USA Today Bestselling Author
I’ve spent my entire life being passed over by the Shifter Queen. Which wouldn’t be a big deal, except she’s my mother.
Now she’s finally let me come to the foremost academy for big cat shifters, Sabre Woods, I’m hoping to find some independence. If only I wasn’t plagued by my rival for the title of Shifter Heir.
All I need to do is get through the first few weeks without accidentally challenging someone to the Shifter Trials. That should be easy…right?
Tiger Crown is book one of the Sabre Woods Academy series. It is a paranormal academy with shifters and a slow burn m/f romance.
Kayra Herrity is finally attending Sabre Woods Academy. She’s the Shifter Queen’s daughter and up until her mother refused permission. Kayra isn’t sure why her mother changed her mind but she’s very glad to finally have the opportunity to learn at the prestigious Academy. In spite of being an only child, Kayra hasn’t been named heir. The leadership of the shifters is not a hereditary post and the reigning monarch can choose someone outside the family as heir.
It’s while she’s waiting for orientation to begin that she’s joined by Demi. Demi recognizes her and senses the two of them could be good friends. Then Serena enters the room, her mother’s favorite ladies maid’s daughter and rumored choice for heir. While Kayra really isn’t sure she wants the job, she doesn’t want Serena to have it either. Before reaching that decision she has to manage to get an education without initiating the Shifter Trials.
Physical Education hadn’t been high on Kayra’s to do list and as a result she had no experience with archery, the first of her PE classes. At least she hasn’t had to shift, her mother always disliked when she shifted because her fur is white as opposed to the more prominent orange. As she’s struggling to figure out the gear, she’s approached by a male tiger student.
This is a favorite scene.
I’m going to remind myself that at least I know what one is. Some people in my situation wouldn’t, but I’ve read enough books to be certain of that much.
“All right, class,” a middle-aged woman with her hair in a bun and a no-nonsense outfit which makes her look like all of the stereotypical PE teachers in TV shows. “First, let’s see what we’re working with. Even if you’ve never fired a bow before, I want to see how far you get with gearing up. After that, we’ll split into groups.”
I grimace. That’s not a good sign. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to get everything on right, never mind get as far as firing. Which is probably for the best given my lack of talent.
The three lions in class bounce off in the direction of the lists first, leaving the rest of us to trail behind. A couple of the others appear to be as frustrated as I am about the situation, except for a handsome dark-haired boy who saunters along with the natural grace we’re all born with.
Something about him is vaguely familiar, but I can’t place why.
Equipment lies out on a long table through the middle of the small armoury, with enough bows and quivers hanging on the walls for each of us. I hang back for a moment. If I watch what the others do, then I may be able to get far enough through this that I don’t make a complete fool of myself in the process.
There seem to be a few guard pieces, particularly for my arms and fingers. That makes sense when there are weapons involved, and they seem easy enough to get on.
Frustration wells up within me as others disappear to take a shot at the targets. How am I supposed to copy what they’re doing if they’re so far ahead of me?
I take a deep breath, but it’s not enough to completely steady my nerves. I shouldn’t be surprised. My anxiousness is something I carry around with myself every day. It won’t go away for something like this. In fact, it normally gets worse when I have to perform in front of people.
Why did I think coming here was a good idea? I’m already out of my depth and I’m not even a week in.
“You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?” a male voice asks.
I jump and turn to face the handsome guy I saw outside. He’s my age as far as I can tell, but he’s got the confidence of someone who has left the gangly awkward stage of growing behind him.
If I was into dating for fun, I think he’d be my type. But I’ve never felt the need to. My fated mate is out there, and I don’t want to waste time with someone who isn’t my one true match.
It crosses my mind that he may not even be flirting with me anyway, but I push the thought aside. That’s probably nerves getting to me and not an accurate representation of what’s happening here.
“Is it that obvious?” I ask, realising I’ve probably waited too long before responding.
“You have this on backwards.” He reaches out and touches my armguard. “And on the wrong hand.”
“I could be left-handed,” I mutter.
“But you’re not.”
