The Fairy Tale Academy Series continues with the next installment:
The Golden Girl!
This story is one part King Midas’ daughter and one part Legally Blonde.
I’m not going to lie, All Zoe wants is a prince, true love and her happily ever after. It kind of made me cringe to write her, but only at the beginning. The change in her is awesome!
I hope you love this story as much as I do.
Official release day is Wednesday, April 17th!
Because I appreciate all of your continued support, I will have a fan appreciation day and the eBook will be 99 cents on release day!
Read the first chapter now!
Zoe Midas cocked her head to the side to get a better view of her golden curls. She eyed the longest of them, then flipped her head the other way.
“You’re uneven,” Belle said. Zoe’s roommate lay on her bed, reading a book. Her long dark hair had been pulled back, and she wore a pair of loose-fitting pants and a baggy shirt.
“I know.” Zoe lifted the ornate shears, plucked the offending curls off her back, and snipped them. The hairs floated to the floor, but instead of spreading out and covering the carpet, they twisted together and melded into a single strand of golden thread. It joined the four-foot-long piece at her feet. “Did I get it?” She turned so Belle could see.
Belle glanced up. “You got it.”
Zoe took a moment to fluff her hair, pucker her lips, survey both sides of her face, and then smile. Her green eyes sparkled just as they should, and the pink color she’d picked out for her lips offset her hair perfectly.
It would be better if they didn’t have to wear white uniform shirts all the time, but since she spent time tanning, it looked good enough. She wore the top two buttons open and tied the red-and-blue scarf loosely around her neck.
“How’s the new blush?” Belle asked.
“Love it,” Zoe said. “Thanks for picking that up for me.”
Zoe gathered a few things, including her black book, and shoved them in her bag. She checked the time. “Aren’t you coming to breakfast?”
Belle glanced up. “Oh. Yeah, I guess I should get ready.”
Zoe shook her head. She would never understand how Belle could take so little time getting ready each morning. She gathered the golden thread on the floor and tossed it into a growing pile on the corner of her dresser. One of these days she’d get around to burning it. “I’ll see you in class.”
Girls emptied from their rooms into the hallways. Everyone wore some iteration of the school uniform: white button-down shirt, a red-and-blue tie or scarf, plaid skirts or dark pants, and a red jacket, if they wished.
Zoe spotted her two closest friends and waved. Amalia and Eloise stood outside their opposing doors, waiting for Zoe. While not princesses like Zoe, Amalia’s father controlled the dukedom closest to the fey lands, and Eloise’s family ran the mountain passes to the east. Amalia’s large brown eyes and darker skin brought out the red in her lips. Eloise’s red hair and striking blue eyes had drawn many a boy to her side since the beginning of their time at the Academy. Her fortune probably didn’t hurt, either. Or her long legs and lithe form. Where Eloise was tall and thin, Amalia was short and curvy. Zoe stood somewhere in between.
The two waited until Zoe got to them before they each took her by an elbow and walked side-by-side down the hall.
“Morning, beautiful,” Amalia said to Zoe.
“You girls are looking gorgeous today,” Zoe said.
“Oh stop,” Eloise said.
The other second-year girls scrambled out of their way as they descended the stairs and went out the front doors.
Fall had finally arrived, and the chill in the air indicated that winter wasn’t far behind. The nearby trees had dropped their leaves, only their skeletal branches reaching toward the cloudy sky. Zoe’s high-heeled boots clicked on the cobblestones as they made their way to the cafeteria.
Eloise leaned in. “I have something for the book.”
Zoe raised her eyebrows. “Oh?”
“So juicy,” Eloise said.
Amalia nodded. “Me too.”
Zoe squeezed their arms to her. “I love you girls so much.”
They all giggled and entered the cafeteria. It didn’t take them long to get their meager breakfast—didn’t want to start heavy so early in the morning—and sequester their usual table near the corner.
Zoe sat in her spot and surveyed the cafeteria. Teenagers from all over the realm sat eating, stood talking, or had their heads down over books, studying. Her eyes moved in a practiced circle. Prince Adem had saved a place next to him for Belle. Prince Kawbra and his girlfriend Nakusa sat so close that their arms touched all the time. Krabbs, the goblin prince, and Brisa were having a spirited discussion from opposite sides of a table. Probably something about history.
The two kings in the room—Jak, the king of the giants, and Saru, the Monkey King—sat with their respective girlfriends and buddies.
No change since yesterday. No stiff shoulders or glares from the girls.
Zoe’s eyes continued around to the royalty from the fey, and the few other humans that held a high rank. She sighed.
“You can’t get discouraged,” Amalia said.
