The Servant Prince

Ice Dragon Tales #1

by Hurri Cosmo

The Servant Prince - Hurri Cosmo
Editions:ePub: $ 2.99 USD
ISBN: 9781370840205

Prince Joron of Blade Rain was kissed by a man he had no idea was King Aric of Claymoor Doom. Of course King Aric had no idea the one he kissed was even a man since Joron was dressed as a woman. Disguised to escape the newly crowned king of Blade Rain who just happens to be Joron's brother, Joron is swept off his feet by Aric when he is rescued by him from an assault. Aric is also swept off his feet by the beauty of the "woman" and that one amazing kiss. Aric, who is led to believe the beautiful woman he kissed is actually the princess, immediately goes to the king of Blade Rain and offers for the princess’s hand in marriage and his offer is accepted. Unfortunately, King Aric is now betrothed to Liarta, Joron’s sister. But an emergency has King Aric racing home without finding out the mistake he has made and now Joron must ride to Claymoor Doom to renegotiate the offer since Liarta is in love with someone else and does not want to marry King Aric.

Imagine Aric’s surprise when he discovers the Prince is the one he thought was the Princess! So Aric does the only thing he can think of. He will release Liarta from her obligation of marriage, but only if Joron takes her place... in the marriage bed.

This book is on:
  • 2 To Be Read lists
  • 1 Read list
Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Rex fidgeted in the alley, waiting like he had been told. He shivered in the dark, but it was due to nerves, nothing more. It certainly was not a cold night. He heard movement to his left and jumped, nearly shouting. With wide eyes and a gaping mouth, he stood, his heart beating wildly just as a scrawny cat darted into the darker shadows.

“Stupid cat,” he muttered to himself. But suddenly the shadows shifted again and a man stepped forward.

“Are you Rex, boy?” came a voice.

“Y-yes…I am.” It took everything in him not to turn and run as fast as he could.

“Good.” The man stepped closer. His overcoat spoke of wealth, as did his protruding round belly, which stretched the thick fabric to its limit.

READ MORE

Rex was compelled to reach out and touch the coat because it had such a look of softness about it, but he held back. While the man was not necessarily of any real importance, despite his expensive attire, he was certainly not a servant. And though Rex could not discern the colors the man wore, due to the darkness of the alley, he thought the man had to be from the castle. Rex hadn’t been told who would meet him, only that a man would give him one hundred silver pieces to deliver a letter. His family could truly use that kind of coin. Still, it surprised him the man was obviously of some higher status.

“I…I was told you…”

The man handed him a folded wax-sealed paper. “Here. Deliver this to King Aric Tamusi of Claymoor Doom.”

“Claymoor Doom? That’s… I can’t… That’s too far.”

The man next handed him a small heavy bag. “Here is the silver you were promised, one hundred pieces plus a bit more. Hire a horse. It shouldn’t take you more than a week, there and back.” He leaned in close. Rex could smell stale liquor on his breath. “Tell no one.”

Rex took the bag and opened it, seeing it did indeed hold a pile of silver glinting at the bottom. He wondered briefly if he should take the time to count it.

“I-I won’t…but…” He looked up and was shocked the man was gone. He looked around, but the man had disappeared.

Not only could he move quietly, but for a fat old man, he could also move fast.

Rex glanced at the piece of paper the man had handed him.

“Wow,” Rex whispered. It had the seal of his own king, Oxys Amar of Blade Rain. “A secret letter from one king to another? That can’t be good.” He pocketed the letter and, taking one more wary look around, headed quickly toward the stables.

 

 


CHAPTER 1

Erora, queen of Blade Rain, was very fond of sex. As long as her partners were relatively good-looking, it didn’t matter to her who came to her bed. But the man she let have his way with her tonight certainly did not fit that description. Under normal circumstances, she would never have considered this overweight, shiny-skinned baboon.

But this wasn’t any normal circumstance.

