They did the impossible, but their problems are far from over…
After freeing the Delmarion empire, Rose and Rayce must go to Varsha, the desert home Rose fled when she was a child—the country she’s meant to rule.
Rayce is the new emperor of Delmar, Varsha’s longtime enemy, but that won’t stop him from assisting the girl he loves. Armed with the brute force of Rayce’s military, Rose sets out to free her people from the oppressive rule of the usurper king who killed her father.
But even if they win, how can she be queen to her homeland and in love with the man ruling its bitter enemy? With her loyalties split between heart and crown, Rose must find a way to do the impossible again…unite two kingdoms at war, or sacrifice half of herself to save the other.
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GUEST POST — Copyright author Amber Mitchell
Deleted scenes are often hard for me to share. Though my drafts are always very long, there is a usually a purpose for everything that is cut so it feels a little like exposing something raw. However, the first half of this book went through massive rewrites and a lot was cut out. Though this scene was too long and really could be summed up in a few short paragraphs, I was really fond of Rayce’s coronation. So here is a scene from the beginning of the book that is still briefly touched on but was much more extensive in the first version of Roots of Ruin!
Arlo leads me to the smaller throne beside Rayce’s and together, we turn around to face the crowd. Among the many people, I spot the other Flowers and Marin. Calla and Lily are clutching each other’s hands while Juniper beams up at me. Peppered into the audience, I see Commander Shing and a few of her squad, gleaming in their golden and red uniforms. She tilts her head down in a small bow but when she looks up, her eyes are appraising. A reminder I don’t need right now about what tomorrow brings. My heart hammers against my chest, feeling so many eyes trained on me.
Not even a second later, the roar of clapping hits my ears and everyone turns back toward the door. The processional begins to divide off, the dancers and decorated soldiers alike taking their places on either side of the carpet.
Though everyone is clothed in colorful attire, my eyes search for the only person I long to see, the one that will make standing up here bearable.
Rayce walks near the back, just ascending the steps into the front of the palace. Four men surround him, clutching pure silver poles that hold a large piece of silk with the newly designed Delmarion empire symbol embroidered on it. The fabric ripples in the cool breeze.
Though it’s a grand display, I only have eyes for the commanding presence of the man who will finally set upon the throne. While I burn in red, he is the very essence of water in a long, dark blue robe. Threads of silver and green weave through it depicting birds soaring over a tranquil lake. Silken white pants peek out of the end of his robe and an even grander silver robe sets upon his shoulders, swirling with wind patterns and the Zareeni sun symbol stitched into almost every inch. The silver sleeves dip long and his train rivals my own in length. The Emperor’s sword that claimed both the lives of Oren and his uncle, hangs at his hip, the silver dragon head staring ahead with its black jeweled eyes.
His longer hair is piled into a neat topknot, not a single strand out of place, and the determined look he wears is entrancing. A smile dances on his lips, but his eyes burn with triumphant. He knows he was born for this, fought for this, how many lives died for this moment, and he embodies them all.
The crowd begins to cheer as the final processional enters into the throne room. Only a few more steps until he reaches his destiny. His eyes should be on the throne, the thing he has sought to rescue since starting the rebellion, but his gaze flickers to me. It’s hard to tell but it seems like there is a pause in his step as he sweeps me over.
Color rises to my cheeks.
He moves underneath the archway, representing his transition from temporary to permanent as he begins to ascend the steps. Everyone else stays behind as he walks on his own up toward the emperor’s throne.
It feels like the earth below my feet shakes as he stops and turns to face the crowd. All the noise settles in that instant, changing into an awestruck silence. I’m struck by how different the audience looked when I stood in this same place beside the previous emperor. There was fear behind their eyes but right now, all I can see is awe as they all crane their necks to get a better view. Rayce lowers himself onto the throne, his flowing silver robe twirled out behind him. He makes it look easy.
Behind us, hidden by the large back of the throne, a small door opens and two soldiers come out. I’m surprised to find one of them is Suki. She holds a beautiful red cloak in her hands. The other soldier has a pillow with a silver sceptre, an orb and a small dagger.
Trailing behind the soldiers is a middle-aged man carrying a soft blue pillow. Sitting atop it is the small rounded, silver headpiece of the Delmarion’s emperor. The tall crown is exquisitely woven metal and has a sharp silver stick running through it. Hanging on either side are a white crystal and a black one, symbolizing the balance of life and death.
They walk around the throne on either side and bow their heads, presenting their artifacts.
Arlo offers his hand to me. “Now, we go crown an emperor.”
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Though there isn’t as much detail about the coronation, I’m very proud of the final version of this book.
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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
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Amber Mitchell was born and raised in a small town in Florida. After briefly escaping small town life by attending the University of South Florida where she earned her degree in Creative Writing, she decided to ditch traffic jams and move back to her hometown. There she writes Young Adult novels, usually with a bit of magic in them, rolls D20s with her friends on Thursday nights and enjoys hanging out with her husband and four cats. Her other job involves crafting cardstock in to 3D art and has allowed her to travel all over the US vending at comic conventions which has only increased her love for fantasy and fandoms. She is represented by Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literature.
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