Crowned

I’ve been rotting in prison my entire life…the life I can remember anyway, which began a year ago in fire and pain.

Then an angel steps out from the clouds and into my world with maddeningly cool hands and gentle words that make my soul burn in a whole new way. I can tell she’s got secrets of her own she’s desperate to hide, but the devil in me won’t rest until I make her mine.

No matter what the cost.  

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Chapter one

The roaring speedboat smashed headlong through the white-capped waves of the Aegean, apparently deciding today was the day it would pick a fight with the open sea. Fran Simmons knew exactly how it felt.

“Isn’t this great?” Beside her, Nicki Clark gripped the side of the boat, her bright red life jacket more a formality for her than any sort of needed protection. Nicki was part dolphin, part barracuda, and all adventure girl. “The island is even more gorgeous—you’ll see!”

“Great!” Fran echoed, glad the gale-force wind meant they didn’t have to carry on a conversation. She needed the time to think, to plan. To prepare for how she was going to get out of this most recent insanity to beset her and her three friends on what was supposed to have been a once-in-a-lifetime vacation through Europe.

A vacation! That’s how this journey had been described. She wouldn’t have agreed to it otherwise. A few weeks traveling through Europe, ending in Paris and starting with the tiny seaside country of Garronia, nestled between Greece and Turkey.

It’d seemed the perfect place to begin…and a chance to reconnect with the women who’d become Fran’s rock. Six years ago they’d helped Fran become the person she was today in more ways than they’d ever know. She’d lost a bit of that person over the past year. Her grad thesis work with traumatized soldiers had shown her exactly how much she could help others, but it had also revealed some cracks in her own hard-won self-concept. She needed to re-establish her base before she could launch herself into her next challenge: life after grad school.

But the relaxing girls’ trip through the tourist meccas of Europe had gotten derailed almost immediately upon setting foot in the idyllic seaside kingdom of Garronia. Practically before Fran could catch her breath, Emmaline had fallen in love with the newly-minted crown prince of Garronia, Lauren had taken out a whack-job of an ex-boyfriend with the help of a gorgeous captain of the Garronia National Security Force, and Nicki had set out on a grand rescue adventure with the royal family’s icy cool ambassador.

Now it apparently was Fran’s turn to get roped into the crazy, and she had to play it smart. The royal family wanted her help for very legitimate reason—and she’d give that help. But only on her terms. She couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.

Fran stared stolidly at the private island that was their destination and went over her story again. She was a grad student…true. She had a year of working with military personnel suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder under her belt, as part of a psychology thesis program for which she’d earned a scholarship…true. She’d met Lauren, Nicki and Emmaline during her undergrad years and they’d all struck up a friendship that had profoundly strengthened over the years…also true.

Her name was Francesca Simmons; she’d spent an idyllic childhood in suburbia; and she had a cozy middle-class blended family back in Michigan with her father, his wife and Fran’s two step-brothers, basic cable, hot dogs on the deck every summer weekend, and absolutely no run-ins with the law. False, false, and false again.

 

Witchling Academy Series

Rule Breakers Series

(Contemporary Romance)