Title: Royal Decoy
Series: Fate of Eyrinthia, #1
Author: Heather Frost
Release Date: June 18th 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
It always feels so good to finish a book to your liking. But being able to know the behind the scenes of that book makes readers feel more special. In this blog post, we’ll get to read the deleted scenes in Heather Frost’s Royal Decoy.
This scene was originally the prologue, set ten years before the events of Royal Decoy. It’s in Grayson’s POV because I wanted to show a glimpse of him as a child so readers could see where he came from, how he found ways to stand up to his brothers, and why meeting Mia made such a difference in his life.
In the end, I thought the prologue kept us from Clare’s storyline, and it just wasn’t the strongest place to start the story. I still really love this scene, though.
Ten Years Ago
Grayson shoved into the shadowed corner, his shoulder grating against the unforgiving stone wall. The northern rooms were always cold in the castle, but his shaking had nothing to do with that.
Please don’t find me.
He pulled at the heavy trunk to drag it closer like a shield, but his seven-year-old arms trembled, unable to budge it. His hands—riddled with scars like the rest of his body—rolled into fists.
Please don’t find me.
A buzzing became louder than his thudding heart. Jaw tight, Grayson eyed the room’s only window. The northern mountains, covered in snow and dark pines, loomed beyond the glass. A black fly bumped erratically against the clear pane, desperate to escape.
Pressed against the wall, Grayson sealed his lips, lungs straining as he locked down his ragged breaths. He didn’t hear footsteps, but his brothers could be silent as death.
He shouldn’t have said anything. Why hadn’t he kept his mouth shut? But then, his brothers never needed an excuse to target him.
Seconds leapt by. Grayson’s breathing ran shallow in the dark, and the fly continued to buzz against the glass.
The scuff of a boot in the hallway froze him, whispered voices ghosting through the closed door. Grayson’s stomach wrenched and he crushed his shoulder blades to the wall, sinking into the shadows and praying to the fates his brothers wouldn’t find him.
The door opened and his brothers filed in. Grayson held his breath, but they still found him crouched behind the trunk.
Grayson kicked and thrashed, but only delayed the inevitable. A toothy grin dominated Tyrell’s eight-year-old face as he wrestled one thin arm and Carter strangled the other to pin Grayson against the wall. The fly bounced futilely against the window beside him.
They were in a quiet wing of the castle, but even if they’d been surrounded by people, it wouldn’t stop what was about to happen. Dread blasted through Grayson, shooting painful sparks throughout his body, all the way to the tips of his numb fingers.
Peter walked slowly forward, twisting the large signet ring on his finger. At fifteen, he was the oldest, and that ring set him apart as the crown prince of Ryden. He loved to hit his brothers with it.
Liam—the middle brother—remained back, arms folded as he watched. He was often a silent observer to these tortures, his face revealing nothing.
Peter smiled as he eyed Grayson. “You left right after our lesson. We didn’t get to talk about what you said.” He leaned in and Grayson inhaled sharply, the muscles at the back of his neck cinched tight. “You are a prince of Ryden,” Peter said quietly, their faces only inches apart. “A soldier in the king’s army. Yet you doubted the king when you questioned the Battle of the Sine.”
Grayson hadn’t questioned the historic battle, only the following massacre.
He didn’t dare make the distinction.
Peter raised an eyebrow. “Is there anything you’d like to say in your defense?”
Grayson could plead for mercy. Say he didn’t care that their grandfather had ordered the slaughter of an entire Devendran village. He could kneel at Peter’s feet and say those deaths meant nothing.
But he wouldn’t. Weakness wasn’t tolerated in the Kaelin family, and begging would only make the punishment worse. Besides, those deaths hadbeen wrong. He knew it, and he couldn’t deny it. Fear pounded his temples, but resignation set in. He’d been here before, so many times. “No,” he told Peter, throat squeezing, nearly choking him. “I have nothing to say.”
Peter drew back, eyes sparking in the semi-darkness with a strange mix of coolness and excitement. “As your future king, it’s my duty to punish you.” He bent and withdrew a thin knife from his boot.
Panic exploded in Grayson’s gut, but he couldn’t escape. Carter ground his arm more firmly against the wall and Tyrell’s fingernails bit into his other wrist, drawing a frantic hiss of pain. Liam’s eyes remained trained on them, not moving from his place several feet away.
The fly buzzed, its small body slamming frantically against the window. Tyrell glanced at the insect, then slapped a hand over the fly.
The buzzing died.
Grayson’s breathing hitched.
Peter’s fingers dug into Grayson’s jaw, forcing their eyes to lock. A smile curved his lips as he brandished the knife. “It’s my duty to punish you, but it’s also my pleasure.”
Grayson grit his teeth. The silence left by the fly’s death was deafening. He wanted to break it. He wanted to scream.
He remained silent. It was the only victory he’d have today.
A SERVANT blackmailed into becoming a princess’s decoy.A BODYGUARD determined to keep her alive.
A PRINCE forced to execute his father’s brutal laws.A PRISONER used to keep him compliant.
A WORLD on the brink of war.
In one horrible night, Clare goes from kitchen maid to royal decoy. She has three months to become the princess’s perfect double so she can ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard. The danger increases when a ruthless assassin begins stalking her, intent on ending the tenuous peace.
Across the northern mountains, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. He carries out the king’s harsh orders because the one person he cares about is his father’s prisoner. Grayson’s silent obedience is tested when his father plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.
The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.
About Heather Frost
Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework.
When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She owns two typewriters, sings in the car, and dreams of living in a castle someday. She currently lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in the wilds of Utah.
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