Series: A Stolen Empire Novel
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
To Be Published: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Page Count: 262
Genre: YA Historical Romance
Content Warning: Mild violence, language, fade to black sexual content
Age Recommendation: 17+
ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES…
Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.
In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?
Queen of Someday Excerpt #1“If I could, I would offer you my heart, my soul, and make that be enough. But I know it is not. I know that Peter is your destiny. You are going to be the most beautiful, clever, kind empress Russia has ever seen. And I want to be there for that. But I can’t think about that now because today, in this moment, all I want is you. The thought of losing you cuts me to my very marrow.”I look away, even as he draws me closer. The war rages inside me, one part wanting nothing more than to kiss him until the sun rises, another part knowing why I can’t.He tilts my chin up gently.“If you want to send me away, tell me only that you do not love me, and I will go. I will never speak your name again, never touch your hand. I will pretend that the loss of you hasn’t killed me.”I sigh, my hard-fought resolve fading quickly.“I could never say those words, because they would be the gravest lie. Of course I love you. I love you so much that I risk everything just to come to you tonight. If anyone knew—I would be ruined, sent away in a cloud of scorn. No one would ever have me, and I would bear the shame all my days.”He takes my face in his hands.“I would have you, in shame or sin, I would have you in any way I could, in any way you could give yourself to me.”He kisses me again, and I know I’ve lost. Reaching up, I wrap my arms around his neck, holding him to me. He smiles against my lips.“My sweet Helen, for you I would be Paris, and for your love, I would defy God himself and then return to you for a kiss.”“Peter and the empress will return in a few days. What will we do? Meeting like this… it’s too dangerous,” I say, unwilling to pull away again.“Do you trust me?” he asks solemnly.I nod. “I do.”“And do you love me?”“With all my heart and my life, I do.”He kisses my hair.“Then trust me. Give me a few days and by the time they return, I will have a plan. In the meantime, if you need me—”“I always need you,” I interrupt.He grins.“If you want to meet me…” I open my mouth to interrupt again, but he puts a finger against my lips, which I kiss. “Leave me a message in a book. John Wilmont’s letters to his mistress.”I frown. “Am I to be your secret mistress?”He shakes his head. “No, my love. I will be yours.”Queen of Someday Excerpt #2“Because I cannot win. I cannot have what I truly desire—it is beyond my grasp. I realize that now. It’s sad really, to think that until I came here, I had no other dreams, no other desires but what my family wanted for me. I discovered my own mind and heart too late.” I steel myself, leaning forward. “Fate has offered me an opportunity. A crown in one hand and a husband in the other. Even if I were to throw all that away, it would still not get me what I want. It would only serve to hurt the people I care about. I would be sent back to Germany in disgrace, and my family would lose everything. There is no way to win, but there is certainly a way to lose. My choice, what little choice I have, is not to lose.”Queen of Someday Quotes:“It’s not Peter’s heart you should be concerned with. You must win the heart of the empire.” ~Sergei***“After tonight, Princess, everyone in court will know your name.”***“Don’t worry, Princess. I’m sure you will come to love it here, as I have. There are many beautiful and wonderful things to see at court.”“Like what?” I ask playfully.He looks right into my eye and half smiles, “Well, there’s you for one.”***“When waging a war of the heart, you must only fight if you are absolutely sure you can win.”***Peter’s gaze slides over to me, a wide grin still spread across his face. “Enemies of Russia beware. Someday, Sophie will make a fierce queen.”***“Love is irrational by its very nature. It demands passion, fire, and no less than absolute surrender. It is a longing, a burning that consumes you, leaving you without reason, or defense. When love comes, nothing can stand in its way.”***“You are young, beautiful, and naïve to the wiles you possess, to the way even your subtle gestures and words affect the men around you. Your feminine nature will be one of your greatest weapons, but it must be honed, and you must be taught to wield it.”I look up at him, our faces only inches apart. Why do all these Russian men have to be so devastatingly, frustratingly handsome?“You speak of me as if I possess a sword, and swing it recklessly.” My voice cracks, unable to contain the tidal wave rolling in my belly.“You are the sword,” he whispers, releasing me and stepping back.***“It seems like everything here at court is managed in some way or another,” I say before taking a sip. “I dislike being managed.”***“If any were to remain here, as empress, I wish it to be you. Should Peter’s heart fall to a beautiful face, he need look no further than what is right in front of him.”My heart skips in my chest painfully. I stare at him for a long moment, unsure what to say. He is a dark beauty. His gaze is fervent and almost excruciating to behold. Unlike the others at court, all golden hair and fair skin, he feels wild.Dangerous, a soft voice whispers in the back of my mind.***“You have ruined me,” he whispers against my mouth, his voice thick with desire.I can’t help but laugh.“And I would ruin you again,” I say breathlessly.
About the AuthorSherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
She is the author of The Gods of Fate Trilogy now available from Dragonfly Publishing. Her previously self-published novel After Burn: Military Brats has been acquired by Harlequin and will be released in 2014 with a second book in that series to follow. Her newest YA steampunk novel, Extracted: The Lost Imperials book 1, co-written with Tyler H. Jolley is now available everywhere books are sold and her newest YA novel, Losing Logan, is due for release in 2014 from Clean Teen Publishing.
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