USA Today Bestselling Author
The Shifter Court is a mess, and there’s only one way I can fix it.
The more time passes, the more obvious it becomes that I need to take the throne and become the Shifter Queen, even if it means unseating my mother.
But with Magnus and my friends by my side, it might be possible.
I hope it isn’t too late to make a difference to the shifters the crown has failed.
At the end of the last book Kayla realizes she has to get her mother out of the position of Queen. The problem is she has no idea how to do it. First she’s going to need support. She does have that from Magnus, Demi and Jeremy but she needs a larger support group if she’s going to pull this off.
Richard Forrest is her best bet, but she has to convince him. Magnus accompanies her to this very important meeting.
This is a favorite scene.
“What I want to discuss with you can’t leave this room,” I say with as much authority as I can muster. Which isn’t much. It’s hard to feel like I’m an authority when I’m sitting across from a distinguished businessman. Unlike some of Mother’s advisers, I don’t feel like I’m better than him just because I was born as a tiger and not something else. I had no choice in that, and neither did he. It’s not possible for me to be superior because of it.
“You have my interest,” Forrest admits.
It isn’t new information. He wouldn’t have given me the appointment if he didn’t think I had something worthwhile to say, “I believe the two of us share a cause.”
“You’re the Shifter Heir.”
“I hardly think you’re going to share a cause with someone campaigning to abolish the institution you’re a part of,” he points out, voicing what I’ve already been considering as part of the problem.
He isn’t wrong about it.
“Just because we don’t agree on the method, doesn’t mean we can’t agree on the desired outcome. You want equality and a place where all shifters can have their say in the way our community is run. I want that too.”
“But?” he prompts.
“I don’t think abolishing the monarchy is the way to do it.”
He leans back in his chair and presses his fingers together. “I see.”
I press my nails into the palm of my hand in an attempt to centre myself. He may not be sounding very convinced right now, but that’s because I’m barely getting started.
“I know that it may seem contrary to what you want, but I think we can make it work. By keeping the monarchy, it’ll ensure that there isn’t too much change at once and we’ll be able to roll things out in the most successful way possible, ensuring we reach as many shifters as possible and change things quickly.”
“I can see some advantages in doing it that way,” he admits slowly. “But a lot of my support has been gained from such a drastic stance.”
“I understand that. But presumably, most of the shifters have specific problems with the monarchy, rather than a dislike of the association as a whole?”
“I believe that’s the case,” Forrest agrees. “But without talking to them, it would be impossible to be sure.”
“Which is why I’d want you to do just that. If I have a clear list of the concerns that face the shifter population, especially those who aren’t part of the unofficial elite, then I can figure out a plan of action to deal with them. It will take time, and we’ll have to prioritise, which is where you’d come in by guiding me towards the most important issues.”
“Hmm. It’s tempting,” Forrest admits. “But I can see several issues.”
“The Queen being one of them?” I guess.
He raises an eyebrow, probably not having expected me to say something that implies Mother isn’t doing a good job as the current ruler of the shifters.
He clearly doesn’t know her very well if he thinks that.
“If I may be blunt, she isn’t going to approve any of the changes we propose.”
“No, she won’t.”
His surprise is even more visible this time. I suppose I can understand that. I’m not just saying these things as the Shifter Heir, but as the daughter of the current Shifter Queen.
“That’s the other thing I need from you and your movement,” I start. “I need you to support me in deposing the Queen.”
Silence falls between us as my words sink in.
“You want to remove her from her position?”
“As you said yourself, she isn’t going to approve any of the changes you want. Nor is she going to approve anything I suggest.” And if she’s to be believed, she’s going to do everything possible in order to remove me from the little power I do have. Part of what I’m planning is self-preservation, but that’s not something I’m going to tell Richard Forrest.
“I don’t doubt that. She’s not a fan of me already.”
“Didn’t she give you a title?” Magnus asks, speaking for the first time since the conversation started.
Forrest chuckles. “I don’t think I’d be out of line to say that I think my title was given to me as a bribe.”
“You’d be exactly right,” I mutter. “I was in the meeting where they arranged it. I did try to stop it…”
Forrest raises an eyebrow. “That’s an interesting thing for you to admit to.”
“Your receptionist referred to you as Mr Forrest, and you don’t seem particularly enamoured with your new position. I think it’s safe to admit the truth about the situation.”
“Astute observations,” he responds. “I don’t see any advantage of using the title, so haven’t adapted it in my work life. It costs more to replace all of the business cards and listings than is worth it.”
I nod, completely understanding where he’s coming from. I’d be annoyed at something that ended up costing me instead of actually being an advantage.
Forrest leans back in his chair and studies me, an interesting expression on his face, almost as if he’s impressed by me. “So, how do you plan on removing the Queen?”
“That part of the plan is none of your concern.” Mostly because I haven’t come up with it yet, but that isn’t something he needs to know.
“What do you need from me, then? I can’t imagine you’d reveal what you’re planning without good reason.”
I take a deep breath. “I need to know that you’ll support my bid for Queen once the situation is dealt with.”
“Interesting. And in exchange, you’ll allow me and my faction to have an input into policy?”
“Mmhmm.” He nods, but I can’t tell whether or not he’s going to agree to help me or not. “How can I know you’re going to hold up your end of the deal?”
Perhaps I should have suggested he recorded this meeting after all. But it would be dangerous to have all of our voices on tape, even if I don’t want to fully admit it.
“We can make a verbal agreement,” I suggest, but even as I say the words, I realise they don’t quite cut it.
From Forrest’s face, he doesn’t think so either.
This is going to be a problem if we’re not careful. I need Forrest on my side if I’m going to make this work, none of the advisers are going to support me over Mother as it stands, not when she’s the one who gave them power in the first place. And why would they trust an eighteen-year-old who has only been in politics for a few months over the person who has been in power for most of their life? If I was in their position, I’d be the same.
“What if there was a contract?” Magnus suggests. “Between the two of you and outlining the details of your agreement.”
I nod, despite my reservations. It’s dangerous to put that much information onto paper, but I suspect this is going to be the only way Forrest will agree. It’ll be easy enough to tell people that my signature is forged if it’s discovered before everything happens. And I have no intention intention of going back on my end of the deal when I’m in a position to uphold it otherwise.
“That could be arranged,” Forrest says. “But I would need time to put feelers out to see how the people relying on me are going to respond to this. I’ll be in touch when I’ve had the necessary conversations.”
“Thank you.” I rise to my feet, sensing the meeting is over. I suspect we’ve gotten as much out of this as we’re able to.
But that’s fine. We got what we came for. I didn’t expect Forrest to suddenly start giving me everything I want straight away. Just the fact he’s thinking about it is good enough for now.
Greenwood, Laura. Tiger Queen (Sabre Woods Academy Book 3). Kindle Locations (325-387). Drowlgon Press. Kindle Edition.
While that’s fine and dandy, Kayla still needs a valid reason to dispose of her mother. That reason comes in a very interesting way at a formal banquet.
Serena, her mother’s favorite, isn’t happy with the queen’s latest request of her. Now Kayla has to figure out if it’s enough to turn her.
A short satisfying read, with intrigue and romance.
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!)