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The Servant King

Ice Dragon Tales #2

by Hurri Cosmo

The Servant King - Hurri Cosmo - Ice Dragon Tales
Editions:ePub: $ 2.99 USD
ISBN: 9781370335107

Things are going well for King Aric. He had Joron safely hidden away. Diagus, although a continuing threat to Joron, had left his castle empty handed, and the Cetin Gang was headed for his dungeons. He should be thrilled but – something was not right. He could feel it.

Sure enough, when he returns to Claymoor castle, he finds Joron has been kidnapped and he must ride immediately to rescue him. And knowing the culprit, it was not going to be an easy task. However, Aric has a trump card; a letter from a dead king. Seemingly nonsensical at first, it now points a finger directly at a murderer and Aric is convinced Joron is next. Somehow he has to find him and get Joron back into his protective arms before it’s too late.
Unfortunately, there are other huge pitfalls just waiting in the shadows. It turns out Joron is the true king of Blade Rain and Aric's long dead wife miraculously returns to claim Aric as her own. Between all the lies, murders, and life altering revelations, is there hope for these two at all?

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Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

The sound of the clashing swords was deafening in the narrow alley as King Aric continued to gain on his opponent. He jabbed and dodged, slashed and defended. The leader of the notorious Cetin Gang was no match for Aric, and the arrogant asshole finally understood it as he fell farther back. The experession on his face was one of imminent defeat. A sudden charge from the king had the Cetin leader’s sword flying out of his hand and clattering to the ground, out of reach. Then Aric had his own blade up against the man’s throat, the man up against a brick wall.

“Are you done?” Aric ground out through his teeth, breathing hard into the other man’s face.

The Cetin leader, also breathing heavily, laughed. “What? You’re not going to kill me?”

“I should. You killed my comrade and good friend and for nothing more than a couple of pieces of silver. Why should you live?”

“Then do it. Slit my throat!”

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For a moment Aric held his place, pushing the Cetin leader to the wall. He smiled. “No. I have a better idea. I think instead you can rot in my dungeons.” He pulled off the man and sheathed his sword. “I don’t feel like dirtying my sword on your filthy blood.”

Besides, it was time to go back.

The ride to Eden Downs, the finding and rounding up of the gang, and now facing the trip back, was taking a whole lot longer than Aric had expected. But he couldn’t believe his luck in being able to finally put the gang behind the solid doors of his dungeon. He shackled the leader’s leg himself, taking great pleasure in seeing the fear written on the captive’s face.

And not only had no one been killed today, no one was even injured.

But now, facing the ride back, the euphoria he had felt when he first learned of the gang’s proximity had turned into pure and utter exhaustion.

He smiled.

He reveled in the reason for his fatigue. It was due to his long sessions of lovemaking to a young prince who blew all reason and will out the window, not to mention self-control. He couldn’t wait to be back beside that warm body and sink his tongue into any and all openings. He shivered, imagining it—the way Joron felt, the way he tasted, all of it. The young man was magic, simply magic, and Joron was his.

Now he had the notorious Cetin Gang in his clutches, too. Life simply didn’t get any better than this.

But suddenly a dark cloud overtook his musings as he remembered Diagus’s intent. How dare the fool waltz up to Claymoor Doom’s front gates with his pathetic little army and demand Joron be returned to him? Fortunately, from the reports he’d received right before he left in pursuit of the Cetins, he had been told the new Blade Rain king had left the castle alone. Not only that, the army had all filtered away as well, falling back into the woods that surrounded the castle, presumably retreating. Wisely, the new King realized his folly in his foolish attempt to take anything from this castle and must have told them to withdraw.

He still shuddered to think Diagus had fully intended to leave with Joron.

It was true, however, only the king had the right to barter the freedom of any of his royals. It was one unwritten law that was a known fact among the royal houses. It kept order when lust for power and lands would bring chaos. But it had to do with wealth and status, too. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if riches had been what the Amar bastard was after. Aric could play to that tune any day, all day. But King Diagus wanted Joron. He also made it clear it wasn’t over. But it didn’t matter. He would protect Joron now, with his very life. No one would take Joron from him. No one. Not even the spoiled brat Amar.

