Saint-Seducing Gold

Read an Excerpt From Brittany N. Williams’ Saint-Seducing Gold


We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from young adult fantasy Saint-Seducing Gold, the second book in the Forge & Fracture Saga by Brittany N. Williams—out from Amulet Books on April 23rd.

There’s danger in the court of James I. Magical metal-worker Joan Sands must reforge the Pact between humanity and the Fae to stop the looming war. As violence erupts across London and the murderous spymaster Robert Cecil closes in, the Fae queen Titanea coerces Joan into joining the royal court while holding her godfather prisoner in the infamous Tower of London. Now Joan will have to survive deadly machinations both magical and mortal all while balancing the magnetic pull of her two loves—Rose and Nick—before the world as she knows it is destroyed forever.


Rina Wood didn’t know what possessed her to tell the horrid story to her baby brother tonight. Sure, Luke had ripped the head from her favorite doll, but the look of abject terror that had come over his face when she’d said Old Rawhead was coming to eat him for being naughty didn’t fill her with the satisfaction she’d hoped for.

The matron had let them keep only one thing from their old lives when she’d taken them into her care two months ago. Rina had chosen the doll their mum had made her from scraps of her old clothes. It was imperfectly shaped but made with so much love Rina swore she could feel her mum’s spirit when she held it close. But now it was ruined, head torn away and straw filling leaking out.

She had every right to be furious… and yet…

Rina could hear Luke’s sniffling and feel his little body shaking beside her in their bed. Her heart sank as he whimpered then fell into more muffled sobs.

She sighed. Her brother was only five; he couldn’t help but play recklessly. He didn’t know any better. She rolled over, careful not to pull the covers off him in the chilly room, and gathered him up in her arms.

“I’m sorry, Luke,” she said, rubbing a hand along his back. “Nothing’s coming to get you. I was just mad about my doll.”

He nuzzled against her, tears soaking the front of her nightshirt. “I’m sorry. I’ll learn to sew so I can fix it.”

“We can fix it together.” She hugged him tighter, happy that they at least had each other even if their parents were gone.

The door to their room swung open suddenly, and the matron rushed in before slamming it shut behind her. She leaned back against it as she peered into the darkness of the room, her eyes wide and face white as her shift.

Rina sat up, keeping her hold on Luke. “Mistress Gregg, what—”

Mistress Gregg shook her head back and forth as she lifted a trembling finger to her lips. Rina went silent, squeezing Luke and shushing him urgently.

SCREEEE.

Something scratched along the length of the door, and Rina saw the matron’s whole body tense.

SCREEEE. SCREEEE. SCREEE.

The sound grew louder and louder. The matron shook violently, hands clamped over her mouth as tears sprang into her eyes.

SCREEEE. SCREEEE. SCREEE.

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Saint-Seducing Gold
Saint-Seducing Gold

Saint-Seducing Gold

Brittany N. Williams

Rina ripped the blanket off her and Luke and dragged him out of the bed.

SCREEEE. SCREEEE. SCREEE.

She pulled him down beside her, crouching in the darkest corner she could find.

SCREEEE. SCREEEE. SCREEE.

The wooden door was starting to creak and groan under the loud scratches. Rina knew it wouldn’t hold much longer. They’d need to be quick.

SCREEEEEEEEEEE. SCREEEEEEEEE. SCREEEEEEEE.

She shifted her brother onto her back, felt his tiny arms lock around her neck as she raised herself into a crouch.

BOOM!

The door tore off its hinges and slammed into the hallway wall. The matron turned, a horrified moan escaping her as something dove forward and dragged her to the ground. Rina leapt up, racing for the dooway as the matron screamed. The wet sounds of chewing and rending meat echoed in the darkness, but Rina just focused on running. As she sprinted along the hallway, she noticed every door was open, every room silent. Dark splatters of some liquid covered the walls and floor.

The matron always despaired that she’d never have quiet with so many children living under her roof. Rina didn’t care to find out what horror had granted the woman’s wish. She hurried down the stairs, her grip on Luke so tight she was sure she’d leave bruises.

It didn’t matter, as long as she got them out.

She spotted the front door as something with too many legs thudded along the floor above and behind them. Moving fast.

The heavy locks that bolted them in safely every night now seemed to assure their death as the thing thumped along the stairs.

They didn’t have time.

“Don’t let go, Luke,” Rina hissed. She grabbed the matron’s favorite quilt from her special embroidering chair and swung it over both their heads. Then she threw herself through the front window.

The glass shattered around them, jagged shards scratching her arms and legs, cutting her feet as she stumbled out onto the street. She flinched as one large piece stabbed into her bare sole. She limped forward a few more steps before turning, just as something raised itself up in the broken window. Two piercing golden eyes, slitted like a cat’s, peered out at her from a long, humanlike face so deep a green it could’ve been black. Six long limbs stuck out from either side of its body, each ending in a hand bearing long claws. It tilted its head to the side and revealed a mouth full of two rows of razor-sharp teeth.

Rina felt her heart drop. There was no escape now. Not with the thing so close. She prayed Luke would know enough to run while the beast devoured her. If he lived, she’d die happily.

The creature tensed, its long body preparing to leap.

“What’s going on here?” someone shouted as the light of several lanterns and torches flowed out from the other houses along the street.

The creature hissed and skittered back into the darkness of the orphanage as someone pulled Rina toward them. She cried out as she put weight on her injured foot.

A woman crouched down in front of Rina, her face alarmed but gentle and blessedly ordinary. “What happened, child?”

“Something’s wrong,” the same voice from before called. “Bring the light over here.”

Several men holding lanterns and torches and one brandishing what looked to be a sturdy cooking pan ran past Rina and the woman and into the silent building.

The woman ignored the commotion and focused on Rina, slowly pulled the blanket away. Rina heard Luke whimper as he was uncovered. She tightened her grip on him once more and felt him do the same. She was about to say something when one of the men returned, his face pale as the matron’s had been.

“Kate, get the children inside,” he said firmly, only a slight tremble shaking his voice.

Kate frowned at him. “What’s happening?”

“Get the children inside. Now.”

Something in his tone made the woman, Kate’s, eyes widen before she nodded and guided Rina and Luke away. Rina whimpered again as she put weight on her foot and the woman looked back at the man helplessly. His gaze softened and he strode forward, lifting both Rina and Luke easily. Kate kept pace with him as he walked toward another house, several of its windows illuminated with warm light.

“Simon,” Kate whispered, “what’s going on?”

Rina felt Simon’s grip on her tighten slightly, protectively, and felt a rush of relief flow through her.

He shuddered. “Nothing of God, Kate. Nothing of God.”

As she looked to the orphanage they left behind, she spotted a pair of golden eyes gazing out of the upper window.

And Rina was sure she’d never felt so cold in her entire life.

Excerpted from Saint-Seducing Gold, copyright © 2024 by Brittany N. Williams.



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