As he fumbled around, Erora thought about how it was Lord VenTorry found his way to her bed. He had the audacity to think she could be blackmailed so easily. Having sex with the man wasn’t the problem. But the belief he had blackmailed her into it? It was that she couldn’t stand.

And the blackmail? VenTorry’s knowledge that Crown Prince Diagus, her only son, was not actually the true son of her husband and King, Oxys.

When VenTorry was done rutting about, Erora left the bed to pour them something to drink. When she returned, he was sitting there, licking his thick lips with a lewd look on his greasy face. She heard a low chuckle. She was sure he meant it to sound inviting, but it only sounded disgusting. She handed VenTorry the glass of cool water and drank from her own as she sat on the bed, her bare back to him. He took the glass and drank it all, gulping it down with loud swallows and a moan echoing inside the glass. After a wet sounding belch, he threw the glass, shattering it on the stone floor. Erora barely flinched.

Well, so much for his blackmail, because she had heavily poisoned his water, and when he died, it would be with great pain while she watched. She did so love to watch when they writhed in agony, especially when she knew she was the cause of it.

Just like with Mormir.

Her heart lurched. Twenty-four years had passed and yet the mere thought of the man still pained her. His Grace, Mormir, Duke of Stone Mire—the man she had loved, sacrificed for, would have killed for—alas, was also the first man to betray her. And sniveling idiot Lord VenTorry had evidently been his friend and confidant back then as well, panting like a dog at the duke’s feet. Of course, the duke and she had not been as discreet as they should have been, so the fact VenTorry found them out should not have been a surprise. What had been astonishing was the fact he kept her deep dark secret all this time. She sniffed. VenTorry had no proof. She was fairly certain no one would listen to him.

Still…

VenTorry’s knowledge alone was enough of a problem, but now there was that letter in VenTorry’s possession. A letter her own husband dictated and commanded VenTorry to deliver.

In his brazen self-confidence, VenTorry had shown it to her, even let her read it. Oh, she had been such a fool when she had panicked back when she overheard Oxys’s drunken murmurings about how the good Duke of Stone Mire had died. But he had threatened to look into the very old matter himself. She had to stop him, didn’t she? Now she believed she should have just let it go. Oxys had no ability to discern her secrets. The stupid man had only had two things on his mind—raping his constituent’s pockets and bedding their wives.

Because now she had this horrid man waving a damning letter in her face, thinking he was so clever. It didn’t matter VenTorry promised her he would not deliver the letter if she invited him to her bed. That letter, now lying on the floor along with their clothes, would never leave this castle. And neither would VenTorry—alive anyway.

She did wonder who the receiver of her husband’s letter was supposed to be, though. Oxys was obviously paranoid and so omitted the name on purpose, allowing only the carrier to know the destination. It was the one thing she would not learn from this baboon. He vowed only to tell her “someday” when he had had his fill of her “womanly assets,” thinking that would protect him.

As she continued to endure VenTorry’s clumsy attempts at seducing her again, she reflected on her poisonings—the one completed on Mormir, her work in progress on her husband, and VenTorry’s soon-to-be demise.

She wished she had not done it now. It would have been smarter for her to have used a different method on her husband than she had on Mormir, something other than slowly poisoning him. It was only that she had perfected this poison. She could kill fast or slow, without much pain or with excruciating torture. Regrettably, the selfish waste of a man her husband was saw the similarities between his and Mormir’s illness, hence, the letter.

She sighed. It didn’t matter. The sad excuse for a king wouldn’t be any sort of a problem for much longer. She was going to step up her plans.

Unfortunately, with the impending death of her long-suffering husband, she would no longer be the queen. But it couldn’t be helped. She could live with being the mother to the king. However, even that wouldn’t happen if Oxys found out his firstborn was not of his blood. A deep part of her thought it would serve him right. She often imagined the look of shock on his face in that moment of knowledge. But, of course, it could never happen. She needed Diagus to ascend to the throne. The secret would have to remain exactly that, a secret.

