Emperor's Heir, a novella set in Annie Douglass Lima's fascinating Krillonian Empire and gives it 5 claws!
"4.5 stars for an interesting story in the Krillonian universe. I wanted to read this because I have loved the trilogy with Bensin & company, but when it began with silly teenaged girls, I almost stopped reading. I'm glad I kept going, because the story becomes more and more interesting, and the climax is a fun surprise. There are no life-and-death stakes in this story, as there are in the trilogy, but there is concern for one of the characters that made me feel anxious for her. And poor Meg's bus ride in the big city hit way too close to home. Although this story can be read as a stand alone, it's even more interesting if you have read the trilogy first. Recommended!"
Here's a better image of the beautiful cover: