Princess Shalira is explaining the term “princess of shadows” to the hero, Major Mike Varone, Sectors Special Forces:
I have to get away from here, before the emperor dies,” she said with a bitter laugh, adding “Playing the princess of shadows won’t protect me after his death.”
“Princess of shadows?” Nothing about that in our briefing. Mike remembered the empress had also used the term to refer to Shalira.
“It’s an old folktale, a girl of royal blood who hid from her enemies in the shadows of the palace walls, disguised as a beggar, until her true love rescued her.” Touching one delicately tinted eyelid, Shalira said, “It’s meant as an insult to me, since I can’t see, not even shadows, and I’ve lived the past fifteen years on the fringes of the court, tolerated, protected only because my mother was the emperor’s Favorite till her death.”
Here’s the story blurb:
Blind since childhood due to an attempted assassination plot, Princess Shalira is resigned to an arranged marriage with a warrior chieftain… until she meets Sectors Special Forces Major Mike Varone, sent to the planet Majumdar to investigate a crashed spaceship, lost in the planet’s mountains. After Mike saves her from another assassination attempt, she persuades her father the Emperor to order him to join her caravan, going to meet her bridegroom.
Mike resists his growing attraction to her but the pair bond further as they work to retrieve sacred artifacts from her mother’s tomb, narrowly escaping another ambush. Mike offers Shalira the opportunity to go off planet with him, but she insists on carrying out her father’s wishes to create an important alliance by marrying the chieftain. Heartsore, Mike promises to deliver her safely to her bridegroom and walk away.
But when they reach the mountain camp, the chieftain is revealed to be a brutish thug, with no intention of honorably marrying Shalira. Can Mike rescue her, will they win the race against time to accomplish his mission, escape the hostile warriors hunting them and make it off the planet?
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