The next novel in The Feathered Princess series will be coming out December 16th. Sneak peeks leading up!
She looks like an angel.
Katya doesn’t even realize she’s said it aloud, too lost in the utter terror of this moment. Too lost in the startling beauty of the woman in white, the hood of her cape thrown back, the stark contrast of her long black hair, liquid-shining, like Chinese symbols on rag paper.
The woman turns at the word Katya is not aware she has spoken.
She answers to her name.
Eyes as black as her hair, beneath the clasp of her cape a stone as red as the blood that surely, surely stains these hands... It’s a heart. It’s a ruby, Katya realizes, the darkest she’s ever seen, cut perfectly smooth in the shape of a heart, laid flat against the pale skin of the woman’s chest, as though marking the spot where a real organ should rest beneath, rising and falling with pale breaths.
And then, a breath beneath, Elisabeth, lying perfectly still in perfectly still arms.
“What do you want with her?”
This time Katya knows the words for her own, hears them rushing across the hardwood floor of the nursery, hears the fabric of the cape shifting as the woman shifts stance, leans lightly against the crib’s bars.
“Strange,” the woman finally murmurs, “to call me by such a name… And then ask what I want with her.”
For a horror-struck moment, Katya wonders if she isn’t already too late, if this woman has indeed come for her daughter’s death, and already has as much in her grasp. Elisabeth is so still. And so silent.
Usually such a fussy baby.
She has never been so grateful for the sleepy grumble, Elisabeth twisting in the other woman’s grasp, her brow furrowing, getting ready to let loose one of her legendary screams.
How many times already has Katya flown down the very hallway behind her, ragged, just as breathless as she is now, come running as her baby’s screams pierce the night?
But the woman reaches out a single finger, caresses one of those beloved, blushing cheeks, and Elisabeth only snuggles deeper into her arms, lets loose a sweet sigh Katya has never heard from her before.
“It was never my intention to harm the child,” the woman answers now, looking down at the baby, looking almost tender beneath the hard black of her eyes, the brows that haven’t moved from lowered.
It was never her intention to harm the child. Not Elisabeth. So –
Before she can ask, the woman nods, cordially enough.
“I’m here for you.”