Thursday, February 5, 2015

Shattered Assassin by Wendy Knight Excerpt


Barnes and Noble

When the royal family is brutally murdered, Princess Kazia alone is left to rule the kingdom. But how can she rule when her home has burned to the ground and at any moment the assassin may return to finish the job?

Under the protection of the Captain of the Royal Guard — her late brother's childhood best friend — the princess must flee to protect herself and what is left of the royal line until the assassin can be found and brought to justice. First to her uncle's estate and then to her betrothed's kingdom, but the assassin seems to be one step ahead of them all along the way.

And then there is the captain. With every mile they travel together, Princess Kazia must fight the feelings for him that she thought she had left behind long ago.

Surviving until her coronation seems like an impossible task. But survive she must…

With both her life and her heart at stake, the weak and seemingly helpless Princess Kazia still bears a secret. One that can either save her and her kingdom or take everything she has left.


They were almost across the village when a little girl with dirty blonde hair and a gray dress stopped them. She held up a hand while she stood in the middle of the dusty road, the other pudgy fist on her hip. Heath and Benjamin both stepped closer to Kazia, looking warily around the houses for a trap.
“Are you an angel?” The girl tipped a dirty little face up to Kazia.
Kazia smiled, stooping down so they were face to face. “No, I’m not an angel.”
“You’re beautiful like an angel. And your skin is white like an angel.”
Kazia started to laugh, but the little girl’s impish grin turned to terror and her eyes got big and round.
“Yes, she looks like an angel, but she has the common sense of a goat.”
Kazia stood and turned, a little too quickly, and half-fell over before Heath caught her and uprighted her. Luke was storming down the center of the village path, his face as dark and angry as the incoming clouds above. “You two are relieved of your duties. Pack up and go home immediately.”
Benjamin and Heath both paled simultaneously. Snapping their heels together, they saluted him. “Yes sir.”
“Oh no they aren’t!” Kazia snapped. She rose to her full height — all five feet six of her, and glared right back at Luke.
“You have no say in whom I relieve of their duties in my unit, your Highness.” He snarled the last word and Kazia wanted to flinch. But she did not.
Inside, her heart was screaming please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me, but she hid it well. “You forget, Captain, who you answer to — the one who wears the crown.” Luke’s jaw dropped in disbelief, and Heath and Benjamin both froze in their tracks. “They protected me and they did it well. There is absolutely no reason for you to reprimand them.”
“They disobeyed a direct order.” Luke crossed his arms over his chest, clenching and unclenching his fists.
“Yes, by obeying my direct order, which takes precedence over yours, does it not?” she growled. Nakomi, now at her side, bared her teeth. Luke stared, first at Kazia and then at Nakomi, and then back at Kazia in bewilderment. Kazia sucked in a breath, trying to level her voice. No need to let Nakomi eat the captain of her guard right here in front of the adorable little girl. “They were only doing what I asked. If you’re going to be angry at someone, be angry at me, but leave them alone.”
“If I may speak, Captain?” Benjamin asked, stepping up to her side. Luke glared at him, but he spoke anyway. “She was protecting you, sir. She was afraid you were too tired and wanted you to get your rest.”
Luke’s eyes softened and he looked back at Kazia. “Is this true?”
“Of course it’s true, you idiot. Why else do you think I didn’t wake you?” She crossed her arms over her chest and stared back.
He sighed and ran a hand over his face. “We’ve been scouring the estate looking for you. I thought I’d lost—” He trailed off, shaking his head.
“You thought what?” Kazia asked quietly.
“I thought I’d failed in my duties as Captain of the Royal Guard,” he snapped, the gentleness in his eyes hidden, but barely. Kazia could still see it.

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