Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.
But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.
Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?
Approximately 39,500 words
Princess Elle Vida was born at precisely 12:01 a.m. on a snowy January 1st. The nurses swore she was the most beautiful baby they had ever seen, and not just because she would one day inherit the throne of the Kingdom of Estau, but because even at just one minute old, Princess Elle was astonishingly beautiful.
Though Estau was very much a 21st Century kingdom, Elle had the flaxen hair and sky blue eyes of the fairy tale princesses of old. Her skin was like satin and her smile could be seen for miles. Her parents, King Luke and Queen Vivienne, were delighted with their daughter, as were her royal subjects. Growing up she was kind, bright, curious and obedient. Elle Vida was the epitome of Estau’s motto, Be good and be gracious. Elle Vida was everything she was supposed to be.
Until the day after her twenty-fifth birthday, when Princess Elle Vida of Estau abdicated the throne and ran away with a lumberjack to live a life of hedonism on an unnamed island in the South Pacific. Or so that’s how it was interpreted. It was hard to properly decipher all the words scrawled in the drunken goodbye message left on her bathroom mirror with red lipstick.
Elle’s younger sister, Princess Brinley Cantrella, was born three years later on October 31st, a night filled with ghouls and demons, and she was, to all accounts, a baby born possessed. She was not a good baby, not quiet or sweet, always wailing and red in the face. While Elle was an appropriately curious child, Brinley was dangerously so, hanging out of windows and sliding down banisters and attempting to scale the inside of a fireplace to see if she could reach the castle roof, which she had been forbidden from visiting lest she try to fly again.
Rumor had it that Brinley had been born blond, and her now-dark, tangled hair had been permanently stained by soot and guilt. Her ever-broken fingernails and uneven smile were considered further proof that not only was she not fit for the throne like her saintly sister Elle, she was not in any way, shape or form, a good princess.
In fact, Brinley Cantrella was a bad princess.
All the tabloids agreed.
There was hardly an issue published that did not carry at least one photograph of Brinley doing something bad. A gust of wind blowing up her skirt to expose a gold thong, sticking out her tongue at a shouted insult from an unseen passerby (to be fair, that had only happened five times), a grainy shot of a woman assumed to be Brinley making out with one of her university professors. (To be even more fair, it was her in the shot, and the man was a professor, but he was in the English department and she was in the science program and there was no conflict of interest at all.)
Elle had done wonderfully in her castle mandated etiquette classes; nine exasperated tutors had given up on Brinley. Elle had never picked up a sword; Brinley had accidentally sliced the queen’s official portrait in half while fending off make believe bandits. Elle had never cursed in her life; Brinley had been secretly recorded during a drunken karaoke night at a pub, singing an expletive-filled rap song while twerking. It was actually an excellent performance and the internet loved it, but the powers that be had not, and they had threatened to drag her home early from university if she were caught misbehaving again.
Fortunately she had not been caught again.
Brinley Cantrella may have been a bad princess, but she was quite good at it.
November 27, 2017