Jaisyn tugged her arm free and pushed past him, grabbing the brass handle and pushing inward. No fire had been lit in that hearth in the days since her father’s death. Just thinking about that made her want to cry. Her father was dead, the kingdom was no longer theirs and a large, evil wretch of a king now occupied Wilhelm’s chambers. What had her father been thinking, giving Mathilda to someone like him? Of all his daughters, he betrothed the one who would run screaming from this giant of a man?
As she’d sat across from Vulcan, Jaisyn had critically assessed him. She knew that many would find him handsome, with his thick head of silky black hair that cascaded past his shoulders, and stern yet sensual face, but he was in no way approachable. She had no idea how to reach him. She had to do something to get her kingdom back, but she didn’t know what. The people of Lytheria didn’t live for war, and this man did.
So lost was she in her thoughts that she didn’t recognize Vulcan was pushing the door in until she heard an audible snap of the latch. She spun immediately, recognizing that the door was closed and his tall body was against it.
His eyes looked dangerous and that scowl still loomed on his lips. What was he doing?
“Remove your veil,” he said in that pompous voice of his. Was he serious? She was a princess, a daughter of Lyria!
“King Vulcan,” she began stiffly, her hands clasped tightly at her midriff. “You are in my castle because I wish it. Do not think to disrespect me in such a manner.”
Vulcan could have laughed at how she phrased that statement. He was not here because she wished it; he was in his castle because he had conquered it. Twice. He took a step forward and with her fighter’s instincts, Jaisyn took one backwards.
“Take off the veil, Princess.”
Did he suspect it was she who’d tried to kill him on that horrid night? She’d tried her best to put that night from her mind but she’d still had dreams—nightmares—about it.
“My liege, you are being disrespectful. I am a princess of Lytheria—”
Two quick strides brought him directly before her and in the next instant, he was plucking the crown from her head, pulling the veil off and tossing it aside.
Jaisyn let out a startled cry and spun away from him, moving over to the fireless hearth. Vulcan’s voice came from somewhere behind her.
“Turn and face me, Princess. Or are you afraid your face will bring back memories of a night not so far gone?”
He did suspect her. How? It didn’t matter, but he did. Which probably meant that he wanted revenge. And he had promised to continue where he’d left off if he ever saw her again. Her eyes darted to the broadsword above the hearth.
Her father’s sword rested there as a reminder of the great king who had once occupied the place. She sent up a quick prayer to Lyria, and one to her deceased father, praying she would not soon be joining him soon.
Quick as a fox, she reached for the heavy weapon, unsheathed it, spread her legs wide, and spun to face him.
Vulcan was accustomed to the unusual. He prided himself on not being shocked easily, but this…girl—not just any girl, but a princess—wielding a sword? It was almost comical, with her flowing dress and brandishing a man’s sword. The he remembered that this same woman had almost killed him as he slept. There was nothing funny about that.
He lifted his eyes to her face. Her skin was lovingly kissed with the sun’s rays—a dark bronze. Her mass of golden curls was pinned intricately atop her head, and her eyes, cat’s eyes—almost yellow in their vivid brightness—flashed angrily at him.
This was his princess. This had to be his princess, or else she wouldn’t be gripping a warrior’s sword, looking like she was ready to decapitate him.
“Put the sword down, lady,” Vulcan said as calmly as he, known for his bouts of temper, could manage.
Jaisyn lifted it higher as her soft lips curled into a snarl. “So that you can rip off more than my veil? I do not think so! Lytherians are not as barbaric as your people, my liege!”
“Put the sword down before I am tempted to take you over my knee!” Vulcan bit the words out angrily, and took a menacing step forward.
She moved to the left, and the grace with which she did so made Vulcan recognize something: she was at ease with the sword. If it wasn’t completely unheard of, he might even say that she was a swordswoman.
He began to tread more carefully. More than likely she wasn’t skilled at using the weapon, but he was taking no chances. Stupidity did not a High King make.
“I am giving you to the count of three. If that sword is still in your hand after that, you cannot hold me accountable for what I do,” Vulcan threatened.
She held onto the sword. Vulcan had had enough. He took a few steps forward, intent on twisting her arm, as he’d done a few nights ago, and pulling the weapon away from her. He didn’t even get close. As soon as he was in range, she flicked her wrist so the flat of the broadsword faced him, and swung. A resounding crash reverberated in the room as the sword caught his breastplate, pushing him back a step and making his ears ring.
“I will not warn you again! Do not come any closer!” she hissed out, her hands aching slightly.
Vulcan recovered from his state of shock as anger took him by full force. Steel screeched as he pulled his broadsword from its sheath and advanced on her.
Violette Dubrinsky is the author of the Dark God, Warrior, and upcoming Moonlight (in which she introduces you to her werewolves) sagas. She enjoys writing romance stories with stubborn, at times, clashing characters, who eventually learn the error of their ways and sometimes grow to love each other. She is the youngest of three, and the only girl. As such, she was spoiled rotten (in her elaborate dreams), and always wished for a playmate closer to her age. At a young age, she began creating stories to fill in for the lack of creativity on the part of her two older jock brothers. Violette resides in New York and Boston, and although she has no pets, is intent on getting a Malamute or Husky (since it is the closest she will ever be to a wolf and she is quite obsessed with werewolves) at some point in her life.