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Sasharia En Garde

Nobody messes with Mom!

Sasharia En Garde

Author Name:

Release Date : August 18, 2015

ISBN Number : 978-1-61138-546-5


Kindle Reader = Mobi
Others = Epub


First published as two books — Once a Princess, and Twice a Prince — this romantic fantasy has been revised and published as one book. It is set in the same world as Crown Duel, to which Sasha’s mother, Sun, was once swept away by a real prince.

But not to happily ever after. Her prince vanished, and a wicked king took the throne. Since then, Sasha and Sun have been hiding on Earth, both training in martial arts until Sasha is tricked into going back to Khanerenth.

She’s more than ready to kick some bad-guy butt, but is the stylish pirate Zathdar the bad guy? Or artistic, dreamy Prince Jehan, son of the wicked king?

Meanwhile Sun is determined to cross worlds to save her daughter. She might not have been a very good princess, but nobody messes with Mom!



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Chapter One

The rap, rap, rap at the front door beat a counter-rhythm to the rapping in my skull.

I sighed, and sat up. Remembered that I didn’t have anything on as the typical January Los Angeles heat wave had given us a ninety-degree morning.

Rap-rap-RAP! They weren’t going to go away.

I pulled my bedspread around me, and my hair swung down over it like a neo-pre-Raphaelite cloak as I lurched out of my bedroom, kicking aside a train of gold silk fringe at each step.

Mentally preparing some sizzling remarks, I yanked open the front door. Instead of somebody begging money for some cult or a door-to-door sales scammer, a pair of older men faced me expectantly, one short and stocky, one tall and lean.

Not American men, oh no. Their clothes didn’t fit them right, they didn’t stand with the slump-shouldered bend I was used to in L.A. guys, and their eyes were pinkish at the rims in reaction to the smog. I knew that because once, years ago, I had come from pure, clean air to the smog-clogged heat of Los Angeles, though that had not been the sole reason my eyes had been red.

“What,” I snapped, my head pounding too hard for thought, or I would have slammed the door at once. Instead I almost lost my grip on the brocade coverlet, and then had to bat my long, frizzy locks of hair behind me.

Both of them stared at the coverlet. The one’s eyes widened, and the other’s jaw slackened. They were not staring at me in it, they were looking at the pattern of firebirds chasing up and down intertwined vines with little white flowers—queensblossom, it was called.

And it doesn’t grow anywhere on Earth.

One of the men exclaimed, “Sasharia Zhavalieshin?”

I hadn’t heard my real name for many years. “Wrong house.” I winced against the headache.

“You have a look of your father,” the other man promptly replied in a very strong accent—one I had worked hard to get rid of all those years ago.

Again an exchange of glances, and one of them said, with a furtive air, “We come with an offer.”

“A fabulous offer.” The other peeked furtively left and right as though spies lurked in the palm trees and parked cars. “One might say, of magical proportion . . .”

“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” I cut in. “So you’re trying to tell me that there’s tremendous treasure waiting for me?”

Both heads nodded.

“If I take up a cause, one that includes deep magic?”

Vehement nodding.

“And perhaps an ancient castle full of sinister secrets?”


“And all for truth, justice and honor?”

“Yes, yes!”

My anxiety flared into anger.

“Oh no you don’t,” I snarled. “I’ve been there, done that, and they don’t even give you T-shirts.”



“Let me make it plain. N-O, which in English—the language you are using now—means no mystery offers, no fantastic treasure, no magic and especially no causes. They hurt too much!”

And then I slammed the door.

That is, I tried. One put his foot out, and the door thumped into it. He gave a muffled “Ooof,” his eyes watering, and the tall gray one glanced back over his shoulder yet again. Still no one there, if you didn’t count the string of tightly parked cars belonging to the other tenants of the apartment buildings on my street, and their roommates, boyfriends, girlfriends, and whoever else could crowd in.

He turned back to me. “We must discuss your father. May we enter?” Now he didn’t even speak English.

And though I hadn’t heard that language since I was a child, I understood it. Its cadences, the clear, almost singsong vowels after the flat affect of American English evoked so powerful a memory I froze. My throat hurt. “Is he dead? Just tell me. Yes or no.”

“Please.” The tall one held out his hands. “We must discuss your—your inheritance.”

My heart gave one of those knocks against the ribs that echoes through body and soul with fear confirmed. With the pain of regret.

The younger one said quickly, “That is, we do not know for certain that he is dead, and that is why we—”

So they don’t know, either. I pointed past their shoulders. “Whoa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace!”

As they hadn’t read Bored of the Rings, they peered skyward, shifting their weight as they did so.

This time I got the door to slam.

They pounded, of course, and I half expected them to blast it inward with magic—then realized that if they could have, they already would have. Magic, so untrustworthy on Earth, was on the ebb. They probably had just enough access to whatever magical energy was floating over L.A. to return through the World Gate.

So I hotfooted back to my room and slammed that door, too.

I flung myself onto my bed, which sloshed and undulated, but even pulling the pillow over my head didn’t shut out the fact that at last, at last, after all these years, what my mother had warned me about had come true.

They’d found me. Had they found Mom?

“Argh,” I croaked, my aching, sleep-deprived brain finally catching up, and I sat up again, so sharply my head swam in a different direction than the water bed undulated. “Oooogh.” My insides lurched along with the sloshing water.

But I ignored that, too, and reached for my cell phone, which I’d turned off before work the night before, and hadn’t turned back on as my shift had ended at 3:30 a.m. I saw about a hundred calls from Mom. Uh-oh.

She answered on the first ring. “Darling?”


“Sash! Oh babe, I am so relieved,” she exclaimed, as if a month hadn’t gone by between our last fight and now. But then it was always that way. After we cooled off we were too glad to hear the other’s voice to continue whatever fight had sent me stomping off—Mom’s words usually echoing behind me, You’re too much like your father: stubborn, dream-driven, won’t compromise—


“Sasha.” I could hear her breathe. “They found me.”

“You too?”

“You—you too?” she said, her voice too high with anxiety for either of us to laugh at the echo.

“Two old guys. Something about Dad and an inheritance. I slammed the door in their faces. Mom, he isn’t, like, dead, is he? They wouldn’t tell me. Or is it the Merindars, and some sort of trick?”

She heaved a shuddering sigh. “I don’t know, chiquita. The one I got was young, and he isn’t any Merindar, unless Canary has mellowed in his old age. If he’s aged.”

Canary was our private name for Canardan Merindar, usurper to the throne of Khanerenth, on the world Sartorias-deles. It had once been a funny name, meant to ease my fears while we were on the run, back before we’d lost everything but one another.

Mom said urgently, “Look, I don’t want to get into this stuff on the phone. It’s way too heavy-duty, and I don’t know what they can or can’t do with magic and phones. Meet me . . . at the old place. Okay?”

“Why not at your house? You’ve got those security guards and everything—”

“And they got past. Roger’s in the middle of getting our tickets, and we are gonna beat feet. But first I needed to talk to you.” Her voice roughened, and I knew she’d been worried sick.

Filled with remorse, I nodded, remembered she couldn’t see me, and said, “Give me five.”

In about a minute and a half, I’d dressed, grabbed my travel bag, and jetted out the door.

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