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Golden Chains (The Six Kingdoms, Book 2)

Golden Chains (The Six Kingdoms, Book 2)

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A champion trapped. 

A king betrayed. 

She once visited the poor souls who lived in the dark cells. Now, she is one of them. 
Persinette Basile has always known the ruling family of Gaule were meant to be her enemy. With no other choice, she fought to join them anyway. 
And they will break her now that they know her true name. 
As she sits in her prison cell, she wants one thing: for the Kingdom of Gaule to burn to the ground. 
But they need her. 

Main Tropes

  • Fairytale Inspired
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Forbidden Magic
  • Fade to Black
  • Betrayal
  • Dark Queen


Enjoy this sequel to Golden Curse, and get lost in an epic fantasy where love crosses enemy lines, the girl must save the prince, and only magic can help those who oppose it. 

A curse. A new enemy. A quest for vengeance.
As a child, Persinette Basile loved running through the palace with her best friend, the prince, by her side.
Now grown, she sees it for what it is. An enemy camp.
The dark cells underneath the palace hold the kingdom’s enemies, those who can bring all who hate magic to their knees. Etta’s allies. If she can get them out.
Trapped by the man she’s supposed to hate, she wants to take his kingdom from him. But a greater danger lurks on the border of Gaule.
When Alex is abducted, the kingdom turns to the one person who can find him, the girl connected to him by magic. Her search brings her face to face with an even older foe, one who can give Etta everything she’s always wanted.
A way to break the curse.
Will Etta risk the freedom of her people to save the man who betrayed her?

Dive into this second installment in the completed Fantasy and Fairytales series where secrets abound, some love is forbidden, and enemies are hidden in plain sight.


The overwhelming reek of urine swirled in the damp air. Etta sat in the same cell she’d helped Edmund escape from. How was that for fate? 

How long ago had that been? Days? Weeks? Day bled into night in the underground dungeons. 

Heavy footsteps sounded against the stone as they neared. Her first instinct was to press herself against the wall, letting the dark hide her cowering frame. 

She squeezed her eyes shut. She was Persinette Basile. She didn’t fear anything. 

If only that were true. 

Since her capture, the guards tried their best to break her, and they nearly succeeded. She wasn’t the same girl who’d left with Tyson and Edmund in tow. 

Her mind drifted to them, trying to block out the guard who’d stopped outside her cell. 

Were they okay? Alex might hate her, but at least he hadn’t ordered their capture.

A key rattled in the lock and Etta kept her gaze firmly planted on the ground. She pulled in her knees and hugged them to her chest to protect herself. 

The guard laughed. She recognized the cruel sound. He’d been there often. 

A tear slipped down her cheek. She didn’t cry for her bruised skin or aching limbs, but for the king who ordered it. He wasn’t the man she’d thought he was. 

She knew the pain was coming before the guard’s boot slammed into her. “That’ll teach you to use magic against us.”

She cried out and clamped her teeth down on her lower lip, tasting blood. She’d never used her magic against any of them. Her greatest crime was being born. 

He kicked her again, and all strength left her as she fell back. A meaty hand wrapped around her arm, wrenching her off the ground. She struggled to get her feet beneath her as a fist pounded into her stomach. 

She’d taken beatings before, mostly when fighting her father, but she hadn’t been helpless then. At the thought of her father, a sob racked her body. 

“Lance,” a voice cut through the dark. One she recognized as well. 

Lance released her and her legs shook, but she remained upright. He turned to Geoff.

“You’re relieved for the night,” Geoff said. “Go get some sleep.”

Lance grunted and left the way he’d come. 

Etta refused to be grateful to Geoff because she wasn’t any better off with him than Lance. He stepped toward her in a flash and she pressed her back to the wall. 

One side of his mouth curved up, and he cocked his head. “The king’s protector is scared.”

She tried to shake her head but it wouldn’t move. 

“Fitting. You should fear me, girl. Your father killed my king. You betrayed yours.” He slammed his palm against the wall next to her head and pressed himself up against her. His sour breath was hot on her face as he leaned in. “It’s my turn to be at the king’s side now.” His hand skimmed down her arm, inching over the front of her filthy shirt. “I can see why he liked you though.”

