Authors: Lola Kidd
Catherine clapped her hands. “Oh, Lena! I’m so glad you said yes.”
“I didn’t ask her!” Troy protested. He had gone back to the castle and fetched his brother and sister while Lena’s clan had returned to their beds. When he returned to the waiting trio, Lena had promptly announced that she would marry agree to marry him if he would allow her people to stay at Castle Blackfire as full citizens. Catherine was jumping and squealing with delight like she was a little girl. This was incredible. He had to be hearing wrong.
“I know you haven’t,” Lena said. “But I’m offering. I know you’re in trouble and there aren’t very many ways to get out of it.”
“I’ve already decided that I will marry Hera and leave Castle Blackfire,” Troy said flatly. “Thank you for your generous offer, Princess. I’m sure that my brother as the new heir to the throne would be more than happy to accept.”
Troy’s dragon protested so hard he was sure the others could hear. Its thrashing and turning was so violent Troy took a step back. He had only felt this way once before. When he was told his parents had died, his dragon had reacted very similarly. He felt like he was going to lose control of his beast.
“Are you alright, Troy?” Tavis put a hand on his shoulder.
Troy nodded. “I…yes, I’m fine.”
Tavis gave him a searching look before nodding too. “Fine, but I refuse to take your place as heir to Castle Blackfire.”
“I do too,” Catherine said quickly. “Don’t be stupid, Troy. You’re the only one who can lead our people. Neither of us wants this more than you. Now that you have a partner, I think you’ll be much happier.”
“I am marrying Hera,” Troy said desperately. His dragon continued its assault. He was barely holding on. Surely his dragon couldn’t be that attached to the woman? “I have to do this. It’s the only way to keep our clans from going to war.”
“No, it isn’t,” Lena said. “Once we’re married, we’ll tell everyone that it was to help keep your line strong. We’ve had inbred royal lines in Europe and it’s not a pretty sight. You’d do best to avoid forcing siblings to marry.”
“She’s right,” Catherine said. “Remember the stories about the flightless dragons? It took generations for them to right that.”
Tavis nodded, smiling. “Yes, and as soon as you two marry, you can pledge that one of your children will be wed to Hera’s children. There’s no way she could turn down that offer without offending her clan.”
Troy’s dragon was in agreement. It ceased its assault when he started considering what his brother and sister were saying. It did make sense. But would Hera go for it?
“We can do the marriage right here,” Ellia suggested when Troy didn’t object right away.
Troy shook his head but he couldn’t think of anything to say. He didn’t want to have to leave his clan. Lena was smiling at him encouragingly. Only moments before he had resigned himself to a life with a woman he hated, and now there was a whole world of possibility in front of him. He didn’t know Lena very well or even know what she was but at least he would be with his clan. And his dragon seemed to like her very much.
“I don’t think we can have a wedding here,” Troy said. “We would need to wake Remus.”
Tavis clapped him on the back. “Very good, brother. Congratulations. I’ll go wake the old man.”
Tavis shimmied out of his clothes before Troy could have second thoughts. He shifted to his dragon and was off. Troy watched him with butterflies in his stomach.
“You’re going to be so happy here.” Catherine took Lena’s hands in her own. “I don’t know what’s happened where you’re from, but that’s all behind you now. I knew you would come around. I could feel it. You and Troy belong together.”
“Don’t be dramatic, Catherine.”
She didn’t let go of Lena’s hands. “You doubt me, brother, but without me you would be marrying that horrible woman. I can’t even believe you were serious.”
“I have to do what’s best for the clan, Catherine.”
“This is what’s best...and it’s all my doing. I want a place of honor when you announce the marriage to the clan.”
“That’s very fine. We’ll wait to do it until after Hera has left for Eternal Sun.” He looked at his soon-to-be wife. “I’m am very grateful, Lena. Are you sure you want to do this?”
