Start reading Melissa de la Cruz’s magical Cinderella retelling CINDER & GLASS
Prepare to be swept away in New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz’s magical retelling of “Cinderella”, set in lavish Versailles. Coming to shelves March 8th!
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“The final name on the list is Lady Cinder. Lady Cinder, will you make yourself known to the court? A hearty congratulations are in order for our twenty-five lovely maidens. I can assure you that my son and I both eagerly await commencement of the courtship events.”
The king kept talking, but I couldn’t hear him over the rushing of blood in my ears. A cold sweat broke out on my skin as I sat frozen in place. My limbs felt so heavy and sluggish I didn’t think I could move them even if I wanted to.
I had only danced with Prince Louis once, and we barely talked for more than ten, maybe fifteen minutes. Just because I had a pretty dress and nice manners didn’t mean I was important, or that I would make a good queen. It didn’t make any sense. Why would the king allow the dauphin to put my name on the list?
But more important—did I even want to marry the dauphin? He was handsome and much more charming than when last we met, and he could offer me a life of luxury and security. He was the heir to France! The king’s word was law, and if I was his queen, my word would become law too.
I couldn’t stop the thoughts racing through my head. Marrying the dauphin would mean that Lady Catherine would no longer have power over me. But I didn’t need to marry the dauphin to escape my fate; I had Lady Françoise now…
And if Louis chose me, what about Auguste? How would he feel about this turn of events if he knew I was Lady Cinder?
It was ridiculous to worry about what Auguste thought. We were only friends. But it was best to avoid the drama entirely and live a peaceful life with Lady Françoise. When I had fully recovered and gotten my bearings, then I could consider coming back to the palace. But I had no interest in courting—much less marrying—the spoiled dauphin.
“The clock nears midnight, and the first day of the dauphin’s birthday celebration draws to a close.” The king’s voice cut cleanly through the excited chatter that had risen up after the reading of the list. “Before we depart to get some much-needed rest in preparation for the events to come, I would like the twenty-five maidens to come to the dais so that they can be introduced to the court. And to me. I’m sure we would all like to meet you before courtship proceedings begin in earnest tomorrow.”
Panic—sharp and icy—stabbed my stomach. The mass of courtiers undulated as girls began to emerge and climb the dais to speak with the king and the dauphin.
I couldn’t do it. Alexandre and Severine would be there. Lady Catherine would see me. Maybe if my godmother was with me I would know what to do, but I was too confused about how I wanted to proceed to even think about enduring a confrontation with my stepmother. I decided I would not present myself. It would be better if the king and the dauphin forgot all about me…
The courtiers were pushing forward to crowd around the dais, leaving this end of the hall increasingly empty. A particularly large group of nobles hurried toward the dais, leaving a wide-open path from my bench to the archway leading to the Salon of War. An opportunity like this couldn’t go to waste.
I stood up and jumped from my seatto the parquet floor below. Pain radiated from my ankles up through my legs when I made impact with the floor, but I ignored it. Gathering my voluminous skirts into my arms, I dashed from the Hall of Mirrors, as fast as my slippers could take me.