Tilia Swanson has an unusual upbringing learning skills that aren’t often
available for women. As the heir apparent for the Kingdom of Crilan, her skills
set her apart as she is trained by the best in the land and taught to harness
her magic. However, piracy is in her blood, and draws danger to Tilia in the
way that treasure draws pirates. Some treasures are more valuable than others.
Will this lesson be learned in time or will the betrayal of those around her be
“You aren’t going to force me into an arranged marriage, are you?” I asked them.
Esmeralda looked like I had smacked her. “Of course not!”
“We haven’t done arranged marriages in a century,” Jared said.
I exhaled. “Well, my dad wasn’t sure and told me to be prepared just in case.”
“Does your dad do arranged marriages?” Esmeralda asked.
I shook my head. “No.”
“Well you don’t have to worry about that,” Jared said, “We aren’t going to force you to do anything.”
“Except not be a pirate,” I fake pouted.
Esmeralda laughed. “Except that.”
“Well, I guess I’m okay with that. Most pirates don’t have very long careers anyways,” I said.
“Speaking of marriage,” Esmeralda said, moving her horse closer to mine. “Technically we are supposed to have a ball for your seventeenth birthday so that all of the available men can come so you can start looking for a suitor.”
“WHAT?” I asked in an almost scream.
“You don’t want a boyfriend?” Faxon asked.
I blushed and said, “I just didn’t know it was a formal thing and, uh, hadn’t really thought about it yet.” That was a lie. I thought about boys like every teenage girl did, but my options were slim at the Capitol.
“Well, it’s a tradition and I thought I would let you know now that we’ll be having it while we are in Markleville,” Esmeralda said.
“I don’t have a dress,” I said, hoping that would cancel the plans until we returned home, “I didn’t bring one.”
“That’s fine. I will have one made for you,” Jared offered.
How generous. Ugh. “But if I find a guy I like in Markleville, I won’t even be able to see him when we return to the Capitol,” I said.
“That is where the true romance is supposed to begin,” Esmeralda said with a smile. “They have to try to keep you interested with letters and poems and gifts.”
“It’s very tedious,” Jared said.
“Only because you had to find others to write poems for you,” Faxon said.
“I knew you didn’t write that poem!” Esmeralda said with a triumphant shout.
“I’m going to skin you, Faxon,” Jared growled.
“It’s time she learned the truth,” Faxon said.
“I already knew,” Esmeralda said, “I just never had confirmation.”
“How did you know?” Jared asked.
“You haven’t written me a poem once since then. Every other guy who wrote me a poem continued to write them, not just one,” she said honestly.
“Who else wrote you poems?” Jared asked with crossed arms jealously.
“Yes, I’m really looking forward to this,” I muttered.
“Not every man is like him,” Faxon said defensively.
“I can’t believe you helped him,” Esmeralda said.
“I’m a good friend,” he said with a shrug, “it’s a curse.”
Banks is the author of the Artemis Lupine Series, Little Death Bringer Series,
Ciara Steele Novella Series, and the novel Daughter of Lions. She began writing
fiction stories when she was only four years old and finished her first full
length novel at the age of fifteen.
is a Northern California native and has lived within a twenty mile radius her
entire life. She plans to travel to as many places as possible in her thirties
to make up for her lack of traveling experience. She is married to her soulmate
and best friend, Avery, who blessed her with two amazing children. After her
full time job she reads books, plays video games, and watches a lot of anime
shows and movies with her family to relax.
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