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Two thousand years ago, the Prophecy of
Fire and Light foretold the coming of the Queen Empress who would lead the
Empire into a time of peace and tranquility. But instead of the coming of a
prosperous world, a forbidden love for the Empress waged a war that ravaged the
land, creating a chasm between the factions, raising the death toll of innocent
lives until the final, bloody battle.
Centuries later, Alexandra, a twenty-two-year-old barista living in Boston, is
taken to an unfamiliar realm of mystery and magic where her life is threatened
by Reylor, its banished Lord Steward. She crosses paths with Treyan, the
arrogant and seductive Crown Prince of the Empire, and together they discover
how their lives, and their love, are so intricately intertwined by a Prophecy
set in motion so many years ago.
Alex, now the predestined Queen Empress Alexstrayna, whose arrival was foretold
by the Annals of the Empire, controls the fate of her new home as war rages
between the Crown Prince and Lord Steward. Either choice could tear her world
apart as she attempts to keep the Empire’s torrid history from repeating
itself. In a realm where betrayal and revenge will be as crucial to her
survival as love and honor, Alex must discover whether it is her choice – or
her fate – that determines how she survives the Empire’s rising conflicts.
Friday night in the city. Alexandra Ross clenched her collar tighter around her
neck as the wind began to pick up, unseasonably cool for so early in Boston’s
September. Her heels clicked along the damp cobblestones of the old sidewalks
as she headed towards her apartment. She had to take extra care while walking
in her four-inch heels.
was being followed.
for three years now, so the late-night trek home remained familiar, almost a
comfort. In the now twenty-two years of her life, maintaining her independence
was as much of a priority as the switchblade in her jacket pocket was a
security. There was a part of her that truly enjoyed the peaceful solitude these
walks could bring, but she wasn’t stupid enough to do it without protection.
short distance behind her ever since she left Faneuil Hall.
different, except that she was celebrating her twenty-second birthday, which
also may have involved too much alcohol. Perhaps it was the intoxicated
appreciation of her city within the quiet of the early morning hours that
distracted her from her surroundings.
familiar storefront windows she passed by reminded her of the fact she that
was focused anywhere but where it belonged. It wasn’t until her heel caught in
the sidewalk, and a hand grabbed her arm to keep her upright, that she realized
she tripped and started to fall.
believed to be a stalker turned out to actually be a rescuer.
his other arm wrapped around her waist to steady her on her feet. As she
composed herself, trying to clear her head, her hand went towards the knife in
her pocket while she glanced towards the individual who just saved her from
needing a nose job.
under the streetlights, side swept and held loosely in a ponytail at the nape
of his neck. He was dressed casually: wearing a dark, button-down shirt over
clean denim jeans and sensible dress shoes as if he, too, had just emerged from
the bustling social atmosphere that brought so many to Boston’s Faneuil Hall
chiseled cheekbones beneath skin too tanned to be local, but then she looked
into his eyes. They were the most piercing blue she had ever seen—almost too
blue, especially without the sunlight’s shining assistance. They radiated with
their own luminescence; which was odd at first, but the color was as though
they were refractions off of the ocean’s waves. As she continued to stare, the
more familiar they seemed. Looking up and into his eyes felt as if she had
stared into those eyes before—been lost within them too many times to count.
nostalgic, though she was certain she’d never met him before. She would have
remembered those eyes, regardless of how many cosmopolitans she may have drank.
was staring, he had already released her from his grasp.
for words as her grip tightened around her knife.
suffice.” His words purred with a foreign accent—familiar, but she couldn’t
place it. Irish? Scottish? Perhaps Welsh, she thought to herself, though she
wasn’t even certain if it was European at all.
her throat. “Thank you.” She moved to smooth out the short, black dress she
wore, awkwardly running her hands over her legs, her ass—anything she could do
to avoid his gaze. “I didn’t even hear you behind me.”
that sense of nostalgia clenched at her chest, her stomach, lower. Before she
could inquire further, or at least find out where he came from, he had already
moved past her, continuing on his way down the street.
waved back to her without another glance.
after him, her voice laced with panic, but he disappeared out of sight as
quickly as he arrived.
excitement for one birthday, Alex slowly, and far more cautiously, finished her
walk home. Occasionally, she would chance a glance behind her to ensure she
wasn’t followed again. He was just some creep who must have been too close for
comfort while they were drinking the bar, she convinced herself as she turned
the corner onto the street that led to her apartment. Or merely a lonely
someone who overheard her saying her goodbyes to her friends on the way out and
thought he’d get lucky.
barred the walkway leading to her apartment, the skin on her neck prickled and
the hairs on her arms stood on end. Something was off. The familiarity of home
felt wrong, like a lost memory, just within reach moments ago, now nowhere to
be found. Her hand had been stuffed into her jacket pocket ever since her
encounter with the dark-haired stranger, and she continued to grip the knife
tightly as she opened the gate and she headed down the final stretch.
