Authors: Wren Michaels
Copyright© 2015 Wren Michaels
Cover Artist: Jay
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of
fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to
actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
First and foremost, I
dedicate this to my husband for his never ending support. To my BB girls,
always and forever you are my rock and my sanity. To Sonia, who knows when to
crack a whip and when to offer me a
She is an
To my buddy Margaret, for sharing laughs,
obsessions, and rants.
I love that we're yin and yang.
A giant thank you to Deena, a true friend who always has my back.
Hellion or not, she is amazing, and I'm so lucky to call her friend. To
, who steps up to help me at the drop of a
I heart you so much! To my fellow
authors who have given me such encouragement, support, and time. I couldn't ask
for a better group of folks to have in my corner. To my editor Melissa for
loving my story as much as I do and made this an Editor's Pick, you don't know
how much that means to me! Thank you!! To Jay
my cover artist who never fails to amaze me with her mad skills, you rocked it
again! And to
Publishing, thank you for
helping me make my dreams come true.
Copyright © 2015
bites the velvet rose petals lining my path into the castle. Overcast skies
blur the horizon into the mountains of snow. My sister insisted on an outdoor
ceremony, even though the heart of winter settles upon us. Rose's thought
process often defies any form of logic. At least
to her senses and agreed to have the reception inside.
kingdom, once torn apart under the siege of dark
now rejoices at the return of its crown prince. Rose stands at his side, the
one who freed him from his bear form; the nightmare that ripped years from his
life and tore him from his family. Rose Red and Marcus found their happily
follow the long satin train trimmed in crimson dragging behind her, contrasting
the freshly fallen snow. Ginger curls drape her back beneath a lace veil.
Marcus sweeps her off her feet and carries her across the threshold of the
blush heats my cheeks, and I avert my eyes as they share a newlywed kiss,
expressing in actions what words can never say. I scurry to catch the frozen
bouquet of calla lilies and roses that falls from her fingertips as she forgets
the world around her, consumed by Marcus' kiss.
heart longs for a love like that
One of fury and passion, strength and seduction.
But I'm far
from the woman Rose is. Where she is fire, I am water. She is bold and brazen.
I am meek and humble. I will make a dutiful housewife. She will be Marcus'
lover and mate.
I leave the bitters of the winter winds behind me, a heated
dances along my neck. “You look stunning this eve, Snow,” a rich, husky voice
whispers along my ear.
shiver dances its way up my spine. His handsome scent of leather and sandalwood
hits my nose before I turn around.
Marcus' brother, Darien.
choke at the back of my throat, and I force them over my lips. “Thank you,
slides around me with the grace of a dancer, grabbing hold of the hand not
clinging to my sister's forgotten flowers. With a flourish, he brings the back
of it flush to his mouth, brushing warm lips against my chilled skin. The heat
blossoming in my belly races to my cheeks, warming away the remnants of the
Might I have the pleasure of escorting you to the
dining hall?” Slipping his arm along mine, he doesn't wait for my response.
It would be
pleasure and honor, your
highness.” I drop to a curtsy, but mid-bend Darien pulls me back to a stance.
Please, Snow, just call me Darien. We've known each
other for months. And now we're officially in-laws. I think we can skip the
formalities from here on out.” A dash of intrigue sparkles through his
Well, Darien, thankfully you've come to my rescue. I
still find myself getting lost in your castle.” He grips tight to my arm.
torches line the halls, throwing a smattering of light along our path. While
the stone walls block the cold night winds, the crisp winter air still falls
through the cracks. A shudder rips through my limbs.
