Fairy Tales for All, book 3
Lord Marcus is on a quest to slay the dragon, rescue the princess, and live happily ever after. Falling for the dragon was never part of the plan.
When Lord Marcus set out on his quest, it seemed a simple enough task to accomplish. Slay the dragon and rescue the princess, securing his father's approval and earning his happily ever after--only the princess is a witch and the dragon is nowhere to be seen. Instead he finds a young man who has a very big secret and is in far greater need of rescuing. Marcus's well planned quest might have taken an unexpected turn, but his happy ending could still be within his grasp, if he can earn the trust of a dragon who has been betrayed and hurt by everyone he has ever known.
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Publisher: Fireborn Publishing
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Fairy Tales Revisited, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, First Time, Hero and the Great Quest, Hurt / Comfort
Word Count: 26900
Setting: Kingdom of Fairy Tales
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
The scroll burned in Lord Marcus's saddle bag. His ambitious father had made his ultimatum abundantly clear. Marry a princess by the end of the year or lose his inheritance. Marcus didn't consider either prospect appealing.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Davy, Marcus's young squire, asked. He stared at the dilapidated building ahead of them with wide eyes.
"It's the only one I have right now," Marcus replied. "I read you my father's letter."
"You did. He said you must marry a princess. He didn't mention anything about fighting dragons."READ MORE
Marcus sighed. Did he really have to go through this with Davy all over again? "I'm a simple lord. I'm not a prince or even a duke. Princesses don't marry lords as far down the ranks as me. Even if one were to fall in love with me, her father would never allow her to marry so low. She would have to elope with me, which would not satisfy my father's ambition."
"Nothing in the letter said anything about that."
"It didn't have to. I know my father and I know what he wants--a swift rise through the ranks of nobility and royalty through the marriages of his children. A disgraced princess wouldn't accomplish that."
Davy pondered Marcus's words, frowning and chewing on his lip in concentration.
Marcus heaved another long-suffering sigh. "What's the matter?"
"But the dragon..."
Marcus rolled his eyes. "The only way a king will let his precious little princess marry me is if I rescue her from some sort of peril. He could not refuse such a marriage, especially since his daughter's virtue would be compromised on the journey back to her kingdom."
"One lone princess travelling in the company of strange men? Of course it would."
Davy didn't appear convinced. Marcus ignored him and studied the highest tower of the small castle. If the dragon truly existed, he couldn't see any sign of the creature at the moment, which made this the ideal time to rescue the maiden.
Marcus dismounted and waved his men toward him. He referred to them as his men, though in fact they were little more than hired thugs, paid for with the last of his coin. They had agreed to join him on his quest because he had promised them riches if they helped him slay the dragon. He wouldn't trust any of them at his back. He glanced at Davy. He would trust his squire not to slit his throat in his sleep, but the weedy young lad wouldn't be much use in a fight.
The half dozen men--and Davy--stood waiting for instructions. Marcus cleared his throat and began his rallying speech.
"Before us lies the dragon's castle. We're here today to slay the dragon and rescue the beautiful princess who is imprisoned in the highest tower."
Deafening silence greeted his words.
"The princess is mine, but the dragon's treasure is for you brave men who stand with me this fine day."
The men gave a rousing cheer.
"Onward to the dragon!" Marcus raised his sword and gave a loud whoop. No one responded in kind and he lowered his arm, feeling rather foolish and a little disheartened.
One of the men stepped forward. "Tell you what. You go scope out the castle while we set up camp. Then we'll come help you with the treasure."
"I'll need help with the dragon," Marcus said.
The man snorted. "I thought traditionally the lone hero rescued the princess. It seems to me to be cheating if you take us in with you."
Marcus didn't like the idea of going in alone, but he could tell he had no choice. The men clearly had no intention of helping him and he wished he hadn't bothered bringing them along. With the exception of Davy, all they had done so far was spend his silver and complain. If he'd thought they wouldn't even make an effort to help him with the dragon, he would never have hired them at all. He grimaced at the thought of sharing the dragon's treasure with this lazy bunch.
"Well, hadn't you better get a move on?" the man asked. "We'll be down here when you're done. And this squire of yours will have some more of his tasty grub ready for you and your future bride."
Davy nodded. Marcus hadn't intended to take him into the castle. He wasn't sure he liked the idea of leaving his squire alone with the ruffians either, but they seemed to appreciate his cooking, so he guessed he would be safe with them, at least until the food ran out.
With his sword in hand, Marcus marched toward the castle. As he drew near, he caught sight of a dark-haired woman leaning out the topmost window.
"Help! Help!" she shouted down to him.
Marcus gave her a wave and continued his approach.
"Hurry up!" the princess called.
"I'll be with you shortly, my love," Marcus yelled back.
Marcus convinced himself he had misheard the lady's reply when it came a few moments later. After all, no well brought up princess would have screeched for him to "Get a bloody move on". Perhaps the wind had distorted her words.COLLAPSE