So VenTorry, being he knew, would also have to die.

When the first death spasm hit the man, he doubled over, curling up on the bed. She smiled at him when he looked up at her. His eyes were wide with confusion, a bit of saliva dripping unheeded down his chin. Knowing she caused his pain and now this uncertainty, she wanted to squeal with pleasure.

“Something wrong…dear?”

He narrowed his eyes as if to ask if she had something to do with it.

“Of course I do,” she cooed to the silent question. Another pain engulfed him, and he cried out as he clutched his stomach and again curled into a ball.

Ahhh, so good.

He jerked again, crying out in a guttural tone that sounded like death itself. She saw drool mixed with blood trickle out of his mouth.

Oh, yes.

It was so exciting to look into his dying eyes. He jerked again and she heard the dying man tell her…

“I…was right…not to trust… I thought you might…try…” He panted through another hard spasm. “But I thought if I didn’t tell you who…” He laughed a shrill laugh, then doubled over again, breathing heavily, a death rattle very evident in the sound. “The letter I showed you… Oxys’s letter…was a copy.” He raised his dying gaze to look directly at Erora. Then he smiled, his teeth bloody. “You lose, Erora. The original one I…sent it…to…to…”

Lord VenTorry jerked one more time and stopped moving altogether.

Erora’s scream was not one of pleasure nor very queen-like.

*          *          *

“Prince Joron!” Kinnabe ran down the hallway toward Prince Joron’s chambers. He burst into the receiving room frantically looking for him, but the room was empty. “Prince Joron,” he called again.

“Yes?” Joron said groggily as he came out from his bedroom. He had put on a robe to cover his nakedness but failed to tie it shut.

Kinnabe averted his eyes, amused. The prince had no idea of his beauty or how it affected those around him. Small and petite, he had creamy white, perfect skin. His hair was shoulder length, silky, and dark brown. He usually wore it loosely tied back, but this morning, it hung tangled around his face. That only heightened his allure, like he was fresh from his bed, which he was. His face was sweet, with large beautiful green eyes, a perfect nose, and full kissable lips. He stumbled to a chair in front of the fireplace, finally pulling his robe tight around him from the chill in the air and not sudden modesty.

“I’m sorry, my prince, I know you only went to bed a couple of hours ago, but the king is meeting with a commoner, Hawklin Tuso of Ghost Pines Parish, from the other side of Ice Dragon Pass. His daughter is gravely ill and in need of medicine that is only produced here in the Royal Infirmary. Hawklin tried to make it for the official assemblies three days ago but was delayed. The king is meeting with him outside those usual meetings because he came all this way.”

Joron widened his eyes in surprise. Like Joron, Kinnabe was well aware of the oddity that King Oxys, Joron’s father, would take time away from his customary activities to actually meet with one of his people in need, especially now he himself had become sick.

“Really? When?”

“I believe they are in chambers right now, my prince.”

“Damn. Hurry. Help me dress. I need to be there to make sure…”

He ran into his bedroom with Kinnabe shadowing him. Kinnabe shoved his own dark unruly hair back from his eyes as he followed the prince into the bedchambers. Standing behind Joron, Kinnabe towered over him, but then most men did—and even some women. The prince’s small stature inspired protectiveness in others. At times, his compassionate nature made that protectiveness necessary. Kinnabe smiled fondly at the back of Joron’s head, his eyes wandering down to the beautiful neck hidden by that silky hair. How he loved the prince’s soft skin. He had touched the prince enough in his years of personal service to know firsthand how soft it was.

*          *          *

Kinnabe and Joron raced down the hall to the back of the meeting room. Joron had been hidden, secretly listening, three days ago when the official assemblies took place. He had then spent those three days and all last night fixing what the king refused to. He and the castle servants had put together many bundles of fresh vegetables and meats and delivered them to many needy families in several villages. He brought medicine and medical supplies to several more. He was also able to find some old farming equipment he then gave to a farmer, one who supplied food for a good many families, and deemed that deed as his last duty before dragging himself through the servants’ entrance, up to his room, and collapsing into his bed.

