Arrows (MM)


Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 21,600
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Evander Roche doesn’t want to kill anyone. But he’s one of the Queen’s bowmen, and the kingdom’s been invaded. Now Van, and his loyal best friend Milo, and their fellow soldiers, are standing at the brink of war.

Fortunately, the greatest magician in the world has shown up to help. Lorre will either win a war or prevent it -- after all, he always gets what he wants. And tonight he wants Van for company.

The magician’s beautiful and powerful. The invitation’s an honor. But Milo’s only concerned about Van getting hurt -- and Van’s starting to realize just how much Milo cares.

On the edge of a battlefield, tempted by magic, Van will discover what he really wants ... and the person he truly loves.

Arrows (MM)
0 Ratings (0.0)

Arrows (MM)


Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 21,600
0 Ratings (0.0)
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The weight of the quiver lurked at his back. He’d always been good with a bow, a fishing-line, anything requiring aim. He wasn’t as flamboyant at trick shots as Claudette, but he was the most consistent of their small group, at least when aiming at targets.

He did not know whether he could shoot a man. In self-defense, maybe. Up close, in the moment. Life or death. But from a distance, at someone else’s order --

He wasn’t sure he wanted to find out.

Beside him, Milo shifted, leaned closer. Let the back of his hand brush Van’s.

Rustles ran through the ranks: the command approaching. Van swallowed, and tried to look like a professional soldier.

General Freye had iron hair and matching shoulders; she was, Van knew, a veteran of the unification wars. She was not alone; Queen Ryllis, tall and coltish and serious, dressed in unremarkable battlefield leathers, was nodding at each comment as if taking mental notes. And the third person in the group ...

... was the Sorcerer of Averene. Wearing floaty fluffy periwinkle blue robes, hideously impractical, even see-through in spots. Still barefoot, because apparently sorcerers did not believe in the existence of footwear. Hair long and straight and unbound, today: falling over his shoulder in a waterfall of light. He made the morning and the world even duller, because nothing could compare.

He was saying, as they came up, “-- well, if it’s mostly about the river and the water supply, I can certainly handle that; how large a new river would you like?”

“You can’t simply make a river,” General Freye argued.

“I think you’ll find I can.”

“The changes to the land -- to the farms -- and you’d be taking water from our people, to give to Penth --”

“Isn’t the point of all this that they need it?”

“I’d like to talk to their Chief Minister. Face to face.” Queen Ryllis ran a hand through the brown frizz of her hair. “I don’t like making decisions with an army at our front door. On our land. It’s intimidation.”

“I can move them,” Lorre said. “Where would you like them?”

“That’d count as an act of war. Especially if you act first.”

“Does it count as an act of war if their presence annoys me?”


“The army,” General Freye said stiffly, “will defend the border. As is their job. Yours is to find a solution that protects Averene.”

Lorre’s eyes narrowed. “What makes you think I’m on your side?”

But you are, Van wanted to protest. Aren’t you? You’re here to save people. You’re magic.

He said nothing, in front of his queen and his general and the world’s greatest magician.

“Our archers,” General Freye said, “are the best in the Middle Lands. Our longbows give us more than an advantage. They are deadly. And not reliant upon mysterious spells and enchantments.”

Van, unsure that he personally was deadly, tried not to meet anyone’s gaze.

Lorre pulled a swirl of white-hot light out of the air and began playing with it: a ribbon, a ripple, twining around his fingers.

“Our army,” Queen Ryllis said, gifting them all with a brilliant smile, “is our strength. Because you all have chosen to be here. You came when called. You want to defend our home, our land. And that makes you all heroes, already.”

Her voice was quiet, but the words carried. She was only twenty-three, younger than Van, but she stood like a queen, and spoke like a queen, and Van knew that she meant each word.

Everyone else knew it too, from the susurration of breaths, the straightening of shoulders. Their queen, their commander.

“I’ll do something with the river,” Lorre said, turning away; they moved on, across the grass. “I’ll need a map. I might be moving some foothills. Not metaphorically.”

“You can do that,” Queen Ryllis breathed, and for a moment the same wonder that Van felt, looking at Lorre, suffused her face. “And you can keep that shield-barrier up as long as we need, you said ...”

“I can do quite a lot. When I decide it’s necessary.” The fire-ribbon coiled and fluttered and looped itself around Lorre’s right wrist, over delicate slim bones.

“Is there anything we can do for you?” Ryllis ran a hand through her hair again. “Anything the Crown of Averene can offer the Sorcerer?”

Lorre paused, two steps away. Turned, a dazzlement of gossamer silk and cerulean lace. His eyes swept the line, and found Van: a capture, neat as a net of spun moonlight.

Van couldn’t breathe. He could feel the sweat at his back, under the weight of leather, bow, sorcerous scrutiny.

At his side, Milo had stiffened all over: poised, as if ready for action. Jaw tight.

Lorre came leisurely over. His feet, naked under a swirl of too-light extravagance, made no sound. He was, Van thought dizzily, shorter than the presence suggested: not short, no, but not a towering giant, either. Taller than Milo. A bit less than Van’s own height.

He had the face of an illuminated manuscript, a stained-glass window, an agelessly youthful knight or baron or Goddess-touched hero. Or the opposite, given the Church’s feelings about magicians; equally, given the ruthless command in those blue eyes. A warning, a peril, a danger. A sorcerer.

He put out a hand. Fingertip lifting Van’s chin.

Van might’ve knelt on the spot, or fought for his nod, or come apart with diamond-edged ecstasy right there; any or all of those were possible, just then.

Lorre said softly, “You’ll do.”

Van would’ve nodded, except Lorre’s hand was holding him in place. Anything, everything, yes.

Milo said, sharply, “He’ll do what, exactly?”

Both of Lorre’s eyebrows leapt up in portrait-frame surprise. The bracelet of fire, still wreathing his wrist, leapt as well. “And who are you?”

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