A story is not complete without a threat of some kind, whether physical, emotional, or financial; whether to our hero, our heroine, or someone they love; whether the danger is current and real, or remembered, or we readers simply fear it is possible.
This is certainly true of each of my Hand-Turned Tales stories. In The Raven’s Lady, my protagonists face smugglers. In Kidnapped to Freedom, the heroine comes from a life of constant threat, and has no idea what the future holds in store for her—or the identity of the man who has carried her off. In All that Glisters, the heroine’s bullying uncle beats her if she does not comply with his wishes, and he wishes her to marry his bullying friend. And in The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle, my hero and heroine face a stark future. In the passage that follows, they realise why her brother and his sister have forced them to marry.
“She is your sister. Surely she does not mean you harm?”
Rupert’s laugh was bitter. “Half-sister. And she has hated me all my life. She would harm me if it were to her advantage, but while I live—and with Lord Wyvern absent—she has the whole earldom at her command.”
The thought that flashed into Madeline’s mind was so gothic, she hesitated to give voice to it, but Rupert’s mind had clearly gone in the same direction. “While I live…” he repeated.
“If we have a child…”
“If he is a son…”
Madeline turned into him, stretching her arm across his chest to hug herself into his side, as if she could shield him from the malice of their relatives. “Then we must avoid making a child.”
He returned the hug, kissing her hair. “It will not answer, Madeline. Perhaps Graviton might hesitate to carry out his threat; his own sister, after all. But the Ice Dragon will not care who fathers my heir, as long as someone does. We cannot trust your brother to protect you.”
She shivered. “Half-brother. And he has hated me all his life.”
As always, post your own excerpt in the comments, and don’t forget to share so that others may enjoy your work in progress.