Authors: Emma Holly
Tags: #hot fairytale romance
The Prince With No Heart
All Romance ebooks Edition
Copyright © 2011 Emma Holly
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This story is a work of fiction and should be treated as such. It includes sexually explicit content which is only appropriate for adults—and not every adult at that. Those who are offended by more adventurous depictions of sexuality or frank language possibly shouldn’t read it. Literary license has been taken in this book. It is not intended to be a sexual manual. Any resemblance to actual places, events, or persons living or dead is either fictitious or coincidental. That said, the author hopes you enjoy this tale!
cover photo: Konrad Bak
Once upon a time, in the realm of the Scarlet Queen, a prince was born with no heart.
In every other respect he was healthy, adorable even, with a duck-like tuft of golden hair and eyes as deeply blue as a summer sky. Sadly, his mother had offended a powerful fairy, and this had caused her son to be cursed. The fairy Gratiana was famous for her pride. She did not forgive insults, even accidental ones. Horrified by her spite and moved by the mother’s tears, a much kinder fairy named Ariel pronounced a blessing over the bassinet.
Ariel’s words were as generous as the first fairy’s had been cruel.
“I bless this boy,” she pronounced as the swaddled infant stared up at her, wide-eyed as a little owl.
“Augustin,” whispered his mother. No fool, Queen Isabella knew the use of her baby’s name would make the fairy’s magic more powerful.
“I bless this
,” Ariel said, though she didn’t like being corrected any more than her rival. “Great beauty shall he possess, and even greater vitality. No weapon forged by man or fae shall harm him, so long as he honors me, his godmother.”
“Nicely put!” exclaimed her husband. Clevis was a handsome man, but not the brightest star in the firmament. “I want to give the lad a blessing too. Beauty is hardly enough to bring a man happiness. I say this Augustin’s sword should be untiring, and make all the ladies swoon ... you know, once he grows up and all.”
“You honor me,” the queen murmured, curtseying deeply to them both. Having learned her lesson with Gratiana, she did not question - except perhaps privately - whether this second gift was appropriate.
Thus was Prince Augustin cursed and then charmed from an early age.
Prince Augustin loved his life, or thought he did anyway. Having been born without a heart, it could be difficult to say. What did other people mean by
? Was it deeper than his own emotions? Did it bring them more joy? From what he could tell, love brought most people who felt it pain. He didn’t see why
should go into decline because some laundress he fancied had married another man. Weren’t there multitudes of laundresses in the world? And didn’t most of them desire him?
One thing he knew for certain: It was good to be him.
On this particular fine spring morning, he was on his way to the scullery. Thanks to the fairy Clevis’s blessing, he’d begun the day with his usual immense cockstand. Because he honestly wasn’t capable of waiting, he’d worked himself to release by grinding against one of the pillows he’d learned from experience to keep close. He often awakened in the middle of the night to find a down-stuffed square clamped between his thighs, his desperate prick humping it ... sometimes for the second time.
Even in sleep, Augustin was randy.
This morning, the pillow had tided him over until the pretty maid who brought his breakfast tray arrived. Ravenous, he’d fallen on her, with mutually pleasurable results. Once she recovered from her orgasmic swoon, she’d expressed appreciation for his vigor. That had led to another round of thumping her bottom into his mattress as she alternately giggled and sighed with bliss. He’d roared out his satisfaction as his cock exploded, only just remembering to pull out and spend on her belly.
Naturally, this hadn’t exhausted him. His sword was “untiring,” after all. His morning wash was all it took to refresh him, after which he dressed in casual buckskin pants and a hunting shirt. Prepared to enjoy his day, he was jogging down the stone-lined spiral of the back stairs. A new scullery maid had recently joined the staff, cute as a button and shyly flirtatious. The memory of how she’d blushed when he’d smiled at her the other day had his cock nudging up in his underclothes.
Surely nothing could be better than tupping a new woman for the first time.
To his dismay, when he reached the castle’s cavernous kitchen, it was not the kindly cook who awaited him.
A tall, regal-looking woman rose from behind a heavy plank table. Her braided golden hair was touched by silver, but her fair skin remained unlined. A gown of deep blue velvet skimmed her admirable figure, the rich fabric slashed on the upper part of the sleeves to allow ruches of snow white silk to peep through. From the satin ribbons that bound her beneath her breasts, her long skirts fell gracefully. Though she was both female and beautiful, the prince’s cock wilted.
“Mother,” he said, offering her a respectful bow.
“Augustin,” she returned sternly.
He straightened warily. Of all the inhabitants of the castle, only Queen Isabella refrained from coddling him. “You shouldn’t be here,” he said. “Your slippers will get dirty in these old rushes.”
“Would that I had a choice. My only son so skillfully avoids me I must lay in wait for him wherever he’s likeliest to go.”
Over by the hearth, the young boy who scraped out ashes emitted a small snigger. He was one of a handful of kitchen servants who were pretending not to eavesdrop.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t discuss this here,” he said.
“Where then, my darling offspring? Behind the stables? Under the hedge to our peasants’ fields? Or perhaps we could speak at the ale house down in the village, where - apparently - all the barmaids like to ‘sit on your lap’ by turns.”
