{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
WillowDeane would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

First at Last

By WillowDeane All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Blurb

Erika Lovet is used to being in the background, always in her sister's shadow. Since she was a child, her parents have always doted on Alice, have always wanted the best for her, while Erika, the other child, is always thought of second, but still expected to be like her sister. So, it's a surprise to everyone when the dashing Prince asks for Erika, and not her sister. Who knew that the only person to notice Erika first, just happens to be the one that every other girl in the land desires?

Chapter One

The maidservant, Agnes, yanked on the laces of my bodice, as if they could get any tighter. I was already light headed from lack of oxygen and I’d only been wearing the cursed thing for minutes.
“It’s too tight,” I said breathlessly, attempting to loosen the laces.
Mother slapped my hands away. “It can never be too tight, dear. Just suck in your stomach a little more.” She said.
I glared at her back as she paced around my room, waiting for me to finish getting ready. She paused and narrowed her eyes at me, before continuing to pace.
Agnes finished brushing out my hair and pinned it back, so that it cascaded down my back in long, dark curls. She stepped back to admire her work. She nodded once and then beamed at me. “You look beautiful, miss.”
“Thank you, Agnes,” I replied uncertainly, turning to face the mirror. I did look beautiful, I thought. The gown was a deep crimson color; it was a sleeveless gown with hand-draped tulle and a patterned tulle skirt, with embellished lace and ruffles.
I loved the dress, and wanted to twirl in it, but I would do no such thing in front of my mother. I turned to her, expecting some grand reaction for the lovely dress. “What do you think?”
Mother narrowed her eyes at the dress. “It will do.” she said stiffly, before turning and heading out the door.
My shoulders drooped a little at this, and I loosed a long breath, trying not to seem all that disappointed by her terse reply.
Agnes’s arm slipped around my shoulders in a hug. “Every woman will want to be you and every man will have their eyes on you tonight.” She whispered reassuringly.
I gave her a small smile, before slipping my feet into the red satin slippers, grabbing my book, and walking out to the carriage. Our coachman, Walter, held out his hand for me and helped me into the carriage.
Alice was already waiting inside the carriage, her back rigid, her hands folded in front of her. She wore a beautiful gold gown that accentuated her breasts, I’m sure Mother intended for that. She did not even glance at me as I slid onto the bench across from her.
Mother sat next to her on the carriage bench, her eyes narrowed at me in scrutiny.
I sat next to the window, opposite my mother and sister, and opened my book.
“You’re going to read on the way to the palace?” My sister wrinkled her nose in disgust.
“Yes,” I said, looking down at the book in my hands.
“Put it away, Erika.” Mother said to me. “A woman like you should not be reading. You should be looking for a husband. You can’t do that with your nose in a book.”
Reluctantly, I shut the book, and did not argue.
We arrived at the palace, along with the steady flow of carriages. Walter helped my mother, my sister, and me out of the carriage and then drove off. A footman at the palace door announced our arrival and we walked into the grand palace, and walked down the long hallway to the ballroom.
The music, played by musicians in the corner of the room, was loud as we entered. The room was large, and decorated extravagantly. Couples danced in the center of the room, stewards carried trays of different food and drink for the people. On one side there was a raised dais, where King Henry and his wife, Queen Alexia, sat on their thrones, watching the festivities.
“Where is Father?” I asked.
“He had a meeting with some dignitaries. He’ll be along soon.” Mother replied before walking off, Alice following behind.
Left alone, I went and found a chair in the corner of the room, where I sat and began reading my book. I lost track of time as I got engrossed in the plot, the characters, the book itself. Over the years, I’d found books to be very reliable. In my chaotic, ever-changing life, books were the only constant, and I was grateful for that.
I loved that I could often relate to the protagonist, that I could get absorbed in the plot. I could go anywhere, do anything, and I never had to leave my bedroom.
“You’re reading at the king’s ball?” I heard from my left.
I started, slamming my book shut, and looked up to see who had interrupted me. I found a man that looked to be close to my age, maybe a year older, with dark hair and vivid blue eyes watching me. He was wearing a black doublet with gold edging and black trousers. I thought he was rather attractive, and immediately felt my cheeks heat up.
I opened my mouth and then closed it, not quite sure what to say. “Yes,” I finally managed. “I find these sort of events rather . . . dull.”
He raised an eyebrow at me. “Dull? Well, I suppose it’s a matter of opinion. I think you just need to be shown that it can be enjoyable.” He smiled, flashing perfect, white teeth. “What is your name?”
“Erika Lovet of Locksley.” I said slowly.
“Well, Miss Lovet, would you be so kind as to honor me with a dance?” He asked, holding out his hand.
I felt my cheeks burning scarlet and I looked down at my hands nervously. “I’m not a very good dancer.” I said softly.
“I’m sure you’re an excellent dancer.” He replied.
I took his hand hesitantly and set my book down. He led me to the center of the room, where others were dancing to the music.
“I apologize, in advance, for whatever injuries I may cause you during the dance, or for just not being a good dancer.” I said.
He rolled his eyes, smiling. “I bet you’re better than you’re letting on, Miss Lovet.”
He bowed and I curtsied to him and then he wrapped an arm around my waist, taking my hand with his free one, and led me around the room as we danced.
I could feel eyes on my back as I danced with this man, whom I still didn’t know the name of. He was a very good dancer, confident, where as I stumbled occasionally or made a wrong step and ended up apologizing (this happened several times). I was grateful when he didn’t point out my flaws or laugh at me for not being as awful at dancing as I had warned him I would be. Every time I made a slight misstep or a clumsy mistake, I thought of Alice, knowing she would never make such mistakes while dancing.