Aric had made sure Joron received a message he would be gone for a day or so, or at least he had sent one. When he was told the Cetin Gang was in Eden Downs, he’d had to run. He left instructions to give Joron anything he wanted, insisting he had to stay in the private quarters of the castle. The doors to that part of the castle were to remain locked and guarded and no one—absolutely no one—was allowed in, and Joron was most definitely not allowed out. He was sure his orders were followed, but suddenly there was a vague feeling of doubt, as if he’d been double-crossed somehow. He thought back and realized he did have nearly everyone, if not all, of his most trusted men with him. He was not going to rob them of this incredible moment of capturing the Cetin Gang, just as he himself had wanted to be present. But how could that matter? His servants were his servants. They would follow his orders.

However, now Aric was feeling that he had left too quickly, hadn’t thought things through. He had been so elated to have had solid, believable information come in on the Gang, a very dangerous nemesis, when he had received nothing on them for months, he had done something unwise. He was not known to make these kinds of reactionary decisions.

But if he had not left when he did, he would never have caught the Gang. That he knew for sure.

He was very glad he was within a couple hours ride now of the castle. He had to admit the day before had been strange. It had started with his nightmare of that night, the night his wife had died. Seeing Abydell once again racing out into the storm, remembering yet again that scream as she plummeted to her sure death off the high cliffs of Norferry Mire and into the ocean. The dream left him weak and breathless. Then the very new King Diagus’s disturbing visit, confirming his lust for his own brother and his intent on taking his brother back…

Aric had learned directly from Joron of not only his brother’s sick obsession but also of the pending intent on Joron’s very life, having had the ownership of the Ice Dragon Pass given to him by decree of his father, the former Blade Rain king. Only Joron’s death would reverse that act. Aric was not surprised Joron was sought out to be brought back. But the speed in which the new king moved to do it was disconcerting. Then the sudden sighting and capture of this elusive gang, something that in the past he had never been able to do… Things had been odd, off somehow.

Yes, the uneasiness had settled into his bones. Another point of contention—Diagus’s surrender. He simply gave up too easily, left too fast. For the first time, Aric thought about this calmly. Could it have been planned? Why? What good would that have done? Except…except to put Aric off guard. For what purpose? Amar had left, his men did as well. He had been assured of it. So what purpose would it serve?

Again he considered the nearly too easy capture of the Cetin Gang. Never had he been able to even get close to them before. Usually by the time he received word of where they were and his men were able to arrive to that location, the gang was long gone. Time and time again, they had either just missed them or were days behind.

This time was completely different. It was as if word reached the castle about the same time the gang reached Eden Downs. Was that possible?

No. It wasn’t.

Shit.

It had been too easy. Of course. That bastard Diagus had set this up. Aric wasn’t sure how it was done, how Diagus even knew about the gang or could move them into a position like this, and it might even be crazy to think it, but Aric was certain now that had been the plan all along. Still…Diagus had left alone. He knew that. Then why?

He kicked his horse into a gallop. The poor animal had been pushed far too hard yesterday and today, but he knew his war steed could take the punishment. He had to hurry back to the castle. He had to see for himself Joron was there, perfect and well. He feared it would not be the case.

It was no surprise Everett, Aric’s personal guard and head of his army, had noticed Aric’s sudden change in pace. Aric heard him shout from behind, obviously finding it difficult on the rough path to close the distance between them. Aric finally slowed his steed in order for Everett to catch up.

Sire. What’s wrong?” Everett yelled out, his voice barely rising above the thunder of the hooves.

“I’m not sure, Everett. I think we were set up.”

“Set up? What do you mean?” Aric noticed Everett’s quick head turn, thinking to protect his king from attack.

“That asshole Diagus. I think he set all of this up to get me out of the castle. I should have left you to guard Joron. Damn it. We have to get back as fast as possible. I need to make sure Joron is all right.”

“Sire, you said yourself the servants confirmed King Diagus’s departure. He left alone. Prince Joron is safe.”

“I want to confirm it with my own eyes.” And my own hands and lips and tongue and… He kicked his mount again, gaining the speed he had lost in allowing Everett his time. At this pace, it would still take another precious hour before he arrived back to the castle. How could he have been so stupid? How could he have fallen into such an inane trap? But it wasn’t inane, of course, and that was why. It had been a brilliant plot.

He reached the main gate and would have thundered past the main guard, but even in his frantic state, he realized such behavior would cause an unnecessary panic, so he slowed his horse and acknowledged the head man’s salute with a nod. If Joron was gone, he truly wouldn’t know what to do, but he couldn’t alarm his people. He hurried through the outer areas of the castle proper, trying hard not to hit passersby. He was probably looking frenzied—a difficult thing to explain—but he didn’t care. He would not cause a panic, but he couldn’t pretend to be calm.

