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A Blossom at Midnight

A Blossom at Midnight

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With magic in their veins and destiny in their hands, three fae defy their fate.

 

Laec character image

Rejection has left fae courtier Laec wallowing in wine and disdainful of what he sees in the mirror. When Queen Elphame offers him a foreign commission, he jumps at the chance for a fresh start, but soon learns that healing his heart may inflame the very trouble his queen sent him to prevent.

Cifta character image

Beautiful and eligible Çifta believes in the importance of duty. Wishing to please her father, she agrees to marry a powerful unseelie prince. But when she discovers his cold heart and attempts to break the engagement, the princess-to-be quickly finds herself in chains. Alone and trapped in a damp fortress, she cannot see a way out.

Jessamine character image

Half-fae Jess longs to leave her rural life. She’s always obeyed her mother’s commands to keep her pointed ears and winged familiars a secret, but the repressed teen is on the verge of rebellion. When she attends a flower festival and her secrets are discovered, it triggers a cascade of opportunity she never thought possible. As her exciting new life—and magic—blossoms, she learns that her mother has been keeping a much more serious secret from her, one that changes everything.

When a visit to another realm sparks a dark turn of events, it sets these three fae on a collision course with disaster. Will they wilt under pressure or become a thorny threat to evil?

A Blossom at Midnight is the poetic first book in The Scented Court, a YA noblebright fantasy series by an award-winning author. If you like feisty protagonists, a dark villain, flora and fauna magic, slow-burn romance, and epic fables steeped in the beauty of nature, then you’ll love A.L. Knorr’s dreamy otherworld.

🌿 Fae courts & lush world-building

🌿 Glittering balls

🌿 Political intrigue

🌿 2 slow-burn romances

🌿 Adorable animal familiars

🌿 Courtesan turned spy

🌿 Secret baby

🌿 A cruel prince

🌿 Forbidden love

🌿 Found family

🌿 A cast you'll fall in love with

  • no extreme or graphic violence
  • connected to the Earth Magic Rises series
  • suitable for 14+

Read an Excerpt

Jessica was wrangling her hair into a loose confection of curls when a pebble sailed in through her open window and skittered across the hardwood floor of her bedroom loft. She went to the window to see Clair standing in the flower bed beside the cottage, squirming and dancing in place like she needed the outhouse, her dark eyes lit up with excitement. Clair was Hanna and Tad’s daughter and the best friend Jess had ever had. They were different; Clair was boy-crazy and dreamed of marriage and babies while Jess fantasized about escape, but the girls had lived side by side all their lives and cared for one another.

Clair’s eyes shone up at Jess. “Come down! I have something to show you.”

Jessica descended the ladder to the single room that served as kitchen, dining room, firepit and Marion’s bedroom. Beazle was asleep in the rafters and Greta was in the front yard where her favorite flowers grew. Marion was in the squash patch. Jessica called to tell her mother that she was with Clair. She heard a reply but it wasn’t anything she understood. Good enough.

Clair pulled her into a run toward the village center. It appeared that at least half the town was milling around the vine-choked pavilion. People were talking and laughing, kids chased one another through the square, dogs nipping at their heels. A pair of oxen pulling a cart had been abandoned in a patch of wildflowers. A donkey brayed. Not until Clair pulled her through the crowd to read the notice nailed to the pavilion’s post did Jessica understand the commotion.

There was to be a flower festival in Dagevli, hosted by a retinue from Solana City in eight days, including a parade, a banquet and a dance, all paid for by King Agir and Queen Esha as a reward for last season’s exceptional harvest. But what held Jessica’s attention to the announcement was the last part: All children between the ages of ten and fifteen, who have a familiar or who exhibit the traits of flora fae, are invited to Discovery.

Discovery—whatever that was—was hosted at the palace, which was enough to give her goosebumps. She’d heard that the palace was so beautiful that more than one peasant had fainted at first sight of it. Even if that was an exaggeration, it was understood: the palace was worth seeing.

“The Calyx.” Clair grabbed Jessica’s hand and squeezed so tightly she could feel Clair’s fingernails biting into her skin. “We’ll get to see the Calyx!”

Jessica searched her memory. “The flora fae who work for the queen, right?”

Clair pulled Jessica aside so others could read the sign. “I forgot, you weren’t here for the last festival. Marion took you to Oubel, remember?”

Jess did remember; she had been eight when Marion woke her early and hustled her onto a loaded cart: supplies in cloth bags and filled with vegetables. They had trundled along the dirt roads all morning to reach the neighboring village of Oubel, where they sold their produce at the market. Jessica hadn’t understood why they had to go to Oubel. They never had trouble selling at the market in Dagevli. She hadn’t questioned it at the time, though, because to see another town was exciting.

Jessica replied, “I vaguely remember you saying there was a festival while we were away, but you didn’t say much about it.”

A look of guilt crossed Clair’s face. “Mum didn’t want me to go on about it, she was worried you’d be jealous. I remember wondering why your mother chose that day to leave.”

“Did they invite children with flora fae traits to the palace back then, too?”

“Yes. But there wasn’t anyone who qualified then, and there aren’t any now either. If there was, we’d know.” Clair sighed. “I can’t wait for you to see them.”

“Who?”

“The Calyx, of course; the flora fae.” Clair’s hands threaded together in front of her heart. “They are the most beautiful creatures you’ll ever meet. They smell like heaven. They can do all kinds of magic, and they give away gold, too. You’ll see for yourself in eight days. You’ll love them.” She looked wistful. “They kind of break your heart, though. The worst part comes after they leave. Life seems so dull, but while they are here, you’ll think you’ve been reborn in a storybook.”

As Jessica listened to the villagers describe the last festival to the children who were too young to remember or who hadn’t been born yet, she was only half present. Those who had seen a flower festival described the event with unbridled joy. It sounded so extravagant that Jessica couldn’t imagine it. If it was so wonderful and given free of charge as a reward for a successful harvest, then wouldn’t every villager who contributed want to be there? Marion would never willingly give up a chance at free gold.

No sane person would.

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