At last, the novel-length expansion of the award-winning novella!
Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father's debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself, and the dragons who control the magic in the land. Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.
This sweet and funny Cinderfella romance is complete at ~85000 words and ends in a solid HEA. After all, true love always wins in fairy tales!
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“What would you do if you weren’t king?” Jasen asked.
“I suppose I would have become a draed,” he said. “That was what was expected of me.”
“But what if you didn’t have any duties? What if something happened where you didn’t have to be the king anymore? What would you do?”
Rilvor raised an eyebrow. “That is not possible. I am the Lord of the Drae—that isn’t a position that one can abdicate.”
“But let’s just say you could,” Jasen said. “Would you?”
“I think it would be difficult for a former king and somehow magically displaced Lord of the Drae to make a living to support his children,” Rilvor said with a quirk of his lips.
“What if you didn’t have them to support?”
“My life would be quite empty without my children.”
Jasen made a sound of frustration. “Are you being thick on purpose? I’m trying to ask you what you would do without any responsibility.”READ MORE
“No responsibility,” Rilvor echoed. He thought about it for a moment. “So in your scenario, I command no lands, and I cannot have a profession?”
“And I cannot have my children?”
Jasen shook his head. “Sorry, but no.”
“Could I have you?”
Jasen’s face flushed. He looked down at his hands as he tried to think of a response. As he was thinking, he passed under a low-hanging branch, which got caught in one of the ribbons on his ridiculous hat. He yelped as he yanked on the reins to bring his horse to a halt.
Rilvor stopped his horse as well. “What is it? What’s happened?” he said.
“It’s this damned hat—it got caught in a branch.” Jasen struggled to untangle himself. “Who would put so many ribbons on a hat?” he fumed. “What possible purpose could they serve?”
“Can’t you just take it off?”
“I can try, but it’s pinned in place.” Jasen pulled out a few of the pins and then tried to yank the hat off. It barely budged. Worse than that, he could feel his hair getting tangled around the remaining pins, making him more stuck than ever. Jasen nearly screamed in frustration. “I think Rotheld must have used some sort of dark sorcery to stick this damned thing on!”
Rilvor dismounted and approached Jasen’s horse. He waved his hand; Jasen felt the hat break free of the branch.
“Thank you,” Jasen mumbled, still feeling ridiculous. He attempted again to extract the hat from his head to no avail.
“Come down here and let me help,” Rilvor said.
Jasen dismounted and stood beside Rilvor. Rilvor didn’t use any magic this time as he carefully removed the pins from the hat and Jasen’s hair. They were so close that Jasen could feel the heat of Rilvor’s body.
Jasen tried to stand still, but the intimacy of the situation and his own lingering embarrassment made it difficult. “I told Rotheld that it was a ridiculous hat to wear for a ride,” Jasen said. “He can be so stubborn, though. It’s like he can’t stand for me to be completely comfortable. I escaped the corset this time, so naturally I had to suffer in some other—”
He broke off as Rilvor pulled the hat free and handed it to Jasen. Jasen’s hair, now in tangles, fell around his shoulders. “You can tell Rotheld that I prefer you unadorned,” Rilvor said, his voice now deep and soft. “If I had my way, I would have you always be as I saw you the first time in the draemir, in the simplest garments, free of ornament and formality.”
Jasen could feel his face turn even redder as he clutched his newly-freed hat to his chest. It seemed as if he hadn’t stopped blushing since they had begun their ride, which was absolutely ridiculous. Jasen wasn’t exactly inexperienced. So why was it so different with Rilvor? Why did he feel like a blushing virgin every time he looked at him?
Rilvor brushed his fingers through Jasen’s hair. “You ask me what I would do if I were free. I would take you to Rakon with me, back to the wilderness where I spent my childhood. I would show you the woods that sheltered me when I needed escape from the dreary castle that was supposed to be my home. I would introduce you to my true family—to the animals and the birds, to the blooming wildflowers and cold, sweet brooks, and of course, the dragons. I would show you the meadows I ran through, the trees I slept under. And then we would make our home there, apart from the pressures of the world.”
Rilvor leaned in so close that Jasen could feel his breath on his face; it smelled sweet, like honey. Jasen’s heart sped up. He felt both thrilled and terrified, because he realized at last what was different. Rilvor didn’t want a quick roll in the hay—he wanted him.COLLAPSE