Terence has spent his life in the shadows. Even now, far from his home country serving the Lady Linnaea, he lurks behind a servant’s mask. But secrets like his cannot be hidden away forever, and as his mask starts to slip, the castle weaponsmaster, Iolyn, begins to take more notice of him. Will budding romance be enough to shake Terence free of his past? Or will he always be stuck in the shadow of a tainted bloodline?
It was early in the morning, the sun was just rising. The haze of
half-sleep rested over me. A smiling face cascaded through my mind.
Dark brown hair pulled back from her face. Long lashes and bright eyes
the same color as our mother's. She laughed, tugging a loose thread from
She died, calling my name, begging me not to kill the man who had killed
her. Begging me not to seek revenge. There was so much blood, so much
"Anna," I mumbled. "Anna..."
There was a knock on my door. I opened my eyes just as it swung open
without my saying a word and the man who entered was someone I'd
avoided for the entirety of the time I was in Jorian.
The Royal Weaponsmaster, Iolyn. He was a big man, taller than me and
broader -- broader than that friend of the prince -- and more serious
by far. A scar ran the length of his right cheek and there were deep
pockmarks on his hands, but he still exuded a sort of brute
handsomeness. He was the most fearsome man I'd ever seen. I'd never
wanted to meet him directly. He had to stoop to enter my room. Well, I
did too, but he made it look more impressive. He was less like a
bean-pole and more bear.
"You -- Terence, servant to Lady Linnaea." His gravelly voice filled the small room.
I got out of bed, pleased that I'd fallen asleep in my clothes -- I wouldn't want to have this encounter in the nude. "Yes?"
"You are guilty of insubordination against his highness."
I stood as straight as I could in the low ceilinged room. "I suppose you
are here to tell me I'm being demoted, sir."
He smiled, and it was not friendly. "Under the protest of his highness,
Lady Linnaea has refused to demote you. His highness convinced her that
you were due a lesson in manners."
I wonder if his lessons were anything as pointed as-- "I see. I shall have to thank milady when I have the chance."
"I suppose you will. Come with me."
It wasn't as though I could say no. I put my boots on and followed him out of the room.