Mine by Royal Decree

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Negotiating

I shifted uncomfortably.

She turned in the seat. Making that curled hair sway over one breast invitingly. She brought one knee up onto the bench to rest against the back while she nestled into the corner. Her bared knee escaped from a part in the shimmering skirt. I recalled there’d been several slits up the sides. Revealing tantalizing glimpses of creamy thigh as she’d moved.

Something which is highly improper.

But I wanted to see more of.

I want her to dance for me.

That hair moved like silk over her shoulder. Making me want to wrap my fist in it and yank her over to me.

“What other fine traits could she possibly have?” She queried.

To see if my answer would be pompous.

She wants to fight with me.

I liked that actually. I’d never seen a creature so full of fire.

“She could be clever.” I lifted my drink and took a dram. Setting it down pointedly. “She could be spirited…”

“Like a mare?” She asked sarcastically.

“Everyone knows the best mare is the one not so easily tamed to the hand.”

She leapt to her feet. “I’ll not be tamed to your hand.”

“How would you know?” My voice raised in interest. “You’ve yet to receive it without fighting me.”

Her lashes lowered and I could see she was fair simmering with rage.

So, I relented, willing to change the topic.

“Tell me, Wife, how’d you so readily get a job dancing in the tavern?”

“I’m good at it.”

“How would you know that?”

“I tried it.”

She’s being purposely vague.

“And what would inspire you to do that?” I asked curiously. Wondering how long I could keep her talking at the table. And what the chances were that I could crank up my charm and get her under my thumb.

It’s not usually this difficult.

“It would annoy you.” She said flatly.

Intriguing.

I leaned across the table, willing to play this little game of hers. “And what if it doesn’t?”

“What do you mean?”

“I rather enjoy watching you gallivant about atop those kegs. I’d prefer it were it up in one of those rooms and just me, but I’m willing to share the view.”

“View?” She taunted.

“I’m not willing to share anything else.” I lifted my mug to hide the fact that she had found the one point that would incite my ire.

And she is certainly looking for it.

“Who says you get a choice.”

“Well, My Dear, you are in a rather odd predicament.”

“How so?” She was leaned across the table to ask, meeting my look with narrowed eyes.

“I could announce that you’re mine by Royal Decree and you know what they would do.”

Royal Decree was a vicious thing.

Something every Feral Fey knows.

It meant that something belonged to the royal family based on written documents. And nothing in Ferus could challenge it without inciting all of the Feral Fey realm.

“Arguing it is a dangerous game to play. And I don’t think even your besotten crew here would be willing to risk it. Do you?” I leaned back, knowing I’d already won.

She leaned back, eyeing me bitterly.

“Ah.” I toasted her with my mug. “That’s a no.”

“You’re the most horrendous man.”

“And what if I’m not. What would you do then?” I crooned softly. “Come to my bed a bit warmer?”

“Who says I’ll come to your bed at all.”

“You have to, eventually.”

“I don’t.”

“Wife, you may goad me, you may defy me, but in this, I will win.”

“Is everything about winning and losing to you?”

“Yes.” I set my mug down. “And clearly it is to you too. Or we’d not be here.”

“Meaning?” She arched a delicate brow.

“You wanted to teach me a lesson by vanishing on our wedding night.”

“Perhaps I just wanted to escape your lust.”

“Even if you did, you did so, knowing you were defying me and didn’t care. Which is still the same thing.”

“It’s not.”

“Then you tell me why, Woman.”

“Because I’m not one to be had because a man tells me so.”

I gave her an assessing look. “Then how are you to be had?”

She reared back, giving me a quizzical look. “I suppose the same way any woman is.”

“That’s not true. I’ve been with plenty of Feral Fey women and they’re not as difficult to you.”

“They’re biddable. They do as you say?”

“Yes.”

“That’s why you’re so fascinated by the fact that I don’t want you.”

“Don’t you?”

“No.”

“How would you know? You haven’t yet gotten a say.” I countered. Rather enjoying this game of wits.

“What makes you think it’d be any different if I did?”

“Perhaps I know women better than you think.”

“Perhaps you’ve all the seductive skill of a barbarian.” She retorted.

I thought about that a moment. “It’s possible that’s true. I do rather have a way of getting what I want.”

“It must be rough being a prince, is it not?” She said acidly.

“Not so much.” I grinned at her.

She blinked in confusion. Clearly having expected me to bemoan the trials of being in a place of position.

There were very few.

And I’m well-suited to those.


I’d been raised and groomed to the throne.

There’s nothing difficult about it.

I’d been painstakingly tutored in how to overcome even the smallest royal challenges. My days were filled with monotony.

With very little to surprise me.

The first time I’d been shocked in a long time, was when this woman had dared slap me.

“I’m interested in knowing more about you.”

“More?” She asked haughtily. “What do you know so far?”

Ooh. Touche.

Not nearly as much as I’d like. That was my first thought. Though I was unwilling to admit to her.

“Did you even catch my name during that little mockery of a ceremony, we had?” She challenged. Pursing her lips in the victory of proving me an utter idiot.

“I did. It was the most interesting thing about it.” I leaned so far forward I could almost brush her lips with mine. “Sarina.”

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