She stood stock still as he continued to explore her. His touch sent a shiver down her spine and her breath lodged in her throat. 

“Don’t touch me,” she spat. 

He laughed and pushed away from her. “You aren’t worth it. Even the king agrees.”

Her lip quivered, but she held in her tears. 

“He hasn’t come to see you, has he?” Geoff asked, spreading his hands wide. “I’m all you’ve got.”

Another guard appeared and dropped a wooden bowl of grainy mush at her feet. It spattered her legs, and she stared down into it until her cell was locked once more.

When she was alone again, she sank back to the floor and curled around herself. In her state, she couldn’t even feel her magic. The only thing that broke through the numbness was the tug of the curse connecting her to a man she hoped she’d never see again. 

She wished he wasn’t the same man she dreamed of every time she closed her eyes. 

Strip back the layers of lies she’d lived her life by, take away the persona she’d crafted, and all that was left was a shattered girl with nothing left to give.

* * *

The inner gates of the palace remained closed, cutting them off from the people living beyond. King Alexandre knew it was a matter of security, but it didn’t seem right. He nodded to the guards in the tower to open the gate before marching through. 

Geoff walked at his side as he’d been doing for weeks. He wasn’t officially the new protector. Alex couldn’t yet bear to name him that, but he’d taken on the role. 

“How is the prisoner?” He didn’t need to voice her name to be understood. 

Geoff shrugged. “She’s a hard one, your Majesty.”

“Geoff, for weeks we’ve been offering to move her from the dungeons and for weeks she’s refused. I’m at the end of my patience.” Unable to face her himself, he’d set Geoff to make a deal with her and he’d failed. Just the thought of Etta sitting in that cell was enough to steal his breath. “What more can we do?”

“Do, sire? Her crimes are grave. You’d be better served by letting her rot.”

Alex suppressed his growl. Geoff voiced what many of the people thought. But she was Etta. He stopped walking and stood at the crest of the grassy incline. A narrow road meandered along the hillside connecting the palace with the ruined village beyond. He closed his eyes and saw her as she’d been that day in the forest. Her rare smile. Her golden hair. How was he supposed to reconcile that girl with the one he now kept as prisoner?

Anders joined Alex and Geoff as Alex surveyed the land beyond the castle, reminding himself what it was he was protecting. 

“We must command the nobles near the western border to gather their forces.”

Anders shook his head with a scowl. “The village is already lost to us.”

They’d received a messenger that morning who informed them of an attack on one of the villages near the western edge of Gaule, near the border of Bela. 

“There are still people there and they need aid.” Alex turned back to look up at the great walls of his castle. How long would they remain intact once the magic folk came for them?

“Sire.” Anders put a hand on Alex’s arm to stop him. “Let Duchess Moreau deal with the people. No need for others to call their men from the fields quite yet.” He paused. “There’s more. The attackers seem to have taken up Persinette’s name as some sort of rallying cry. They know you have her and to them, she is a symbol. It’s best to distance yourself from it. Once it is dealt with and the crops are in, you can have your army. Your nobles will see to it.”

Alex shielded his eyes against the sun and regarded his two guards. Were they right? Waiting could cost them dearly.

“He’s right, your Majesty,” Geoff said. “There are more pressing matters than attacks on the border. Our reports indicate activity in Bela.”

“Bela is a desolate land. No people reside there.”

“That used to be true, but we now know La Dame has moved her court to that so-called desolate land.”

Alex breathed out slowly, reminding himself he was king. It didn’t matter if he was prepared for it. War was coming. A war they couldn’t win. 

“Why the devil would she be in Bela?”

“Recruitment?” Anders asked. “Maybe she’s hoping the magic folk flood from Gaule to her forces.”

Alex considered that. The histories claimed La Dame was an even bigger foe of Bela than Gaule. It didn’t make sense. 

“We need eyes across the border. Send someone.”

“Yes, sire,” Geoff said. “I think Lance will suit.”

Alex turned to walk back through the gates and pressed a hand to his side. It still ached with phantom pains. For weeks, he’d been sleeping fitfully and then waking in agony. Part of him thought it was guilt. Another part knew it was magic. 

“Are you well, sire?” Anders asked. 

