Shifter Tony and King Cerdic are back and dealing with their upcoming nuptials, with all the attendant stress. But eventually they are wed and life seems to settle down for them.
Then a new problem crops up. Highwaymen are robbing wealthy lords. Tony and his brother-in-law, the mage Leofric come up with a plan to stop them, and then manage to convince Cerdic to let them do it, despite the fact it is possible there is more to the robberies than meets the eye. There is, and Tony and Leofric must deal with Jandar, an insane mage who wants to capture Tony for reasons of his own.
In the process, Tony learns why Leofric has given up on finding someone to love. Will Tony be able to change that? It depends on whether both he and Leofric survive their confrontation with Jandar.
"May we get back to our problem?" Lord Randel said. "How can we find these men and stop them before someone dies?"
Everyone looked at Tony.
"No," Cerdic said vehemently, obviously understanding what the others might be thinking. "I promised him he would never have to put himself in the way of harm again."
"If he had someone powerful by his side ..." Leofric tapped his chest. "Like me."
Cerdic gave him a look that would have withered the strongest elf. "Why by all the Gods would you want to do that?"
Leofric didn't even wince. "I am bored."
"And this makes it right that you should volunteer to help Tony, if he wants to take on the task of stopping these (highwaymen)?"
"Well, yes. Besides, I look good in black."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Tony asked with a trace of amusement.
"You can be the rich Lord, or whatever you decide to be. I will be your guard and everyone knows that guards dress in black. It is de rigueur."
"May I state, without fear of argument, that the pair of you would make a formidable team, if Cerdic allows this to happen," Wulf said.
"Guys ..." Tony held up his hands. "I haven't agreed to do this."
"You were thinking about it, however," Cerdic said sourly.
"Well, yes, if we can come up with a workable plan. The first question is, would these men try to rob me? I am your husband and well known because of that, alone. Then there's the fact I've spent a great deal of time publicly helping out the kingdom's merchants."
"Do not forget your face is familiar to everyone who was involved with Stronghold," Wulf added.
"Exactly. If it were me, I'd be the last person I'd try to rob."
"I would agree," Lord Randel said, "if it were not for one thing. This could be a ploy to make you do exactly what you are thinking about. Your reputation as someone willing to, I believe you called it go undercover, precedes you because of Stronghold. You also travel by teleporting in most cases, which would make it hard for them to get their hands on you if that's what they are after."
Cerdic looked hard at Tony. "Both good reasons for me to forbid you to do this."
Tony glared back. "It seems to me you tried that once before. Didn't work, did it?"
"You were not my husband, then."
"You do not use our being wed as a reason to tell me what to do with my life," Tony spat out. "Whether Randel's right and they're after me, or they're a pair of thugs who came up with a plan to make some easy money, I can stop them with Leofric's help." He moved closer to Cerdic, saying softly, "You know I can get away if things turn bad."
"Can you, if one of them has some mage powers? Enough to put a holding spell on you?"
"Well ..." Tony knew he was correct, as much as he didn't like it.
"Leofric will be there to counteract it. Hell, he can cast his own holding spell on them the second they show up."
"He has a point, and I would," Leofric said, having sidled close enough to overhear what they were saying.
"If you do not mind a suggestion, your highness," Mayor Vullian said, "It might help if he and Mage Leofric came up with a plan before you make a decision."
Leofric smirked. "Someone else with a valid point."
"Do it!" Cerdic stood, gave his husband and his brother dour looks, and strode out of the Audience Chamber.
"Fuck!" Tony sighed as he watched the man he loved close the door behind him.
Wulf gripped Tony's shoulder. "He will come around, if you can assure him that both of you will come out of whatever you plan in one piece."