You're shivering.” He rushes to warm my arms,
running his large hands along the thin sleeves of my dress. “Let's get you near
the fire and warmed up. Some food and drink will do the trick.”
touch not only heats my arms, but my heart, and it hammers like a hummingbird
against my ribs. I've often thought of Darien since the day Rose brought him to
our manor when he sought his long lost brother Marcus. But he is a prince, and
I'm nothing but a commoner. The fact that he speaks to me is a formality on the
part of Rose marrying his brother.
guides me to the marbled archway of the great hall. Warmth from the roaring
fireplace along with the scent of roast and ale greet us. Tapestries and
portraits of royalty-past line the walls, watching us as we feast.
try to hide my wandering stare, but it falls upon the loving gazes Rose and
Marcus share between each other. Love and lust swirl in their eyes as if they
cannot wait for the feast to be done, and their clothing shed. I dart my gaze
back to my plate, as if I'm intruding on something sacred.
sneak a glance at Darien, and his eyes lock on mine. A tender smile pulls at
his lips and he tosses me a wink. Flutters ransack my belly, and my fingers
fumble around my chalice as I drown my unease with wine. By the time dinner is
cleared I'm unable to tell if it's Darien making my head spin or the spirits.
fills the space in the hall in between the snap and crackles from the fire, and
the chatter of new guests flooding into the room. With slow steps, I keep to
the outer wall, eyeing Rose and Marcus as they dance—a perfect facade to hide
their roaming hands. I stifle a laugh, intrigued by their eagerness and amused
by their lack of shame.
warm hand slides along my waist and spins me around. Dizziness attacks my head,
and I fight the whirl of nausea in my belly.
May I have this dance?” Darien asks. Before I can
answer, he sweeps me into his arms and whisks me across the floor.
hiccup escapes my lips carried on the wings of a giggle.
Why, Snow, has the wine gotten to you already?” he
asks with a laugh of his own.
I fear I don't partake of the drink often, and it's
already gone to my head. Perhaps it's time for me to retire for the evening,
before I can no longer blame the spirits for my actions.” I pull out of his
arms, dropping to a curtsy.
“Thank you for the dance,
You don't need to leave already. The party's barely
begun.” Defeat fills his eyes.
scan the room for any sign of my sister to bid her goodnight. “It seems Rose
already left.” I've not said but a few
words to my sister all day, and it sends an ache through my heart.
Yes, they dashed out a few moments ago. Which is
probably a good thing, from the way they were dancing and looking at each
other, I guess the lure of the wedding night became too much.” A sly grin brims
on his lips.
rush of a blush floods my cheeks and I avert my gaze to the floor, tucking a
lock of hair behind my ears.
Such a stunning blush on your porcelain skin, dear
are you embarrassed?” Slipping a finger under my chin, he raises my face to
We shouldn't talk about such private affairs. That
is their business, not ours.”
his head back, he lets out a hearty chuckle. “It's their wedding night.
Everyone knows what's happening right now.”
bubbles under my skin. His disregard for the private matters of the bedroom
disgust me. Men such as he is why I remain unmarried. Is nothing sacred
Ah, yes. Well if you'll excuse me then, Prince
Darien. I bid thee a good eve.” I give a slight nod, and head up the stairs to
fingers hook the crook of my arm. “Snow, at least let me escort you to your
force a smile. “I don't want you to miss the rest of the party. I'm sure I can
find my way.”
Then you'll want to take the
He forces back a smile,
fanning his arm in the opposite direction.
my bottom lip, I give him a terse nod and march back down the stairs.
shakes his head as confusion colors his blue-eyes a dull gray. “Have I angered
you? I'm sorry if something I said displeased you.”
ping of regret pricks my heart. “No. Exhaustion is taking its toll and clouding
my judgment. I hope to be more myself tomorrow at breakfast.”
