Title- Urchin King
By- Katharina Gerlach
Genre-YA/ Middle Grade/Fantasy
For fourteen years, street-urchin Paul's miserable existence has kept him safe from an ancient law that sentences all second-born twins to death. When he learns he is the younger twin of the mentally handicapped Crown Prince who's in danger of being killed for his disability, he agrees to play the role of the miraculously healed royal heir.
Paul struggles to learn how to act like a born ruler, but finds that his greatest skill, getting by unnoticed, is now his greatest liability. He knows if he is discovered, he will be executed like all second-born twins. When a vengeful sorcerer threatens the kingdom, Paul is the only one who can oppose him. But using his unique talents will expose him. Now, he's got the choice. What is more important, his life or his family's and the kingdom's safety?
They rode through the cold autumn air, and soon the ache in Paul’s head faded. When they passed the edge of the forest, he spurred his pony. Heloise followed, and they cantered toward Wynburgh. When the turrets of the city walls came in sight, Paul reined his pony in. He dismounted, patted the pony and whispered his goodbyes. It would raise too many suspicions if he rode any further.
“Take good care of him,” he said to Heloise.
The princess shook her head and dismounted too. “I’m not leaving you.”
Paul sighed. “You can’t come along. It’s too dangerous.”
“I am used to danger.”
“Heloise, I need to do this on my own.” He looked into her eyes, trying to make her understand. “I know every nook and cranny in that town, and I know how to blend in. If I don’t want to be seen, no one will set eyes on me.” He knew the reasons were weak but he found it impossible to tell her that he would worry about her too much.
Heloise set her jaw and ripped his pony’s reins from his hands. “Leave me alone then. I don’t care one bit.” She turned to her horse as if to leave. Then, she turned again, threw her arms around him and hugged him tight.
Paul was so shocked that he didn’t move.
She pressed her lips on his nose. “Come back alive, please.” She let go of him, jumped on her horse and galloped off without looking back, dragging Paul’s pony along.
Open mouthed, Paul stared after her. The sensation of her body’s firm softness pressed against his lingered for a long time, and his heart beat as fast as if he had run. He couldn’t move until the tingling in his nose subsided.
Katharina Gerlach has had her head in the clouds from her birth. She and her three younger brothers lived secret lives in the heart of a forest in Germany. After climbing every available tree with imagination as her guide, she learned to read and disappeared into magical adventures, past times or eerie fairytale woods.
She never reached the ground properly although she did manage to successfully train as a landscape gardener, study forestry, and crown it with a PhD in Science. One day, she realized that she’d have to write if she wanted her dreams to become real. Her first novel was unpublishable and shall never see the light of day without major revision (if at all). But her stories improved and now, they even sell. Katharina writes Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Historical Novels for all age groups.
At present, she is working on her next project in a small house near Hildesheim, Germany, where she lives with her husband, three children, and a dog (who ground her enough that she won’t fly away on imaginary wings).
Please visit Katharina’s website (www.katharinagerlach.com), like her Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/KatharinaGerlach.Autorin), or follow her on twitter (@CatGerlach).