A jewel for royals, p.1
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       A Jewel for Royals, p.1

         Part #5 of A Throne for Sisters series by Morgan Rice
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A Jewel for Royals


  A JEWEL FOR ROYALS

  (A THRONE FOR SISTERS -- BOOK 5)

  MORGAN RICE

  Morgan Rice

  Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER’S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising three books; of the epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books; of the epic fantasy series OF CROWNS AND GLORY, comprising 8 books; and of the new epic fantasy series A THRONE FOR SISTERS, comprising five books (and counting). Morgan’s books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.

  TURNED (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals) ARENA ONE (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy) and A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1 in the Sorcerer’s Ring) and RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Kings and Sorcerers—Book #1) are each available as a free download on Kobo!

  Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit www.morganricebooks.com to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch!

  Select Acclaim for Morgan Rice

  “If you thought that there was no reason left for living after the end of THE SORCERER’S RING series, you were wrong. In RISE OF THE DRAGONS Morgan Rice has come up with what promises to be another brilliant series, immersing us in a fantasy of trolls and dragons, of valor, honor, courage, magic and faith in your destiny. Morgan has managed again to produce a strong set of characters that make us cheer for them on every page.…Recommended for the permanent library of all readers that love a well-written fantasy.”

  --Books and Movie Reviews

  Roberto Mattos

  “An action packed fantasy sure to please fans of Morgan Rice’s previous novels, along with fans of works such as THE INHERITANCE CYCLE by Christopher Paolini…. Fans of Young Adult Fiction will devour this latest work by Rice and beg for more.”

  --The Wanderer, A Literary Journal (regarding Rise of the Dragons)

  “A spirited fantasy that weaves elements of mystery and intrigue into its story line. A Quest of Heroes is all about the making of courage and about realizing a life purpose that leads to growth, maturity, and excellence….For those seeking meaty fantasy adventures, the protagonists, devices, and action provide a vigorous set of encounters that focus well on Thor's evolution from a dreamy child to a young adult facing impossible odds for survival….Only the beginning of what promises to be an epic young adult series.”

  --Midwest Book Review (D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer)

  “THE SORCERER’S RING has all the ingredients for an instant success: plots, counterplots, mystery, valiant knights, and blossoming relationships replete with broken hearts, deception and betrayal. It will keep you entertained for hours, and will satisfy all ages. Recommended for the permanent library of all fantasy readers.”

  --Books and Movie Reviews, Roberto Mattos

  “In this action-packed first book in the epic fantasy Sorcerer's Ring series (which is currently 14 books strong), Rice introduces readers to 14-year-old Thorgrin "Thor" McLeod, whose dream is to join the Silver Legion, the elite knights who serve the king…. Rice's writing is solid and the premise intriguing.”

  --Publishers Weekly

  Books by Morgan Rice

  THE WAY OF STEEL

  ONLY THE WORTHY (Book #1)

  A THRONE FOR SISTERS

  A THRONE FOR SISTERS (Book #1)

  A COURT FOR THIEVES (Book #2)

  A SONG FOR ORPHANS (Book #3)

  A DIRGE FOR PRINCES (Book #4)

  A JEWEL FOR ROYALS (BOOK #5)

  A KISS FOR QUEENS (BOOK #6)

  OF CROWNS AND GLORY

  SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN (Book #1)

  ROGUE, PRISONER, PRINCESS (Book #2)

  KNIGHT, HEIR, PRINCE (Book #3)

  REBEL, PAWN, KING (Book #4)

  SOLDIER, BROTHER, SORCERER (Book #5)

  HERO, TRAITOR, DAUGHTER (Book #6)

  RULER, RIVAL, EXILE (Book #7)

  VICTOR, VANQUISHED, SON (Book #8)

  KINGS AND SORCERERS

  RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Book #1)

  RISE OF THE VALIANT (Book #2)

  THE WEIGHT OF HONOR (Book #3)

  A FORGE OF VALOR (Book #4)

  A REALM OF SHADOWS (Book #5)

  NIGHT OF THE BOLD (Book #6)

  THE SORCERER’S RING

  A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1)

  A MARCH OF KINGS (Book #2)

  A FATE OF DRAGONS (Book #3)

  A CRY OF HONOR (Book #4)

  A VOW OF GLORY (Book #5)

  A CHARGE OF VALOR (Book #6)

  A RITE OF SWORDS (Book #7)

  A GRANT OF ARMS (Book #8)

  A SKY OF SPELLS (Book #9)

  A SEA OF SHIELDS (Book #10)

  A REIGN OF STEEL (Book #11)

  A LAND OF FIRE (Book #12)

  A RULE OF QUEENS (Book #13)

  AN OATH OF BROTHERS (Book #14)

  A DREAM OF MORTALS (Book #15)

  A JOUST OF KNIGHTS (Book #16)

  THE GIFT OF BATTLE (Book #17)

  THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY

  ARENA ONE: SLAVERSUNNERS (Book #1)

  ARENA TWO (Book #2)

  ARENA THREE (Book #3)

  VAMPIRE, FALLEN

  BEFORE DAWN (Book #1)

  THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS

  TURNED (Book #1)

  LOVED (Book #2)

  BETRAYED (Book #3)

  DESTINED (Book #4)

  DESIRED (Book #5)

  BETROTHED (Book #6)

  VOWED (Book #7)

  FOUND (Book #8)

  RESURRECTED (Book #9)

  CRAVED (Book #10)

  FATED (Book #11)

  OBSESSED (Book #12)

  Did you know that I've written multiple series? If you haven't read all my series, click the image below to download a series starter!

