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Dark Castle (The Dazzling Court #1)
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Forget white knights, bring on the dark princes! This is a truly dark fairytale. I hope you have your magic wand at the ready… you’re going to need it! – Jade West, USA Today bestselling author
From USA Today bestselling author Isabella Starling writing as Fawn Bailey, a contemporary, dark fairytale trilogy filled with luxury, lies and seduction.
Once upon a time, a prince stole my heart. But that wasn’t enough for him. He wants to own me, and I’m more than eager to kneel for him. Being the heir to a kingdom, Prince Olivier Bellamy has all the gold I’ve ever dreamed of… and getting married to him is the only way for me to save myself and my loved ones.
Unfortunately, the battle for his heart won’t be easy. A royal competition for Prince Olivier means I’m going up against twelve other girls – and they are as beautiful as they are ruthless. But I’m not going down without a fight. I’m not Amber Jonathan, poor little girl from the wrong side of the tracks anymore. I’m finally ready to wear the crown. And I’ll do anything to get it.
But not everything is as it seems at the royal court. Dark secrets, castle intrigue and hidden twists await me on my journey to the throne. And soon enough, I realize Prince Olivier isn’t the only royal interested in my hand…
Someone else wants more than just his ring on my finger. The royal bast*rd, Bruno, will stop at nothing to put his heir inside me. And just when I think I have the money in my pocket, and Olivier wrapped around my little finger, the rules change… and the games truly begin.
Dark Castle is the first book in The Dazzling Court trilogy. Amber’s story continues in Wicked Prince and Ever After.
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If you pretend you’re a princess long enough, you might actually become one.
That’s what my mother told me when I was only nine years old, eyes wide open and staring into hers as she read to me from one of our books.
It was a thought that was ingrained in me from the moment I first heard it. My mother was reading me one of my favorite books, A Little Princess, and I devoured every part of the story.
But instead of teaching me the lesson I so desperately needed, it convinced me of one thing. I wasn’t a princess, and without a fortune behind my name, I never would be.
In my childhood years, I feared only a few people.
I feared the girls in my class who mocked me for my cheap shoes and my torn uniform.
I feared the teachers who, as rumor had it, received plenty of money from some parents, to advance the other kids, and who took their anger at the world out on me.
I feared the times when neither of my parents could find jobs.
I feared what my father was capable of.
There seemed to be one thing in common with all those fears – and it was money, or rather, lack thereof. Because money could change everything.
If we had the money, we wouldn’t have to live in the small, cramped apartment in the cheapest part of London.
If we had the money, perhaps Daddy wouldn’t drink himself into a stupor night after night.
If we had the money, we would be happy, and Daddy would never hurt Mummy or me again.
The words my mother read out in her shaky, permanently scared voice, were meant to console me. To teach me that I could be strong despite everything that had happened.
But her words did the exact opposite. They convinced me I would be the girl I so desperately wanted to be with the help of one thing – cold, hard cash.
They made the fiery-haired, golden-eyed little girl even more determined to find her way in the world, and eventually, find her own fortune – to have all the glittering gold in the world and to be able to pay in spades to have things go her way.
In many ways, I was still that bright-eyed little girl when I arrived in Luxuria. My head in the clouds, and my feet firmly on the ground in 4-inch heels that my best friend had given me as a farewell present, I was determined to solve all my problems with a husband who would be able to pay his way out of any situation.
In many ways, I was more naïve than I had been as a nine-year-old. Stubborn and proud, I had no idea what lay in store for me in the unknown country where I would go up against twelve other girls for the ultimate prize – the man I loved, and a crown to complement his.
Convinced that money ruled the world, I managed to forget about one very important thing.
All that glitters is not gold…
Excitement pumped through my veins, making me jittery as I walked into the arrivals section of Luxuria’s only airport.
I was nervous. If I hadn’t had my nails done in a pretty nude pink color to match my shoes, I would have bitten them down to mere nubs – a horrible habit I’d had since those days of skipped lunches and hidden bruises during my childhood in London.
But now, there was hope for a brighter future. Everything I’d ever dreamed of was within grasp. No more poor little church mouse. Very soon, I would be a queen.
I raised my head high, a confident smile playing on my lips as I exited the revolving doors leading me into the tastefully, expensively decorated lobby of the airport.
Finally, I had arrived. And I was ready for whatever adventure the world would throw at me.
My feet glided over the marble floors, and I marveled at the beautifully furnished interior of the airport. It didn’t feel anything like an airport. It was luxurious, from the cool dove-gray marble of the hall to the overstuffed, jade green plush velvet armchairs replacing the plastic chairs that I was used to seeing in such locations.
This country has money, I thought to myself, the corners of my lips tugging upward. Soon, I will, too.
Rueben Thorn, my best friend’s husband, had given me use of his private jet to ensure my safe arrival for the selection process at the court of Luxuria. My life was about to change forever.
In my twenty years of life, I’d experienced it all.
I’d been a ballerina. A slave. A good friend. A loyal submissive. But everything I thought I knew about myself changed the moment I met Prince Olivier Bellamy.
He rocked me to my core, making me reconsider the goals I’d set for myself. He made me fall in love. And for the very first time, I found myself wondering about things I’d written off long ago.