in one of the older colonial row houses within Boston’s North End that later
converted into apartments and condominiums as the years went on and the economy
grew. She rented out the bottom floor of the building, with her ground-level
entrance beneath the building’s main stairway barred behind a wrought-iron
gate. Taking another look around her surroundings, she approached her door as
her other hand managed to find her keys, but nearly dropped them as she stopped
to survey the scene before her.
street lamp shone on the damage that had been done. The gate was bent in a
fashion that looked as though a gorilla took a bar in each hand and spread them
apart. Through the warped iron, she could see the lock to her apartment had
been destroyed, the surrounding door blown apart with it, shattered beyond easy
taking a step back to as she glanced to see if there was anyone around, but not
a soul was in sight. With a shaking hand, she reached for her phone. Did she
call the police on the off-chance her father’s colleagues would report back to
him and have to hear another lecture from her about the horrors of living in
the city? Or hell, ensure the potential of seeing any of them the next morning
while she was at work, having them remind her of her over-exaggerations while
she served them their overpriced coffee?
rang her best friend instead.
the third ring.
harshly into her phone. “Someone’s broken into my apartment!”
Crystal reminded her lazily, her tone muddled by the evening’s inebriation.
she snapped. “Besides, what if they’re already gone? It would be a waste of
time and effort.”
Crystal queried. “Your father will be pissed, and your mother—”
thinking someone broke into her house!”
to interrogate her friend, the slightest sound of movement from the other side
of the door caught her attention, and her knife was out of her pocket and at
the ready, her heart pounding.
she murmured into the phone.
before Crystal could finish her sentence.
she slowly pushed open the ruined door that led into her apartment. She
listened again, waiting for a repeat of movement, and quietly stepped through
and into the mudroom once she decided it was safe to do so. Everything was dark
and quiet, just as she left it, which gave her even more cause for concern.
Whoever was there, whether they remained or not, they weren’t there with
robbery as their intention…not that she had much to steal, anyway, beyond an expansive
collection of epic fantasy books and Harlequin romance novels.
stupidity. At least that’s what she convinced herself as she tiptoed through
the kitchen, her ears still perked when she heard a subtle creak of a
floorboard and she tightened her grip on the knife. Peeking around the corner,
she noticed a dull light emitted from her living room, appearing as though a
flame flickered in the darkness.
only decoration and never once actually contained a fire.
curiosity that gripped her and tightened her stomach into knots, she approached
the living room, lingering just outside the entryway. The flickering light made
it difficult to adjust her eyes to the darkness, but she was certain she could
hear bits and pieces of a conversation within an unknown language between two
individuals whose voices she didn’t recognize.
glanced into the living room. Crouched before the fireplace was a figure in
black with its back turned to her. Male in appearance, he was too focused on an
orb floating before him to notice her. The swirling red flames neither burned
nor emanated heat as they hovered over the ground, and her attention was caught
upon their pulsating beat as it communicated with her apartment’s intruder,
like the blood flowing through her veins.
unfamiliar to her in every possible manner, resounded through her like a
jolt—as though a part of her memory had been previously locked away, and
hearing it again was the key. No different to her mind than English, she could
understand every word they were saying as if it was her native tongue.
spoke into the flame-less conflagration. “There’s been no sign of the Empress.
She will be none the wiser that the Key is in place.”
she will be, the Prince will follow. The Empress must be in my possession
before he can make his next move.”
what shall I do in the meantime?”
And so help me, when the Empress returns, do not allow her to leave that
activates within the next moon cycle. Until then, remember that she will be
your only way home. Do you understand me?”
“Understood, my Lord. And should the Prince interfere?”
simmer through whatever allowed such a floating object to exist, and a shiver
trickled down her spin as she watched the dark figure finally stand and turn in
darkness, like dying embers fighting to remain lit. Being distracted by the
earlier conversation, she hadn’t noticed how far she stepped into the room.
Whatever courage she may have had before entering her apartment dissipated as
those red eyed focused on her. She tried to take a step back, but hit the wall,
jarring her elbow in the process and hissing of pain at the impact.
just became a hell of a lot easier,” he slurred in English, though drawling
with an accent both foreign and familiar.
announced as she pushed off from her spot against the wall, remembering the
knife in her hand and willing her fingers to steady themselves as she pointed
it at the head of the intruder. “But I think it’s time you removed yourself
from my apartment.”
from the flames sounded pleased, and the orb’s size and power intensified as it
emitted an almost demonic chuckle.
master presided on the other side of that communication device, the intruder
rose to his full height as he turned around to face her fully. The amplified
light from the orb finally displayed his features. Other than his eyes, there
was nothing extraordinary about him. Pale in the pulsating red light, with a
shock of black hair and thin lips. He wore unremarkable clothing—a black shirt
over black pants that could have come from anywhere—but still it was his eyes
that held her attention, creating an otherworldly presence about him.
however, when he saw the knife, cocking his head to the side as though in
silent challenge. Instinctively, she sliced it through the air in his general
direction, and the unexpected action seemed to surprise him as much as it had
her. Taking a reflexive step back, his legs hit a side table next to her couch,
knocking a lamp to the floor.
at the commotion.
