Word Count: 101,000
Genre: Adult Fantasy
System(s) of Oppression: Sexism, homophobia
Author's Identity: Female, [removed]
Lavie Streaver has many identities: castle troublemaker, reluctant bride, knight. When the war she started ends with her enemy’s unexpected surrender, Lavie obtains a new role: Hero.
But while the kingdom is at peace, Lavie struggles. She panics in crowds, she sleeps on the floor rather than a bed, and every day brings her closer to losing her temper and drawing her sword on someone who doesn’t deserve it. The only person who understands her is her friend, Harry, but he has his own troubles. The new king’s love affair with Harry puts him in conflict with his duties to the throne, and Lavie is caught between supporting the stability of the kingdom, and standing up for her closest friend.
Lavie finds herself questioning more and more of the king’s decisions. And like a scab she can’t stop picking, she returns again and again to the usurper she defeated, trying to understand his motivation for surrender. When raiders attack the coast and assassins threaten the king, Lavie must discover who is trying to bring down the kingdom or lose Harry, her home, and her identity.
Beginning where most fantasy novels would end, HAPPILY EVER AFTER is an adult fantasy of 101,000 words featuring a strong LGBT+ cast, including an asexual lead.
Today, I take back my home. Today, I kill a man and end the reign of a tyrant. The idea makes me tingle. Everything ends today. Either we defeat the Usurper and set the true prince on the throne where he belongs, or we fail and nothing matters anymore.
The sea-warped gate in the bailey opens with a squeal, dusting me in flakes of rust. I cringe, hoping the keening seagulls cover the screech. Salt in the wind mixes with the scent of blood and anticipation as I slip into the narrow space between the inner and outer wall, then signal my team to follow me.
I start at the sound of my name, and curse under my breath. One of my soldiers points past me. Footsteps echo from the stairs ahead.
“Sir,” I correct the man sharply as I draw my sword. “Wait here.”
I slip into the inner bailey and press my back against the wall by the steps. The footsteps grow louder, and my fingers twitch on my hilt. As the figure emerges, I step out and drive my sword into his belly.
Our eyes meet in the gloom and I feel sick. He’s not a soldier, just a runner. He’s also barely more than a boy. His pale hands clutch at his stomach, as if trying to push the blood back. A gurgling cry spills from his lips. I give him mercy and put my sword through his heart. He doesn’t even make a sigh as he falls, eyes now glassy, to the ground.