When he finally arrived at the main entry to the royal house, he dismounted before the horse came to a full stop. He threw the reins at the stable boy who had just arrived, huffing and puffing. The poor kid had most likely been told the king was in a hurry, so he’d obviously run. He looked over the king’s mount, shaking his head after catching the reins. The poor animal looked like it was about ready to drop.

Aric took the stairs two at a time, shouting ahead of himself for a castle servant to appear. Several came running.

“Where’s Joron?” he bellowed. “Tell me where he is.”

The servants seemed confused as they looked from their king to each other, murmuring things Aric could not hear.

“I asked you a question and I expect an answer,” he said as he continued through the hall and in the direction of the private royal quarters.

“S-sire…he’s…he’s gone, Your Majesty. He’s with…you…isn’t he?”

Aric whirled around to stare wide-eyed back at the servants. With him? Joron was supposed to be with him? No. Joron was gone. He was. Aric stumbled, because his heart had stopped, and with the pain he felt ricocheting in his chest, he knew it was not going to start up again, actually hoped it would not start up again. If Joron was gone, he had no use for it anyway.

“W-what?” he stammered, amazed he was able to talk. A dead man can’t talk, can he?

One of the servants, a small round woman, stepped forward. “Sire, we were…we were told he was summoned to the stables…to go with you.”

Aric had to sit down, or he would fall. The servants in front of him seemed to figure it out and ran to find a bench.

*          *          *

At the same time, Everett bounded into the room, having followed his king as fast as he could after sending back a message to the rest of the troops that the king and he were headed back. With a quick glance at the king, he went immediately to his side and held up the large man as best he could until there was a bench underneath him. Everett could feel him shaking.

“What happened?” he asked the servants, breathing heavily, being winded from chasing after Aric. But Everett’s voice was soothing and it calmed the others in the room. They were afraid and did not understand what was happening to their king.

“Prince Joron…isn’t he with you? We were told…told he was to meet you in the stables. We had Ben take him to…”

With us? He is not with us.” Everett closed his eyes for a moment. “Who told you that? Whose order other than the king’s would you deem necessary to answer to?” Everett tried to keep the edge out of his voice, but he stood in disbelief that the castle servants could have possibly made such a mistake. But then so had he. Everett had thought to question his king with his sudden desire to chase after that foul Gang. They had never been able to get ahead of them enough to capture them. Why would this situation be any different.

Except it had been.

A small fear began to wind itself around his heart. “Answer me!”

“It was the king’s order. We were told it was the king’s order.” They all talked, they all pleaded, all at the same time, until Everett raised his arm for silence.

“I ordered no such thing!” Aric had come off the bench, ready to start swinging his fists, not caring who was in the way.

Everett grabbed Aric’s arms, not necessarily thinking he could stop him if he truly did want to hit someone, but his touch should have a cooling effect. He was right. The king growled, and although his fists stayed clenched, they also stayed at his side.

“Again,” Everett implored, “who told you these things?”

The servants started to talk between themselves, first saying it was Mecham who told them, then Ashi and Dorth. In a few noisy moments, it was clear to both the king and Everett that this lot didn’t know where the orders came from. They only knew that since they were supposed to have come from the king, the group had followed them blindly.

*          *          *

Aric sat back down with a “harrumph and put his head in his hands. He was so damn tired. He wished to hell he was not so exhausted. There was no question in his mind it was Diagus who was behind this. He lured Joron out of the castle with the promise of going on a manhunt, kidnapped him, and they were most assuredly on their way back to Blade Rain.

He needed to head for Blade Rain himself. “How long?”

“S-sire?” The voice was weak, coming from the small round woman who had first stepped forward.

“How long ago did Joron leave?” The king had no energy. It was all completely gone.

“About…it’s been…it was shortly… Oh dear…he left before you left yesterday morning, sire. Come to think of it… Ben has not been seen since then either. Did…did we do wrong?” She was in tears.

The king took her hand and patted it before he turned to Everett once more, rising to his feet. “That means they have a hell of a head start. In fact, they’re probably halfway back to Blade Rain already. It makes sense now. He wanted to give himself as much time as he could before I found out about his heinous plot. How far out are the men?”