When the song finally came to an end, he escorted me off to the side of the room and bowed again, and I curtsied.
“Oh my, why was he dancing with her? She has two left feet!” A woman off to the side said, not even bothering to keep her voice down. The girls next to her tittered at the comment.
I looked down at my feet, feeling completely embarrassed. They weren’t wrong.
“Ignore them. I’m sure you’ve noticed that women at court are rather . . .” He paused as if searching for the right word, “petty.”
“I’m sorry, again, for being so clumsy.” I said, my cheeks burning.
He laughed softly. “You were not as bad as you claimed to be. I was a little worried when you apologized for ‘injuries’ I may receive during the dance. You did not cause me any, so you are a better dancer than you give yourself credit for.”
I smiled timidly. “My sister is a much better dancer than I am. She wouldn’t have stepped on your foot once.”
“Oh? Well that’s quite boring.” He remarked amiably.
I laughed. “I’m sorry, what is your name?”
He looked surprised by my question, but I couldn’t imagine why. “William.” He said after a moment.
“Surely you have a title, William?” I inquired.
“I do. But I am not going to tell you what it is.” His sapphire eyes gleamed mysteriously in the lamplight.
“Why not?” I asked, crossing my arms.
He leaned in really closely, right next to my ear, and whispered conspiratorially, “Because it’s a secret.”
I laughed at this and I opened my mouth to respond, but was cut off abruptly by my mother.
“Erika!” Mother snapped, and I turned to find her walking toward me, looking angry, for some unknown reason.
She stopped before us and turned to William. She curtsied to him. “Your Highness,” she said, bowing her head respectfully, before straightening and turning back to me.
“What are you doing?” She asked harshly.
“I was just talking with William, and--” She didn’t let me finish.
Her face looked as red as my gown. “William! You do not get to address him so casually! What were you thinking?” She turned to William and curtsied again. “I’m terribly sorry for my daughter’s ignorance. She means nothing by it.”
“No, no, it’s quite alright.” He said slowly, turning to me.
“Are you sure, Your Highness?” My mother began haltingly. “If she’s bothering you--”
“She isn’t.” He said patiently. “But I do thank you for your concern. If you’ll excuse us . . .” He waited for my mother to take the hint.
Her nostrils flared as she glared at me and then she turned on her heel and marched away.
I looked up at William, speechless. “So . . . you’re . . .”
“Yes, I’m Prince William.” He said, ducking his head and looking uncomfortable.
And suddenly, I was horrified. I told him his father’s party was dull, he caught me reading and knew I didn’t want to be here, I stepped on his foot and practically tripped him while dancing . . . I shuddered at all the things I’d done wrong, and we hadn’t even been here an hour.
I felt like crying. “I am so terribly sorry. I didn’t realize you were him. I’ve been so disrespectful and rude.”
He laughed and shook his head, looking embarrassed. “I really didn’t mind. I didn’t tell you because you would have acted differently. I think you’re charming.” He smiled.
I laughed nervously, unsure of what to say.
“I must say, I was a little surprised when you didn’t know who I was. Most people would have recognized me.”
“My mother often tells me I’m unobservant. I’m beginning to understand why.”
He laughed. “Can I see you again, Erika?” He asked, his beautiful smile making my heart melt a little.
I hesitated. I knew my sister had plans for marrying him. Father and King Henry were very close. I didn’t want to ruin those plans. But I couldn’t just say no to the Crown Prince of Belhaven.
“Of course.” I said, my heart pounding so loud I was surprised he couldn’t hear it.
“How about tomorrow?”
“Alright. I will meet you tomorrow, when the third monastery bell has rung.”
“Meet me outside the palace gates.”
I nodded and curtsied. “Goodnight, Your Highness.”
“Goodnight, Erika of Locksley.” He said, bowing, before he turned and disappeared into the throng of people.
I leaned against the wall, watching couples dance, and couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face, or the queasiness I felt in the pit of my stomach. Though I was in a much better mood the rest of the night.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, WillowDeane
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Marimar Amieva: I just can't believe the story! I absolutely loved it, all of it. The characters and their chemistry between them, and the fact that they are relatable. The story also has some sick plot twists, which I never saw coming. I loved the fact that it is an adorable love story but has its mystery touc...

Samantha Speed: There were several punctuation, grammar, and missing word problems but it did not detract from the story. This story was very well done, enjoyable, and had an interesting enough plot. It took a while to finish. This story is not complete. I love it, but I want to see another book or have more cha...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

littlebunnypoopoos: Omg this was so amazing! The ending was a little bad and predictable. But otherwise, I need a second book or I'll die :D The character development was excellent and the whole romance, action, and suspense was superb

maewilde25: I liked this, though it dragged on for over 200pages and heaven knows I did not expect the plot twist in the middle. David being Cristiãn. I was wondering when he would show up and didn't know he was there all along. it looks like there should be a sequel, please let there be a sequel. I know the...

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

Shreya Biswas: Finally god...... I was tired of Charissa doubting Frederick's love... yes.. All's well that ends well.... i was getting really downright agitated at the author because the suspense was held really well on how things will work out in the epilogue and i just wanted them to have a happy ending.. An...

More Recommendations

rihannabkj2: Great story,I can hardly stop reading this novel. it shows that compassion and love can still exist after so many years between two persons. I most say well done to the Author who wrote this book. Others should read this book inorder to know that there can still be LOVE among two persons no matt...

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.