by Annette Gisby
M/M Fantasy Romance
Cover Art by Ravven
Available in ebook and paperback
The neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir. His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn’t interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.
Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.
With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air , and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?
After discovering that his father wasn’t in his apartments, Severin dumped his pack in his own bedroom and headed off to the mews. Like he’d expected, his father was there with the falconer, expressing concern over one of his hawks. Those birds got more of his father’s attention than Severin had ever received. It was as if once his Queen had given him an heir, King Faran wanted nothing more to do with either of them. Growing up, Severin had spent more time in the women’s apartments than with his father.
It was Chayal who had taught Severin to hunt and how to use all the weapons he was supposed to be able to master. Ildar tutored him in all of the other academic subjects, including magic, but Severin had very little talent for that. It was something he knew disappointed his mother. Perhaps it had disappointed his father also, but since to Faran, Severin was a complete disappointment, it mattered little.
Faran had wanted a warrior for a son, not a scholar. Ill-health during his childhood had made his heart weak, and Severin knew the warrior’s life was not for him. It hadn’t mattered to Faran. He made sure Chayal tested Severin to his limits, and sometimes, Severin was sure he saw his father watching their practices from one of the palace windows.
“So. You’ve returned,” said Faran. “No apology?”
“I have nothing to apologise for, Father,” said Severin, his hands clenched into fists by his sides.
“No? You turn down the best offer of marriage you’ll ever have and you say you have nothing to be sorry for?”
“I don’t want to get married!” protested Severin. “I already told you that.”
“You’re twenty-one years old, and the only heir to the Arcathian throne! What happens when I’m gone and you’re left a bachelor? There’ll be bloodshed if you don’t sire a son and soon. Do you want to bring us back to the brink of civil war? That’s what it will come down to. Leave us,” Faran commanded the falconer. The man bowed and hastily made his retreat, the birds squawked when he did so.
“Chayal told me what happened at your initiation,” said Faran in a much gentler tone. “That you were not pleased by any of the eligible women. There is no shame in it for them or for you, Severin. The prince’s first chosen is an honour and one not lightly bestowed. But why didn’t you go through with it?”
Severin blushed, and mentally made a note never to speak to Chayal again. The man was supposed to be his friend. Then he realised that being the head of the Raven Brotherhood, Chayal’s first loyalties were to his king. They were his father’s bodyguards, not his.
“Have you lain with anyone at all? Perhaps you preferred to keep it private between the two of you?”
“No, Father. No one.” Heat crept into his cheeks as he spoke.
“But don’t you see? This is even better. Anyone offering for you will have to offer a much higher dowry since you’re a virgin, which is unusual for Arcathian males. You could have your pick of princesses,” said Faran, trying to coax him.
Why couldn’t his father understand? Severin didn’t want his pick of princesses. The idea of lying with a woman didn’t interest him. He didn’t dislike women, in fact, Kelandra was one of his best friends, but the thought of being intimate like that with any of them wasn’t something he had ever wanted.
“Father, I am not interested in princesses, or any other women,” said Severin wondering how to tell his father what he really wanted. Severin took a deep breath and just decided to come right out with it. He was already a disappointment to his father, what was one more? “I don’t want to get married, Father. I am not interested in women like that. I’m interested in men.”
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. Being a very small town there were no bookshops and a small library. When she’d devoured every book she could get her hands on in the library, she started writing her own stories so she would always have something to read later.
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