Melting the Snow King's Heart

magical world
another world

Leaf Princess Illyra has been living in hiding since the rest of her family sacrificed themselves to stop the worst invasion in history. She longs to return to her kingdom and rebuild it to its former glory, but as long as the Snow King lusts for power and domination, she is at risk. When the Snow King comes calling, she has to make a decision – make a deal to save her kingdom or fight with everything she has and risk losing her entire world.

Snow King Skylar inherited his father's mission to conquer the world and find the last surviving autumn fae royalty and take revenge for what her family did to their army. He is feared and respected – his heart as ice cold as his kingdom. When he tracks down the last of the Autumn Court, she isn't what he expects, and the king is forced to choose between a promise he made to his father and something he never thought he'd have – love.

Melting the Snow King's Heart is created by Sylvia Conley, an eGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1: The Leaf Princess
“But why can't I go?" Illyra asked, pouting. “Lyra, the bonfire is a big event. There won't just be people from Autumn Forest there," Calista explained. “Like I haven't spent my whole life hiding who I am," she grumbled, pointing to the corners of her eyes where glittering, deep purple leaf birthmarks curved down the edge of her cheeks. The birthmarks identified Illyra as a member of the Autumn Court, the royal bloodline that ruled Autumn Forest, the kingdom of the autumn fae. Every time Illyra left her house, she covered the birthmarks with face makeup so no one would ever see them. As much as she detested hiding who she was, Calista, her guardian insisted on it for her own protection. “I know, sweetheart, it isn't easy," Calista said. She walked to Illyra's vanity and took a seat on the bench beside the young princess. “No, you don't know," Illyra argued. She stood up and turned her back on her guardian, the woman who had raised her as her own daughter. Calista had been her mother's handmaiden. Illyra's mother, the late Leaf Queen of Autumn Forest, had entrusted her daughter's safety to Calista, before she and the rest of Illyra's family sacrificed themselves to protect the world. Illyra knew the story well. Calista had always been honest with her about her family. “I doubt any of the Snow Soldiers will come to a bonfire celebration in Autumn Forest," Illyra snarked. Calista sighed. She came up behind Illyra and placed her hands on her shoulders. “It is a risk you cannot take. If the Snow King discovers you are alive, he will send his army here to kill you without a second thought." “I know that. I've known that my whole life!" Illyra shrugged away from Calista. “Then please, don't risk yourself. If the Snow King succeeds in wiping you out, the last of your bloodline, Autumn Forest's magic will fail completely. The autumn fae will be no more," Calista gave her warning, again. Illyra rolled her eyes and shook her head. With a sigh, she left her room, leaving Calista alone. In the kitchen, Illyra grabbed herself a freshly baked sweet roll. She couldn't deny Calista's talent in the kitchen. The older fae had mastered her fire magic in application with home and hearth, specifically cooking. Illyra enjoyed her sweet roll and looked out the kitchen window. Autumn fae kids, with their hair ranging in color from bright reds to deep auburns and eyes of gold, brown, and amber, ran around laughing and playing. Their glittering wings, in hues of red, purple, gold, and deep green, fluttered excitedly as they made their way to the bonfire. Illyra wanted to go too. She wanted to feel the fire magic and have fun. Grumbling, she crushed her roll when she clenched her fist. She looked at the sticky mess in her palm and then wiped it on the front of her dress. Calista was right. If she went to the celebration, she risked revealing that she was still alive, a death sentence if it ever got back to the Snow King. Fifteen years ago, when Illyra had been three years old, the former Snow King, Malus, had decided to conquer all four of the fae nations. The attack from Winter Mountain swept through Summer Land and Spring River faster than those kingdoms could muster a counterattack. Autumn Forest was the last to be attacked, and they had time to collect their military forces. Even with the assimilated summer and spring soldiers into their army, Malus's forces were no match for Autumn Forest. The entire fate of the faery realm was threatened by Malus's domination. His winter magic would have wiped out summer, spring, and autumn magic, had he succeeded. He either hadn't realized, or hadn't cared, that the entire faery realm needed all four magics, or the land would become barren, the water would dry up, and nothing new could grow or be born, including fae. Illyra's parents, her entire extended family, had understood the need for balance and what would happen had Malus succeeded. They'd combined