And now another villager was in dire need.

The servants had already been in the hall and set it up for him. He would be unnoticed as he slipped into the chair that had been left there. He could make out the words as Hawklin pleaded with the king.

“Please, your majesty, I was told this medicine would cure her.”

“But you cannot pay for it. That is the problem.”

“I’ll work it off. I’ll do anything. I can come to the castle…”

“I need no help here,” the king huffed.

Joron, although he could not see him, thought his father sounded different, strained, as if it were an effort to talk.

“Do not be so insolent as to assume that I will give you a position here just because you are in need. You are obviously lazy and refuse to provide for your family.”

“Sire!” Hawklin’s tone was shocked.

“Be gone. If you have no way to pay for what you want, then I have wasted my time with you.” There was no talking for a moment, a sudden coughing spasm coming over the king. When it passed, he spoke again. “Unless…”

“S-sire?” Hope sounded in Hawklin’s voice.

“You have another daughter, do you not? An older one?”

“Yes. Her…her name is Naka, Naka Tuso. She is engaged to be married, sire.”

“Yes, Naka. I have seen her… If you are willing to send Naka to the castle, I am sure I can find many positions for her.”

Again, Joron could not see it, but guessed the king wore an evil smile. Joron closed his eyes in disgust and shame. Now it made sense why the king had allowed for this “extra” meeting to take place. Sick or not, his father’s sexual appetite continued to rage. Hawklin was now most likely battling with himself, trying desperately to believe the king meant a job and not what he knew to be the truth. Still, the man’s words were odd to Joron when he spoke.

“Your majesty…are you…”

There were sounds of gasps, movement, and murmurings, then silence. Joron sighed as the silence continued, wondering why, when Kinnabe touched his shoulder from behind. Joron turned around and saw Kinnabe motioning for him to follow. He rose quickly and walked out of the room into the hallway.

“What happened?” he whispered.

“The king… He swooned…passed out and…and was carried from the room.”

“He passed out? What about Hawklin? How will he be granted the medicine now?” Joron shook his head in disbelief, then closed his eyes in guilt. His first thought should have been for his father and his illness. The king’s collapsing while sitting on the throne was new, which meant he was obviously much worse.

His father’s worsening condition was also the reason Joron’s brother, Prince Diagus, had returned to the castle for the first time in over three years. Diagus would be the next king when his father passed away, an event that seemed closer than ever now.

Joron turned again as he heard a noise from the main hall. Someone was coming. “ Run!”

Both Joron and Kinnabe took off running back toward the servants’ quarters. They heard a guard yelling at them, but they both knew they would not be chased. Joron simply did not want to be recognized by any of his father’s personal guards. They crashed into the kitchen, shocking the kitchen servants. They slammed the door behind them, laughing at the fear and shock of almost being caught.

Joron turned back to Kinnabe, once again serious. “How old is Hawklin’s sick daughter?”

Kinnabe answered immediately. “I believe Kalen is six, my prince.”

Joron shook his head slowly, once again ashamed of his father. “Kalen? Such a pretty name and only six. Do we know what medicine she needs?”

“Yes. With your permission, I will retrieve all the necessary potions from the infirmary.”

“Good man. Tell Hawklin he will have his medicine, but not to wait for it. If he does, it’ll look suspicious. Let me have a couple more hours of sleep, and I’ll deliver it to him at the entrance to Ice Dragon Pass. Tell him to wait for me there.”

“The entrance to the pass? Prince, why so far?”

“Please, Kinnabe, it’s necessary. I won’t feel comfortable if it is any closer than that with him. Besides, I want a couple of hours of sleep and don’t want Hawklin to stop anywhere on his way home, just in case. He would naturally stop at the entrance for the night, so that’s the best place to meet him.”

