Author’s note: Pieces of a romance novel.


Her name whispered through his head, seeking out the hidden corners he had abandoned years ago. Her figure danced behind his eyes, taunting him as she walked away. Her auburn hair fell in loose curls to hug her figure as she swayed her hips, her sword moving in time with her strong stride. She didn’t look back.

You sent her away, remember? Right, the less distractions, the better. He fingered his sword hilt, trying to banish her from his thoughts and turn them to the task at hand. Soon, his troop would be leaving, and he would need all the concentration he could muster. Instead, all he could think of was running his hands up her curves, her muscled body leaning into his…

“Highness? Are you even listening?” His squire shook his head. “Forgive me, Highness, but shouldn’t we be preparing for war? Not mooning over some nobody.”

Sighing, Lucas refocused on the maps in front of him.


A tear trailed down her cheek, trembled at her chin, and fell. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I wasn’t supposed to love you.”

She felt Lucas stiffen, his hold on the knife faltering, but he stayed silent. Her body trembled, her breathing ragged, she fought for control. I deserve this, she thought, and closed her eyes.

Lucas slowly lowered the knife, not trusting his hand to be still any longer, and tucked it away in his belt. He watched Ari’s face. Normally so expressive, now it gave nothing away except her tears, which continued down her flushed cheeks. He had expected a lot of things when he’d thought about this, but not love. Not her loving him, at least. His heart fluttered and before he could steel himself, he reached up to cup her cheek and wiped her tears away with his hands.

Arabelle’s eyes snapped open, searching Lucas’s face for a hint of his thoughts. His body loosened, the tension visibly leaving his shoulders and face, and a hesitant smile appeared. Still looking in her eyes, he leaned in to brush her lips with his.

“I had to know for sure.”

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