Alex ignored his question. “Have Duke Renoir send a small force to aid Duchess Moreau in the villages that have been attacked. Make it known that he must also provide healers.  Then I’d like one-hundred royal guardsmen prepared to march.” He met his captain’s gaze. “You will lead them.”

“But you need me here,” Anders argued.

Alex shook his head. Getting the captain away from his scheming sister would do both of them good. 

“I gave you a command, Captain.” 

Anders scowled as he issued a short bow and walked back the way they’d come. 

“I tend to agree with the captain.” Geoff didn’t bother with the respect Alex deserved. “The people near the border have long harbored magic folk. We should leave them to their fates.”

Alex’s eyes blazed as he rounded on his guard. “Get out of my sight.”

“But, sire, I’m your protector.” His words cut through Alex.

He took a step toward Geoff and placed a hand on the hilt of the sword at his waist. “Say that again and I’ll run this straight through your heart.”

Geoff’s jaw dropped open. He stood still for a stunned moment before turning and walking away with quickened steps. 

Alex scrubbed a hand across his face. Protector. Only one person could hold that title and she’d betrayed him. 

He didn’t understand how the Etta who’d been at his side was actually Persinette. His oldest friend. The girl who had grown up with him only to be exiled and hunted. But she wasn’t a girl any longer, and she’d come for her revenge. Only, he still didn’t know what that revenge was. She had appeared loyal. She saved Edmund and Tyson. How did that fit into the monster he wanted to believe she was?

Alex’s stormy face made servants scurry away as his feet took him to the stables. They seemed empty now without the two horses that should have been there. Tyson’s was a prince’s horse, beautiful and strong. Verité was an ornery beast. 

Weeks had passed since they left and he still couldn’t adjust to a palace that now seemed devoid of love. 

He hadn’t visited his mother, but she remained confined to her rooms for hiding Persinette’s true identity and sending Tyson away from the palace under the traitor’s care. Yet, she wasn’t the one who plagued his thoughts day and night. 

It was the girl who sat in his dungeons. The one he’d thought he loved. The one he didn’t know at all. 

He stood beside the horse pen, gripping the metal fence so hard his knuckles turned white. “Dammit,” he breathed, hanging his head. “Etta.”  He needed to see her, but he couldn’t. Not yet. Not when he was still so angry. He hated himself for leaving her there for weeks. Alex wanted to move her back into her palace rooms to continue her confinement there, but he hadn’t issued the plea directly to her himself. 

“Your Majesty,” a small voice sounded behind him. 

He sighed and turned to take in his betrothed. Amalie held such a delicate beauty it was as if she might blow away in the wind. 

“Lady Amalie.” His voice softened. “I’ve told you before to call me Alex.”

Her forehead scrunched, but she nodded. “My father told me to seek you out.”

“Of course he did.” Alex rubbed his chin. Lord Leroy had been pushing them together since Amalie came for the ball more than a month before. Her sister had been sent back to her husband, but the younger girl was forced to stay. Leroy probably thought Alex was going to back out of the betrothal. 

He had to admit, it’d crossed his mind. He’d even planned the words he’d use. But that was when he thought he wanted to be with Etta. Now he didn’t know what he wanted, but the kingdom needed a queen. 

“Would you like me to leave, si—Alex?” 

Guilt warred inside of him as he watched her guarded expression. He’d never treated her poorly, but he hadn’t exactly been kind either. And she was still young. Like his brother. 

That thought kicked him in the gut and he leaned forward with his hands on his knees. His brother was wholly unprepared to be out in the world, magic or no. Part of Alex knew he’d never see Tyson again. Another part told him to do anything he could to change that.

But he was king and must rule a kingdom that harbored an extreme hate for magic. Weeks ago, he’d hated it as well. Then he learned three of the people he loved most in the world had a power he couldn’t have even imagined. 

“Are you okay?” Amalie asked tentatively. 

He straightened and closed his eyes for a brief moment, breathing deeply. “No.”

“Oh.” Her lips pursed. “Okay then.”

“Would you walk with me, Amalie?” He told himself it was because he’d feel bad about sending her away, but in that moment, the truth was he couldn’t bear to be alone.