Kinnabe frowned, but Joron knew he wouldn’t argue further. The man knew from experience it was futile to do so. “I understand. I don’t like it, but I understand. I will deliver the message and wake you in a few hours. The entrance is nearly a day’s journey. You’ll need as much rest as possible.”

Joron smiled. A few hours would be heaven. He turned to the servants. “Is there any toy I could take for her, too—something to cheer her? A doll, perhaps?”

Five women comprised the kitchen staff at the moment. All of them had halted their work when the two men surprised them.

The head woman came forward, smiling. “Yes, Your Highness, we will prepare a few care packages for her.” She seemed elated.

The prince smiled at her. “Thank you. Your generosity will be rewarded.”

“No need, Your Highness. It is the least we can do to help. Thank you.”

*          *          *

Joron stretched and yawned and turned a brilliant smile on the women, who in turn giggled. Kinnabe knew Joron had no idea why. The prince’s radiant smile always affected him as well. The prince looked at Kinnabe with that question in his eyes, and Kinnabe shrugged. Even if he explained it, the young man would never understand. He chuckled as he guided the prince out the door.

Kinnabe knew he would have to stand in line to protect Joron, but he also knew this man had a very strong spirit. His kindness and his bravery were becoming legendary amoung the staff. Joron worked endlessly and tirelessly to right as many wrongs as he could and did it anonymously. No one but the Blade Rain castle servants, who were actually involved, knew and all were sworn to secrecy.

As the prince headed back toward his rooms, Kinnabe made his way to the stables, intent on finding the departing Hawklin.

Kinnabe’s horse was already saddled when he arrived at the stables. He was once again amazed at the speed at which news traveled in and out of the castle walls. It had become routine for him to have things done in advance of his arrival, simply due to the fact they all clambered to do the prince’s bidding. They all believed in him and would go to any and all lengths to be a part of his missions.

Kinnabe mounted his horse quickly and caught up with Hawklin outside of the main gates, and Kinnabe counted himself lucky that he did. The gates were large and there were always people traveling in and out. The push and crush of the crowd that bottlenecked here would all but hide them.

“Hawklin!” Kinnabe came up beside Hawklin before he continued, since he did not want to draw any unnecessary attention. When Hawklin turned, Kinnabe noticed his eyes were red and swollen, tears still visible on his face. Lowering his voice, he said, “Hawklin, listen closely. I can only say this once. Wait at the entrance to Ice Dragon Pass. You will receive the medicine you need. An unidentified man will meet you there and give it to you. Tell no one. Do you understand?”

When Hawklin nodded, mouth hanging open, Kinnabe turned his horse and headed back inside the gates.

 

 


CHAPTER 2

The knock came as Joron climbed back under the covers, but it was not Kinnabe who entered. Joron quickly sat up, the covers falling away from his naked body just as Diagus stepped into the room. It took a moment for Joron to recognize him. It had been three years, after all. Diagus’s hair had grown and now touched his shoulders in a cascade of shiny black. Joron had been told by many his brother was ruggedly handsome and Joron now had to agree as he looked at the man’s face. The stubble that graced it gave him a very mature appearance. He had always been taller than Joron. Broad in his shoulders, his muscles rippled under a skintight blue shirt. But it was his eyes Joron noticed the most. Nestled under thick dark lashes, they had always been a most stunning blue, but now they seemed piercing and hard as he stood looking at Joron, making Joron uncomfortable.

Diagus ran an intense gaze down Joron’s chest. A smirk appeared, and Joron looked down to see what he could possibly be looking at. The covers had not only fallen away from his chest but had also exposed his hips and private area. Joron grabbed the edges of the quilt and pulled them over himself, suddenly aware of his vulnerability and his nakedness. He jerked his head back up at Diagus and was shocked by the look smoldering on his half brother’s face as he raked Joron again with hard blue eyes. Diagus slowly licked his lips.

“Good morning, brother.” His voice was low and gruff. “Do you always sleep in the nude?”