  Want free books?

  Subscribe to Morgan Rice's email list and receive 4 free books, 3 free maps, 1 free app, 1 free game, 1 free graphic novel, and exclusive giveaways! To subscribe, visit: www.morganricebooks.com

  Copyright © 2018 by Morgan Rice. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER ONE

  CHAPTER TWO

  CHAPTER THREE

  CHAPTER FOUR

  CHAPTER FIVE

  CHAPTER SIX

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  CHAPTER NINE

  CHAPTER TEN

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  CHAPTER NINETEEN

  CHAPTE
R TWENTY

  CHAPTER TWENTY ONE

  CHAPTER TWENTY TWO

  CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

  CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

  CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

  CHAPTER TWENTY SIX

  CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT

  CHAPTER TWENTY NINE

  CHAPTER THIRTY

  CHAPTER ONE

  Sophia stared at the young man standing in front of her, and although she knew she should ask all kinds of questions, that didn’t mean she doubted who he was for an instant. The touch of his mind against hers felt too close to the way it did with Kate. The look of him there in the sunlight was too similar.

  He was her brother. There was no way he could be anything else. There was only one problem with that…

  “How?” Sophia asked. “How are you my brother? I don’t… I don’t remember a brother. I don’t even know your name.”

  “I’m Lucas,” he said. He stepped down lightly onto the dock where she and Jan stood waiting. He moved with the smoothness of a dancer, the wooden slats seeming to give beneath each step. “And you’re Sophia.”

  Sophia nodded. Then she hugged him. It seemed so natural to do it, so obvious. She hugged him tight, as if letting him go would mean him disappearing into thin air. Even so, she had to pull back, if only so that they could both breathe.

  “I only found out your name, and Kate’s, a little while ago,” he said. To Sophia’s surprise, Sienne was rubbing up against his legs, the forest cat twining close to him before pulling back to her. “My tutors told me when I came of age. When I got your message, I came as quickly as I could. Friends in the Silk Lands lent me a ship.”

  It sounded as though her brother had powerful friends. It still didn’t answer her biggest question.

  “How can I have a brother?” she asked. “I don’t remember you. I didn’t see your picture anywhere in Monthys.”

  “I was… hidden,” Lucas said. “Our parents knew that their peace with the Dowager was fragile, and it would not withstand a son. They put about the story that I died.”

  Sophia felt herself staggering slightly. She felt Jan’s hand on her arm, her cousin’s touch steadying her.

  “Are you all right?” he asked. “The child…”

  You’re pregnant? Again it felt different from when someone else with a spark of talent touched her mind. It felt familiar. It felt right, somehow. It felt like home.

  I am, Sophia sent back with a smile. “But we should talk aloud for now.”

  She didn’t know if Jan had known that her brother had similar powers to hers, but he did now. It seemed only fair to warn him of that, and give him a chance to guard his thoughts.

  “And there are things that we should know,” Jan said. He sounded suspicious in a way that Sophia wasn’t, maybe because he hadn’t felt that touch of mind. “How do we know that you are who you say?”

  “You’re Jan Skyddar, Lars Skyddar’s son?” Lucas said. “My tutors taught me about all of you, though they cautioned me not to contact you until I was ready. They said that it would be dangerous. That you would not accept me. Perhaps they were right.”

  “He is my brother, Jan,” Sophia said. She put the arm that Jan wasn’t holding through Lucas’s. “I can feel his powers, and… well, look at him.”

  “But there is no record of him,” Jan insisted. “Oli would have mentioned it if there were a Danse son. He mentioned you and Kate enough.”

  “Part of hiding me was hiding the traces of me,” Lucas said. “I imagine that they say I died as a babe. I don’t blame you for not believing me.”

  Sophia blamed Jan a little, even though she understood it. She wanted this to be right. She wanted everyone to just accept her brother.

  “We’ll take him to the castle,” Sophia said. “My uncle will know about it if anyone does.”

  Jan seemed to accept that, and they started to make their way back up through Ishjemme, past the wooden houses and the trees that sprouted between them. To Sophia, Lucas’s presence seemed right somehow, as if a fragment of her life that she hadn’t known was missing had somehow been returned.

  “How old are you?” Sophia asked.

