02 September, 2020

Read an #Excerpt from The Princess Games by Danai Kadzere

About the Book:
King Winkle and Queen Periwinkle have a problem. They need a princess, and they need her fast. With the upcoming peace-keeping marriage between Prince Linus of Branninia and the princess of the fair Kingdom of Hoggenbottom, it's a bit risky to admit they don't have a princess.

Instead, they decide to host The Princess Games. Soon enough, the fairest maidens of the land are gathered in front of the castle, fairy-godmothers in tow! With a goofy king, an obsessive compulsive advisor, and a fairy godmother whose spells do whatever they want, these games are about to get interesting.

Even if Emma and her clumsy Fairy Louise can manage to do well in the competition, she'll have to get past the expert spells of Fairy Faye and the beauty of Laralyn, who is intent on pleasing her ambitious mother at any cost.

Read an Excerpt from The Princess Games

Chapter Three: Karl Jurgermeier

Karl paced back and forth across the study. Then he paced back and forth again. At the rate at which he was pacing, he would wear through the floor before any of the prospective princesses even arrived.
“But, your Highness,” pled Karl, for the umpteenth time, “Are you completely certain that this is a wise decision?”
“Oh, bother,” said King Finkle, “Why ever not? We need an heir, yes? And we need her soon, yes?”
“Yes, your Highness” said a reluctant Karl.
“Well, how else are we to get a full-grown princess?” asked the King. As an afterthought, he added, “Or any princess at all, for that matter.”
“I do not know, your Highness,” said Karl.
“You know the precarious position that we are in,” said King Finkle, “Some thirteen years ago, were you not there when we promised the royal family of Branninia a wife for their baby boy? Our families are to be united in Holy Matrimony and they are to be united soon. So what shall we do, if we have no princess to give them, eh?”
Karl sighed and rubbed his head. He had advised King Finkle, those many years ago, not to promise a daughter’s hand in marriage when he did not have said daughter.
“Do you want a war, Karl?” asked King Finkle, moving a game piece forward on the board.
“No, your Highness,” said Karl.
“Then we have no other option!” King Finkle thought for a moment. “Unless, of course, you propose that you dress up as our princess and marry their prince.” King Finkle beat the table with laughter, causing the game pieces to hop and down on the board.
Karl bristled.
“You are right, your Highness,” said Karl. “As always, you are right.”
If only that darn King Finkle would act like a grown man for once, and not a carefree little boy. Once again, all the responsibility fell on Karl’s weary shoulders.
Oh, bother, indeed.

Chapter Four: Emma

“No. No, I cannot, I shall not, I will not become a princess.”
Emma gagged on the word, as though it were a synonym for ‘hairy bread,’ ‘moldy cheese,’ or ‘warty toads.’ In fact, those close to Emma would argue that she would prefer any and all of those three choices to the one actually suggested.
“Of course not,” said her father.
“You? A princess?” Emma’s little sister, Rosie, led out a decidedly un-princessy guffaw. “Don’t you have to be dainty and pretty and, well, a girl?”
Emma delivered a swift kick to Rosie’s shins, and plucked a piece of cheese off of her plate.
“Father,” said Emma, “I thought you just said that I must participate.”
“You’ll participate in The Princess Games, yes,” said her father, helping himself to another fire-roasted potato, “But you won’t become the princess.” He took a big bite out of his potato and, after chewing a bit, said, “Rosie’s right. You’re just not cut out to be a princess.” He clapped her on the shoulder, rather hard, and Emma swelled with pride. Of all of her siblings, she was the one her father regarded as his son.
“So why participate?” asked Emma. She may have been blushing under the compliment, but she would not be so easily put off as to be hoodwinked by sweet words.
“Lookee here,” said her father, “You’re a big ol’ help around the place, that’s true. But
the harvest is almost all in and, come fall, each and every one of us is jus’ another mouth to feed. You go do that princess thing for as long as it lasts and enjoy some good food. It’ll make it easier on all of us and, hey, why not fatten you up a bit on the royal coin?”
“But, Father,” started Emma.
“Emma,” said her father, dropping his usual brutish demeanor for just a second, “I know you’ll do us proud.” Then he was right back to himself, as though the uncharacteristic sentimentality was just a figment of Emma’s always-overactive imagination. “You eat lots of that good food, you hear? Mutton, bread, cheese, wine—whatever they give you, you eat. We’re counting on you to be a strong, sturdy lass when you return. I’m planning some big crops for the spring, you know.”
Emma did know. She was, in fact, the one who had convinced her father to expand his crops in the upcoming growing season. That way, there’d be plenty to eat and they might even be able to sell some. But more crops would mean more work, which was exactly why Emma’s father, with his ten daughters and zero sons, had not done so before. And Emma knew he was right. She’d always been thin—fit, not like those fainting willowy girls who spent their days swooning at every possible occasion, but still fairly thin—and packing on some reserves would certainly help her do more work in the upcoming year.
“Alright, I’ll go,” said Emma.
“Emma wants to be a prin-cesssss! Emma wants to be a prin—OW!” Lena glared at Emma.
“What?” said Emma. She said it through a mouthful of potatoes, though, so it sounded more like ‘woouth.’
Yes, a princess.

About the Author:

Danai Kadzere is a recent graduate of Harvard University, living and writing in New York City. With family scattered around the globe in South Africa, Germany, Zimbabwe, and America, Danai loves traveling, being adventurous and baking. When not nose deep in a good book, or elbows high in flour, Danai can be found covering things in pink glitter, chasing her two cats, climbing trees, or acting.

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