Joron saw no reason to answer that type of question. “What do you want?”

“Is that any way to greet the brother you haven’t seen in such a long time?”

“I… um…I’m sorry, I…”

Diagus chuckled as he strolled over and sat at Joron’s knee. He took hold of the quilt and pulled at it, trying to uncover Joron again, all the while keeping eye contact with him.

“Time to get up, don’t you think?” He smiled wickedly. “Or get it up.”

Before he could stop Diagus’s fast hands, Joron was exposed again and suddenly Diagus was on top of him. He quickly grabbed Joron’s wrists and pinned him down to the bed. He thrust his hips against Joron’s and grunted as he dived in for Joron’s lips, capturing them and forcing his tongue into Joron’s mouth. Joron cried out and bucked up, trying to throw Diagus off, but that only made Diagus moan against his lips as he pushed down with his body. Finally Joron bit on Diagus’s tongue, which made him jerk back, ending the kiss.

“Bastard! Get off of me,” Joron shouted, as he successfully shoved Diagus off.

“Damn you.” Diagus sat up, holding a hand to his mouth.

Joron bolted upright and reached for his blanket.

Diagus snatched his wrist and, with his free hand, grabbed Joron’s sleeping member. “I haven’t had breakfast yet. Want to feed me?”

Joron cried out “Bastard” again and slapped Diagus away from him one more time.

Diagus released him, only to wrap a hand around the back of Joron’s neck and pull him close. “Bastard, huh? Well, that doesn’t describe me, now does it? But know this. You will be mine, Joron. Do you understand me? Mine.”

Diagus!” The queen stood at the entrance to Joron’s bedroom in a regal blue silk robe that was simply tied at her thin waist and fell heavily to pool around her feet. Her dark but graying hair was swept in a messy updo, strands falling freely around her chiseled face. A simple string of pearls shimmered on her thin neck. Gold bangles twinkled on her arms. A wave of exotic perfume flowed in with her  as her presence filled the room, deep and menacing. Joron hated her, but more so, he feared her.

“What do you think you are doing?” Her icy tone sent shivers up Joron’s back.

Diagus released Joron and stood. He bowed deeply to her. When he straightened, he turned to Joron, smiled again, winked, and walked out of the room, pushing past his mother without excusing himself.

Joron quickly pulled the quilt around him and turned to the queen. An evil smile slashed across her mouth, and in a very sweet voice, she said, “Your father wants to see the both of you in his bedchambers immediately. He is not doing well. It would appear your brother will become king before the end of the day.” She turned, gracefully picking up her dress to follow Diagus. With her back to Joron, she said, “When that happens, Prince Joron, I will see to it that you are removed from this castle.” Her voice suddenly turned dark. “You can go and live with your peasants that you love so much.” With that she swept out of the room.

Joron sat for a moment, not knowing immediately what to do. Her last comment meant nothing, but for a second, Joron thought she might actually know what he had been doing these past years. Of course, she didn’t. If she did, Joron knew without a doubt she would stop him. Erora loved only three things—her status as Queen of Blade Rain, wealth, and Diagus. She had made that very clear every day of his life. If she ever found out Joron gave away anything at all to the “peasants,” she would have Joron executed.

He climbed back out of bed. So his father wanted to see them. There was never any doubt his brother would take the throne. Joron certainly didn’t mind. He was hoping Diagus would be a better king to the people and Joron could finally relax and think about something else he could do with his life instead of running around cleaning up his father’s messes.

But it was strange for them both to be summoned like this, even if he was dying. Maybe Oxys wanted to say good-bye. As odd as that would be for his father—who never cared about anyone else but himself for as long as Joron had known him—he did think it was possible. Maybe the idea of judgment from whatever God he answered to was making him regret some of his life’s choices. Whatever the reason, Joron needed to obey and go to his father’s chambers. He again dressed quickly, wondering if Kinnabe had been able to catch Kalen’s father. If he had, and he had no reason to believe otherwise, he would have no more rest this day. He left his rooms and headed for the king’s chamber.