their magic and used an ancient spell to stop the Snow King's army. Sacrificing themselves in the process, burning in the autumn flames for the spell to be strong enough, their sacrifice had created a protective barrier around Autumn Forest, Summer Land, and Spring River, expelling the Snow King's forces. As long as Illyra was alive, that protective barrier remained, and the newly crowned Snow King would not be able to complete his father's conquest. Calsita had saved Illyra, protected her from the sacrifice and the Snow King. Illyra sighed and looked away from the kitchen window. She was going to that bonfire. The Snow Court had taken so much from her already, and Illyra wasn't going to let it take away her enjoyment or her celebration of her own magic with her own people. She waited until Calista was busy in the kitchen, humming to herself and preparing a lovely roast in honor of the bonfire celebration. When she was focused, Calista hardly noticed anything else, and Illyra was able to slip outside quietly. Her bare feet struck the forest floor and she smiled. All around her, a forest with trees as wide as houses, many of them like the one she lived in with Calista, had been converted into living houses. Their leaves were always colorful, reds, yellows, oranges, and golds, in a perpetual state of autumn. Butterflies fluttered around; deer pranced between the trees. It was a beautiful forest that Illyra called home, but the forest was sick. She could feel it in her feet; the pulses of magic grew weaker every day. If it continued the entire forest would die and all the animals and fae living there would follow. Illyra knew that she could only save her kingdom by taking the throne, but that meant exposing herself to the Winter King. Lifting up her skirts, Illyra ran through the forest. She followed the sounds of children's laughter and crackling flames. On her back, her sparkling purple wings fluttered and she smiled, heart racing as fast as her legs ran. She laughed and twirled around, dancing her way to the edge of the bonfire. Already, summer, spring, and autumn fae danced together around the fire, singing and hugging each other. Deer, horses, and other woodland creatures came out from between the trees, dancing and prancing with the fae. Illyra's wrist was grabbed by another fae, who pulled her into the rhythmic dance. She grinned and started singing along with the others. Even though the magic in her kingdom was weakened, she was swept up in it at the height of a celebration. The heat from the bonfire seared her cheeks, and Illyra's eyes pricked with happy tears. She felt like she could soar up to the stars if she wanted to. “Dance with me," a young fae man said, grabbing Illyra's hands and spinning her around. “We'll dance all night," she agreed, her feet spinning gracefully around each other. “You're the most beautiful fae out here, tonight," he told her, pulling her close. Illyra felt the burning heat of fire spread through her veins, scorching her cheeks. She had such limited experience with boys and romance, but on a night of bonfire celebration, her emotions were running high. Another spin around and they came to a stop. Her companion cupped her cheeks and looked into her eyes. Illyra bit her lower lip, staring at his mouth, which curved up in an inviting smile. Her heart pitter-patted in her chest. What would his lips feel like on hers? Illyra raised her golden eyes to his stunning ice-blue eyes. Gasping, she pulled back. So caught up in her romantic dance, Illyra had not noticed his ice eyes or the snow-white of his hair. “Is something wrong?" he asked, creasing his brow. “I… shouldn't be here," Illyra gasped. Cold rushed through her veins like water stifling the flames. “What are you talking about, this is an autumn fae celebration, and unless I'm mistaken, your golden eyes and red hair make you an autumn fae." He laughed and grabbed one of her curls, throwing it into the air. “You're a winter fae," she said, crossing her arms. “Isn't this celebration open to everyone?" he countered, raising an eyebrow. He smirked, challenging her. “I'm sorry, I shouldn't be here," Illyra said. Ice crept down her spine, paralyzing her. Her heart hammered in her chest, the only part of her that seemed capable of moving. “Did I do something wrong?" the winter fae asked. He was so kind and friendly. How could he pretend that his kingdom hadn't decimated hers? Illyra swallowed past the sand dune in her throat. Her enemy was so close, staring her right in the face. “Hey, you've got something in your eye," he said. He reached out and touched the corner of her eye. Hissing, Illyra jumped back. “Don't touch me!" she snapped. She tilted her head down and used her hand to shield her eyes. If he saw her birthmark… “I'm sorry. Whatever I did. Please, let's just go back to the celebration," the winter fae said. “I have to go," Illyra mumbled. She ran back into the woods, leaving her foe behind.

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