The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil #2) - Gena Showalter Page 0,1

How could you ever be part of a curse. No, oh, no. You are the blessing.”

Philipp was part of a fairy tale, so, why not Ashleigh? A fate the queen had previously hoped to avoid for her child. The tales were mostly symbolic and always offered more questions than answers, leaving everything up to interpretation and imagination until the last battle.

There was always a battle.

And there was only one reason Philipp had proposed to Charlotte—his own prophecy, “The Little Cinder Girl.” He’d considered himself the marriage-minded prince and Charlotte his perfect Cinder. At the time, she had believed him.

At Charlotte’s birthing, her parents had chosen not to let an oracle tell her future. Back when her older brother, Challen, had been a crown prince rather than king, he’d been predicted to play a part in “Snow White and the Evil Queen.” The news had quickly spread, and the family of a neighboring kingdom sent an assassin to kill him, just in case he came with a curse.

Challen had survived, thank gold, but her parents’ desire to know the future hadn’t. Because they’d never paid an oracle to glimpse Charlotte’s fate, they’d never expected anything to come from her life, all but forgetting her existence. She’d always regretted the lack and wished she’d known...until her marriage to Philipp.

During their courtship, the dashing king had promised her a true happily-ever-after. Soon after they’d married, however, she’d learned that her new husband lacked any kind of honor. He couldn’t be the marriage-minded prince, and Charlotte couldn’t be his Cinder.

Tremors racked her so strongly she shook the bed. What if I married...the villain?

Philipp’s selfishness knew no bounds. He had everything, but he took more from those who had nothing. He kept multiple mistresses, and he despised anyone with a supernatural ability, even Charlotte at times, because the power he’d acquired as a child had never manifested. His body had rejected the magic, something that only ever happened to a rare few. The lack had always infuriated him. Of course, he liked to blame the witch who’d given him the infusion, rather than himself. But then, Philipp was utter perfection—to Philipp. He cared for his own well-being; everyone else was inferior to him.

A fact that terrified her. As “The Little Cinder Girl” fairy tale promised, the dishonorable characters would not, could not receive a happy ending. They sowed only discord, so, in the end, they reaped only discord. What if Philipp’s terrible fate had spilled over to Ashleigh, cursing her to misery and death?

No. No! Charlotte would find a way to save her child. She would pay any price.

Hinges squeaked as the oracle entered the chamber, a woman with long dark hair, pale skin, and an eerie air.

The moment of truth had arrived...

Charlotte’s heart hammered at her ribs as the oracle focused on Princess Ashleigh...




The woman shook her head and exited the chamber without ever speaking a word.

But, but... No. No, no, no. Panic swept Charlotte up in an icy cyclone, a hoarse cry leaving her. The worst had happened. The oracle hadn’t seen a future, and Philipp now expected to give her baby to the Empress of the Forest.

Unaware of the horrid destiny her father planned for her, Ashleigh wiggled her tiny arms free of the fur and smiled up at her mother, as if to offer comfort. Comfort, from one so close to death, with a slight blue tint still marring her flesh.

“Say your goodbyes to the girl,” Philipp commanded without a shred of remorse.

“Please. Purchase magic from a witch.” For the right price, a witch would share a portion of her magic with an infant, imparting a single mystical ability that would manifest at the age of sixteen. The more powerful the witch, the stronger the impartation. While you never knew what ability you’d get, you could select the type of magic you wished to wield. Charlotte’s ability to grow plants with a wave of her hand had come from a witch with power over the four elements. “With every fiber of my being, I believe Ashleigh’s heart will heal if she wields her own magic. At the very least, it’s her best chance of survival.”

“Your certainty is misplaced,” Philipp snapped with a shake of his head. He began to pace once again. “If she could be healed, she would be healed by now.”

Charlotte bit her tongue to silence a sharp retort. Calm. Steady. If she began to screech, he would simply take the baby and go. “As I told you before,