“No, you can’t,” Eloise said in a voice that made Zoe look over and see the other girl’s eyes twinkling.
“What did you find out?” Zoe asked, already forgetting about her apple and toast on her tray.
Eloise leaned in on one side and Amalia on the other. “I heard an interesting rumor.”
Zoe’s eyes narrowed. “You know rumors don’t go in the book.”
“Nothing like that.” Eloise waved her hand. “It’s not about anyone here.”
Zoe couldn’t deny the thrill that went through her. “Then who?” Maybe Prince Samuel was coming back.
“We have a new student starting today.”
“Another one?” Amalia asked.
Eloise tapped the table. “He’s coming from this kingdom.”
Zoe let out the breath she’d been holding. “It could be anyone.”
“Tayle has been preparing for two days.”
“Well, that is interesting. Do you know who?”
“No, but it has to be someone important if Tayle is this involved.”
“That goes along with what I heard,” Amalia said. They looked at the dark-haired girl, who smiled. “I heard that they had to rearrange some of the boys in the first-year dorm because they had to have a whole room for someone.”
Zoe licked her lips. They only let the highest royalty have their own rooms. Who could it be? Zoe reached down and pulled a tall black book from her bag. The other two cleared the table as she set it reverently on the wooden surface. Zoe’s fingers trailed across the leather cover until they reached the edge and hinged it open.
The first page showed a list of people. Prince Samuel’s name occupied the top spot, followed by the other princes at the Academy. Zoe turned the page and found a striking likeness of Prince Samuel staring up at her.
All three girls sighed.
“It’s too bad he got tossed in the dungeon,” Amalia said.
“Right?” Eloise said.
Zoe went to the next entry. Prince Edward. Samuel’s younger brother, who had decided not to attend the Academy. He would be a first year. Unlike Samuel’s blond hair, blue eyes and rugged looks, Edward’s angular face and dark eyes dared her to cross him.
If only she had the chance.
The next few entries were the people she’d already looked at this morning. No change with Prince Adem and Belle or Prince Kawbra and Nakusa. After she got through the princes, the other ranking members of the court appeared. Each page held notes about who the boys talked to, their favorite colors, foods and activities, who they’d gone on dates with, along with who they had taken to which ball.
Zoe’s name was in the book many times, as were her friends’, but hers was never the last name. Never the name the prince had stayed with.
“Maybe Adem has a brother?” Eloise asked.
“Or he could be another king,” Amalia said.
“Perhaps,” Zoe said. “Or someone dangerous, like Saru.”
Both of her friends sighed.
Zoe sat up straight. “Not to worry. We need to focus.” She narrowed her eyes at her book. “Who is going to ask each of us to the Lantern Ball?” Her friends scooted closer as she once again began to flip through the entries. Zoe had a few ideas for the other two—prominent boys that they would probably get along with—but had no clue who she was going to charm into asking her.
“What about Matthew?” Amalia asked, as if reading her mind.
“Or Solomon. He’s handsome,” Eloise said.
Zoe turned to their pages. Their statistics put them in the circle that meant that she and either of them would be good together, but something about them felt off. Like a crawly feeling when you saw a spider and then it disappeared.
“Still cataloging the boys of the school as if they were cattle?” a mocking voice asked.
Zoe sighed. “Good morning, Taylor.”
Taylor, a first-year student and Prince Adem’s roommate, sat down with a flourish of his black cape. He wore his uniform under the cape, but he’d dyed his hair black and silver. Small silver jewels sparkled at the edges of his eyes.
“How are you ladies this fine morning?” Taylor asked.
“Good,” Eloise said.
“Fine,” Amalia said.
Zoe shrugged. “As well as can be expected.”
“Still no prince to take you to the ball, huh?” Taylor asked.
“That’s not why you’re here.”
“True.” Taylor leaned forward and put his elbows on the table. “I’m still hoping you’ll give me some of your hair.”
Zoe sighed. “I burn it. You know that.”
Taylor shook his head. “I don’t know why you won’t give me some. I’m just going to use it to embellish my designs.”
“Uh-huh.” Zoe still didn’t know how Taylor had found out that her hair turned to golden thread, but since he had, he hadn’t stopped bugging her about it.
“Think about it,” he said.
She leaned forward. “What’s in it for me?”
He raised an eyebrow. “What did you have in mind?”
“Get Prince Adem to break up with Belle.” She was only half joking.
Taylor laughed. “You are funny.” He stood. “Think about what I said. I’ll pay almost any price.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Do.” He smiled at the other two. “Ladies.”
Zoe shook her head. Where was she going to find a prince to take her to the ball?