Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.
“I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.”
“This book is so well written it felt just perfect. Honest. I loved it from beginning to end.” -Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On
“Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” -Jana, The Writer’s Assistant
“Loved every second of this book. It was engaging, eventful, beautifully written and hard to put down. It’s wonderful for all ages!” -Jen, Goodreads
He gave me a sad smile and shrugged. “I apologize if my bluntness offends you. I figured you would leave if you were upset by me.”
“That would be very rude of me.”
“It’s what I’d expect.”
“Why? Because that’s what a noble would do?”
“Well.” The confusion was back, forcing him to make a slight concession. “Any other noble.” It was somewhat gratifying that he no longer felt compelled to lump me with the nobles he despised. However, the fact remained—I wasn’t a noble. And I knew he would think even less of me when he knew what I was.
I wouldn’t lie. “I told you, I’m not—”
“Come now, Ella. Your tree climbing hasn’t got me fooled.” He used an almost paternal tone, his eyes laughing. “You are nobility, aren’t you?”
I buried my hurt. “No, I’m something worse.”
“Oh, come now, I don’t think that badly of people. The only thing that might be worse is royalty.” How charming he was, even when insulting me.
I stood silent for a moment, wondering if he would catch on. When he continued to gaze at me, I simply said, “Exactly.”
A look of horror crossed his face and I gave him a sad smile before turning to leave.
“Oh,” I heard him stuttering behind me, sounding utterly mortified. “No, I…my apologies, miss—Your Highness,” he corrected himself sharply. “Princess, I’m so very sorry, I…”
I shook my head as I turned to face him again. He looked so different: the confidence, the grin, the amusement were all gone, replaced with a look akin to physical pain. “It’s all right,” I said quietly. “You’re not wrong.” I should have inclined my head, waiting for him to bow before I left. Instead I lifted my hand in farewell.
Author Annette K. Larsen
I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho.
Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me.
I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can.
I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my husband, and my five littles. And I love books that leave me with a sigh of contentment.