Eve is born to the lowest caste, but her sharp mind brings her to the attention of the elite.
In an unprecedented move, she initiates a game of Cargon, the method elite use to rank themselves, and wins a place among them. From within, she sparks new ideas, ones that will literally enlighten her world.
Can she balance the sacrifices that come with her new privilege? Will she marry a partner that will bring her honor as well as love?
Standing at the back of the room, Eve was thrilled to be in the class even though her status prevented her from actively participating. The young adults in the seats were elite. Born to the wiliest, most intelligent people in Fontive. Eve, by contrast, was born to a cook and stableman. She served in the palace as her parents did, serving wine when the elite joined for dinner every evening. Attending this class was a gift beyond measure.
Although her intelligence matched or rivaled that of those seated, she wouldn’t be able to speak with them or sit among them. Her place was here, at the back, inconspicuous. She had done her duty if no one ever realized she was there.
She wasn’t that lucky.
Eve clenched her jaw and tried her best to prepare for what torment the Prince might have for her today.
Prince Louis put his nose to her hair. Inhaling deeply, he sighed. "Would you taste as wonderful as you smell, I wonder?" His hand traced down her side, just off her skin. It brushed the fabric of her skirt, and she stepped to the side.
He sidestepped with her, grinning now. "Skittish. I like that. Where will you jump to next?" He moved to place his hand on her again, and she leaned away to her left, twisting from him. Her skirts brushed his legs. Technically, she wasn’t allowed to touch him, and it was a loss of face for him to touch her. That didn’t stop him.
He continued to pursue her as she backed herself into the corner. He put his hands to either side of her head, trapping her effectively. Finally, unable to find another response, she turned her eyes level to his. In them, she held all of her hatred, her anger, his loss of honor. Would he continue to ignore the impropriety he was inflicting?
“I do wish our stations were not so distant." He pulled his arms away and turned from her.
Eve fled to the library, her sanctuary. The rules of their society were clear. If she’d been interested and met him under cover of night, a relationship between one of the elite and a servant might be possible, but she’d never heard of one. She had never returned Louis’ affections and he dared to approach her while she was doing as instructed.
Storming up and down the aisles of books, she knew she had to get a hold on her temper. Her attitude was unbecoming, and although the librarians, as fellow servants, might not be offended, the elite accessing the library certainly would.
She stopped among those elite, in front of the large windows that looked out onto the manicured gardens. Another servant pulled weeds, adding them to her basket. Hundreds of servants, easily ten times the number of elite, could be found throughout the palace. The majority didn’t tread in these halls, manning laundries, kitchens, and grounds. Today, Eve envied them.
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I have Thunderclap campaigns for the release of the next two Cargon books as well. I'd appreciate any and all support. :D http://thndr.me/FIAw4e http://thndr.me/WHfiKi