Seventeen-year-old courier Kiel Reaux has one goal: pay off the debt chaining him to the Baron of Old Town and earn his freedom before those chains become a noose. One last job, the Baron says, one last package to fetch for him and their contract will be quits. But when the job goes balls up and Kiel finds himself captured by slavers, the package goes undelivered and the Baron believes him a scheming thief. And no thief has ever survived the Baron’s rage.
Enslaved, Kiel is sold to Izzy, a young priestess naïve enough to trust him. On a mission to prevent the start of a war in a neighboring country, Izzy needs to travel through the Wild, a jungle of untamed magic where trees can kill and flowers can resurrect the dead. What’s more, she’s decided Kiel will be her guide and promises him freedom, only if he helps her.
Assassins trail Izzy’s every step, which is almost enough to make Kiel forget about the Baron, even if the Baron hasn’t forgotten about him. But while Kiel keeps everything under control, he fails to guard himself against the most dangerous power yet: Izzy herself. Her beauty and kind nature chain Kiel so tightly he starts to forget about his freedom. Now Kiel has a choice: escape Izzy to save face with the Baron, or trust in Izzy and her promise. Because unless Kiel can find a way to protect them both, he won’t have to worry about his liberty. He can’t enjoy freedom if he’s dead.
First 150 Words:
I lost the package.
It should’ve been my final job for the Baron. The last delivery, and then I’d be done with him forever. But a stop to take a leak resulted in a missing package, and here I found myself, empty-handed, back at the Baron’s ready to beg forgiveness. To ask for a final chance to pay off my debt – a final chance to be free.
I hesitated in front of the wrought-iron gates and scratched the stubble on my jaw. The Baron’s white manor gleamed in the sun. It almost looked pretty. It always looked rich.
My stomach twisted and dropped into my groin. What was that feeling called? Dread? Yeah… definitely dread.
The setting sun turned the dust from the road red, stretching our two shadows before us. The kid, Jal, stepped beside me and stared at me out of the corner of his eye. He brushed his brown hair off his tanned forehead. “Why’d we stop?”