The Queen’s Dance  Book Two of the Aurelian Guard Series

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Lady Claire is the brightest addition to the queen’s retinue, and the constant activity at high court allows her to ignore her sorrow over the loss of her parents and the destruction of her ancestral home. But when the games of flirtation threaten to expose her closest held secret, she begs to return to her sister’s castle in Stolweg where she’ll be safe from discovery.

In Cathmara, the northernmost territory of Aurelia, Trian of the king’s Royal Guard is given an ultimatum: secure the hand of the woman he loves or marry one of the many who have properly pressed their suit. He must follow the long-held traditions of his people, and win a lady’s affection without professing his love or even hinting at his regard. Fortunately, this shy warrior is assigned to escort his heart’s desire, Lady Claire, from King’s Glen to her sister’s castle.

On this journey, Claire discovers that Trian is immune to her curse, and they fall into a comfortable friendship. Trian teaches her his unique way of seeing the world; she tutors him in the healing arts. As her attraction to him grows, so does her frustration that he may not share her feelings, for he never declares his intent. When duty demands his presence in King’s Glen, Claire worries that he’ll forget her—she knows firsthand how proficient are the ladies at courtly games of the heart.

She spends her days helping her sister, practicing what Trian has taught her, and counting the hours until her reunion with him. On the day of his return, her joy at seeing him again is crushed when they are ambushed. The nightmare of the murder of her parents plays out before her very eyes as Trian, whilst fighting to reach her, is knocked down by deadly quarrels. Claire is kidnapped and transported far from Aurelia and from those she holds most dear.

Alone in a realm where women are treated as chattel, Claire must plan her escape and her return to her home. She makes use of Trian’s lessons, taking the strength from her memories of their time spent together. But the kingdom of Nifolhad proves nothing like anything she’s ever imagined. Its customs and secrets seduce her, and plots and machinations drag her into the very heart of the battle for its throne. If she ever hopes to return to Aurelia and to the people she loves, Claire must overcome her greatest fear: embracing the same curse she spent her entire life disguising.

From The Queen’s Dance:

     “’Tis not I, then,” he sighed. For a moment, she looked as if she might deny the truth of what he meant, then she drew to her full height and shook her head. “I’m sad to hear it,” Warin said truthfully. “Do you know who?”

     “I’m blind to my own fate, Warin. I always have been.”

     “Even so, it means much that you trust me with your secret. But are you sure? I thought—”

     “I had hoped as well…”