THE FAKELORE GIRL
Island girl Fenella is a masterful liar. Her fakelore and skills of persuasion conceal her people’s source of forbidden magic from outsiders. But the sixteen-year-old’s tales of dragons and krakens can’t prevent a royal visit: the king and his sons are heading to the island as part of his coronation tour. Or so they say.
Then a shipwrecked young lad washes up on the beach. He claims amnesia. Fenella names the ogle-worthy stranger ‘Drake’ and feigns interest in him to investigate further, determined to protect the island at all costs. Puckering up her lying lips, she kisses her way into his confidences. But she’s no longer sure how to fake her interest when he flirts back. As his memory returns, he tells her he’s on the run for practicing forbidden magic. Magic nearly destroyed the kingdom years ago, and the new monarch will hang anyone caught using it. Fenella will keep Drake hidden, but won’t admit her own magical ability will awaken soon. Not with the king on his way.
But it takes a liar to spot a liar--and Fenella’s not the only one being economical with the truth. That signet ring Drake hides on a chain around his neck? It’s a royal heirloom. Unless Fenella pulls off her biggest fakelore yet and persuades Drake to join their side, the king will discover her secrets--and she’ll swing from the harbor gallows along with every magic-wielding islander there.
Lying spread-eagled on an altar wasn’t an experience for the faint-hearted: the knife the priestess sharpened mere inches from me looked evil. And the smile on her lips showed just how much she relished that task. Barbarian.
The evening tide ebbed from the open-air temple dedicated to the goddess Drina. Waves lapped against the two stone columns standing as a gateway to the sea and the krakens haunting its depths. Things could have been worse. I could’ve been chained to those columns, awaiting my death one kraken mouthful at a time.
I wiggled my fingers and toes. Whenever I dreamed up new fakelore to tell, I liked to throw myself into character, and this was no exception. My fingertips and the heels of my feet touched the four corners of the granite slab. Grains of sand rubbed against my skin. If I were truly about to be sacrificed by a zealous priestess, this temple wasn’t a bad place to die.
My thoughts turned in an irreverent direction as the sea breeze wafted over my generous curves on the altar. In this fakelore of mine, would Drina want her human sacrifice unhindered by clothes?
I frowned. “Should I be naked?”
“What, right now?” The knife stilled in Cressey’s hand. “Fenella, nobody wants to see that.”
Oops. I hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
“Will you stop messing about?” She huffed in exasperation. “Get off the altar.”
My fakelore fizzled and died in my mind, and I was brought back to reality. My sister Cressey was merely a novitiate, not a priestess (zealous or otherwise), and the prospect of a long thanksgiving service (not a sacrifice) to Drina loomed before me.