I sigh. “I’ve never done anything like this,” I admit. It feels risky to do so, but he’s not mocking me and seems interested in helping me fix it.
“I can help, if you want?” He shrugs as if it’s of little importance.
“I’d appreciate that.” I’m not going to turn down help just because I’m worried that I’m imposing on someone if I accept it.
“Thank you. I’m Kayra.” I should have introduced myself first.
A curious expression crosses his face, as if he’s already aware of who I am. That shouldn’t surprise me. Almost everyone at Sabre Woods knows of me. But this seems different.
“Magnus,” he responds. “May I?” He indicates back to the armguard.
He reaches out and unbuckles it, pulling it from my arm slowly. My breathing hitches as his fingers brush against my skin. Why does this suddenly feel like an oddly intimate situation?
Despite that, I still don’t feel any kind of mating pull towards him, so I need to shut this down and make it clear we can never be anything more than friends. It might be hard.
A commotion sounds from the door to the armoury and one of the lionesses stumbles back in.
“Aww, the poor little Shifter Princess is struggling,” she spits as soon as she sees me.
I bite my lip, wanting to correct her on my position in society, but I don’t. I’m too worried about her starting a fight that I’m sure she’ll win.
I hate being like this, but no matter how many times I try to change things, it never seems to actually happen. I just have to face the fact that I’m going to go through the rest of my life like this.
“Are you good at everything Mikela?” Magnus retorts.
The lioness blushes. Apparently she didn’t expect to be called out on her cruelty.
“I suggest you go back outside,” Magnus says.
She opens her mouth as if to argue, but chooses better of it and disappears to join the others.
He raises an eyebrow. “You’re not going to tell me you could have dealt with it yourself?”
“Did it look like that was an option?”
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t have thought many people would like it if someone speaks for them.”
I shrug. “I’m new here, I don’t know who I need to watch out for and who I don’t,” I point out.
“Ah, that’s true. The lions are mostly all talk and nothing else. You don’t have to worry about them so long as you can avoid taking a vicious insult to heart.”
I grimace. “I’m not great at that.”
“Then stay away from them.”
“Thanks. Anything else I should know?”
“Not that you can’t guess. Avoid daring any of the cheetahs to do anything, they won’t even question whether it’s a good idea or not before doing it.”
“Isn’t that a bit of a generalisation? I doubt all cheetahs are the same.”
“They’re not,” he assures me. “But most of them here are. I think they egg one another on a lot so they all tend to stick to the same kind of faults.”
“Let’s guess, that logic also applies to the lions?”
“To everyone,” he counters. “We’ll all grow out of it once we leave here, but for now we just have to live with it.”
I sigh dramatically. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”
He chuckles. “Peer pressure is alive and well. Now, are you ready to show me what you’re working with in terms of firing the bow?”
I grimace. “You’re not going to like it.”
“I’ll be fine so long as you don’t shoot me in the foot or something.”
“But the stomach would be okay?”
He lets out a loud and genuine laugh. “How about we start off with not shooting me anywhere?”
“If you’re willing to help me, getting shot is just one of the risks you’re going to have to take.”
He shakes his head in bemusement. “I do like a challenge.”
Greenwood, Laura. Tiger Crown (Sabre Woods Academy Book 1). Kindle Locations (159-212). Drowlgon Press. Kindle Edition.
Marcus becomes another friend Kayra can depend on like Demi. Demi also gifts Kayra with a wishing bracelet, it’s when she’s putting it on that she realizes she truly does want to be the heir. She really wants to make a difference for the shifters of the world. She also finds some of her teachers are more in favor of her than Serena which is refreshing.
Before an assembly Serena approaches her with taunts and then twists Kayra’s words to make it appear as a Shifter Trial challenge.
There’s plenty of underhanded sneaky stuff with Serena, friendships and a possible romance as this book progresses.
This is a fun read with an interesting ending. I am already reading the next book to see what happens next.
5 Contented Purrs for Laura!
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Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, trying to resist French Macaroons, and watching the Pitch Perfect trilogy for the hundredth time (at least!)