Sleep well then, Snow White. I pray your dreams are
peaceful ones.” Whisking his hand
lips press against my skin sending a jolt of excitement through me.
whirl from his grasp and make my way down the dim hall. Tossing a glance over
my shoulder, shadows claim Darien's figure, merging him into the darkness that
swallows my path. A torch fights to stay lit, casting dancing images on the
walls. Goose bumps cling to my flesh, and fearful thoughts mix with the wine in
I should have allowed Darien to escort me to my room. I've already lost which
direction my chamber is in. Around the corner, another flickering torch beckons
me. Hiking my skirts, I head in its direction. As I reach it, a gust of air
hushes the last of its flames, shrouding me in darkness. I spin around, looking
for another light to guide me through. But instead I find a staircase.
stone stairs scrape my skin as I bounce my way down. Thankfully, my pride is
more hurt than my body. Landing on the bottom, I grab hold of my wrist, trying
to relieve the pain throbbing beneath the now bruised skin.
the distance, a hint of orange glows.
Pushing myself up from the cold
ground, I make my way towards it.
not enough light to be a torch, yet I focus on it to guide my path. A moan
echoes through the cool hallway. My heart flutters at the sound and I spin
around, pressing my hands to the wall, searching for iron bars of a cell,
thinking I must be near the dungeon. But I find only more stone.
moan rings out in the hallway. Cocking my head, I concentrate on the direction
in which it comes from. It brings me to the muted light that caught my eye
earlier. As I close in on it, a louder moan surrounds me. The light seeps
through a crack in the stone wall.
my way closer, I lean against the cold stone and find the source. My heart stops
as I peek in.
glow is from a fire.
a crack in their bed chamber wall.
heart restarts, launching into a thunderous roar as I witness their wedding
night union. Marcus' muscular body pins Rose to the bed. His hands roam her
body as if he knows not where to start and needs all of her at once. The
passion in his movements even more exemplified by the ferocity of his mouth as
it captures one of her breasts.
jerk back, a gasp escaping my lips, and I fling my hand over my mouth to hush
myself. Glancing around, I make sure I'm still alone. Only the intermittent
breeze that seeps through the parapet is my company.
against the wall, I stare back into the crack. Rose writhes on the bed, her
face a cross between ecstasy and pain, mouth open and eyes shut. Marcus pulls
her by the hair and crushes his mouth to hers. Their bodies mesh together as
their lips twist. He turns and lifts her leg, exposing her bottom. A heat wells
in my belly that pools between my own legs. Marcus strokes between her lower
lips with his fingers, and a loud moan breaks their kiss.
lurch forward as an urge wells up inside me. As I lean in farther for a better
viewpoint, my breast scrapes the wall. Adrenaline rushes my veins as the cold
stone rubs against my nipple, turning it just as hard.
is happening to me?
clutch my breast, kneading the tender and aroused nipple. My eyes snap shut as
a wave of pleasure courses through me. Another loud moan wakes me from the
moment, only it doesn't belong to Rose. It's Marcus. It sets a fire off between
my legs, and it's all I can do not to gasp. I lunge back to the crack and find
Rose stroking his manhood with her hand before she swallows him with her mouth.
He nearly arches himself off the bed, such joy and pleasure on his face I've
never witnessed on a man before.
hard, I let my hands caress my breasts harder as I stop watching and lean
against the wall, listening to their moans and growls. As if waking from a
dream, I jump forward and stop.
am I doing? This isn't right! What kind of person does this? Watching their
sister on her wedding night? I can't stand here and witness their love making.
Yet something about this has my own loins heated to the point I think I may
explode without a release of my own. I ache for that kind of passion. My hands
rush through my hair, as I stand warring with myself. I've never been with a
man. I wouldn't even know what to do.
though we are not of blood relation, she is like my sister in every way. We
grew up together. We experienced nearly everything together.
This is too much. This is too far.
lump lodges in the back of my throat, and I fight the panting breaths roaring
through my chest. No. I need to find my way back to my room. But I have no
knowledge of where I am in the castle.
creak from the bed catches my attention, as well as a deep growl from Marcus.
Twisting my head, I glance back through the stones. Marcus kneels above Rose,
stroking himself. I cannot turn away as I'm entranced by his actions. Rose
slides a hand between her legs, rubbing her own fingers inside her lips.