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Exclusive Excerpt from “The Crown”

Do you love dark and twisted fairy tale retellings? Do you love the Twelve Dancing Princesses? Then, get ready for The Crown!

Enjoy this exclusive excerpt while we wait for its release on January 22!

She commanded them all. Power and grace exuded from her every step and twirl. A broad shouldered man bowed and slid his hand behind her slim waist. Her lips parted into a smile. Her cheeks flushed a deeper shade.

I continued along the edge, careful as I maneuvered between the collection of men that stood like trees. I couldn’t help my eyes falling to Octavia. She fell into the arms of an eager partner, only to spin away into the embrace of another.

It was then I noticed a pearl fall from her shoe. It rolled across the floor, passed the men’s pointed leather boots and beside the princesses’ pointed silk heels. It came to a rest right before me. Kneeling down I picked up the smooth orb and placed it deep within my pockets.

A pink ribbon twirled by next followed by a split heel.

The dance continued.

The clock chimed one. The clock chimed two.

Shreds of silk trailed behind the princesses’ spinning feet. Lace was torn and toes peeked through growing holes. Still they danced. The music grew feverish. It infected my bones and my entire body vibrated with the dark melody. It wanted me to join.

It needed me…

I shook it away, focusing on the glittering hail falling from their shoes. Diamonds, gold, and emeralds bounced off the marble floor and rolled beneath cracking soles. Buckles snapped. Seams popped. Strips of fabric disintegrated before my eyes.

Their cheeks were red and lips plump, almost as if they were drunk. They tugged the jackets of their princes, forcing them closer against their heaving bosoms. The men leaned their faces against their cheeks, their arms and hands skating down every arc and sinew. Some kissed passionately.

I couldn’t stop a rush of jealousy as the man with the scar ran his fingers up Octavia’s neck and into her hair. She laughed musically.


I covered my ears. Every clock chimed three as if summoning the horsemen of the apocalypse.

The music ceased. The dance stopped. The princesses were escorted back towards the boats, leaving the remnants of their shoes behind.

My heart raced. I ran across the emptying ball room, careful not to trip on an errant ruby or broken buckle. My only hope to avoid discovery was to board the first boat with Octavia.

I squeezed beside the princes and princesses as they filed out of the doors, but in my haste I came too close to Henrietta’s skirts. My shoe tugged on the silk and a distinct rip tore over their chatter.

“Look what you did, Bertram!” Henrietta scolded her prince.

“A thousand apologies, your grace,” he said. “But my foot was nowhere near your gown.”

“It didn’t tear by itself,” she snapped.

She pointed at the frayed fabric. He just bowed his head in surrender like a dog to its master.

“I told you, there is something odd about this place tonight,” Aloysia piped. “I’ve felt watched all evening.”

I froze.

“You’ve been reading far too many novels,” Octavia said. “We can’t waste time worrying about phantoms.”

As they stood in debate, I took the opportunity to slide past them. Their feet thundered behind me as we traveled back through the twisting bushes and to the dock. Octavia stepped in the first boat, and I slunk in quickly after.

I dared not breath the whole time, and my mind kept swirling with splitting shoes and dark melodies.

Once we hit shore, I jumped out at the first available moment and ran. I sprinted back up the bank and through the diamond forest. Their voices were never far behind, causing me to quicken my pace even more.

I ducked beneath a low hanging golden branch. Swiped past the silver leaves, the faintest rustle echoing out in my wake.

Laughter bubbled behind me. I forced myself to move even faster.

I raced up the stairs, skipping two at a time. My lungs started to burn and my heart pounded into my throat. The breath of youth I experienced withered away. The pain returned. My ankle ground into the surrounding tendons. Bones cracked and muscle coiled.

Sweat ran down my temples. My ankle could no longer support my weight. I gripped the stone walls, plunging into the cracks and crevices to help pull myself along. Ten steps I counted, each agony. My nails split as I dug them deeper into the mortar.

Throbbing and pounding, my ankle snapped beneath my weight. I collapsed onto the stairs.

Voices. Laughter. They were right up behind me now.

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