The Great Hunt(100)

By: Wendy Higgins



High Hall seemed to spin as kitchen staff began bringing in platters, filled to overflowing with the finest seafare, breads, and roasted root vegetables. Aerity dropped Lord Alvi’s hand as the people’s attention stirred away from her.

“Please, excuse me,” she whispered to her betrothed, who nodded.

Princess Aerity slipped through the room, allowing people to take her hand and kiss her fingers. She gave them each smiles and blessings, wanting more than anything to fill them with the one thing she herself no longer had.

Hope.

But she now had purpose, and that would have to do.





Acknowledgments


I’ve started lots of stories in my life only to abandon them. I nearly cut the rope on this one, because, frankly, high fantasy is intimidating. I have a whole new outlook and appreciation for the genre. I’m so happy we moved forward, forcing me to face all my writerly fears and push myself to new limits. I’d like to thank my first readers, Morgan Shamy, Nyrae Dawn, and my agent, Jill Corcoran, for their genuine excitement in those early days of Eurona’s sprouting world when I needed it most.

I’m the type of writer who requires lots of eyes on my books and lots of revising/layering. I rely so much on my beta readers to help me shape a story and show me where it’s lacking. Thank you, Evie J. Burdette (beta reader and blog caretaker!), Elizabeth May, Meredith Crowley, Jill Wilson, Carolee Noury, Malissa Jayne Coy, and Jen Fisher for your valuable feedback. Many thanks to graphic artist Jennifer Munswami for her time and expertise in designing bookmarks and extraordinary graphics every time I need them (I’m very needy). I also owe so much to authors Gena Showalter and Jennifer L. Armentrout for always being there with encouragement.

I must thank my editor, Alyson Day, and HarperTeen in a big way, for saying, “Let’s do it,” once again taking my dream-come-true career to new heights, and for letting me add that additional scene so late in the game—you’re the best!

A huge thanks to Jon Howard and my copy-editing team for picking up the messy pieces of this manuscript and making it shine. Thank you to Amy Ryan and Katie Fitch in design for their hard work on the cover. As for the map artist, I’m still in awe that Jonathan Roberts was able to take my terrible sketches and turn them into something amazing! Much gratitude to Jenna Lisanti, Megan Barlog, Abbe Goldberg, and Stephanie Hoover for their marketing/publicity work, always with such kindness.

Big squeezy hugs to my husband, children, parents, siblings, and friends for your constant love. And an extra thanks to my kids for coming up with the names Aerity and Rocato. “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (Corinthians 13:7).

To my readers—I adore you. Blessed beyond measure. Thank you.


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