Troy swooped in with a deep green smaller dragon. Both transformed down and came to join the group. Lena made sure to avert her eyes as they approached. She was going to have to get used to naked people if she was going to be queen of Clan Blackfire.
“I hear congratulations are in order.” Remus was smiling from ear to ear. “I am glad we’ve found a way out of this.”
“Me too, Remus.” Troy shook his hand. “Thank you for coming out this late and helping us.”
“My pleasure.” The old man drew himself up to his full height. “Now, we have to make this very proper. I’ll marry you here and you each have two witnesses from your respective clans. I’m sure Hera will contest this marriage as soon as she hears about it.”
“We’re going to keep it secret until she leaves,” Tavis said. “If anyone finds out, we’ll know there is a mole and the list will be very short.”
Catherine laughed. “Fat chance! Oh, we’ll have to have a big party tomorrow night to celebrate. Do you think we can, Troy?”
“We can wait for the coronation,” Tavis said. “That will give us a few days to prepare. I want this party to be glorious for my big brother.”
“We’ll have to wait three days from the ceremony to have the coronation,” Remus said. “And of course I assume you’ll consummate the marriage tonight. No need to leave Hera any space to argue.”
Troy’s dragon circled once. It was happy at the thought of the outdated custom. “Is that really…”
“Yes,” Remus said. “We have to do this by the books. It’s bad enough we’re doing it in secret. We can give her nothing to use against you.”
Troy nodded while his dragon soared. He was going to have start listening to his dragon more often. “If you say so.”
He looked at Lena and took her hand. “Shall we begin?”
She gave him a weak smile. “Yes. That would be wonderful.”
“This is my room…well, our room I for now.” Troy showed her his sitting area. “I have this small room and then the sleeping chambers back there.”
Lena looked around the room. It was much smaller than any suite she had ever had and it was decorated very sparely.
“You don’t like it,” Troy said.
“No, it’s fine,” Lena assured him. It was not fine. She just wanted to get the night over with already. She hadn’t thought about consummating the marriage. She was just going to have to lie back and think of her tribe. It would be over before she knew it anyway.
“I can tell you hate it. It’s entirely too masculine and cold for a woman. You can have a suite of your own set up right next to mine. I’ll make Tavis move to the wing near Catherine.”
Lena smiled. A suite of her own, even if it was small, would be very nice. He was trying to be nice, and she appreciated that, but her stomach was still in knots. She had known she would have to get married to aid her tribe but she had never imagined that it would be to a shifter. She was going to do a marvelous job as queen of Blackfire, but would she be a good wife to Troy? He was so uptight and didn’t trust anyone. He was a good prince and dedicated to his clan and that spoke volumes about his character.
Troy cleared his throat. “Would you like to see the bedroom?”
“I should warn you now that the bloom fell off my flower many years ago,” Lena said bluntly. There was no point in pussyfooting around the subject.
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
Lena blushed. “I mean I am no blushing maid.”
Troy visibly relaxed. “Good! I was so nervous that you had no idea what’s going on here. I don’t know the customs of where you come from and I didn’t want to offend.”
“I am your wife now. You can’t offend me with frank talk.” Lena didn’t mention that she was only slightly more experienced than a blushing maid. She might have been part of the group gatherings, but she had only actually been with two men. Truth be told, she wasn’t sure how to act with just one man in a room alone. With a whole group, things were so fluid and it just happened. As she followed Troy to his bedroom, she prayed she wouldn’t make a fool of herself.
Troy’s bed was covered in a black fur. She wondered what kind of animal had fur that richly black. She ran her hand across the pelt.
“Do you like it? I can get you one of your own. It’s the perfect weight for our nights.”
“What kind of animal is this?” Lena was picturing some kind of bear in her mind.
“It’s called a rast. When they’re young, they’re furry and small but they grow to enormous size. This is only half of the pelt.”
“Only half! My God, this thing isn’t in the forest, is it?”
