Their passion is perfection...but treachery lurks in the shadows.
Emilia ra Elawyn, Princess of the Silverhaven Bright Elves, is shocked when she overhears her stepmother's plans to banish her from court to the dry deserts of the barbarian horde. Emilia's sin? Her magical stone, the source of the power to rule over her people, has not awakened. Without it she can never claim the throne.
Desperate to escape her fate, she offers herself to a visiting Shadow Elf ambassador--and his guard. Once compromised, she's certain the barbarians will refuse her.
Rorek Northmark can't deny the princess tempts him to distraction. It isn't as simple as allowing himself--and his guard, Jo'el--to indulge in her luscious body. Touching her means getting tangled up in court politics, the one thing he wants to avoid. Still, her plea touches the only soft spot in his hardened heart, and he can't bring himself to push her away.
Yet nothing is as it seems in the Bright Court, and their one night of exquisite pleasure could trap them all in a web of mortal danger...
Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex (including m/m and m/f/m), naughty language, some magical sex along with sexual magic, a desperate princess and the men who love her, elves and spells and betrayal oh my! and enough heat to start small fires. Cold drink recommended.
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June 29, 2009
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Excerpt from Flawed by Ember Case
The word echoed in Emilia's ears as she slipped unnoticed from the quiet hall outside the receiving room. Futile tears unexpectedly spilled from her eyes and she fled blindly down the palace halls. But she couldn't outrun the venomous words she had overheard spilling from her stepmother's lips.
"With no Stone of Power, she isn't much use to her father here at court. That sliver of dead mineral on her forehead is every bit as useless as the time she wastes with the mages. King Vayle has agreed to send her away if the stone still has not awoken after her birthmoon has passed." Satisfaction had been clearly evident in Gisa's voice. Emilia had lingered in the hallway, unnoticed by the ladies gathered just inside the doorway.
"Where would the king send her?" The question came from one of the handful of women clustered around Gisa like so many vultures around a fresh carcass. Gossip was the currency of the court and word that the princess could soon effectively be banished was high coin indeed.
"Does it truly matter? To the deserts of the south likely. There are many clan lords that will gladly take a princess of the forest in handfast. Several of the clansmen we welcomed tonight have expressed an interest in such a union. Even with one so flawed."
Her father's consort had never hidden her distaste for Emilia. In the dozen years since Gisa had seduced her way into Vayle's bed, she'd driven every wedge possible between the king and his daughter. What had begun as a somewhat-discreet power play had developed into a dislike for Emilia that her stepmother no longer tried to hide. Now her stepmother was openly reveling in the thought that soon, Emilia could be removed from the court for good. Gisa was not from Silverhaven herself, and could not claim the title of Queen to the Bright Elf people. But she hungered for every scrap of power she could claw from her marriage to the king.
Anger, humiliation and pain screamed in her heart for release. Her father was nearing the end of his mortal life. The man who had once carried her on his shoulders and taught her to love the forest he ruled had faded away to a shell of the striking figure he once had been. Even the Stone of Power that had once pulsed between his eyes had begun to dim. If Gisa succeeded in having Emilia removed from court, how long would it be before the king's consort ruled the council, the palace fortress of Silverhaven, even the great forest of Silvertop, queen in all but name?
The noise of the court's revelry was fading behind her as she rounded another twisting turn in the maze that formed the palace halls. With fumbling fingers, Emilia pushed open the next door she came to and slipped soundlessly into the shadow-filled room. Closing it behind her, she leaned her overheated face against the wood's comforting coolness. Her escape may not have been elegant, but with any luck it had gone unnoticed. Taking a deep breath and holding it in, she listened for signs anyone had noticed her departure and followed her.
She heard nothing but the rapid pounding of her heart and the shallow breaths she forced into her burning lungs. The tears she refused to let fall were blinked away, and she swallowed against the bitter taste of defeat that lingered in their wake. Satisfied her escape from the court receiving line had not been seen, Emilia sagged against the door in relief.
Attempting to calm herself from the ugly scene she had fled, she rolled her flushed face against the coolness of the wood. First one side, then the other, before she let the warming surface press against the useless dark rock that rested in her forehead. There was a distant sensation of pressure where the stone met her flesh, an unwanted reminder of her most obvious shortcoming. The stone that should have been a source of great magical power was nothing more than a daily reminder that she was, indeed, as flawed as a princess could be.
A low moan from the room behind her jerked her from her thoughts. Spinning around to find the source, Emilia stared openmouthed in surprise at the scene before her.
Firelight cast a dim light over a couple near the fireplace. A large male body reclined across the brocade cushions of a finely carved settee, one long leg propped against the back of the small sofa and one braced on the floor. His thighs were spread wide, giving her a clear view of the naked muscled chest that rose from a slender waist. A cream-colored shirt of the finest shadowsilk was unbuttoned across his skin, framing the sculpted muscles and smooth ebony skin in light.
His head was thrown back in abandoned pleasure, allowing shadows to flicker across the planes of his face. A rising flame threw him into light, and then his features were cast again into the shadows. Through the haze of shock she felt a stab of recognition. Rorek Northmark, Lord Magician of Darkknell, the visiting ambassador and blood cousin to King Torek of the Shadow Elf, was sprawled in lusty abandon as she had never seen him before.
On the floor by his side, a male Shadow Elf knelt in sensual service.