Everette sighed. “At least another hour.”

Damn him. He truly outwitted me. My best men still an hour away and they’ll all be exhausted. Doesn’t matter. Gather the second fleet—or third. Hell, get me a bunch of old men. Meet me at the front gates. We’re riding to rescue Joron.”

“But…but, sire… We don’t know the circumstances yet.”

“Everett. If there is something you need to know about what happened, then find out. But you better have a force of troops at the front gate in ten minutes, ready to ride, or it will be your head.” He turned on his heel and headed to the private quarters. He would change his clothes, splash some cold water on his face, and head back out. He would not let that asshole get away with this.

But at this rate, he was already too late to save Joron from his brother’s attack. His heart wrenched, knowing his little lover would not be able to fend for himself this time, even if he had been able to up until now. He was horribly dismayed by the fact Joron would have to endure anything, much less the sick touch of his brother’s hand.

To hell with changing his clothes. There was only one thing Aric needed from his chambers, and he ran like hell to retrieve it. Then he even ran back out to the main hall. He would not take his tired war steed, though he was the fastest in the land. He would have to settle for something less, or he would end up walking. Again he shook his head at the brilliance of the trap he’d fallen into. As he reentered the hall, he heard Everett continuing to shout out orders concerning packed supplies—what and how much—and the questions he wanted answered before departing, one of them being the whereabouts of Ben—not only for the boy’s safety but because he also might have all the answers Everett was after. Aric nodded when Everett turned to acknowledge him, noting servants running in all directions, following Everett’s commands.

Sire, I…I thought you were… The troops are assembling, sir. Pack horses will catch up to us, as will some of the answers we seek. We need as much information about what happened as possible.”

“Good man, Everett. Thank you.” Aric never slowed down, heading for the outside doors. “Are you coming?”

Everett looked at Aric with shock, scrambling to catch up to his departing king. “I am afraid, sire, even if you gave orders for me to stay, I would have to disobey them.”

Aric smirked. He knew better. Everett only said such brave words because he knew Aric would never forbid him to be at his side. “So be it then.”

Everett’s sigh told of his relief. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

*          *          *

Everett was in love with Marion. Though he only spent a few hours with her when he was ordered to accompany her on her quest to deliver medicine, he still knew. He was confused about the king’s interest in her. It seemed to be lightning hot at first, but then he had turned around and demanded the Princess of Blade Rain’s hand in marriage, seemingly forgetting Marion even existed. Not only that, but making the switch then to Joron, the princess’s brother.

Everett refused to impose any personal judgment on his king. He was well aware of the fact royals were cut from a different cloth. But even King Aric’s promiscuous past could not hold up to his actions in the past week or so.

However, Everett totally understood his king’s initial obsession with the beauty in the woods. When he thought back to King Aric forcing her against the tree in the clearing and kissing her, shivers ran up his spine. He had wished ever since that it had been him who had her pinned to that tree, his tongue exploring the depths of her mouth, his hands roaming freely over that body.

But of course, he would not ever have done such a thing. He was a knight of honor, and he would never have allowed his baser emotions to rule him, though his king did not seem to have the same limitations.

It was also the mystery surrounding her that had his heart beating faster every time he thought of her. Marion was not weak like so many of the women he had come in contact with, but still seemed delicate and needy at the same time, an odd and intriguing combination. Everett smiled as he remembered her brave words when King Aric insisted Everett go with her.

“I’ll be fine on my own. I don’t need to have anyone with me!”

But she’d had no idea who King Aric was, and though the king wanted it to stay that way, Everett still had wanted to make sure she was safe. King Aric had wanted more information about her as well.

But, alas, he’d found out very little, other than she seemed to have no care for her appearance since she had ridden smudged—both in face and in dress—due to her struggle with the stable hand his king had heroically saved her from. It was rare a woman felt so at ease with such a problem without insisting on cleaning up before going on. She made it clear she was on a mission and everything else was second, including herself.

Then her deep blushes, shy smiles, gentle voice had all burned right into his brain.

He’d been smitten, totally overwhelmed with emotion.

He wished he’d been able to ask the king about her. He wished it was okay to have these feelings, but though King Aric did not seem to have interest any longer, Everett was loath to bring her name up to him. He knew better, and he was not going to let his libido come in the way of serving his king.

But he was deeply, hopelessly in love with her.

