Home > Devious Lies (Cruel Crown #1)

Devious Lies (Cruel Crown #1)
Author: Parker S_Huntington

Hey, readers!

 

This book started as a continuation of the Spring Fling novella… until I scrapped the entire thing and started from scratch. This was, perhaps, one of my crazier decisions of the year.

 

The deadline loomed ahead. I had no clue how I would start let alone finish this novel… and then it happened. Something clicked. The words didn’t flow out of me. They poured. I couldn’t stop them if I’d tried.

 

One-hundred and forty-five thousand words. I wrote them faster than I’d ever written anything in my life. At one point, I was funneling them to my arsenal of betas and editors and proofers so fast, none of us could keep up. LOL.

 

That’s how much Nash and Emery spoke to me.

 

Usually, I go into a novel knowing exactly the message I want to impart upon my readers. With this one, the idea started vague and spiraled into something else entirely.

 

Fate.

 

I have heard the word so often, understand the definition, and recognize it when I see it. Still, what do I really know?

 

It was daunting to write about two people whose lives come together in so many ways, because I wanted it to be authentic. So, I found myself seeking a different meaning from the word fate—finding it in smaller things than the grand displays people often tout.

 

And each time I asked myself, “Is this fate?”, I would also think, there’s a lesson here somewhere. By the time I wrote The End, I realized it doesn’t matter.

 

In the words of Lemony Snicket:

 

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like.

 

 

Life throws so much at you, but you still control your decisions.

 

Nash and Emery taught me to choose what makes me happy. I hope they show you, too.

 

People will always judge. You can’t control that. Move on to the things you can control.

 

At the end of the day, the only people who matter are the ones who care about you and yourself. Fate doesn’t determine how you treat them and whether you put them first, too. That’s on you.

 

Lastly, I hope you enjoy the book. These two hold a special place in my heart for being my first non-mafia characters.

 

 

With so, so, so much love,


Parker

 

 

In a kingdom far away, two princesses shared a castle. Princess Lily wore white gowns peppered with tulips, spent her time volunteering, and read novels every opportunity she had. Princess Celia dressed in all-black, isolated herself from the kingdom, and blasted screamo music until all her guards refused to protect her.

After a yearlong drought, a witch promised to cure the kingdom if the most evil of the two princesses surrendered herself.

The subjects demanded Princess Celia give herself up to the witch. When she refused, they bound her and delivered her to the witch’s doorsteps.

Yet, the drought remained.

Appalled, the king said, “We have followed your demands, now you will follow ours.”

The witch replied, “You have not delivered the most evil of the princesses.”

You see, Princess Lily harbored a dark secret. The books she read were pirated…

The king delivered Princess Lily to the witch, who cured the kingdom of its drought. And everyone except Princess Lily lived happily ever after.

Moral of the story: Don’t be a Princess Lily.

Note: This eBook is exclusively sold and distributed on Amazon.

 

 

For Chlo, Bau, Rose, and L.

My querencia.

 

 

For wicked princesses who feed themselves with knives instead of silver spoons.

 

 

For my tribe of dragon-slaying warriors: Ava Harrison, Heidi Jones, Heather Pollock, Leigh Shen, Harloe Rae, Brittany Webber, Desireé Ketchum, and Gemma Woolley.

 

Thank you for being appalled when I told you my deadline, then getting your asses in gear and helping me succeed. This book wouldn’t exist without you.

 

 

(noun) the development of events beyond a person’s control, sometimes considered to be determined by a supernatural power

 

 

Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm,” and the warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.”

Unknown

 

 

/ta-‘chen-da/

Things that are not to be spoken about or made public

Things that are best left unsaid

 

 

Tacenda originates from the Latin participle taceo for ‘I am silent’. Taceo is also the verb for ‘I am still or at rest’.

Taceo reminds us silence isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of rest, of certainty, of contentment.

Silence is the best response to people who don’t deserve your words.

 

 

I had a habit of touching things that didn’t belong to me.

The Stepford wives of Eastridge, North Carolina begged to sample the bad boy from the wrong side of town. If I had a dollar for every time a twenty-something trophy wife ran to me after her sixty-something husband went away “on business,” I wouldn’t be in this situation.

Sometimes, when I felt irritated with the gluttony of designer this and that, the ten hours a day I worked to repay grad school loans, and the way Ma owned one pair of worn-down, knock-off New Balances yet still spared a few bucks for the church bucket, I would indulge some Stepfords.

(Hate-fuck was the proper term, but no one had ever accused me of being proper.)

Their step-daughters, practically the same ages as them, came to me wet and willing, looking for something to brag about with their friends.

I indulged them, too, though I enjoyed them less. They sought entertainment, whereas their step-mothers sought escape. One was calculated; the other, wild.

And despite how much I loathed this town and the Midas veneer Eastridgers wore like minx on winter coats, I had never crossed the line of keeping something I’d touched. Until tonight with the ledger I just stole from my parents’ boss, Gideon Winthrop.

Gideon Winthrop: billionaire entrepreneur, the man who pretty much ran Eastridge, and a piece of shit.

Mounted on the silver-flecked marble of Gideon’s mansion, a silver statue of Dionysus rode a tiger sculpted from electrum and gold. The artist had etched the god’s cult of followers into the tiger’s legs, bearing a remarkable resemblance to Eastridge’s cult of wealth.

I had hidden behind the four-legged beast, my hands shoved into my tattered black jeans as I eavesdropped on Gideon Winthrop’s conversation with his business partner, Balthazar Van Doren.

Though they lounged in the mansion’s office, smoking overpriced cigars, Gideon’s voice boomed beyond the open door into the foyer where I leaned against the tiger’s ass. Hiding, because secrets were currency in Eastridge.

I hadn’t planned on spying during my weekly visit to my parents, but Gideon’s wife had the tendency to threaten Ma and Dad with unemployment. It would be nice to have the upper hand for once.

“Too much money is gone.” Gideon sipped his drink. “Winthrop Textiles will collapse. It may not be tomorrow or the next day, but it will happen.”

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