Kel and his twin sister Isabel have traded places before—to escape lessons, to prank their royal cousins, and for Kel to flirt with handsome men at royal balls. But when Isabel runs away in tears shortly before her proxy wedding to Prince Darin of Pervayne, Kel takes her place, knowing he could cause serious problems between Pervayne and their home kingdom of Karleed if discovered.
Isabel will show up—eventually—and take her rightful place and no one will ever know. The question is, will Isabel arrive before Kel falls hopelessly in love with the servant his sister’s husband has sent along? What if Kel isn’t the only one pretending to be someone else?
Title: A Deceptive Alliance
Author: Sydney Blackburn
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 12, 2018
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Fantasy, twins, slow burn, royalty, cross-dressing, road trip, arranged marriage
A Deceptive Alliance
Sydney Blackburn © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Kel returned to his temporary tower room, far more comfortable in his own clothing. In the excitement over Isabel’s wedding, no one had really noticed his arrival back in Castlemere from Lindere, except to pack him off to this tower. He had recently won the right to call himself a Horse Master, a title few nobles wanted to work so hard to acquire, and some royal recognition would have been nice.
Maybe when he turned twenty-one in a few months. He scowled out the window, not really seeing the rather spectacular view of Margolian Lake. When he turned twenty-one, he would be Lord Kel Lindere, in possession of his mother’s holding: the site of the finest stables in the entire kingdom. Horses trained by Lindere’s Horse Masters were sought the breadth of the kingdom and beyond.
It would also be the first birthday he and Isabel didn’t celebrate together. He tried not to think of the differences—the losses—in his life when Isabel was gone to her new home. She was his best friend. As children, they’d been all but inseparable, and even as growing up had drawn them in different directions, they had never spent more than a few weeks apart.
Tomorrow she was leaving forever. Well, perhaps not forever, but it was no three-day jaunt to the city of Seagate, where Prince Darin’s father ruled Pervayne. The journey alone would take nigh on six weeks. Longer, if the autumn storms came early.
Kel would come into his mother’s estates on his twenty-first birthday this autumn, only two and a half months away. His uncle Maurice would no doubt want him married shortly thereafter. He shuddered at the thought.
Of the few men he’d met who shared his peculiarities, several had an equal love for both sexes—taking wives would be no more hardship for them than any other man. But he had never once experienced a rise in his cock for a woman, never wondered what it might be like to hold a bundle of soft, perfumed curves. From the time he’d been old enough to have sexual feelings—earlier, even—he’d admired the taut lines of the male body, the hard planes and defined muscles of the male form.
Isabel thought she should be able to marry for love? At least she might come to love her husband. He might be as handsome as Duke Savoy claimed. He might be a kind man, strong, but gentle. That’s the kind of man you want, fool.
The point was he might be the kind of man Isabel could fall in love with, while Kel would never love a wife, not that way.
At least he had something to make Isabel feel marginally better about being bartered away. He settled in to await her return to the palace.
Sydney Blackburn is a binary star system. Always a voracious reader, she began to write when she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read. She likes candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach… Oh wait, wrong profile. She’s a snarky introvert and admits to having a past full of casual sex and dubious hookups, which she uses for her stories.
She likes word play and puns and science-y things. And green curry.
Her dislikes include talking on the phone, people trying to talk to her before she’s had coffee, and filling out the “about me” fields in social media.
Besides writing, she also designs book covers for poor people.