Shackles: A Historical Romance set in Ancient China by Lark Cayling
Twice, I chose to leave you. Twice, I broke your heart. In the next life, please break mine instead. ~ 2nd runner-up of Neovel's Stronger Together Contest ~ When warriors from hostile neighbouring nations kidnap Empress Dowager Xu Xieqing, a man from her past, Li Wai, is dispatched to save her. As they embark on their dangerous journey back to TianDi palace, Xieqing finds herself at war with both enemies from within her own country and outside. But her biggest adversary will prove to be her own heart for she hides a soulmate tattoo that will poison her if her heart ever strays. Her spirit is indomitable, her will is undefeatable, but her heart isn't impervious to love as she thinks it is. As her long-lost feelings for Li Wai are uncovered, she must make a cruel decision. Will she surrender her ambition and rediscover her life as a normal woman or will she dedicate her mind and body to her people and lose her soul? Prepare to be captivated from start to finish by a mix of adventure, political tension, and character-driven storytelling as you follow Xieqing's journey to reclaim her life and reconcile her ambitions with her heart.