She nodded and looped her arm through his when he held it out to her. Her loose fitting, yellow dress blew in the wind as it whipped through the streets. Their steps took them through the outer castle grounds. 

Neither of them spoke as Alex led them to his favorite spot. Near the abandoned North tower, there were steps leading up to a section of the wall. In war, archers lined the top. In peace, there was nothing but ghosts. 

Alex helped Amalie up the steps. Her breath caught as she took in the view of Gaule. 

“Stunning, isn’t it?” Alex asked. 

“Sometimes I forget about the Gaule that exists beyond the walls of the castle or my father’s estate.”

He dropped her arm and sat atop the wall. She lowered herself beside him and took off her shoes to place them next to her. 

“I don’t spend much time out there either,” he admitted.

“But you’re the king. Surely you could if you wanted to.”

He laughed harshly. “You’d be surprised how little freedom I have.”

She smiled sadly and raised her eyes to the horizon where the sun was beginning to set. The Black Forrest stretched toward the edge of their view and memories assaulted Alex. He couldn’t escape them.

“I went into the Black Forrest,” he said. “Even spent the night in there.”

Amalie’s eyes widened and her tiny mouth fell open. “That must have been terrifying.”

Alex shook his head as images flashed in his mind. Etta standing before him, vulnerable. Her blond hair shining as slivers of moonlight illuminated the night. They’d just escaped the attack on the village and yet, he couldn’t remember a night so insanely perfect. 

“There’s this part of the woods where bright flowers decorate the ground as far as the eye can see. I’ve never seen anything as magnificent as I did that night.” 

“Is everything we’ve been told a lie?” she asked. 

His eyebrows knitted together. “What do you mean?”

“The Black Forrest is not a place of nightmares. The people we’ve trusted are not what they seem. Magic… it’s not really evil, is it?” Tears shone in her eyes and she wiped them away quickly. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be saying this to the king.”

Something in her eyes told him to trust her and he was desperate for anyone to trust. He put his hand over hers. “I don’t know.”

“I know some people with magic are bad, horrible people. La Dame is evil. But Tyson… Do you miss him?”

“Every day.”

“I was there when he found out about his magic.”

Alex turned to her. “How? You didn’t come until the ball.”

She smiled sadly. “No, your Majesty. The ball was the first time you noticed I was here. I’d been living at my father’s palace residence for months.” She studied her hands. “I may have been avoiding you.”

“Why?” When she continued to look down, he hooked his fingers beneath her chin and tilted her head up. “Why?”

Truth warred in her eyes before it finally broke free. “I don’t want to marry you.”

He took his hand away and released a low chuckle. “Is that all?” 

“Sire… Alex, we are betrothed. We don’t have a choice in that. The ceremony was done when we were children. It is binding in the laws of Gaule.”

“I know.”

They were quiet for a long moment before her voice broke through again. “Do you think Tyson is okay?”

“I have to believe he is. And don’t forget, Edmund is with him.”

She blew out a heavy breath. “I wish Etta still was.” Her eyes widened at her own words. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I know she’s the daughter of Viktor Basile. Like I said before, some magic is evil.”

Her words didn’t sit well with him. He’d never even seen Etta’s magic. She’d never used it on him or anyone in the castle. Was it evil? 

The words were out before he could stop them. “I loved her.”

She slid closer and tucked her arm into his. “I know.”

“You do?”

“Everyone in the palace knew. I’m so sorry, Alex.”

“As my betrothed, aren’t you supposed to be jealous?” He laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. 

“I loved Tyson.” She sighed. “I do love him, present tense. You should have seen him when he first used his power. He was so happy. I pretend he still is, and that smile haunts my dreams.” She peered up at him. “Do you still love her?”

Words caught in his throat, thickening his voice. He shook his head. “I can’t.”

“Loving someone is something you can always do. It’s the hate that takes effort.”

“You’re not nearly as shy as you seem to be.”

She smiled. “And you’re not as frightening. Can I give you a piece of advice?”

He nodded. 

“Release the queen mother from her confinement. I’ve been spending time with her in her rooms and I think you could both use each other.”

“You’re right. She’s all I have now.”

Amalie squeezed his arm. “Not all. Whatever the future holds for our marriage, right now we can be friends.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed. “I could use a friend.”

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