Troy laughed. “Not in this forest, no. There’s nothing this big near the castle. The big game is on uninhabited islands. I can show you sometime.”
“Yes, I should familiarize myself with your lands. I don’t know much about this place at all.”
Troy sat on the bed. “It’s hard to believe that you aren’t from here and that you can do magic. I would like to see this Earth of yours.”
Lena sat down too. “Not everyone can do magic. It’s very similar to your land, actually. There are no dragon-shifters but there are other kinds of shifters.”
He looked disappointed. “Magic must be special if so few can do it everywhere.”
“I imagine there must be a land where everyone uses magic. Where there are whole cities built of magic alone and everything changes to fit people’s whims.”
“That sounds very confusing. Do you do that where you live?”
“No. The humans wouldn’t appreciate that very much and they greatly outnumber our kind.”
“Non-supernatural. You know, they can’t shift or do magic. They live short, boring lives and then they die.” Lena put her hand over her mouth. She sounded like Sophia. “I’m sure they live fascinating lives. I’ve just never known one well.”
“So what do they do with themselves? And why would you be afraid of them if they can’t use magic?”
“We can’t just kill them. They live their lives and we live ours. It’s better to live harmoniously with the humans than to try to work against them. It’s much nicer for everyone that way.”
“You’ve seen much in your life. It must be fantastic to be on a world with so much different life.”
“You don’t even know the half of it. Ellia is the one who’s traveled, though. I haven’t seen much more than two continents. She has stories for days about the different people of Earth.”
“I hope that Manna doesn’t bore you. We only have a few different species.”
“How could I be bored on an alien land?” she asked, incredulous. Now that she could relax, she was going to have fun exploring this world. Once she had taken care of the Sophia and Margaret problem, she was going to live very differently.
“I just want you to be comfortable, Lena. Now that I know I can trust you, I would like to make this your home too.”
“I’d like that too.” She smiled at him. He really was quite handsome. More so even than his brother. There was something in his eyes that set him apart.
Troy leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers, barely grazing her lips with his own. Lena froze, surprised. His lips were warm and softer than she had imagined. She leaned forward and returned his kiss.
She put her hand on the side of Troy’s face as his tongue explored her mouth. He looked clean-shaven but she was surprised to feel stubble under her palm. He moaned and pulled her closer to him. She moved her hand down from his face to his chest. Hard muscle tensed under her hand. He was solid, like a rock. She leaned back and pulled off his light shirt. She didn’t care if she was being too forward. She had seen glimpses of him without a shirt and now she wanted to see just what he looked like under all the gauzy material.
Lena was not disappointed. His skin was golden tan and she could see almost every muscle in his torso. Her mouth watered as she ran her palm across his hard stomach. His abs rippled as she got closer to the top of his pants. The light material wasn’t concealing Troy’s rapidly growing erection. Lena had been nervous and afraid before but now she was just curious…and hot. So hot. He was her husband. She could do whatever she pleased. Even if he was a shifter, he was
shifter now. A dragon of her very own.
She ran her palm over the tenting fabric of his pants and his hips pushed off the bed. She pressed against him and his abs rippled as he tensed. He growled low in his chest and Lena smiled.
He moved her hand away. “Stand up.”
She did as he commanded and got to her feet. Troy stood behind her and started on the row of buttons down her back. Once he had all the buttons undone, he peeled the light fabric off her arms and let it drop at her feet. She was standing with her back to him in only her underclothes. She hadn’t put on the second layer of the dress when she went out to the forest since it made it harder to walk.
Her breath caught as Troy unbuttoned her white, thin strapped underclothes. When he was done, he ran his hand down the bare skin of her back. She shivered as he pulled the straps from her shoulders and down her body. She stepped out of the pool of fabric at her feet and faced Troy naked.
His eyes swept across her body, lingering on her full breasts and the triangle of hair between her legs. Once he reached her feet, his eyes traveled slowly back to her face. He pulled off his pants.
