Second Daughter

By: Susan Kaye Quinn

(The Royals of Dharia, Book Two)


Summary

Aniri’s life is supposedly perfect—she’s beloved by the people of Jungali and betrothed to their handsome prince. He’s a noble barbarian who’s pledged to use his skyship for peace, but the threat of a second skyship in the hands of rival country Samir looms over their impending marriage… and Aniri begins to question her rush to marry a man she barely knows.





When the Second Daughter of Dharia is poisoned, Aniri tells her soon-to-be husband she must rush off to Samir to care for her beloved sister. After all, how can she wed when Seledri may be dying? But in her heart, Aniri fears she may be like her long-lost father, fleeing the responsibilities of crown once again.





Aniri may be a runaway bride, but the dangers in Samir are real—Seledri is being stalked by an assassin, the second skyship could bring war, and the three Queendoms have never had so much unrest. As Aniri fights to free her sister from a husband and a country she does not love, she unlocks tightly-kept secrets that might have been better left uncovered… and she wonders whether a love pledged in the heat of adventure can survive the looming threat of war.





SECOND DAUGHTER is the second book in the Royals of Dharia Trilogy. It is told from Aniri’s point of view.






The love of the Jungali people washed over Aniri in waves of sound and color.

She stood on the palace balcony, one hand raised, welcoming the applause, the other held gently by Ashoka, the handsome young prince she was supposed to marry within the week. They had returned the night before in Ash’s skyship, the Prosperity. Now, the morning sun had barely peeked over the white granite walls of his capital city, and they were already addressing his people. He had insisted they make an appearance as soon as possible—to announce their return and to reassure the people that all was well.

Even if that was far from true.

The crowd couldn’t all squeeze into the street below, so the people climbed rooftops and threw open windows, all craning to see the dashing hero who brought home not only their skyship, but a Queen-to-be and a shiny new treaty with the powerful country of Dharia, her home. The mountain air was thin, the sun was warm on her face, and the buildings were painted with brilliant reds, sharp yellows, and blues as deep as the infinite sky above them. The lack of proper air and the too-dazzling colors no longer left her dizzy, even with the tightly bound corset of her royal attire. What lay like a hundred pound weight on her chest was the secret she and Ash were keeping from everyone, one they had discovered on the flight back to Jungali: that the Prosperity might not be the only skyship that had been built, and that the Samirians may yet be planning war.

Ash tugged her forward to the silver orb that wired the balcony for transmission throughout his capital city of Bhakti. The warm welcome showed no sign of stopping, so he smiled wide and raised their clasped hands in triumph and celebration. The snapping of fingers and cheerful hollering swelled.

Ash leaned close to whisper, “They love you, Third Daughter of Dharia.” His lips brushed her ear lightly as he spoke, sending a delightful shiver across her sun-warmed skin. She ached for a moment alone with him. Not to chase after that shiver with a kiss, but to steal a chance to talk about the possibility of war and what that meant for all three Queendoms. Given that Aniri’s sister, the Second Daughter of Dharia, was married to the First Son of Samir, the specter of war between their countries felt like a secret dagger poised over Aniri’s heart.

The crowd’s approval settled to a low rumble. Ash leaned toward the transmitter. “I’ve returned to my beloved Jungali with not only a skyship and a treaty, but with a new day ahead of us. The traitors who would drag our mountain provinces back into the days of anarchy have been found and dealt with.”

The crowd finally hushed. The rogue Jungali general responsible for kidnapping Aniri and using the skyship to attack her homeland was already dead, but his men still lived. When Ash and Aniri had returned with the skyship, they had also brought her handmaiden Priya, Master Tinker Karan, the skeleton Jungali crew, and a brig full of the general’s men. Ash had locked the traitors in the palace dungeon, making clear his intention to use the fearful new technology of the skyship as an instrument of peace, not war.

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