Alexstrayna,” the voice said while the intruder continued his retreat,
falling into the fireplace as if the orb would give him protection or a quick
escape out of the room.
intruder’s pathetic attempts to escape through a brick wall, though her
attention was caught at the greeting from the orb. It wasn’t her name, but it
was close, and she didn’t want to know how or why. Before she could inquire,
the voice behind the floating ball of flame seemed to realize he was losing his
local support, and the fire erupted once again. “Where the hell do you think
you’re going? The Prince is following her. Find him before he finds you first!
Do not let the Empress out of your sight!”
threat to linger as its flames continued to rant and rave, all while the
intruder composed himself and again began to approach her. The orb’s light now
reflected off of claw-like talons extending from each finger on both hands of
the intruder, and his teeth grew into a predator’s fangs. Every bit of his
deadly intention was focused solely on her.
her brow as her heart beat with a terrified fury. Even as she held the knife up
to defend herself, it shook between her fingers. The intruder merely gave her a
knowing smirk before he reared back on his legs and leaped into the air with
feline grace, lunging across the room with his claws extended, aiming directly
for her over-exposed chest.
stood, Alex’s eyes were wide as she watched death approach. She remained where
she was even as a sudden bolt of cold, blue flame shot over her shoulder,
knocking the attacker hard against the wall next to the fireplace. The plaster
splintered on impact, causing the intruder to crumple to the floor, unmoving
once he hit the ground.
going to pound through her ribcage; she made herself take one deep breath, and
then another before she looked over her shoulder toward the direction of the
flash. In the lingering blue glow stood the stranger who helped her in the
street. Those same cold flames appeared to grow from his right hand as he was
poised in a battle-ready position, preparing for another strike as his
attention focused deeper within the room.
saw that the intruder remained still and motionless, remnants of the blast that
sent him there the only movement coming from his body. She wanted to say something—perhaps
she should thank him? Too many questions began to cross her mind as she shifted
towards him, needing to know more, that same pull of nostalgia almost drawing
her in. No sooner had she opened her mouth than did the red orb cease its
ranting to greet the new arrival.
were going to show your face, Treyan. Unfortunately, you’re too late. My Key is
in place, and come the next moon cycle, the Empress will rightfully be mine.”
Reylor, but my Key has been in place for years.” Treyan walked forward,
outstretched his right hand where again blue flames sprung from it, this time
engulfing the red orb. Not a moment later, it was extinguished. Without delay,
he turned towards her and began to approach her. “I am sorry about all of this,
between them, the point hitting his chest before he could move another inch.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?”
to the blade, his blue flames warming the metal to the point of nearly burning
Alex’s hand, forcing her to drop the knife. She moved to run, but he grabbed
hold of her forearm and he pulled her face to him.
lost in his blue eyes again and he watched her with an enthusiasm that was
unwarranted given their sudden meeting. It was a feeling of intense warmth
throughout her body, akin to the comfort of a lover’s embrace. A feeling she
had met him before but knew their paths had never crossed before in her life.
And yet, some part of her knew him, or knew of him, and that terrified her.
never left her. Before she could break his intense stare and begin to protest
further, he brought a hand to her face, gently cupping her cheek, and after a
few murmured words, Alex’s world fell to darkness.
Dalto is a Young Adult / New Adult fiction writer of adventurous romantic
fantasy stories, and her debut, TWO THOUSAND YEARS, won one of Wattpad.com’s
coveted Watty Awards in 2016. She continues to volunteer her time as a Wattpad
Ambassador, where she engages and hopes to inspire new writers, and also
mentors authors through the #WriteMentor program.
the ability to make her fall in love with its characters. Her favorite tropes include
love triangles of all kinds, enemies to lovers, dream sequences, and
prophecies. She always wants villains you can’t help but be attracted to,
redemption arcs or otherwise. She loves novels with deep character development,
a setting where she can get lost, and plot twists that make her want to throw
the book across the room. Give her main characters you love to hate, but can’t
help but hate to love.
using her evenings to hone her craft. When she’s not writing, she enjoys
reading fantasy novels, playing video games, and drinking coffee. She currently
lives in Massachusetts with her husband, their daughter, and their corgi named
winner will win a $15 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.