In the Kingdom of Destiny, King Chance decreed any female be she high or low born may earn a place at court by winning an archery competition known as the Tournament of Chance. Although no commoner has ever won before, this is Heather’s year. To prevent her from winning the tournament, however, King Chance will stop at nothing. The king does not yet realize Heather of the Jagged Peaks will be the spark that ignites a revolution — in time.
A muscle in Dane’s jaw rippled. “We must move faster. The longer she’s alone, the more likely it is she’ll encounter something dangerous.”
“She’s done well enough so far, no thanks to you,” Joe muttered.
Dane peered at Joe with narrowed eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’ve shown your distaste for Heather upon more than one occasion.”
“I would never let my personal feelings interfere with my duty to protect the child,” Dane exploded.
“Really? Then why is she lost?”
Dane hands formed fists at his side. As the two men squared off, Shimmer stepped in between. “Jovander, I’ve known Dane much longer than you have. You accuse him unjustly.”
“That is so,” Manny concurred.
“No, no. Don’t bother to defend me. It won’t make a difference. Jovander Chance has a deep seated resentment toward the royal class and doesn’t believe we could ever act unselfishly,” Dane scoffed.
“Forgive me for saying so, but this whole quest is selfish!” Joe yelled. “If it succeeds, you Ormvalders resume ruling the kingdom. Heather gets nothing except for a pat on the back. She’s the only one of us here who has acted in an unselfish manner.”
“You’ve acted unselfishly too, Joe,” Manny said.
Dane smirked. “No, he hasn’t. Haven’t you noticed? Young Joe is quite taken with the lass.”
Joe flushed bright red. “Don’t act so smug, Your Highness. I’ve seen the way you look at her.”
“First you practically accuse me of doing her in, and now you accuse me of having designs on the woman?” Dane thundered. “Make up your mind.”
“First you call her a child, and now a woman?” Joe pointed out. “You should make up your own mind.”
A long, smoldering silence followed in which nobody spoke.