Thursday, October 26, 2006


Prince of Desire

In Phoenix Rising II Anthology


Donna Grant


Summer, 1268

Somewhere in the Highlands of Scotland

After years of searching, he had finally found her.

After weeks of watching, he would now have her.

Lucian Sinclair inhaled the cool, crisp air of the Highlands. He had waited for this day for as long as he could remember. Ever since his father, King Urises, had told his sons they must find their mates before the fifth moon of the Harvest year, Lucian had prepared for this day.

Drahcir, his homeland, was deep in the heart of the Ben Nevis Mountains. A land so secret that no one knew of its existence and it was essential to its survival that it continue that way.

Centuries ago, a scorned Fae princess cursed their small kingdom. Since that black day, the princes and princesses of the royal house had been forced to seek their eternal mates and convince them to return to the kingdom, or the city and its occupants would cease to exist.

Already Lucian had spent nearly two years searching for his mate, but now that he had found her, he wanted to make sure he treaded slowly in approaching her. Thankfully, time moved slower in his hidden city, allowing him the time he needed to accomplish his mission.

He watched as she finished cleaning the tables in the small tavern, her glorious brown hair hanging down her back in a thick braid. Her laughter drifted to him through the open window as she and the owner’s wife talked and put the last chair atop the table.

Her aura, that had led him to her, glowed bright and solid despite her meager living and tired, slender body. Soon he would take her away from all this. Very soon.

His hand flexed on the hilt of his sword as she waved good-bye to the owners and walked from the tavern. She passed within strides of him as he hid in the shadows. Lucian waited until she had ventured down the road that led to her small cottage before he whistled for his stallion. His horse came immediately and he hurriedly mounted.

It was everything Lucian could do not to snatch her up and carry her away with him to Drahcir, yet she must enter the gates of the kingdom willingly or all would be lost. Many times he had cursed that rule the Fae had put into place, but they were bound to it just as they were bound to the hidden city.

He kept a firm hand on the reins as Aled pranced beneath him, eager for a run. Lucian counted to ten then loosened the reins to give the stallion his head. He loved the night and everything about it, both the velvety darkness and the brightness of the moon, both the sounds and the peace.

They had traveled nearly halfway to his mate’s cottage when he heard the male laughter ... and then the ear piercing scream.

He knew in his soul the cry belonged to his mate. With a growl, he unsheathed his sword and nudged the stallion into a run.

The wind whipped at his hair and cloak as the ground raced beneath him. His blood froze in his veins as he realized because he had been so careful to give his mate time, he might have sealed her death.

What Lucian saw when he came upon the group made him break into a cold sweat. Four burly, filthy men surrounded his mate. Three held her while another unlaced his trousers.

White hot fury consumed Lucian. He leaned low over his mount and charged them. It was just the surprise he needed to scatter the men in every direction. He wheeled Aled around and waited.

One of the brigands recovered and attacked. Lucian kicked out his right leg, landing the toe of his boot square in the man’s nose, smashing bone instantly.

The man howled and fell to the ground with his hands over his face. Lucian stared at the other three, waiting for their next attack. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted his mate hiding behind a tree.

Isabelle knew she should run and never look back, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the huge man on horseback. Even in the darkness with only the full moon for light, he was intimidating and powerful. Yet, the fools that tried to rape her continued to attack him.

She stared, spellbound, as he used his feet, sword, shield and horse to defeat the remaining three men. A smile pulled at her lips as she looked at the four men rolling around on the ground moaning in pain.

“Serves them right,” she whispered.

And then her savior turned towards her.

Isabelle slowly came to her feet, but didn’t move towards him. She knew these woods and she could lose him in them if necessary.

His cloak was thrown over his shoulders to reveal dark clothing of fine quality. Even if she hadn’t seen his clothing, she would know by his mount that he wasn’t a peasant. Besides, peasants couldn’t fight as he had.

“Thank you,” she said.

He bowed his dark head before dismounting and wiping the blood from his sword on the tunic of one of the injured men. Once it was sheathed, he again looked at her. “Are you hurt?”

The deep treble of his voice surrounded her, enchanted her. She slowly shook her head.

“I am not here to harm you,” he said leisurely, as if speaking to a child or a frightened animal.

In truth, Isabelle was terrified. More than she cared to admit. She had lived in the small village all her life and never once came upon any ruffians who would do her harm until tonight. And though she should be glad someone was there to aid her, he was a stranger.

“Who are you?” she asked softly.

He smiled and bowed his head as if he were introducing himself to a queen. “I am Lucian Sinclair.”

As soon as he had said his name, she felt a tremor run through her, though it wasn’t from terror. It was almost like ... recognition.

Copyright © Donna Grant 2006

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