TITLE: The Iron-Bound Fae
GENRE: YA Fantasy Romance
Seventeen-year-old Cecile’s fortunes deteriorate when the trolls of Broken Mountain discover she meets all the criteria on their curse-breaker checklist. But when kidnapping and bonding her to their prince fails to secure the trolls’ freedom and her own, Cecile must seek another way out of their labyrinthine prison. Only the trolls are not all the monsters she expected. Cecile’s fight to escape becomes a choice: free the boy she has hopelessly fallen in love with or protect humanity from a race that was cursed for good reason.
My voice rose an octave, resonating through the Goshawk Hollow marketplace, drowning out the bleating sheep and the hammer of the blacksmith down the way. Dozens of familiar faces abandoned their business, expressions uniform in their nervousness as they watched, anticipating the note I had dreaded daily for the past month. She liked an audience for my failures.
A tremor raced through my body, my palms slicking with sweat. Madame Delacourte’s gaze burned between my shoulder blades, her low expectations only fuelling my resolve. I would not break.
Resisting the urge to ball my hands into fists, I pushed my last breath into the crescendo of the piece. Almost there. Several people stepped forward, the words of encouragement on their lips drowned by the enormity of my song. This was when my voice broke. Always, always.
But not today.
The market erupted with cheers as I finished. “Well done, Cecile!” someone shouted, and I bobbed a little curtsey, my cheeks flushed with a sweet combination of embarrassment and delight. The echo of my soprano song drifted off through fields and valleys tinted green with spring, and everyone went back to their business.
“Don’t go getting all puffed up in the head,” Madame Delacourte sniffed from behind me. “Impressing that lot of backwards country folk is no great feat.”
My back stiffened, and I turned to meet her wrinkled glare.
“You’re good,” she said, lips drawn tight to the point of invisibility. “But not as good as her.”
Her. My mother.