So, Daughter of the Disgraced King releases a week from tomorrow (May 18th).
Until then, you can get it for only $0.99 on pre-order.
This scene is Ailsa’s first kiss–oh, and an unexpected proposal:
The last of the tension drained from Ailsa’s body. She leaned back to look up at the starry sky. “I haven’t been down here since . . . Oh, since we used to play hide-and-seek here, I suppose. I’d forgotten how lovely it is.”
“It can’t compare to you.”
Ailsa lightly tapped his hand where it lay on his leg, close by her own. “I wasn’t fishing for a compliment.”
“I know. Ailsa . . . I . . . I want to ask you something.”
Ailsa looked down from the sparkling sky and met Sav’s eyes. He was doing it again. Stammering. “You’ve always been able to talk to me about anything, Sav.”
“This is different. I . . .” Savyon rubbed the back of his neck. “Seventeen desert hells! I wanted to do this elegantly, to be worthy of you, but I’m just no good at that. I’m going to have to just say it.” He gritted his teeth before rushing on. “Ailsa, I love you. Will you marry me?”
Ailsa gasped. The stars seemed to spin above her. She’d swear her heart stood still for a beat and then began to pound. She could hear the blood rushing in her ears. She couldn’t have heard him right, could she? As many times as she’d dreamed of Sav noticing her as more than just a friend, more than just someone to dance with to hold off the girls who wanted him for his position and future power, she’d never once thought of this. She felt utterly unprepared for it.
“Say something!” Sav begged. His hands gripped his knees so hard that the knuckles were turning white and his eyes were unnaturally bright.
Ailsa had to swallow twice before she could find her voice. “I . . . don’t know what to say. This . . . You never gave me any reason to expect this.” Her hand found one of his and pried it loose from his knee. “Sav, you’re my best friend.”
He grasped her hand almost as tightly as he had clutched his leg a moment earlier. “Can’t I be both?”
Could he? What a comfortable and comforting marriage that would be, with her best friend—if her best friend had been anyone but the crown prince. “I . . . don’t know.” Her eyes focused on Sav’s lips. What would it be like to kiss Sav? She’d wondered before, but now Ailsa had to find out. She freed her hand and pulled his face down to hers. Sav held his breath. Ailsa sucked in a deep breath for courage and put her lips to his.
His mouth was warm and soft beneath hers. A frisson went down from her lips all the way to her toes, spreading heat along with it. As natural as a rosebud opening in the sun, her lips parted. His did, too, moving slowly against hers. His arms came up to hold her close to him. He tasted of salt and faintly of some sweet wine he must have drunk while she was dancing and of a titillating essence that was all Sav. She wanted it to go on forever and at the same time felt she couldn’t catch her breath. She needed air. She needed time. This was all moving much too fast. She sat back, breaking off the kiss. “Oh.”
Sav searched her face. His shoulders sagged. “No good?”
Her hand rose to her throat. Had she done something wrong? True, she didn’t have much experience at kissing. “What made you think that? Didn’t you like it?”
“I’ve never felt anything like it, but . . . you have the strangest expression right now. I can’t tell . . .”
Ailsa’s smile was a little shaky. “I feel like I could float up to the top of that tree if you weren’t holding me down to earth. My lips are still tingling. And my toes, for some reason. I . . . Oh, Sav, why did you wait until three days before I leave for Terranion?”
One side of his mouth twitched up. “If you hadn’t been about to leave, I wouldn’t have had the courage to risk . . . to risk . . .”
Sav’s arm was still around her, but she grasped his free hand. “Driving me away?”
“Yes.” Sav’s voice was little more than a sigh.
She could see how hard it had been for quiet, reserved Sav to take that chance. It wasn’t as if he had a lot of friends either—not real friends who cared about him, not his position. “That won’t happen, Sav.” She nestled a little closer and laid her head on his shoulder. She chuckled softly. “If you only knew how long I’ve wanted you to . . . think of me as more than a friend.”