Bride of the Traitor (The Prophecy of Sisters #1) - Hayley Faiman Page 0,1

hell in the name of duty.

Chapter One



“You must choose a bride,” Cornwall, my head of counsel, demands.

I hear Merek chuckle deeply behind me. He is my closest friend, my cousin by blood, my brother in battle. He can also sard off. With a growl, I push the sheaf of papers away from me.

Tilting my head to the side, I press my lips together. “I mustn’t. I’m the King, focusing on my country, which already doesn’t trust a single bone in my body. I do not have time to take a wife.”

“You must produce an heir, and quickly. It is essential to your position.”

“By gods bones, Cornwall. I do not want a wife,” I snap.

Merek takes a step closer to my side. He’s looking at me, but I know that he will not utter a single word in front of Cornwall, for I know that he does not trust the man. How can he be trusted? He was counsel to my father, a traitor to his crown and country. A traitor to me, to my men and their families.

“That is all Cornwall,” I say, lifting my hand, dismissing the man.

He opens his mouth to speak, but my gaze is trained on his and I hope it is clear that this conversation is over.

“Think on it, Your Highness. Think on a wife, on creating an heir.”

Without saying anything else, he stands and leaves the room. Rowan and Henry open then close the doors behind him, moving to set the wooden lock in place so that nobody can bother us. I am now surrounded by my men, men that I trust wholeheartedly.

“Speak freely, Merek, I know that you have been patiently waiting to insert your opinion on the matters at hand.”

There’s a moment of silence, but I wait because I know that Merek has something to say. As my first cousin and my highest-ranking officer, he has my ear. I trust him more than I trust anybody else in this world.

“As much as I detest agreeing with Cornwall,” he spits. “You need to take a wife, even if you only lay with her to produce an heir and then send her away. Your throne must be secured.”

Rowan and Henry both cough and avoid my gaze. I know that Merek is right. I know what I need to do, but I am loathe to actually go through with it. As King, I cannot just marry whomever I wish. The marriage must be political, and gods bones, but I despise politics.

“There are several prospects. What about Lady Rose of Kelna?”

Henry makes a noise in the back of his throat that sounds much like a horse’s neigh. “Speak freely, Rowan and Henry, it’s just the brotherhood right now,” I grunt.

“I’m sorry to tell you, but Lady Rose’s face resembles that of your stallion, Storm,” Henry says, his voice even and calm, his eyes focused on my own.

Lifting my hand to my eyes, I drag it down the rest of my face with a groan. “I have a feeling most of the Ladies will have similar attributes,” I mumble.

“Lucky to be the King, you can bed any maiden on the side.” Rowan grins.

“Yes, lucky,” I snort.

Merek’s hand claps down on my shoulder and his fingers squeeze. “You do not need to decide today. Send for several prospects, put them up in the castle, see which one you can live with.”

Nodding, I must admit that it is not a terrible idea. There are only a handful of Ladies in this part of the world that fit the criteria to become my betrothed anyway.

My father honestly should have found one decades ago, but for some misguided reason, he didn’t. Perhaps he was too busy bedding any woman that would spread her legs for him to think about the future.

Now it is up to me to forge an alliance, save my country, create an heir, and try not to be miserable as I do all of the above.

“Send a missive. I want all of them here.”

“Are you going to throw a gala?” Merek asks with clear laughter in his voice.

“Apparently,” I grumble.

All three men are unable to hide their laughter at my expense. “Bring on the Ladies’ maids,” Rowan crows.

“You bastards,” I snap.

Their laughter turns into loud howling guffaws at my expense and I can’t help but join in. It feels good, laughing with my brothers again. I’ve missed this, with all of the stress of the past four weeks, I have missed my life before. When everything