What she doesn’t expect is for her one night stand to turn up before the ceremony….or the wild sex…or the fact her bridegroom turns out to be the exact opposite of what she expected…
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Copyright © 2011 Mina Carter
Her wedding day. Supposedly the happiest day of her life, but all Asharra De Silve could think about was tearing the damn veil off of her head, stomping on the bouquet she held, and making a break for it right through the ornate doors of the chapel.
“Lady Asharra?” one of the attendants ventured in a nervous voice. The woman should be nervous. She was a distant cousin, one of the legions of family relying on Ash marrying today and getting the whole family out of the shit they’d gotten themselves into. Would have been nice if they’d asked her first rather than just frigging selling her to the highest bidder.
Ash clenched her jaw, grinding her teeth together with enough force to crack nuts. If she could have screamed she would have, but her crazy bloodlines ruled that one right out. A complex and convoluted race, the Fae were made up of many species. The Seelie and the Unseelie Courts partnered each other in a never ending, symbiotic dance. Some of Ash’s blood, from her father, came from the shadows of the Midnight Host. They were the darkest part of the Unseelie Court, where some of the nightmares couldn’t give voice to anything other than a whisper.
She turned in a rustle of silk to look at her bridesmaids. They were all tall and willowy, with the classic Sidhe beauty. Ash hid a bitter smile. They were all scared shit-less she might back out. If that happened then one of them was going up that aisle in her place, offered as a sacrifice at the wedding altar.
There was just one problem. Not one of them was a virgin, which ruled them out in the bride stakes. Lord Hunter, the groom, had imposed some fairly strict conditions in return for paying off her family’s debts.
Namely the hand of a virgin faery princess in marriage.
“Are you okay, my Lady? Do you want me to fetch Lord De Silve?”
Ash felt a small smile spread across her face. As far as her family knew, she was the only one able to meet the conditions. Was being the operative word. She hadn’t been a virgin since she was sixteen.
The smile became a smirk. After last night, she certainly wasn’t a virgin. Determined to have her own private ‘hen party’ she’d snuck out, headed to the nearest Last Call bar and ordered a drink that attracted the hottest fae guy she’d ever seen. One night of smoking hot sex later and there was certainly no first, second or third left for her new husband to claim.
She didn’t plan on telling her bridegroom that. What the arrogant bastard didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt him, and meanwhile she could savor her little rebellion. Use it to fortify her against the years until the old crony kicked the bucket. He was going to be a fossil, had to be. After all, he’d bought a virgin bride. Only an old sleaze incapable of getting a woman would do that, surely?
With her skills in illusion, and her newfound talent for acting, he’d never be able to tell the difference. His bride would blush prettily, be a bundle of nerves, and in the morning there would be blood on the sheets. Blood that was already concealed in the small vial within the heavy pendant nestled between her breasts. Thank the Lady for trans-dimensional jewellery. She could have hidden the kitchen sink in there, and no one would be any the wiser.
“No, thank you. Leave me now. I wish for some time alone before the ceremony.”
Her voice was soft, but there was no mistaking the fact it was an order. Unlike most brides, Ash had decided to walk down the aisle alone. No father, no family other than the bridesmaids trailing her like pathetic sheep. She didn’t want her family to accompany her. Not after the bastards had sold her to save their own worthless hides. Her father would ‘give’ her away, even in a ceremonial sense, over her dead body.
Ash turned to look out the window as the women dutifully filed out. The view of the gardens below soothed her as she waited for the knock on the door telling her it was time.
She could do this. She had to do this. There was no way out. She had to marry Lord Hunter, Keeper of the Black Plains. A man not just older than she was but five hundred years older.
The door opened behind her.
“Isn’t it bad enough I’m the damn virgin sacrifice? I thought I told you lot to go.”