*          *          *

“What exactly do you think you were doing?” Erora’s voice had always annoyed Diagus, especially when she thought she was being motherly.

The two of them had arrived together at his father’s bedside. Oxys was lying in the massive bed, arms to his side above the covers, his face drawn and pale, his lips in a permanent frown. Diagus was saddened by the fact he would die with that expression.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Diagus was turned sideways to the queen, suddenly concerning himself with whether or not his father was covered properly and his pillow was fluffed under his head in a vain effort to calm his thoughts. It quickly became obvious any effort would be useless. Damn that brother of his for having become what he had become.

“You know full well what I’m talking about. What was that little scene back there with your brother?” Erora took out her handkerchief and covered her mouth and nose, as if there were a smell in the room. Maybe there was. The smell of lurking death.

“Yes, you did interrupt, didn’t you?”

Diagus. He’s your brother.”

Half brother. And don’t be so surprised to have found me in that position. If you had been even a few minutes later, you would have found me in a much more engaging situation. In future, I will remember to either put a guard on the door or lock it.” He turned to her. “And you should knock.” He grinned.

“How can you not be over that stupid obsession you had when you were younger? You’re more like your father every day.”

“I would say I am actually more like you.”

She screamed.

“Oh, Mother, get hold of yourself. It’s not as if you don’t know my—shall we say—needs? That’s what I should have told my precious brother this morning as well, because I fully intend to have my way on this. Get used to it.”

She came toward Diagus, fists clenched. “Diagus. You are to be king. How can you be so selfish? How can you be so depraved?”

Depraved? Me? Now there’s calling the kettle black, isn’t it? There were many reasons for my departure from this hellhole three years ago. Yes, one of them was to get over, as you put it, my obsession with Joron. But one of the others was to escape your indiscretions as well, my dear mother. It’s one thing to have the peasants pay for their needs with their wives and daughters like my father consistently thinks he can demand. At least he doesn’t try to hide his sickness from the people. You, on the other hand, simply jump from bed to bed to bed with nothing to show for it except a face that is finally beginning to show your age, that being one of the closest held secrets of all time.” He ignored her gasp. He was sure she was going to scream again, but she thankfully held back this time. “And, so you know, I have no intentions of going through my life not having what I want, much less what I need. I need Joron, whether you like it or not.”

Erora turned several shades of purple and white, finally ending up a deep red. Diagus would have laughed except he was suddenly concerned for her health. Having one parent already on the edge of death was enough for one day. But backing down was not a strong trait for him.

“I will not have my son going to bed with his brother!”

“What say do you have in it? I am soon to be king, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. I certainly don’t intend to share my authority, even with you. I will declare my brother off-limits to all but me, and he will have to comply or suffer the consequences.” Diagus stopped for a moment, imagining what those consequences could be. He wouldn’t mind administering them. He chuckled. “Yes…yes…”

And just like that, all the hard work he had done in calming himself had gone right out the window. He sat in the chair at his father’s head. Joron and the others would be here soon, and he needed to compose himself. He needed to conduct himself not only as a future king in front of the group of witnesses but also in front of his brother. He had truly gotten off on the wrong foot with him, and if he intended to win his brother over, he would have to act more like a man who could do that very thing.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Portia on Goodreads wrote:

I received this book as an ARC for an honest review. This is a wonderful story, did not want it to end or to put it down. Joron is a young prince who is trying to take care of his people due to his father the king being a bad king. This is his story of adventure and finding love. The emotional roller coaster ride he takes you on is exciting and if you don't cry a few times you are missing a heart. Aric is a king and working on becoming High king when he meets Joron. He will do anything to have him even go to war. Joron's brother is also in love with him and does not care they are half brothers. Joron story is a exception story. I highly recommend to all, even if you don't like MM. The story is to good to pass up. Happy reading.

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.