STRANGE THE DREAMER meets GIRL, SERPENT, THORN
After centuries trapped as a statue, plus-size Gia wants revenge.
But if she's going to kill the immortal man who doomed her and usurped her sister, she needs to get her hands—and likely her blade—on the handsome autistic boy whose prayers woke her.
Only a strix’s talons could claw out a heart more sharply than a sister’s scorn.
Unable to keep still through the endless council negotiations any longer, Gia drew her knife, its hilt carved of chimera bone—a gift from her mentor Ennio—and balanced it idly across her fingers. Her sister Lena, elaborate braids under her copper crown, white dress draping elegantly from her olive-skinned shoulders, shot her a look as deadly as its iron blade.
Gia stared back and flipped the knife to show Lena no one but she cared how Gia passed the interminable time at assemblies. Not one of these visiting dignitaries had come to hear Gia speak.
Lena pressed her lips in a line and lifted a hand to silence the stodgy emissary droning on. She broke her perfect posture to lean towards Gia. “Put that weapon away or leave the chamber.”
Gia grinned. “Gladly, Your Eminence.”
She rose and squeezed her wide hips past the carved wooden chairs and marble columns. Lena’s censure nettled her as she slipped from the council building. But the thought of Ennio’s broad smile as she arrived unexpectedly early at his temple helped soothe her conscience.
Outside, she kept the knife ready, watching for the small serpents that usually stretched out along lonely stairs and wound themselves about balustrades to soak up the stone’s warmth.
They weren’t there. Even through rain and chill, nothing but fear would move the pests.
A knot pulled tight in Gia’s gut.
What could possibly scare monsters?