Read an exclusive excerpt before Squire Hayseed drops on Amazon on May 14th:
Not a hero. Not a chosen one. Hayley is only a survivor.
At fourteen she finds herself with a choice — hang for being caught stealing or become a squire. She knows nothing about the world of knights, chivalry, swords, and horses, but she knows a lot about death. In this coming-of-age tale, Hayley discovers there’s more to not only the Order of Knights, but the world around her and the strength that lurks inside her heart.
She was dead. A rotting corpse hanging out of a gibbet. Mulch chewed up to fertilize some mayor’s favorite begonias. Deader than the flattest nail in the kingdom.
The others huddled around the weapons rack, eyes peeled as all the nobs in shiny armor began to bicker over who got the best pig at market. Hayley originally thought this wouldn’t be too hard. A little smooching of the backside, some indiscriminate bowing, and she’d be able to hightail it out from under the Knights’ eyes before sundown.
With one hand cradling the massive welt puffed off her shoulder, she felt the narrowed eyes of guards standing at the only exit to this arena. They looked calm, as if they had all the time in the world. The others paid them no heed, either used to having a few armored men around or thinking it a compliment, but Hayley’s palms itched at the sight. On instinct, her stomach churned if she smelled armor polish.
Out of ideas, her head tipped back towards the wall. Even if her shoulder wasn’t shredded pork at this point, she’d have no chance to climb it. Smooth as a waterfall, the dingy grey stone gave no one trespass. Hayley bit on her lip, about to turn away when she noticed a crack in the bricks. Peering closer, a splash of dirty brown-crimson stood out against the not as flat wall.
Whipping her head back to the scene, Hayley did her best to not imagine all the ways one could wind up smearing blood into a cracked section of stone. There were a lot of options because people were creative when push came to shove. In swallowing down the lump she caught Larissa huffing in a breath and raising her head higher.
She’d been moping since putting her staff back, acting as if Hayley somehow pissed on her family gravestone. Sure, she was the one wronged — the one without any bruises, any abrasions, and somewhere to go back to when this was over. Poor Larissa. Hayley’d offer to light her a candle for her suffering, but she doubted she’d be trusted anywhere near a church…unless it was in a coffin.
Did people like her even get funerals? Or coffins?
Her teeth chattered like vengeful squirrels at the thought. She’d never wondered before, but now she couldn’t stop trying to picture what would mark her grave.