Princess of Twilight and Dawn Book Two
Six months ago, when her long-hidden heritage came to light, Tab Bennett reluctantly let go of her past and embraced her future as an Elvish princess on the cusp of her gifts and the edge of her destiny. She never wanted a fairy tale life, but as the daughter of the Dark King and the Light Queen, that’s exactly what she got.
Raised in exile away from the kingdom of the Inbetween, Tab has never even met the parents who ruined her life. Her mother is dead, but Tab’s father, Daniel, is alive and well, the mad ruler of the kingdom of the Underneath. He’s made it clear he wants to meet her and now that she knows all the sadness and heartache in her life can be traced directly to the Dark king’s door, Tab wants to meet him too. After all, it's because of him that the first twenty-five years of her life were a lie. It’s his fault she gave her heart to Robbin when she should have been saving it for Alex, the prince who is destined to be her Homecoming. But, most importantly, King Daniel is the one responsible for her mother’s suicide and her sisters’ murders.
Now Tab wants justice – but she’ll settle for revenge and Finnegan Blackthorn, an Elvish warrior with secrets of his own, is going to help her get it. Together, they’ll embark on the dangerous journey to her father’s stronghold in the kingdom Underneath. Once she's there, far away from the Light in which she was raised, Tab will be forced to confront the seductive nature of Darkness and her own potential to truly become her father’s daughter.
“We are being followed.”
Jenny Greenteeth hissed and bared her teeth, reaching for her sword. Finn drew the twin swords from the sheath on his back in one swift, fluid motion. Without even thinking, I drew my knife and turned to see who was coming for us.
“Do you mean the starlings?” I asked, unable to keep from laughing. The sky was full of them, a thousand small birds, swirling in a tightly knit circle of glossy-black wings and ruby-red eyes. “They’re with me.”
Finn looked puzzled and Jenny looked even greener than usual. “Birds are omens of death, Your Lightness,” she said.
“Or rebirth,” Finn added quickly.
“We should not begin this journey when the sky is full of such dark omens.”
I watched the starlings as they flew in a corkscrew holding pattern, clearly waiting for me to get going.
“They used to freak me out too, but I don’t think they’re here to make trouble. They’ve already saved my life twice so far.”
Finn nodded, as if it wasn’t a big deal to be rescued by birds; as if everyone had been at one time or another.
“I try not to pay them too much attention. If you stop looking at them they might just go away.”
“Yeah, they’re kind of on their own schedule.” I started walking again.
We were climbing over the stone wall that separated the carefully kept grounds of my grandfather’s estate from the wild magic of the deep forest when Finn said, “Someone’s coming. It’s not the birds this time.”
I turned to see Matt striding toward us through the last clumps of slushy snow.
“Stay right there,” he called as he drew closer.
Although I seriously considered jumping from the wall and running into the woods, I forced myself to stand there and wait for him—trying to look casual, as if there was nothing strange at all about standing perched on the edge of safety, one foot dangling over the deep forest.
“Hey, Matt. What’s up?”
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked. Ignoring Jenny and Finn, he focused on me, pinning me to the spot with eyes that were gray and still. Sadness had stolen all of the color from his irises that were usually a bright and beautiful blue.
“Where do I think I’m going?”
He laughed, but not because he thought I was funny.
“I know you think I’m too fucked up to notice you sneaking away, but Francis left me in charge and no matter how fucked up I might be, I will always do my job.” That was the most he’d said to me, to anyone, in a while.
We all missed Rivers, but what Matt went through in those months following her death was some of the most intense mourning I’d ever witnessed. She was pretty much the only thing he thought about. Loving her. Losing her. He blamed himself for her death, for not protecting her, and for not running away with her when he’d had the chance.
Being near him was painful; his memories of Rivers shouted at me, shrill and hard to watch.
“George warned me you might try something like this. And although I’m not surprised to see you here,” Matt said, pointing at Finn, “I thought you had more sense than this, Jenny.”
“I did not want to go,” she explained, “but the Princess was determined and more than one guard will be needed to keep her safe. And I know the way.”
“Shame on you for forcing Jenny into this, Tab.”
“I didn’t force her. She volunteered,” I protested.
“The Princess just asked her for directions,” Finn shrugged. “The rest was up to Jenny.”
“So like I said, you bullied her,” Matt concluded.
The truth was probably somewhere in-between, leaning toward bullying.
“Jenny, you know you don’t have to come, right?” I asked. “Finn and I can find our way.”
“Perhaps you could, Lightness. But if you are going to the Underneath, then I am going with you.”
Matt jumped over the old stone wall in one graceful leap. “I’m coming too.”
“Why?” I didn’t think I could afford the distraction of his endlessly broadcasting sadness.
“Because if two guards are good, than three are better.”
The starlings that had been swooping and swirling in the sky above us while we talked now landed in the trees. They looked down, their ruby eyes curious, waiting to see what would happen next.
“Finally,” Jenny said, relieved. “Here he comes.”
“Who? Everyone I know is already here.”
I turned to see Robbin racing toward us. Even from a distance, he looked pissed. He stopped in front of me, bowed, and then leapt over the old stone wall in a single bound that would have impressed Superman himself. “Are we going or what?”
“You’re coming?” Matt asked.
“Not my idea.” He looked at me, all tension and resentment, his mind nothing but complicated black knots. “I’m just the Princess’s tool.”
“You’re a tool all right,” I said, shifting the weight of my pack to my other shoulder. “Let’s go.”
About the Author:
After graduating from Emerson College with a BFA in creative writing, Jes Young was a copywriter at Random House (Ballantine Books and Crown Publishing Group) for nearly ten years. Currently she is the development manager of a small non-profit and the mother of two children under the age of ten. Her writing is done primarily between the hours of 11 p.m and 3 a.m.
My blog: http://www.JesYoung.com