Under These Restless Skies will be released on February 20, and every day until then, I'll be posting a small excerpt. You can check out the book's blog here, including more excerpts and information on the Tudor historical characters in the story, and the legend of the selkies on which the story is based.
“What did the words say?” Emma asked.
Anne gave the woman who brought her the goblet of wine a tight smile of thanks and waited until she left before she spoke. “It was an ancient prophecy. It says around this time, a queen of England will be executed. When the Tower is red and another place green, we shall have burnt two Bishops and a Queen. When all is passed we shall have a merry world.”
“God’s teeth,” Emma whispered, using an oath she’d heard Will use many times.
“It matters naught,” Anne said, flicking her hand in an attempt at airiness. “These baubles circle freely but signify nothing. Another I have heard of late, When the cow rideth the bull, then, priest, beware thy skull.”
Emma’s brow crumpled in confusion.
“The dun cow is a symbol of one of the king’s minor titles. The bull is supposed to be me, because of my family name, Bullen.” Anne gave Emma’s hand a slight squeeze, a convulsive movement of which Emma did not think Anne was aware. Her features were still carefully schooled into impassivity. “In any case, the prophecies always seem to end with someone losing their head.”
“But you still want to—”
“ ’Tis not about what I want,” Anne hissed. Her eyes were filled with a sudden, fierce fire. “I have no choice, Emma Fool. I never had a choice.”