This is the fourth of the Flowers of Camelot series, but may be read as a standalone story. The Yule season has come to Castle Came-a-lot. With the annual influx of family, Prince Undain, the last unmarried son of King Arthur, decides to retreat to the tower he shares with his partner, Prince Dennac. It is there that Dennac brings Magnolia, the woman he rescues from a shipwreck. Fleeing from a dangerous arranged marriage, she quickly accepts the offer of marriage from Undain and Dennac. Almost immediately, their honeymonth takes an unexpected turn. With the loss of her virginity, Magnolia sprouts wings, leading them to the inescapable conclusion that she is half-faery. And once faeries sprout their wings, they require frequent hot sex. Dennac and Undain eagerly meet Magnolia's new demands even as they deal with the Yule celebrations and threats from the evil Prince Rugat.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Magnolia by Anny Cook
She woke next to a fire, bound so tightly she could barely breathe. Panicking, she rolled frantically from side to side, trying to free herself from her bonds. The last energetic twist took her right to the edge of the fire just as two men bolted into the room with alarmed shouts.
Her view of the room was a frightening, dizzying smear of color as one man snatched her up in his arms while the other patted out tiny smoldering flickers of flame with his bare hands. By the time her whirling brain caught up with what they were doing, she was seated in a huge chair, still wrapped in blankets while both men glowered at her.
"Let me go!" she cried.
"Quiet!" Long dark hair slithered over the man's shoulders as he planted his hands on his hips and stared at her with a frown. "What did you think you were doing? It's insulting that you would choose to burn to death before even meeting us."
His companion, nearly his match in height and build, had silky pale purple hair that fell past his waist. As he tightened the belt of his bulky warm robe, his twinkling green eyes met hers, striking a faint familiar chord. "One would think that you would at least thank us for your rescue from the sea."
Abruptly the memories pounded at her--memories of sinking below the cold relentless waves as the ship was tossed on the rocks lining the shore. She gasped as she recalled her reasons for leaping into the freezing waters. "I have to hide!"
"No need," the dark-haired man assured her gently. "No one will find you here. No one will harm you while you're under our protection."
"Protection?" There was a predatory gleam in their eyes as they stood side by side, watching her with hungry intentness. She suspected that her idea of protection differed radically from their idea of protection.
Then the dark-haired man crouched on his heels in front of her. "I am Undain. This is my blood brother, Dennac. And we claim you as our woman...our wife. We will protect you from your enemies."
"W-wife?" she stuttered.
"Wife," Dennac confirmed implacably.
Could it be that simple? she wondered. Was it possible that fate had flung her into the arms of the only men who could truly deliver her from the terrible destiny King Xurca planned for her? Even at Xurca's closed court, their names and reputations were spoken with envy and fear. Undain, son of King Arthur, and Dennac, son of Prince Dazhdbog, leader of the unicorns, had enough influence and prestige to thwart Xurca's plans. Grimly she determined to grasp the opportunity for rescue with both hands. Though inexperienced, she had been reared in the King's Hall and was no stranger to the idea of polyamorous groups so two men didn't deter her. And since it was made clear to her from a very early age that she would be expected to enter in an advantageous marriage with one of the king's allies, she had never expected a love match. A statement of claim was as good as a formal engagement on continental Avalon.
"What is your name, little one?" Undain asked as he carefully loosened the folds in her tight cocoon.
Dennac nodded. "A beautiful name for a beautiful woman."
Undain stood, swept her up in his arms and headed for the winding staircase.
"W-where are we going?" she asked through chattering teeth.
"To the bathroom. You need a hot shower, some warm food and sleep, in that order. Then tomorrow, we'll discuss our marriage."