Another Tuesday, another Teaser! Here’s another little snippet from the book. Enjoy!
It was in that instant she understood why Cian didn’t know who she was. In the flickering half-light of the dank dungeon, she could see her reflection in a pool of water on the stone floor. Her face had been beat almost to beyond her own recognition. She had two black eyes. Her cheekbone was swollen, red, with a large gash down the center. Her bottom lip was also cut and swollen. She remembered Cian kicking her in Winnie’s chamber, but she did not recall such a brutal beating.
Had she been unconscious for that? She hoped so.
Cian grabbed a handful of hair and yanked her head up so she had no choice but to look at him.
“You call me a filthy liar when you’re the one who has been lying all along. I’m done playing with you. You refuse to give me the truth so you will give me your life instead.” He released her and stepped back. “Take her to the gallows. She hangs today.”
For Cian, it wasn’t enough she was beaten. Two of the guards hauled her to her feet and started for the open door. She reached for the silvery thread of magic that resided deep inside her, but she couldn’t find it. It was as though it had been snuffed out.
Panic set in. She had to find a way out of this mess but what could she do? She had been so dependent on her magic she had no idea how to fight back. If she only had been able to get the Tears of the Dryad, she could have made it out of this wretched place.
They took her up the stairs and paraded her through the castle. Along the way, they collected more spectators who followed them toward the courtyard where the gallows awaited. They bound her hands in front of her, the rope biting through her already raw wrists, and positioned her on the platform over the trapdoor. A guard behind her placed the noose around her neck.
Prince Cian stood in front of her, the crowd cheering behind him as he looked at her with triumph written all over his face. Several people threw rotten vegetables, rocks, and whatever else they could get their hands on. All Fiona could do was stand there and take it.
At last Cian lifted his hand for silence and a hush fell over the mob.
“This prisoner is a threat to the crown and a traitor. She is single-handedly responsible for the death of my beloved’s family.”
The crowd shouted obscenities as she released a snort of derision that was lost in the noise. Cian waited for them to quiet again.
“Those who defy the crown are given a fair trial. A trial that will determine their guilt. This prisoner refused to cooperate time and time again. She has been punished, as you can see by her face. But she will also die today for her sins—for killing and for her traitorous actions.”
As he spoke, Fiona scanned the crowd. The dirty faces of the commoners who lived within the castle’s domain, the guards who stood with stoic expressions on their faces, the nobility who looked at her with a mix of pity or amusement. And then she saw them. The couple moving along the back of the crowd, the man’s gaze fixed on Fiona. The girl standing behind him as though he were a shield. The girl with auburn hair and bright green eyes.
Hot tears clouded her vision and her eyes fluttered closed. Sean, by the gods, had come to find her. He must have the compass. She’d only just remembered the tracking tattoo on her shoulder. And Aoife—her daughter. Her beautiful, magical daughter who’s skin had a hint of a glow. Fiona knew then her magic had manifested.
Her eyes flew open and she pinpointed Sean with her gaze and then glanced between him and Aoife. If her daughter’s magic had manifested, then that could mean only one thing. The fight went out of her. At least she could leave this world knowing that Sean loved Aoife, that he would take care of her, that he would protect her.
Drums rolled, signaling her impending doom. She held her head up. If she had to die in front of her child, she would do it with dignity. She would die knowing she had failed in her quest to change history. And she would be glad of that.
She waited for her fateful drop with the noose around her neck, the beat of her heart matching the pounding of the execution drums. She kept her gaze on Sean and Aoife, wondering why they were there. Wondering if their appearance meant she would not die this day after all.
And then she had her answer. An explosion rocked the entire courtyard. The ground shook, the gallows vibrated and the next thing she knew she fell. The rope around her neck caught. She gasped as it choked her, her arms flailing. Her wrists still bound, she tried to pull the noose away from her throat.