Stolen Ice Bride
$12.00 – $15.00
When spring breaks the unforgiving grip of winter, the mages arrive to steal a bride. . .
Stolen Ice Bride is a 150 page short story and part of the Stolen Brides of the Fae collection. This is a clean fantasy romance with a steam rating of PG.
Solvay is known for her talents with mixing potions, but she hides a treacherous power.
She’s avoided the watchful eyes of the mages until now. . .
When Solvay is chosen as a bride for the mage king, she’s terrified he’ll discover her secret and use it to bring war to the northern lands.
To protect the people she flees only to fall into the hands of a ruthless ice lord.
He intends to use her as a hostage to secure peace between the mages and ice lords.
As Solvay travels into the heart of the mountains with the ice lord, she discovers there’s more to him than his savage ways.
But even love can’t change the course of fate.
To prevent a war, she’ll sacrifice herself to save the man she loves. . .
This is the fifth installment of STOLEN BRIDES OF THE FAE, a series of stand-alone short novels written by various romantic fantasy authors who share a passion for fantastical love stories.
I stared into golden eyes and the clawing within grew stronger. He wasn’t much taller than me and yet his presence swelled, filling the air with his aura. The luster of his eyes seemed unnatural against his dark beard and wavy black hair, yet the gold band in his hair matched his eyes, and I could not miss the blue and silver ring on his finger. He was handsome, the angles and slopes of his face so magnificent it was difficult to look away.
Swallowing down my dismay, I took a deep breath. My fears could not get the best of me to the detriment of all. As I calmed myself, breathing out of my parted lips, the mage king dropped his hand, although his fingers grazed my arm, sending a cold shiver up my spine. “What is your name?”
His voice was warm, slow like honey. As soon as the vibrance of his words drifted to my ears, I knew it was magic. Why would he use magic on his bride to be?
“Solvay,” I replied.
“Solvay.” He smiled, although his eyes remained cold. “You will be my bride.”
It wasn’t a question but a statement to inform me of my fate. My heart sank to my toes. King of the mages. He did not appear much older than me, which made me wonder why he was king, and what had made him in such a hurry for a bride. Perhaps the line of mages was dying out, and they needed more children and more magic. I tightened my fingers into fists beneath my cloak, sinking into a bow as he remained merely a breath away.
“I’m honored.” The words came out mechanically because it was what I must say. I’d never seen anyone reject a mage and only assumed what might happen to a woman should she refuse.
“Come.” He held out his hand. “We will go to my kingdom.”
So soon? I dared not let my anxiety show, but I could not go with him. What if he found out the truth about me? Who I was? What I kept locked inside? What might happen if I lost control and turned into my “other” self, where the darkness was relentless?
Thoughts flashed through my mind as he took my hand and raised it high. People clapped and congratulated me while the other mages stepped forward with their brides. Six in all. We’d enter those ships and be escorted across the lake to the palace. Despite what I believed about the mages, I couldn’t go. Women and children lived up there, and I would end them all.
Moving to the king’s side, I squeezed his hand, leaned closer and lowered my voice. Silky, sultry words came out. “Your Majesty, I am honored you chose me, but I ask for this request before we depart. I have a few valuable items at home I wish to bring with me, small things that will fit in a bag, trinkets I hold valuable. Will you but give me a few moments to collect those before we leave?”
When his gaze met mine, that clawing sensation grew stronger. He examined me as though he could read my mind, then nodded. “My men shall go with you. We leave within the hour.”
That’s always how it was. The arrival. The selection. The departure. All done quickly, as though they could not bear to be on the land a moment longer than necessary and away from their gilded kingdom. A kingdom which would be my prison, my demise.
I should have felt some semblance of relief that he’d answered my request, and sending his men with me was logical. They wouldn’t want me out of their sight, as if I could run away. I barely heard Donella wish me well as two mages followed me up the stairs, back to the apothecary.