He was still on the lookout for her every day. He had at first discreetly asked among the servants of Blade Rain who she was, where she was from, but the looks he received from the women made him more than nervous. He had never fallen this hard before, and it was a true battle in his heart and mind to keep what was most important front and center, that of course, being the safety of his king. The only thing he could do was wait and watch. If God gave him the opportunity to court her, he would be eternally thankful, but if the opportunity never arose… Well, he wouldn’t think about it.

Until then, he needed to protect King Aric. The job now looked like it would include protecting Prince Joron. He had seen them together and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Prince Joron was a perfect match for King Aric. He knew the young prince to be a good man. It had been quite a shock to find out what the young prince did behind the scenes, how he selflessly and tirelessly helped his people. In fact, it was quite amazing.

He’d never known a man other than his own king, who had no need of basking in his own glory and someone who had done all the things he understood Prince Joron to have done. He more than deserved to shout it from the rooftops. But the prince preferred to remain anonymous, actually insisted on it. Sure, Everett understood the problems it would have raised, operating behind a king’s back, even if the king was your father, not to mention completely selfish and wrong.

But Everett had a huge problem believing it still would not have been embraced and revered enough by the people. Even if the late King Oxys had the audacity to denounce his son for his insolence, Prince Joron would have been safe. Everett felt quite certain the people of Blade Rain would have killed to protect him—and not only because of his generosity. He understood, although Joron’s father was the king, the queen was not his mother, and it would make sense Queen Erora hated Joron because of it.

But it was fine. Secrets were always safe with Everett, and King Aric was insistent on honoring this one—to never let anyone know Prince Joron had been helping the people behind the old king’s back.

There was something about those innocent eyes and tilt of his head. Joron’s gentleness and small stature… His very presence brought out a need in Everett to protect him, and he kicked himself for allowing his need to be with his king outweigh his need to protect what the king loved.

It was a far different feeling than the one he had had for the king’s wife. Queen Abydell had never exuded such a need. She was small, like Joron, and she was feminine, alluring in her own right. However, she seemed to expect people to fall at her feet. She loved the attention, craved and needed it, seeking it at every turn, doing everything in her power to obtain and keep it.

Early on, Everett recognized the sickness in her but kept his opinion to himself. She was his queen, and though he did not admire her personally, he respected her position and authority. And she certainly was beautiful, in more of a showy way, not the gentle shining way Joron was. Yes, Joron had Everett’s admiration and respect, without uttering a word. He would have no problem taking Joron under his fiercely protective wing.

But that had not been the case these past two days. He had not protected the prince. He had failed his king and himself for thinking the castle was safe. He had started the inquiry into how the guards could ever have made this horrendous mistake.

Obviously the new King Diagus had more intelligence than he was given credit for. But the one good thing the continuing inquiry might do was make the castle guards more aware of their deadly complacency. Everyone had become too lax, too content. He was going to make sure this kind of thing never happened again—in any form.

For someone who had been king for merely two weeks to have been able to come into their midst and do what that bastard had done? It was not only dangerous, not only embarrassing, but a true slap in King Aric’s face, and Everett was as much to blame for it happening as anyone. Maybe even more so.

He had not been told directly what Joron’s capture by his brother meant, but he knew anyway. He was sickened by it in more ways than one, the most being the cause of King Aric’s jealousy and fury and fear. He would have to wait and watch, but he was also sure he would have to make sure his king did not kill the new king and spark a war.

There was no doubt what the outcome of such a war would be, but the loss of life and extreme unrest it would cause countrywide, would not be worth it. He knew Prince Joron would agree.

So they rode toward Blade Rain. The king and he had not talked, but he knew they were on the lookout for runners—men who would be stationed along the way who would stealthily and quickly bring warning to King Diagus about those who were on Blade Rain roads, heading for the castle. It wasn’t as if they would be able to stop all of them from getting through, although they would try. No, what the king and he were more interested in was information. What exactly were they to be up against once they finally reached Blade Rain Castle?

Everett cringed. This group of soldiers, though they were considered second in line, were still well trained and prepared but were also young and untried. Under normal circumstances, they would recruit from this pool the best and most ready to transfer into the main detail. Sometimes the number of transfers would be small, sometimes not, but never had they ever taken all of them before in one regiment.

