The Price of Surrender
Copyright 2012 by D.L. Warner
Prince Armas of Ritvala, son of Magnus had never been known for patience. But then, he had never had to wait for anything. He was born to power and was graced with his father’s fine looks and physique. Everything came easily to him – adulation, women and eventually a rule of his own were his for the taking. For twenty-eight summers, life had been almost all that Armas could ask it to be. And then he met someone who did not see life as Armas did. With that meeting, the Prince’s world changed from all that he had known.
Princess Sarianna of Arinpera, daughter of Vauraus, was to marry by royal decree. The Regency of her rich and powerful kingdom would belong to the suitor who won her hand. What’s more, the lore that came from the kingdom proclaimed Sarianna’s singular beauty. Thus, Armas traveled to Arinpera with his brothers and his father with the plan that one of the sons would win Sarianna’s hand and her power. But the Fates and circumstances conspired against the much-graced Armas. Sarianna was everything the accounts had claimed and more. Never had Armas met such a beauty. Her hair was as dark as a raven’s feather tumbled in soft waves to nearly her waist. Her eyes were large and darkest blue. She had a face and a form so lovely she could haunt men’s dreams and a fire and an intelligence that he had never found in another woman. Armas wanted Sarianna like he wanted nothing before.
However, Sarianna did not want Armas. Her eye fell upon his youngest brother, Nikulainen, who chanced to protect her from assassins as they arrived at Almourol Citadel. This did not matter at first. Though his brother was graced with the golden beauty of his magical mother, Nikulainen was third in succession. More importantly, he was a half-caste born of a hostage taken in one of King Magnus’ drive for conquest. Granted, Lady Reija and her son were treated like family, but it was never forgotten that they were property of the King. But the Fates made mischief in Arinpera. The attempted assassination prompted King Vauraus to ask Nikulainen alone to protect Sarianna. Whatever whiles the hostage bride had used to ensnare King Magnus; Armas believed Nikulainen had worked the same on his Sarianna. While Armas was off protecting her lands from an unnamed foe, she pledged herself to Nikulainen.