Valley of Shadows
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by Desiree Acuna, Juliette Barrymore
Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica/Fantasy
Description: Enraged at being torn from his own realm on the very eve of battle, Killian was prepared to dispense with the human swiftly and return. Princess Tyra was anything but a helpless mortal female, however. The spell she cast upon him set him at odds with his master's command and his own needs. He struggled with it but discovered there was no fighting the burning need to 'adore' his beloved. Rating: Carnal/erotica--mild BDSM. Captive situation/forced seduction. Adult situations, graphic violence and sexual encounters.
eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: October 2009
41 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [240 KB]
Reading time: 153-214 min.
There was a dream-like quality to the proceedings. Princess Tyra just wasn't certain if she felt more like she was walking through a waking nightmare or a dream as she paced with slow dignity down the isle of the temple, keeping her gaze steadily on the priest and dignitaries who awaited her on the dais at the front of the great hall.
"She's so young!"
She heard the whispers as she passed those high ranking enough to have been invited to witness her coronation just as she was vaguely aware of the sea of faces on either side of her. But she betrayed none of her qualms by so much as the flicker of an eyelash, not to anyone unfamiliar enough with her to note the minute signs of inner turmoil at any rate.
Unconsciously, she lifted a hand to curl her fingers around the amulet her grandmother, the sorceress Queen Zoreena, had given her the night before as if the charm would ward off the sense of impending doom that seemed to weigh more heavily upon her shoulders the closer she came to the dais. The comfort was more a matter of sentiment, though, than any certainty that the amulet held true power that could aid her in any way against the dangers she feared.
Wrought by her great grandmother, a powerful sorceress herself, it had been handed down through the women of her family for generations on their coronation day. The amulet had been her mother's and before that her grandmother, Queen Zoreena's.
It comforted Tyra because she could feel her mother's presence in wearing the token.
It had power. Queen Zoreena had assured her of that, insisted that it contained the most powerful of spells. As her grandmother's apprentice much of her life, Tyra could feel that power. The spell was not the sort of magic that would ward off the dark forces that Princess Tyra imagined she could feel circling above her like a flock of vultures, however. And it could certainly not lighten the heavy mantle of rule Tyra was about to don.
The spell the amulet contained had been created by Queen Zoreena for her mother when she had been much the same age that Tyra was now. Women of wealth and power such as themselves could only count on one thing, and that was that everyone around them fawned upon them for the wealth and power they could bestow. No one truly saw them as a woman, beautiful, plain, or anywhere in between, regardless of how they might have been seen without the mantle of power. Queen Zoreena had pointed out the advantages inherent in that, and yet, despite the position she had been born to, she was still a woman. She still yearned to love and be loved and she had been determined to bestow that gift upon her daughter and granddaughter.
The amulet contained a love potion. When a man had been chosen for her, Tyra had the means to insure herself of his love and absolute devotion.
She had mixed feelings about it, but she had not wanted to voice them to her grandmother. It was all very well and good to know that she could bespell the man she would be forced to choose as consort, and the spell, she didn't doubt, would make him love her and insure his loyalty, but she would never know if he could have loved her without the spell.
It wasn't that she wasn't grateful for the gift. She was, not the least because it was something that had belonged to the mother she could not even remember, for both of her parents had been set upon by assassins and slain when she was little more than a toddling babe.
The fact that it had been her mother's comforted her, not the spell it contained, but the knowledge that her mother had worn this same amulet near her heart. Wearing it, she felt almost as if she could feel her mother's loving, protective embrace.
And she wondered if her father had truly loved her mother, or if he was merely enthralled by the spell contained within the amulet.
And she wondered if the doubt had tormented her mother, for it was widely known that her mother had adored the man she'd chosen as consort.
It would torment her, she thought, though she had not wanted to say so to her grandmother. But wasn't it as bad, she thought, to wonder whether the man one loved was devoted because he was ensorcelled as to doubt whether he was more enamored with the wealth and power of position than with oneself?
She didn't have to use the potion. She would be queen. She could look about herself for a man of rank who appealed to her as a woman, allow him to woo her. She was no fool. Her grandmother had not simply trained her as a sorceress. She had been grooming her to ascend the throne her entire life, teaching her to watch for telltale signs of treachery and subterfuge and plain out lies. It would take a very clever, very smooth rogue to dupe her.
Unfortunately, she thought wryly, like her grandmother, she had a penchant for rakes and rogues. There was just something about the element of danger one sensed in dealing with that sort of man that excited her.
Truthfully, it was more than a 'sense' of danger as she knew from hard experience. Her grandmother had had many lovers in her time and she had seen no harm in Tyra taking lovers, as well, in fact had recommended it as the only way to mature as a woman and gain a better understanding of men and their ways--an understanding she would need when she became queen herself. Her only caveat had been that Tyra use discretion and good sense in bestowing her favors. She had not been able to use either in her first affair because she had thought that she was madly in love.
Her gaze flickered to her grandmother on the thought and she scanned the older woman for any signs of weakness. She saw none and she wondered yet again why it was that her grandmother had decided to abdicate so that she could be crowned queen. Her heart squeezed uncomfortably in her chest. She should not be taking the throne now. She had not expected to do so before her grandmother's death and the fear wouldn't leave her that her grandmother knew that death stood at her shoulder even now.
She could not do this, she thought a little wildly, without her grandmother to guide her!
She understood her grandmother's reasoning, or at least the tale her grandmother had woven for her. There was unrest within the realm of Bandar. There always had been, at least in Tyra's lifetime, certainly in her mother's or she would be alive today. There was a very real danger that the realm would descend into chaos when Queen Zoreena died because she, her grandmother's successor, was so young. It seemed reasonable to see her granddaughter crowned while she was still alive and able to guide her granddaughter, to ensure that Tyra had a firm grip on the reigns of power.