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Ka'Sen, Prince of Planets, Leader of the Union of Worlds, can have anything he wants -- except magic. To get that power he must wed the princess of the only world with the fearsome force he craves. But when he takes his new wife into his bed he's bewitched by something more commanding than sorcery. Love.
Ka'Sen's never had the liberty to follow his emotions. Now that he knows his wife lied to him from the first moment they met, he definitely can't allow himself to trust in her or follow the vines of desire wrapping around his heart.
Brisa never dreamed she'd live in the beyond, traveling through the stars -- she also never imagined she'd be caught in a war between ideologies. Her new husband is a mystery of contradictions. So much about the wider universe is strange to her, but the feelings his nearness stirs are the strangest of all.
Hating this man should be so much easier than loving him. Interlopers in Ka'Sen's world beg her to save them, but doing so will destroy the only man she's ever loved. When she doesn't understand the game how can she possibly comprehend the stakes and know what's right?
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Command The Stars (Commanded 2)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Ashlynn Monroe
Ka'Sen crossed his arms over his chest. He glared at his bodyguard, also his oldest friend, Reven. "What do you have to show me about my bride?"
Rev held out his digital.
As Ka'Sen crossed the room to accept the offered information, his feet ached with the chill. Outside, the morning air was cold, and the ancient stone walls did little to insulate against the coming winter. Old battle injuries protested. He'd crashed more than once. He'd experienced his share of hand-to-hand combat in the outer reaches of the empire, quelling rebel uprisings during his teens.
This world was apart from the rest of the empire, having rejected technology long ago, until now, when the king wanted modern weapons. Ka'Sen ran his hand through his hair.
And that was why he was here, trading tech for magic. He wanted a dynasty of every kind of power.
The subtle hint of Brisa's perfume still lingered in the room. He'd much rather have been in the bed making love to his new bride, but when he saw Reven's screen he knew the honeymoon was over. He'd been married for less than a day, yet his wife already betrayed him.
She was not a princess.
"Are you sure?" Ka'Sen hoped Rev was wrong. "Where did you find this?"
"I sent a small group of investigators out when we landed. I apologize I didn't check with you first, but I didn't want my need to protect you to distract from the negotiations. We've been friends our entire life. Creating a legacy greater than your father's has motivated everything you've ever done. I know how important magic is to you, but this woman can't give you the child you need."
"They look identical." Almost. His bride had scars on her back and shoulders, but the woman in the picture did not. They could have been twins. Sisters surely. "Who did I marry?"
Rev rubbed the back of his neck and looked away. "I -- I'm trying to find out. How do we proceed?"
"I would consider this an act of war on any other world, but we have to tread carefully considering we won't be leaving without the king's blessing. The first thing we need to do is determine who by the gods I wed, then we decide how to get off this planet."
"And the woman?" Rev's eyebrow hiked up.
"We bring my bride home. We might still salvage this situation. I saw her use magic." Ka'Sen remembered how the king had looked at Brisa when Ka'Sen confronted him about having progeny in the village.
At the time, he'd worried Brisa was sleeping with a village boy. Now the moment held a layered significance. He let his memories wander back to the encounter. "He's my -- brother. Father has had his share of trysts in the village," Brisa had said.
He might still have the king's daughter's hand, just not the daughter he'd planned to take. Her royal status mattered little to him. Her power was what he craved, and now more than that he wanted her -- her body -- maybe even her heart.
He'd been her first lover, so the boy he'd grown angry over hadn't taken what was his. But the locals still knew something about Brisa.
"Princess Val'Trea is certainly not well loved, but feared." Rev scowled. "I am not having much luck finding out her secrets. Without technology, I'm failing you."
"What?" Rev squinted as if narrowing his focus would help him understand his prince's outburst.
"She asked me to call her Brisa. Also, there was a boy. Fair-haired. Gangly. I believe he might have answers for us."
"I will find him." Rev promised and rushed out.
Ka'Sen growled out a sound of rage as he slammed his fist into a wooden cabinet, obliterating the polished antiquity with a single thrust.
Neff, one of his trusted guards, rushed in. "Highness?"
"Leave me." Ka'Sen struggled to calm the turmoil in his soul. She'd given him a moment of peace, but that joy kindled in his heart only to burn his psyche to ash.
Neff paused as if he wanted to speak, but then turned, shutting the door behind him. Ka'Sen dressed in his own clothing, a black flight suit that fit him like a second skin, then pulled on his boots and gathered his things. If he'd just brought a med tech down with him they'd have DNA assurance his suspicion about Brisa was right. She had magic in her. He felt it. A magic she would pass down to his child -- or children. Magic that would ensure his legacy...