A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES x F/F SWAN LAKE
Friede of Trennen must choose a husband from three princes--one loveless marriage will make her a queen. But when an enchanting swan-princess leads Friede to a lake of cursed girls hidden deep in Trennen’s wood, freeing them will test Friede’s resolve and her loyalty to her own kingdom.
Marriage to her choice of three princes sounded like the perfect strategy, until Friede heard the strangers’ voices through the oak-wood door. Aranei’s, arch and lilting. Belnor’s, whiny. Nothing yet from the Markan. They didn’t think much of her, but they weren’t supposed to, not at first. She had Father, her ladies, and her court mage waiting for her inside the Great Hall, all to make her seem queenly.
No. I am queenly. No need to “seem” anything.
She grasped her late mother’s rubies at her throat and felt their cool weight. From age six, she knew she would be Trennen’s queen, and she smothered her nerves with that truth. She relaxed the corners of her lips, her brow—
A trumpet flared behind her. Smoke poured into the tiny stone antechamber, glittering and thick and a frenzy of colors.
Fear shot through her—an assassin? No, they didn’t announce themselves. Friede choked back the smoke—it tasted of overripe berries, sickly sweet—and searing light made her squint. Murmurs of the ancient Vairen tongue rose up around her, silken syllables not quite shaping into words. Glyph papers fluttered through candy-smoke.
Out of the light stepped the mage’s apprentice, Orsimer, carrying a bouquet of gilded roses, his hair curled, wearing a ridiculously fluffy fur cloak and slippers.
It was more than enough to make her retch, and then a light twinkling in the air above him spelled out: Friede of Trennen, will you marry me?