Lena’s eyes immediately went to his hard erection. She had avoided looking at him when he was naked before, but now that he was fully hard, it was hard not to stare. His body was magnificent. All muscle and sinews. Lena couldn’t help but reach out and touch his abs again. She wanted to touch every inch of him. There were fae with great bodies too but none like this. Even her knights couldn’t hold a candle to Troy.
“Your body is amazing,” Troy breathed as he took one of her breasts in his hand. He rubbed her nipple between his fingers and she moaned. “I knew you were hiding a beautiful body under those dresses, but you are more beautiful than I even imagined.”
Lena closed the distance between them and stood on her toes to kiss him. He put his strong arm around her and pulled her close. Their bodies were pressed tightly together as they kissed. Lena wiggled in his arms. She wanted him to touch her. It was like Troy could read her mind because as they kissed, he reached his hand behind her and palmed her ass in his hand. He worked his fingers between her legs from the back. He barely grazed her wetness, teasing her.
She wanted to press harder against his chest and back against his hand at the same time. It was so frustrating! She groaned and pressed her bottom against his hand while keeping her chest pressed tightly against him. Troy chuckled and explored her wet folds with his hand.
He pressed two fingers against her entrance softly until she was panting. Then he picked her up in his arms and carried her to the bed. He set her down softly on top of the pelt and climbed on top of her.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Troy asked, running his fingers up and down her thigh.
“Yes, I am,” Lena said. She wrapped her hand around his cock and pumped him once before releasing him. His eyes fluttered closed and he groaned.
“Good, because I can’t wait any longer.” He pushed her back against the bed and pulled her legs around his waist. He entered her slowly. Very slowly. She clasped her legs together behind his back and urged him on. It was no use. Troy wasn’t going to be rushed. He took his time stretching her open. She was panting and clawing at his back once he was all the way inside of her.
“Move!” she begged him.
“If you insist.” He leaned down on his forearms over her and fucked her quickly. He held nothing back. The quick change of pace drove Lena wild. She closed her eyes and held on tight as he fucked her wildly.
Her hands grew warm as pleasure coiled in her lower belly. Her vision clouded as she came hard. Troy called out above her as she came again a few seconds later. She felt boneless. He slowed his pace before thrusting into her hard three times and filling her with his seed.
Troy rolled off her, breathing hard.
“We’re officially married now.” Lena was smiling. Being married to a dragon did have its perks.
“You burned me,” Troy said, stunned.
“What?” Lena stopped smiling.
He rolled over and touched his shoulder blade, smiling. “You burned me.”
Lena looked at his back. There were two red handprints, one on his shoulder blade and one on his lower back. She was humiliated. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be.” Troy leaned back and closed his eyes. “It doesn’t hurt. Tavis has done much worse while we’ve been roughhousing. Don’t worry about it.”
“But I burned you!”
“Lena, I’m a dragon. I’ve gotten burned before.”
“Oh.” She was quiet for a moment. “I don’t know how that happened. I’ve never burned anyone before.”
“No one’s ever given you a reason before.”
“Hm…maybe we could do it again? You know, just to see if it happens again.”
Troy pulled her on top of him. “Of course. For science.”
Troy was awakened by a pounding. He ignored it and pulled Lena closer. She had fallen asleep tucked under the rast blanket naked. He pulled the cover back and looked at her naked body. He wanted to wake her so they could have sex again but she looked so peaceful he let her sleep. There would be time for more lovemaking later. He would take her for a flight after they announced their marriage.
The pounding continued. Troy eased out of bed and went to answer the door so it wouldn’t wake Lena. It had better be important to make him leave his bed while she was in it. He threw open the door with a scowl that was quickly replaced by a deep frown. He pulled the door closed some but he wasn’t fast enough.
“Well, I see that I’ve caught you at a bad time,” Hera spat. “I just wanted to see goodbye before I left this morning.”