It was one thing to train hard to the point of believing you knew what you would do in situations of great stress but quite another thing to know, due to experience. Not one of these fine soldiers had had the opportunity of gaining such knowledge. Today might change that, and the light chatter he allowed to wash over the group in waves was proof of their excitement to finally prove to their leader, Everett, they were up to the task.

More importantly, they had the great privilege to be also led by their king. It was truly a life-changing event for them. Still, it was something they had never done. Everett was nervous, not only for them and his king, but also for the very future of Claymoor Doom.

However, he had been told by Aric that an actual battle to take Joron back might not be necessary. The king brought with him a letter he had received prior to going to Blade Rain weeks ago. Everett was not sure what was in the letter. In all reality, the king himself said he had trouble deciphering it, only that it was a summons by King Oxys and little else. But then, of course, they came to a castle readying itself for a royal funeral, the letter and its possible explanation forgotten for the moment. However, Aric never truly forgot anything and regarded the letter with great concern now—concern not only for Joron, but also for the kingdom of Blade Rain itself.

What the king figured out about the letter, which suddenly made him so concerned, Everett had no idea, nor did he know how Aric would use it to free Prince Joron.

Still, even now, Everett would not second-guess his king. He had learned from a very early age that good fortune smiled on his king and kingdom. His king never relied on luck, but it seemed to follow him anyway. The man’s leadership skills were unshakable, and to question its validity was to question the sun rising in the morning or the sea crashing on the shore. So he would lead this untried team and they would follow, trusting his king. For now, his responsibilities were to make sure to keep everyone focused and to protect King Aric, not only from attack, but from himself as well.

Because love did that. It made you stupid. It made you want to do things totally against your nature and your upbringing, even your training.

Everett knew.

Everett was in love.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Pixie on MM Good Book Reviews wrote:

Review: Joron is a prince of Blade Run and has lived the last several years helping to fix the problems that his sex mad, cruel father ignored. When his older brother, Diagus, returns due to his father’s ill health he has hope that things will begin to improve, and he holds on to that hope even as he learns that he has to avoid Diagus at all costs. When his brother inherits the throne, Joron learns he is the owner of Ice Dragon Pass and his step-mother will stop at nothing to return it to his Diagus’ rule.

King Aric is visiting to negotiate for passage through Ice Dragon Pass, and to see if he can find the servant who caught his eye months ago. When Aric comes across a lady being attacked he is overcome by her beauty and decides to make her his. Joron is shocked to learn of his sisters impending marriage, especially since she is promised to another who she loves and sets out to Claymoor Doom to convince King Aric to release his sister from the contract and then things become interesting. With Aric refusing to let him go and his brother’s obsession with him, Joron can still only think about his subjects and their suffering, but can he give up the love he is beginning to find or will the threat to others make him give up his freedom?

I have to say that this story was a joy to read, a world that has a medieval feel to it, a generous thoughtful prince in danger, a powerful king who is arrogant and a new king who isn’t quite right in the head. Joron is an incredible character who is selfless and kind; he is also beautiful and intelligent and has put himself at risk for his people. Aric is an interesting character who is arrogant and very sure of himself, he sees what he wants and will do anything to get it. Diagus is a character who is definitely the baddie, he creeps you out with his obsession and although you get glimpses of something good in him, the obsession overshadows everything else.

I was pulled quickly into this story and found myself wondering what was going to happen next, the storyline is very involved but has many characters who share the weight. The perspective does move from character to character but in such a way that it is very clear and not confusing, and I have to say it was nice to be able to see certain parts from other people’s eyes. The storyline itself is brilliantly composed because there is more going on than just Joron and Aric getting together, we have a self-involved Queen/Queen Mother who will do anything to make sure her son has power, we have a new king obsessed with making his brother his, we have an arrogant king who has mystery surrounding him and then Joron who will do anything to protect those he cares about.

Joron’s and Aric’s relationship isn’t easy and from the way the story ended it isn’t going to be easy either, the sex between them is hot and at first it is coercive but Joron soon discovers just how much he enjoys it. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to see what will happen next, there is so much to look forward to with the different players in the story and the plans that are beginning to unfold.

I recommend this to those who love high fantasy, great characters, a brilliant storyline, some creepiness, danger, hot sex and the beginning of difficult love story.


About the Author

I live in Minnesota where I hold tight to the idea that here, where it’s cold a good part of the year, I won’t age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoid mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I doesn’t mind “real life” and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every - single - time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too. Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I am reading or writing, and I will entertain myself for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it, is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.