House of Sand and Secrets (Books of Oreyn, Book 2)
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Sometimes playing to lose is the only way to survive the game of Houses.
Trapped in a hasty marriage to lower-caste Jannik and trying to make the best of their exile, Felicita is immersed in the machinations of the powerful ruling families. MallenIve is worlds apart from Felicita's native Pelimburg, and her family name and standing will not help her here. Haunted by her past and those who died because of her, she attempts to regain her status as the scion of a once-great House, while confronting her true feelings for her distant husband.
If MallenIve's leaders have their way, Jannik will soon have no more rights than an animal, and a union that once seemed to offer a solution to Felicita's problems is now a dangerous liability. Felicita's feelings are conflicted and it is all too easy to fall into the prejudiced mindset of the higher castes...until faceless corpses begin turning up on the rubbish tips, and Felicita might be the only hope Jannik and his people have.
offices after rolling about in a cooking pit. As if I care what he thinks. He raises an eyebrow and holds out a white envelope. “Message for the boss,” he says then squeezes his eyes briefly shut. “Er, your ladyship?” he says hopefully, feeling his way around the social niceties he thinks are expected of him. “Only I mean, not for you, for the other boss – the vamp.” “Oh give it here.” I snap the letter away. “It’s important, like,” adds the Hob. “Messenger said.” “And I’ll see he gets it.”
Watch out, I am not unarmed. I still have my wit and my pride and my family name. “Rescued her, actually.” Carien flops down inelegantly on one of the lush sofas that clutter the small room. “Mirian was busy showing off those spawn of hers.” “Oh, Gris.” A woman with long fine features and long fine hair taps long fine fingers against her glass. “You know she only dragged them out because the Matas finally decided to accept an invitation. She’ll tie those girls to House Mata if it kills her.”
letting Jannik’s magic pull away from me. A solid ache hits me in my chest from the loss of power. Carien is gasping, staring at me in wide-eyed terror from the floor, still on her hands and knees. “What–” She is hoarse, choking on her words. She kneels back and massages her throat. “What are you?” she says in a low cat’s hiss. “A War-Singer,” I tell her. “I believe the records show as much.” “You had no scriv.” “And you are mistaken.” The door opens and Master Gillcrook drags in our rescued
over his eyes. “And I won’t let myself be.” I take a step toward him. “But I also won’t let the people I care for be hurt, and if that means I need to arm myself, then I will.” “So you plan to use me anyway?” “No.” I close the space between us, coming closer to him, close enough that his magic flutters against me. “Not if you don’t want me to.” I press my palms to my cheeks and take a small gasping breath. When I drop them, I am ready to say what I need to tell him. “I can give you up.” My
that would make me as pathetic as my brother thought I was. My fear of weakness falls away from me. It is a strange and innocent truth, that although I can do things alone – we all can – together we are stronger. “You’ll help me?” I ask him softly. “Of course.” The little finch flies away from me to join the flock and I reach up just as it opens its wings, catch it as easily as a dandelion seed. The tiny creature goes still in my cupped hand and I think it into a new form. When I open my palm,