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The Everlasting Rose (The Belles, #2) by Dhonielle Clayton Read Online (FREE)

The Everlasting Rose (The Belles, #2) by Dhonielle Clayton Read Online

Read The Everlasting Rose (The Belles, #2) by Dhonielle Clayton online free here.

The Goddess of Beauty chose the first queen of Orléans. Beauty searched for the one who would treasure her most sacred gift—the Belles. She knew she wouldn’t be able to journey back and forth between the sky and the ground for much longer. The tension among the gods required her to pick a realm. She enacted a series of tests—the Beauty Trials—to draw out the woman who had the right qualities. The one who could nourish their precious talents. The one who would never be jealous. The one who would, above all, keep them safe. When Queen Marjorie of House Orléans emerged the victor of the Trials, she pledged that she and her descendants would forever revere the Belles as extensions of Beauty herself; to be treated as if they were as delicate and precious as the petals on an everlasting rose.

from The History of Orléans

 

 

1

Maman never told me what to do when the world falls apart like a dress ripped at its seams, the beads scattering into faraway corners, the fabric a storm of shredded pieces left destroyed and unrecognizable. She never told me how to battle the nightmares that creep in like icy shadows, lingering behind closed eyes. She never told me what to do when all the color leaks out of the world like blood oozing from a mortal wound.

She gave me a mirror to see truth. I clutch it, the glass warming inside my palm.

But what happens when the reflection peering back is ugly, and when all I want to do is set everything ablaze, and she’s not here to help me?

The past three days are a chaotic blur, a télétrope in perpetual motion—the palace, Sophia’s dungeons, Charlotte waking up, and Arabella helping us get here with false papers.

“Are you listening to me?” Edel snaps. “You’ve been gazing out that window for almost a full hourglass.”

I don’t pivot around to face her or the small boardinghouse room we’ve been stuffed into. I fixate on the sun as it sinks behind the row of shops across the street and watch how it turns the sky the color of a peacock’s tail. Sunsets are much more beautiful this far south. It feels like the Spice Isles are at the very edge of the world and poised to float right off.

I press my nose against the frigid glass; the cold-season wind attempts to push its way through. I wish it would wrap its icy fingers around me and cool my insides. In the distance, the cluster of islands almost kisses at the Bay of Croix, and the capital city of Metairie overlooks them like a huge house-lantern out at sea, drawing ships safely near. Golden bridges connect the four isles and radiate like fireworks as evening arch-lanterns are lit. Decadent river coaches skate over the waters beneath, the light glinting off their gilded trim. Grand spice plantations stretch out in all directions with large white mansions overseeing fields of mint, lemon balm, lavender, and sage. Plant-lanterns crest over the crops, paper-thin bees carrying sunshine and nutrients.