The streets were quiet, the tension thick as the people waited for the mages to leave, so they could celebrate or grieve. That was the hardest part about the tithe. Those who were left behind had to deal with what had happened, with whom they might never see again. Families were divided, lovers parted, but most put on a good face and gathered to comfort those left behind, especially those who grieved. The tithe for brides was never as horrible as the tithe for children.
As the apothecary appeared, I stepped inside, mouth dry and eyed the shelves. “I’ll be just a moment,” I told the mages who guarded the door. Summoning my courage, I reached for the potion I’d made that morning, enough to last me for a week if not more.
Ducking into the back hall, I entered my small room. Quickly, I snatched up the few things I’d need. Rolling the bottle in a scarf so it would not break, I slipped it into a bag along with the other items that were already packed. Long ago, I’d learned it was smart to be prepared to flee at any moment, and the bag was ready with the essentials I’d need until I found another quiet village, a place to start over. My fingers trembled and the demon inside clawed as I tip-toed out of the room.
Unfortunately, the shop did not have a back door, but it had a window which led out into the dark alley between buildings where chamber pots and other rubbish were dumped. The air was thick and sour until the rains washed away the filth.
Peeking back to ensure the mages did not suspect me, I opened the window. It stuck at first, then gave way with a sharp whine of protest. My pulse sped up as I tossed the bag into the street, then pushed my head out. Foul air made me wrinkle my nose, but my desperation was greater. Wiggling my head and shoulders, I used my feet to push myself upward and pull myself out. At the last moment, I lost my balance and tumbled into the street. A bolt of pain shot up my shoulder, but there was no time. Gasping, I snatched up my bag, looped it over my shoulders and ran.
The alley led uphill, further into the twisting roads of the village. But I knew, ultimately, where it would go. A soft curse rang out behind me, and then footsteps. Already? Surely the mages wouldn’t fit through the window. Had they seen me, or had their magic alerted them to my flight? I had no idea how their magic worked. Still, I was light and fast.
I turned a corner and ducked down another ally. I’d walked this route before, tracked it up through the village and out the outer gates. They were old and used to keep the wild creatures from coming through. The mages used magic to keep them shut and after each tithe walked through the city, sealing it with their wards of protection. The gates were at their weakest on the day of the tithe, and I’d be able to slip through. Unless, somehow, the mages used their magic to restrain me.
If they caught me… No. I wouldn’t speculate but focus on the primary goal. Keeping my freedom.
The gates rose before me, mighty and strong. Solid oak made up their walls, built in a hurry, yet time had been taken to build a gatehouse, a smaller entrance for those to come and go. As I approached, the small door stood wide open, showing me thick pine trees, the way into the wood and up farther into the mountains where the ice lords dwelt.
No one came this way, so why was the gate open?
The footsteps behind me quickened, and I hastened my speed, torn between pulling the door shut behind me or leaving it open. In the end, my need for speed won out and I burst through the gate into the woods.
The ground inclined sharply, throwing me off balance. My side ached and my lungs burned. It was warmer under the trees, surprising, for I’d always considered the village warm. I had to lose my pursuer, but when I darted into the forest, brambles crunched underfoot. I was making too much noise to hide. Soon the mages would catch up and I’d be on the ship with the golden eyes of the mage king staring at me. As if he knew…
That thought urged me forward just as my cloak caught on a branch. I spun, grasping with one hand to tug it free when something, no someone, grabbed me from behind. An arm went around my waist, yanking me back against a hard, warm body.
I kicked out, fighting as hard as I could. I needed a branch, a stick, something to knock him down, and then a cloth pressed against my nose. A familiar smell came over me as I breathed in and blackness took me.
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Book, Book + Candle
About the Author
Angela J. Ford is an international bestselling epic fantasy author who has written and published over 20 books and sold over 34,000 copies . Her books have been ranked bestsellers in multiple categories.
She enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing World of Warcraft with her husband. First and foremost, Angela is a reader and can often be found with her nose in a book.