Title: The Kingdom Within
Author: Samantha Gillespie
Series: The Kingdom Within Series #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy Romance
Princess Meredith’s eighteenth birthday is fast approaching, but unlike other girls, she is not looking forward to it. Upon her coming of age, she is to marry the prince of Alder, the most powerful kingdom in the world. Though the idea of marriage to a complete stranger is appalling, she knows she has no choice. Without the marriage contract, Stonefall’s alliance with Alder will be lost, and her people will be safe no longer; Theros, King of Talos, has set his eyes of conquest on Stonefall and he wants Meredith dead.
Connor, an elite soldier entrusted with Meredith’s safety, arrives at the palace just as things begin to take a turn for the worst. Together, they will embark on a journey of survival, in which Meredith will find that the only thing she never prepared for was falling in love.
“Their fear is your weapon.” The old man’s words ring loud and true within the walls of the banquet room. They display eloquently against the pale face of his latest target—or rather, his latest conquest. The rebellious nature of the fugitive landowner before him crumbled to an embarrassing spectacle of soiled trousers and desperate pleas.
“I’ll pay double,” he says through hasty breaths.
The old man smiles. “Your debt is no longer a concern.” He gestures to the two armored men who hold the landowner captive. “Guards, please introduce him to Eva.” The landowner throws nervous glances at the guards as they usher him across the room. Like all the others before him, it takes him a moment to realize who Eva is. I watch him stiffen, throwing his legs out in front of him to stall the guards, his heels dragging uselessly against the polished wood. He gives in to a series of screams as they reach the human shaped cabinet. It stands open, the long, sharp internal spikes ready to impale its next victim.
“Life is a cradle of victories and failures, my son,” the old man says over the man’s screams, raising his cup to me. “The more victorious you are—”
“The longer I shall live,” I finish flatly. “I can recite your teachings in my sleep, old man. When will I get to do anything with them?”
He takes his time to answer, enjoying the last of the landowner’s melody as Eva’s iron door grinds to a close. He welcomes the ensuing silence with a sigh. “You are young still, boy. But if you are ever to do my bidding, you must work on your patience; revenge is not to be rushed.”
I snort. “What is it now, thirty years? I’d wager you are in no danger of rushing anything.” The old man stares back through zealous eyes.
“Patience, son. The best poison is that which spreads through unsuspecting veins, killing slowly and gradually. The kind that tastes sweet to the tongue and doesn’t bitter until the very end.”
About the Author
Samantha Gillespie is a creative, helpless romantic who was born in Mexico, where she grew up with her family until they returned to the States at age eleven. An avid reader from a young age, Samantha finally gave into her passion for writing, making her debut with The Kingdom Within.
Samantha considered pursuing a degree in English Literature while in college but despite her family and friend’s encouragement, she opted for a more practical career in Business. Now, with the publication of her first book under her belt, she occasionally hits herself on the head for it. Samantha currently lives in Houston, TX, and besides being a sucker for romance, she has a soft spot for helpless kittens, and all things Pride & Prejudice.
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