“That isn’t - What I mean to say is, we usually move to a darker corner before we start to play in earnest.”
,” his mother repeated. “How reassuring to know my son isn’t
making a spectacle of himself.”
Augustin’s cheeks grew hot, which he did not enjoy at all. He might not possess a heart, but his pride was intact, thank you. A prince ought not to be berated like a child in front of servants.
His mother must have sensed his anger, because she stepped to him and laid cool palms to either side of his face. He was taller than most men, and she had to reach up for this.
“Augustin,” she said gently. “You are six and twenty. This has gone on long enough.”
“It is my nature. It is how I enjoy my life.”
“You need to settle down a
. To marry and get an heir.”
“My behavior would hurt any wife I took. You always say I should be considerate of others’ feelings, even if I can’t experience them myself.”
His mother searched his eyes, probably trying to puzzle out what was going on behind them. Augustin didn’t like when people did this; it made him think they were pitying him - poor “Prince No Heart” and rot like that. Out of respect, he stood still for her. After a bit, she dropped her hands from his face and sighed.
“Do you love even me?” she murmured wistfully.
Something stirred inside him, as if an animal were trapped in the place where his heart should have been. Despite the odd physical sensation, his emotions did not alter from mild annoyance - or the vast underlying calm he suspected was emptiness.
“I am what I am,” he said.
His mother patted his arm. “You are,” she conceded. “And I love you regardless, which is why I ask you to think of your future. Your father and I won’t be around forever.”
“Can I not marry after you die?”
His mother choked out a laugh, so he supposed this wasn’t what he ought to have said. She shook her head and patted him again. “I will settle for your presence at dinner. The King and Queen of Llyr are arriving with their two daughters. Perhaps you’ll like one of them.”
them wouldn’t be the problem. Augustin was attracted to most women, as they were to him. The challenge lay in not sleeping with a female he’d be honor bound to marry.
“The North Road has been beset by a gang of thieves. None of the men from nearby towns have been able to defeat them. Rumor has it the gang could be trolls. The townspeople requested me to act as their champion.”
“Tonight?” his mother asked in exasperation.
“It is the dark of the moon. If the thieves are unnatural creatures, their power will be at its ebb. I wouldn’t want to miss my best chance to slay them until next month. And you cannot want to leave travelers at their mercy in the meantime.”
His mother’s brows lowered at his logic. As she well knew, Ariel’s blessing uniquely suited him for ridding the land of pests. No weapon forged by man or fae could harm him, and he was very strong. Because she didn’t want to admit it, one lovely finger poked his breastbone. “You are too clever for your own good.”
“That gift I inherited from you.”
She smiled wryly, rising to her toes to press a light kiss upon his cheek. “The princesses are staying for a fortnight. I shan’t allow you to evade them indefinitely.”
Augustin knew she meant it. Queen Isabella was a woman of her word. Admiration mingled with dismay as he watched her glide out of the kitchen, the same as if it were her queen’s chamber. He became aware of bustle increasing around him: Cook and her troops preparing for visitors.
When his wandering eye found hers, Cook looked up from the slab of venison she was noisily cleaving. She smiled at his attention, not too old to be affected by his beauty. The part of him the fairy’s husband blessed thought she must have been a comely girl.
“Can’t blame a mother for being a mother,” she said to him.
“No,” he agreed, because how else could he respond? Glumness overtook him like a scudding cloud. He didn’t know how much longer he could escape his mother’s plan to geld him. Though he wasn’t often unhappy, his downturned mouth had its usual effect on Cook.
“New girl is in the pantry,” she said. “Perhaps a bit of conversation would cheer you up.”
Augustin smiled so brilliantly the woman’s mouth fell open in dazzlement.
“You’re a queen!” he exclaimed, his prick leaping up in an eager surge. He shook his pants leg to make room for it and strode off, everything and everyone forgotten in the glow of this new prospect.
Unseen behind him, Cook pressed one plump hand to the palpitation in her bosom.
The wolf was at Violet’s door ... literally.
Ever since the seal people stole her parents, Princess Violet had been responsible for protecting the tiny - and not particularly wealthy - kingdom of Arnwall. Nearly a thousand souls relied on her for their safety, and who knew how many sheep and goats? She simply couldn’t afford to take a misstep now.
She studied her grim reflection in the cheval mirror as her maid fussed over the fall of her pale blue gown. It was unfortunate she was small, or she’d have been considered a greater beauty. That would have been useful for attracting champions and suitors, seeing as her kingdom was no great prize. She consoled herself that her skin was smooth and creamy, her body slender, her eyes - so she had been told - as green and sparkling as polished peridot. Nice as this was, her hair was by far her best asset. Wavy and thick, the shining locks were the vibrant red of maples in autumn. Rumor had it the Scarlet Queen’s ruby hair did not glow so brightly as Violet’s. Having never met the high queen, she could not venture to say, though her tresses did hang to her ankles. Even as the seal people’s naked king had been carrying her mother into the waves, she’d cried back to Violet that she must not cut it.