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The Bishop – A Tanglewood Novella

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Skye Warren

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B07TN1525H
Book Information:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Skye Warren comes the next installment in her Tanglewood series.

A million dollar chess piece goes missing hours before the auction.

Anders Sorenson will do anything to get it back. His family name and fortune rests on finding two inches of medieval ivory. Instead he finds an injured woman with terrible secrets.

He isn’t letting her go until she helps him find the piece. But there’s more at stake in this strategic game of lust and danger. When she confesses everything, he might lose more than his future. He might lose his heart.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Books by Author:

Skye Warren Books

One Thousand and One Dark Nights

Once upon a time, in the future…

I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.

I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and

the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast

library at my father’s home and collected thousands

of volumes of fantastic tales.

I learned all about ancient races and bygone

times. About myths and legends and dreams of all

people through the millennium. And the more I read

the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered

that I was able to travel into the stories… to actually

become part of them.

I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher

and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I

would not be telling you this tale now.

But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off

with bravery.

One afternoon, curious about the myth of the

Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to

see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar

(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then

sent yesterday’s wife to be beheaded. It was written

and I had read that by the time he met Scheherazade,

the vizier’s daughter, he’d killed one thousand

women.

Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived

in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged

places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had

never occurred before and that still to this day, I

cannot explain.

Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have

taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can

protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to

protect herself and stay alive.

Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a

point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that

he might hear the rest of my dark tale.

As soon as I finish a story… I begin a new

one… like the one that you, dear reader, have before

you now.

Prologue

Death has a sound. There’s a rattle in her breathing that wasn’t there this morning. I move the knight over my pawns, which has been my opening move since forever. We can pretend like this is a regular day. Momma studies the board with a look of concentration, even though she makes the same move—her king-side pawn two spaces forward. It’s something I can count on, that move, and it doesn’t let me down. Her hand trembles as it falls back to the couch.

Death has a smell. There’s the cough medicine that’s dribbled some on her dress. The deep infection that wheezes out on every breath. We’ve been living in this world for days, weeks. Years, really. Momma gets sick a few times every winter, but it hit her harder this year. The same thing that made her think slow made her immune system weak.

I move my queen side pawn forward, mostly because I want her to react.

She captures my pawn.

It would almost be enough to convince me everything’s normal, if it weren’t for Poppa watching us from the kitchen. His eyes are rimmed red. There are a hundred orange bottles spread out across the table. None of the pills and ointments are working. Not anymore.

We move a few pieces, taking up strategic locations across the board. There was a time she could read and write. She knew what every medicine in those bottles does, but I was too young to remember. Mostly I know her this way—quiet and focused and simple. She needs help getting dressed and showering every day. Maybe the other kids in school would think that’s weird, but I don’t really care. Poppa’s out on calls most nights, so who else will do it?

Death has a face, and it’s not even my mother’s expression of concentration.

It’s Poppa, with his shoulders hunched over, his eyes leaking. It looks like failure.

I push my bishop forward, angle him so he’s facing her queen. I’ve never had to go easy on her. She needs help doing the buttons in order, but she never stopped being able to play chess.

As soon as my finger leaves the little knob on the wooden bishop I see my mistake. Her castle’s already in the middle of the board. I was so focused on the crack in her defenses that I missed it. I hold my breath, because the boys at school would be watching me. We don’t play chess. It’s strictly poker with lunch money as the bet while we’re on the bus.

Before I can react she’s reaching out to move the castle, to knock my bishop out of the way, to move my piece to the side—in that fast, efficient movement of someone ready to make their next move.

“Good one!” The words bubble out of me, and I’m laughing. It’s too loud.

Except her hand falls to the side. Her arm isn’t trembling anymore. It’s limp. The wooden piece rolls out of her hand and softly, softly onto the carpet.


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