“I’ve asked you many times not to come to my bedchambers unannounced, Hera.”
“My apologies,” she said sarcastically. “Had I known you were warming your bed with some dirty peasant, I would have been sure to come back later.”
“Goodbye, Hera. Have a safe trip home.”
She put her hand up to stop him from closing the door. “What is that smell?”
“You’re being vulgar. I’ll see you when you next invite me to Eternal Sun.”
Hera tried to see behind him to his bed. “Who is that?”
He pushed her back slightly. “That’s none of your business.”
Troy closed the door. His heart was beating fast. He had wanted to wait to announce his new marriage for this reason. Hera was very possessive of him even if she had no claim. Now her hackles were up. He hoped she didn’t connect the smell with Lena. He had forgotten how keen Hera’s senses were. She was a very powerful dragon. Another reason that she needed to be far away when she found out he had married the alien princess.
He would have no trouble defeating Hera and forcing her out of Castle Blackfire, but she would still be able to do a considerable amount of damage before he got her away from the village. He hoped she would still leave as planned. Troy went back to bed and lay next to Lena worrying until she woke up.
“Good morning,” she said shyly.
“Good morning, wife.” He kissed her forehead. “We have a very big day ahead of us.”
She nodded. “Yes. I’ll go back to my chambers to get dressed. I hope we aren’t too late for breakfast.”
“We’ll be one of the first ones there. My maid hasn’t even come to wake me yet.”
“Good. I can sneak back to my room without being seen.”
She climbed out of bed and he took the moment to admire her naked body in the daylight. It was even better when he could see all of her. She pulled on her dress and underclothes. “Could you button me up?”
Troy got out of bed and helped her dress. “It seems wrong for me to be putting more clothes on you.”
She smiled at him over her shoulder. “We’ll have time to…get to know each other. Right now, I need to get out of here before I’m seen. I don’t want to spoil the big announcement.”
Troy nodded. He looked down the hall to make sure the coast was clear before Lena left his room. He waited in bed reading until the maid knocked on his door to wake him. He wore nothing special to breakfast. If he had been in anything but his usual black pants and white shirt, people would have known something was coming. He was actually going to enjoy giving them all a surprise. He wasn’t the spontaneous prince and it was always Tavis who got to have all the fun. Or Catherine, when she swept into the dining hall in an extravagant new dress, but this time it was Troy who was going to get to make a scene.
He took his time going downstairs and almost everyone was seated and eating by the time he arrived. Ellia gave him a cheeky grin when he sat down.
“You’re late to breakfast. Tough night?” she inquired.
“You could say that.” Troy smiled at Lena.
“I’d like to make the announcement now,” Tavis said.
“Why do you think you’ll get to do it?” Catherine asked. “I should get to be the one to announce it. It was my idea, after all.”
“None of you will be announcing anything,” Troy said. “Remus gets the honors.”
“Thank you, sir.” Remus beamed and got to his feet. He cleared his throat and tried to call for quiet but his voice was lost in the morning conversation.
“Oh, for goodness sake.” Allen stood up. “EVERYBODY QUIET!”
Chatter subsided in the room and everyone turned to stare at the foreigner. Allen nodded to Remus.
“Right. I am very pleased to announce the marriage of our dear Prince Troy to.…”
“You can’t marry that witch!”
“Don’t do it, your highness!”
Pleas erupted all over the dining hall. Allen’s eyebrows came together.
“They think he’s married Hera!” Tavis laughed. “Better get them to quiet down again.”
Allen stood up and yelled again. “LET THE MAN FINISH!”
“As I was saying,” Remus continued with a smile. “The marriage of the dear Prince Troy to Princess Lena of the Northlands Fae.”
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop as all eyes turned to Lena and Troy. There was a pause before cheers broke out and people started singing. People came forward to congratulate the couple and offer their blessings. If they were this happy about the wedding, Troy couldn’t wait to see their reaction to the party he was about to throw.