Saloni Quinby
Available from Changeling Press

The next morning after training, Hugh escaped his studies to visit his favorite clearing in the woods. It had been days since he'd had the chance. His father had been adamant about Hugh's involvement in a feast planned for two weeks hence. The sole purpose of the feast was for Hugh to meet potential wives. The king had decided it was time for him to think about marriage. Though he wasn't an old man, the king was cautious. Until Hugh married and produced an heir, he wouldn't be content.

Already Hugh was tired of hearing about the feast and could scarcely wait for it to be over. He was even more tired of trying to subtly convince his father that he wasn't ready for marriage. In truth he might never be ready, for he had no interest in women outside of friendship.

Of course he'd known all his life that his duties included producing an heir to carry on leadership. If he failed to do so, the crown would fall to his cousin.   At times Hugh wished his cousin was next in line instead of him. Then he considered the changes he could make as king and it inspired him to accept his destiny.

At the moment he didn't want to think about it. He needed time and space to be alone, just for a short time.   When he reached the clearing, he heard splashing in the brook and tensed. His hand hovered over his sword, then he relaxed upon seeing Briar floating on his back in the water.

Noticing Hugh, Briar stood. The water reached his waist, leaving his sleekly muscled torso bare and glistening. His dark hair was slicked back from his rather delicate face.   Hugh's pulse raced. His muscles tensed and his cock twitched. The last thing he'd expected to find was Briar.

"Good afternoon," Briar said.   "I didn't think you still came here."   "I come here almost every day. It's peaceful. Beautiful."   Hugh nodded abruptly. He turned away.   "You don't have to go," Briar said.   Hugh paused, his back to Briar. Closing his eyes for a moment, he endured a brief inner struggle before he turned to face Briar again. He removed his weapon and undressed. All the while Briar's intense green gaze followed his every motion.

Naked, Hugh walked toward the water. Briar's lips parted slightly and his gaze swept every inch of Hugh, lingering on his semi erect cock then staring into his eyes.   His heart pounding with anticipation, Hugh swallowed and moistened his lips. The water was cool and pleasant, but Hugh scarcely noticed. All he cared about was the beautiful, sinewy man in front of him.

Reaching Briar, he took his face in his hands and dipped his head toward the swordsman's to cover his mouth in a kiss.

He almost expected Briar to pull away. Instead the man slid his arms around Hugh and thrust his tongue into his mouth. Groaning, Hugh closed his eyes. His tongue danced with Briar's while their hands roamed over each other's bodies.

Though slender, Briar was hard and supple, like warm steel.

When the kiss broke, they stared breathlessly into each other's eyes.   A faint smile on his lips, Briar said, "Kissing a commoner, Prince Hugh? What would your father say?"   "I couldn't care less," Hugh replied with heartfelt sincerity.   He kissed Briar again, this time more demanding.

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