The Queen's Consort
Recognition lanced through him like a blade. Nearly ten years before he'd purchased a wild girl from the hills at a fair on his side of the border. She'd escaped with his money and evaded his furious search, and now she swung down from her horse to stand before him.
Suddenly her Guard were everywhere. They knocked Ansel's feet out from under him. “Kneel before the Queen!” they ordered.
Ansel spit blood at her boots. “She is not my Queen,” he snarled.
Her dark eyes, older and sadder than he remembered, studied him. “Ahh. Just so, my prince,” she said.
Damn. Despite the time and distance she'd recognized him, too.
Her gaze shifted to the carriage. “Tristam,” she said. “I shall ride to the port with my sister.”
Ansel watched her climb into the carriage. He struggled to his feet as the door closed behind her and the procession started moving again. For the first time in this misadventure cold fury coiled through him, firing his blood. She is mine!
The Queen was just a woman. But she was his woman.
No longer could Ansel settle quietly for his fate. No longer would he be content with merely capturing and killing the Queen. She was his, and he would have her.