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Carved in Ice and Glass

A Snow White Retelling

By R.L. Perez

A princess in exile.

An assassin sent to kill her.

A twisted fae bargain binds them together.

Theron, a feared assassin, only has one year left in the service of his queen. His final assignment: eliminate the vagabond princess who threatens the stability of the Winter Court. But when he finds the princess, she traps him in a faerie bargain, binding him to her will. Theron is determined to break free of her control… but the closer he gets to the princess, the harder he falls for her.

Princess Eira, a half-fae half-human, is banished from her own kingdom because of her human bloodline. After living in exile, Eira now rules the secret band of rebels made up of seven human districts, all eager for change. When a handsome assassin crosses her path, she thinks she can outwit him. But can she escape his deadly allure without losing her heart?

Carved in Ice and Glass is one of ten books in the Enemies Ever After series, a collection of standalone short novels featuring enemies-to-lovers fairy tale retellings with a touch of steam.

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I didn’t know how the princess was able to get under my skin. I could endure Queen Arabella’s taunting, but I couldn’t handle the half-human Snow Princess? Absurd.

And yet, her presence, her teasing jibes, even the sound of her voice was so irritating it made my blood boil. How I would survive the entire journey to Taerin, I didn’t know.

If it weren’t for this damned fae bargain, I could have ended her life in seconds. Hell, the princess would probably have met her demise at the hands of the fae creatures she trusted so much. Her idiocy would do the job for me.

The thought brought a smile to my face, but a rough jostle from Mauro’s hindquarters made my grin vanish. The beast was correct; he was fast. But my position gave me a bumpy ride, my frame lurching with each turn. I had to grip the princess’s waist more times than I would have preferred. Each time I did, she stiffened ever so slightly. I wasn’t even sure she noticed it, but I did. Part of my skill as an assassin was to take note of every move, every reaction of my enemy. And she visibly reacted to my touch. To my closeness.

Perhaps I could use that to my advantage.

After a few hours of hard riding, Mauro slowed to catch his breath, and I made my move. With a long sigh, I leaned forward, wrapping my arms tightly around the princess and nuzzling my face into her shoulder.

She jerked so violently I was nearly thrown clean off the stag. “What the hell are you doing?”

“What?” I asked innocently. “I’m tired and would like a rest.”

“Not like that, you won’t.”

“Well, if it bothers you, you can continue on foot.” I drew closer again, and she jabbed me with her elbow. Her pitiful blow only made me laugh. She couldn’t hurt me.

“Keep your distance, hunter,” she seethed.

You’re the one who insisted we ride together.”

“You’re doing this on purpose.”

“And what if I am? What will you do about it?”

“Silence, both of you!” Mauro roared. “Blood and ice, you two are insufferable. Snow, this is the last time I do you any favors.”

“You know you don’t mean that, Mauro,” she said, her tone immediately softening.

“Keep up this bickering, and perhaps I will. Don’t test me.”

The princess seemed unperturbed by the stag’s threats. She reached into her satchel and withdrew a shiny red apple. At first, I thought she would feed it to Mauro as a peace offering. Then, she took a large bite, the crunch echoing in the snowy wood.

I wrinkled my nose. “So now you’ll eat like the animals, too?”

“It’s a sparkwood apple.”


She threw an incredulous glance over her shoulder. “You’ve never had a sparkwood apple? You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted a sparkwood apple.”

“She’s right,” Mauro said.

“What’s so special about these apples?” I arched an eyebrow as I scrutinized the apple in her hand. “Besides its blindingly bright color.”

“The sparkwood trees are all over Knockspur,” Eira said. “Their vibrant red leaves and apples were often mistaken for flames in the forest, hence the name of the tree. When you see it in full bloom, it looks like a great fire burning, even amidst the snow. It’s quite a sight.”

I frowned. I’d been all over the Winter Court and I’d never come across such a tree. “You’re making this up.”

“Can’t lie, remember?” She took another bite. “The trees are rare in big cities. It’s said that fae magic repels their growth.” She shot a smirk over her shoulder. “A shame, really, that you fae folk have to miss out on such sweet juiciness.”

“You’re half fae,” I said in a flat voice.

“Guess the sparkwood trees aren’t bothered by that.”

Mauro slowed, his breath coming in small puffs with each exhale.

“Why are we stopping?” I straightened, glancing around only to find we were still in the middle of a thick and unfamiliar wood, surrounded by snow-covered trees.

“I need to get my bearings.” Mauro bent his head low so he could sniff the ground. One of his ears twitched. Only then, did I notice the wood was completely silent. No twigs snapping. No snow crunching. No chittering of birds or squirrels.

Not even a wintry breeze blew through the frozen forest. It was as if someone had stopped time.

Only once had I experienced such magic.

“Mauro,” I said, my voice barely above a whisper. “When I say go, you must run. Fast.

“What are you—” the princess began loudly, but I clamped a hand over her mouth to silence her, ignoring her indignant wriggling against my grip.

“You feel it, too?” Mauro murmured, his voice deep and low.

Now Eira was still, her body rigid with awareness.

“Yes,” I breathed. “We can’t fight it. Our only hope is to outrun it.”

“I can’t outrun it while carrying you both,” Mauro said solemnly. “It will catch us.”

“What will?” Eira hissed in a trembling breath.

I gritted my teeth as the air grew chiller around us. “I don’t suppose either of you has a powerful arsenal of fae magic at your disposal?”

Silence met my words.

“I didn’t think so.” With a grunt, I slid off Mauro’s back.

“What are you doing?” Eira demanded.

“Mauro can outrun it and get you to safety if I remain to fight it.” I rolled my sleeves up to my elbows and drew a dagger in each hand. The princess slid off Mauro’s back as well, and I glared at her.

“Princess,” I growled.

“Hunter,” she growled back, her pale eyes flashing. She drew her own knife, much smaller than mine but still deadly.

“Get back on the stag,” I bit out.

“No. Without you, I have no chance of getting into the palace. You get on the stag.”

“You don’t even know what this creature is! It’ll kill you in seconds.”

She offered a wry smile. “Your faith in me is touching. Really.”

“I’m not kidding, Eira. You have to get out of here.”

“You two are both fools.” Mauro pawed the ground nervously.

“Get to safety,” Eira whispered, brushing her hand down the length of his nose. “I’ll call for you when we’re free.”

Mauro snorted and ducked his head. “Don’t die, Snow.” With those parting words, he took off into the forest.

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