April Update and Sneak Peek of Cait’s Book!

By: Cait Marie

Hello, hello! I will not be doing WWW Wednesday this week because I have not finished any books and the post would basically be the same as last week’s. So, I thought I’d do a bit of an update since it’s been a while. I’m also going to share a piece of my own book at the end!

Some blog updates:

  • The Live Chat for this month is being postponed. I’ve been swamped with school and everything, so I haven’t had time to read our Book of the Month. That being said, I think I’m going to hold off on the Live Chats, but I’ll still be giving out a book each month, so stay tuned!
  • We have a couple new reviewers being added to the team! I’m working on expanding the team a bit and changing things up for more consistent reviews. If you’re interested in joining us, feel free to email functionallyfictional@gmail.com.
  • We are not currently taking review requests unless you are okay waiting a few months. The review requests are backed up quite a bit at the moment, so we appreciate your patience. We are still promoting any and all books for free! Contact us for more information.
  • I am considering starting a podcast to go along with the blog! I’m still working on the logistics, but it’s something that might happen in the near future.

Alright, now for the fun part. I have never shared much of this book with the public, so I’m nervous. I started writing the book at the end of October 2018 and finished the first draft at the end of January 2019. I thought I would share the prologue today and see what you all think.

*This is an unedited draft. It may change in the final copy.*

Prologue

His feet skidded across the loose gravel as he pulled himself around the corner of a building, nearly dropping the bag hanging from one shoulder. The bay glistened at the bottom of the hill, mere blocks separating him from his escape. Footsteps pounded the cobblestone streets all around. The sound of clanking armor and people rushing to get out of the way echoed off the stone buildings.

Loxley ran down the shadowed, narrow alley, keeping his goal in sight. He glanced over his shoulder to see a dozen of the king’s guards trailing behind him. Trying to slow them down, he grabbed onto a stacked tower of crates and shoved it to the ground as he ran by. He was yards away from the open docks. His crew was waiting for him on the ship.

Or so he thought.

As soon as he stepped out of the alley into the sun, guards came at him from both sides. He spun, looking for a way out, but the men who had been following him had caught up. The water ahead was the only option as guards surrounded him. With a deep inhale, Loxley prepared to jump. As he stepped forward, a path cleared in the guards to reveal his crew. Ropes and chains restrained them each. One guard held a dagger against the throat of his second in command, Briar. Though his crew subtly nodded for him to go, he knew he could never leave them. It was him the guards truly wanted, after all. Slowly, he lowered the bag of stolen goods from his shoulder and raised his hands in surrender.

“Then what happened, mama?” Adalina looked up at her mother with big, expecting eyes.

Her mother pulled the blankets up tighter around her shoulders with a smile. Adalina knew the story. She had asked to hear it almost every night for years. Some would argue that she knew it better than the man behind the legend himself.

With a chuckle, the queen shifted on the edge of the bed to rest against the headboard. “You know the rest.”

“But I like when you tell it,” the young princess insisted.

“Well,” her mother continued, “they were all brought to the castle’s prison and sentenced by the king. Many of his advisors called for their death, but the queen begged for mercy. Loxley and his men had caused trouble in the kingdom for years, and beyond that, they were smart and strong. So, the king came up with a different punishment. They were forced to serve as soldiers and spies in the war against Deyrna for three years.”

Adalina sucked in a breath and covered the lower part of her face with the blanket. She knew what was coming.

“Just as they were being brought to the ship, the queen’s mother appeared.” The queen moved lower in the bed, growing weary, and put an arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “It was rumored that she was a witch, but no one was ever certain. The king had collaborated with her in secret. She went to the crew and pulled out a stack of cards used to tell the future.”

Adalina sat up a little with a grin as her mother reached over to the bedside table. The princess held out her hands with anticipation. Two dozen cards were placed in her palms. Together, they flipped through them, looking at the painted faces on each card. Adalina stopped on her favorite one and pulled it out on top. The dark-haired man looked brave to her, not cruel or troublesome.

“With their faces on each card, she cursed the crew. After three years, the curse was to be removed and they were to be banished from Detmarya. However, instead of being brought to Tugora, they were stranded on a remote, secret island. The rest of their lives wasn’t enough for the witch, though. She believed them to be responsible of her son’s death—the queen’s younger brother. She wanted them to suffer for all of eternity, so she refused to lift the curse, leaving their lives connected to the cards.”

“They were to live there forever as immortals,” the princess finished in a whisper. She grazed a thumb over the ancient language that swirled in gilded lettering along the edges.

“With only the cards as a clue on how to break the curse.” The queen kissed the top of Adalina’s head as her eyes began to flutter shut.

“I will break their curse.”

The queen didn’t open her eyes, but she smiled at the conviction in her daughter’s words. “Yes, my little blodau, perhaps one day you will be the one to find them and break your great, great, great, great grandmother’s curse.”

Adalina settled back down in the bed. She held the cards close to her chest with one hand while the other held up the most treasured item in her possession. Looking at the intense sea-green eyes, she quietly made her vow. “I will find you one day, Loxley. And I will set you free.”

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