  “Sixteen,” he said. That put him midway between her and Kate, not the oldest, but the oldest boy. Sophia could see how that would have made things dangerous back in the Dowager’s kingdom. Lucas going away hadn’t kept them safe though, had it?

  “And you’ve been living in the Silk Lands?” Jan asked. It had a note of interrogation to it.

  “There, and a couple of places in their outer islands,” Lucas replied. He sent an image across to Sophia of a house that was grand but flat, the rooms divided by silks rather than solid walls. “I thought it was normal to grow up being raised by tutors. Was it like that for you?”

  “Not really.” Sophia hesitated for a moment, then sent across an image of the House of the Unclaimed. She saw Lucas’s, her brother’s, jaw clench.

  “I’ll kill them,” he promised, and maybe the intensity of that made him sit better with Jan, because her cousin nodded along with the sentiment.

  “Kate beat you to it,” Sophia assured him. “You’ll like her.”

  “By the sounds of it, I’d better hope that she likes me,” he replied.

  Sophia had no doubts on that score. Lucas was their brother, and Kate would see that as clearly as she had. By the looks of it, the two of them were a good fit, too. They weren’t the opposite poles that Kate and Sophia so often seemed to be.

  “If you grew up… there,” Lucas said, “how did you come to be here, Sophia?”

  “It’s a long and complicated story,” Sophia assured him.

  Her brother shrugged. “Well, it looks like a long walk back to the castle, and I’d like to know. I feel as if I’ve missed too much of your life already.”

  Sophia did her best, setting it out piece by piece, from escaping the House of the Unclaimed, to infiltrating the palace, falling in love with Sebastian, having to leave, being recaptured…

  “It sounds as though you’ve been through a lot,” Lucas said. “And you haven’t even started to tell me how all this led to you ending up here.”

  “There was an artist: Laurette van Klett.”

  “The one who painted you, complete with the mark of the indentured?” Lucas said. He sounded as if he’d already placed her in the same category as the others who’d tormented her, and Sophia didn’t want that.

  “She paints what she sees,” Sophia said. That was one person on her journey she held no anger toward. “And she saw the resemblance in a painting between me and my mother. Without that, I wouldn’t have known where to start looking.”

  “Then we all owe her our gratitude,” Jan said. “What about you, Lucas? You mentioned tutors before. What did they tutor you in? What did they tutor you to become?”

  Again, Sophia had the sense of her cousin trying to protect her from her brother.

  “They taught me languages and politics, fighting, and at least the beginnings of how to use the talents we all have,” Lucas explained.

  “They taught you how to be a king in waiting?” Jan asked.

  Now Sophia understood some of his worry. He thought Lucas was there to try to push her aside. Honestly though, she suspected her cousin was more worried than she was. It wasn’t as though she had asked to be called the heir to the throne of the Dowager’s kingdom.

  “You think I’m here to claim the throne?” Lucas asked. He shook his head. “They taught me to be a noble, as best they could. They also taught me that there is nothing more important than family. Nothing. It’s why I came.”

  Sophia could feel his sincerity even if Jan couldn’t. It was enough for her—more than enough. It helped her to feel… safe. She and Kate had relied on one another for so long. Now, there was her extended collection of cousins, her uncle… and a brother. Sophia couldn’t say how much that felt as though her world had expanded.

  The only thing that would make it better was Sebastia
n being there. That absence felt like a hole in the world that couldn’t be filled.

  “So,” Lucas said. “The father of your child is the son of the woman who ordered our parents killed?”

  “You think that makes things too complicated?” Sophia asked.

  Lucas gave a kind of half-shrug. “Complicated, yes. Too complicated? That’s for you to say. Why is he not here?”

  “I don’t know,” Sophia admitted. “I wish he was.”

  At last, they arrived at the castle, moving through it to the hall. News of Lucas’s arrival must have spread ahead of them, because all the cousins were there outside the hall, even Rika, who had a bandage masking the injury to her face she had received defending Sophia. Sophia went over to her first, taking her hands.

  “Are you all right?” she asked.

  “Are you?” Rika countered. “Is the baby?”

  “Everything’s fine,” Sophia assured her. She looked around. “Is Kate here?”

  Ulf shook his head. “Frig and I haven’t seen her today.”

  Hans coughed. “We can’t wait. We need to go in. Father is waiting.”

  He made it sound serious, but then, Sophia could remember what it had been like when she arrived there, and how cautious people had been with her. In Ishjemme, they were careful about people claiming to be one of their own. Sophia felt almost as nervous standing there waiting for the doors to open as she had the first time, when it had been her claiming her heritage.

  Lars Skyddar stood in front of the ducal seat, waiting for them with a serious expression as if ready to receive an ambassador. Sophia kept her hand interlinked with her brother’s as she walked forward, even though that drew a frown of confusion from her uncle.

  “Uncle,” Sophia said, “this is Lucas. He’s the one who came from the Silk Lands. He’s my brother.”

  “I’ve told her that it isn’t possible,” Jan said. “That—”

 
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