother to her death from the castle wall. The king despises her, convinced she is the product of the queen’s betrayal, and her future is grim: marriage to a man who will abuse her, if he does not get them both killed for treason first.
When she discovers an orc, beaten, chained, and trapped inside a magic mirror in the king’s tower, Arianna is struck not by horror, but hope. Her whole life, she has lived among her father’s nobles, men with pretty faces and cruel hearts. Even with his grey-green skin and curved tusks, Bolthorn is no monster. Beneath his heavy brow, his yellow eyes glow with warmth and kindness, and in his immense strength she cannot help but see her own freedom.
Bolthorn never imagined his prayers to the ancestors would be answered by this woman, whose strength of spirit rivals any orc's. He needs her help to warn his people before King Gunnar marches his army through the mountain to enslave the orcs, but all he can offer Arianna is the love of a twisted creature, born to ice and darkness. No orc has ever been bound to a human, even if she can survive winter in the mountains. If she accepts his love, she will have no choice but to exile herself from everything she has ever known, for once they cross the mountain, there will be no return. And the bitter winter is the least of what threatens them on the other side.
With the blood of the king flowing in her veins, Arianna can open the magic mirror that imprisons Bolthorn and free them both. But if they are to escape to the orcs without bringing war with them, the king, her father, must die.
BLOOD OF THE KING is a 104,000 word romantic fantasy novel with a touch of Norse influence.
The room was forbidden, but staring into the mirror hanging from the opposite wall, Arianna did not understand why. It was empty, but for the framed, silvered glass, the only light coming from the arrow slit windows, one on either side of the mirror. No tapestries hung on the rounded walls, no furnishings to speak of, and no hearth for a fire against the frozen north wind that bit at her nose and turned her cheeks red.
At first, Arianna only saw her own reflection in the glass, no more than a shadow of movement in the dim light. But when she moved away toward the arrow slits, something else stirred in the dark and a low growl filled the silence of the room, knotting her stomach. She froze, pressing back against the cold stone wall. Nothing stood behind her, to cast such a reflection, and nothing else moved in the room itself.
“Have you come to gloat?” a harsh voice called, thick and deep. “Is it not enough that you hold me hostage, you must taunt me as well?”
A breath of fear escaped her lungs, loud as thunder to her ears, and the too-tall shadow in the mirror shifted again, with a clank of chains and a flash of sickly grey skin behind the glass. Inside the glass?
“Who’s there?” the voice called.
She didn't dare answer. If whatever lived behind the mirrored glass told the king she had been in the tower, she’d be fortunate to escape with less than ten lashes.