New, free, short story!! Shackled by Debra Anastasia

Aeliea is an evil princess with a taste for torture. In order to save his mother’s life, Markus defies the future queen. She condemns the proud, strong warrior to her dungeons. Night after night he is brought, naked and shackled, to stand before Aeliea. Markus is determined to change the woman whose treacherous whims terrify her empire.


Excerpt:

Aeliea rolled her wrist and examined her fingernails. The three rings on her left hand were worth more than an entire generation of her people could ever hope to make in their lifetime. She liked it that way. Her fresh linen dress was stitched with elaborate gold and silver thread. It had taken four women three straight months to make it for her. She would wear it this once and then cast it aside. Today she would parade, carried in a sedan chair by her guards. From her lofty perch she would point a glittering finger at anyone she fancied. And they would be dragged back to her dungeon, where most likely they would die. Today she pointed at an older woman who was far too pretty for Aeliea’s liking.

“Markus, no, please. No!” The woman said. She was in a panic as a reckless warrior came from the shadows to stand in front of her.

He ignored the frantic pleading and locked his deep green eyes on Aeliea. He was tall and well-muscled. His hair was too long and disheveled, but his jaw was strong and his confidence was huge. The hate in his eyes glowed.
Aeliea felt a huge burst of jealously. The handsome man would dare to stand in front of her guards to protect a lowly pauper?

“You, foolish man, why do you stand in front of this woman?” Aeliea tried to look as condescending as she could, but his eyes were searing into her. He was a good ten years older than she and had tremendous poise.

“This woman is my mother. I will kill all that surround you if you touch her. When they have fallen, I’ll send this blade into your black heart,” Markus snarled at her.

The woman clutched at his arms and sobbed into his back. “Please, Markus. I’ll not lose my last son. Please, kind Majesty, listen not to him. He’s mad with grief. He knows not what he does.”

Markus did not look crazy. He looked ready. Aeliea felt fear.
The man kept his eyes on her as he reached his hand behind him, touching his mother’s face. “Mother, I would rather die here in this street than live under the tyranny of that one when she becomes queen.”

This man had defied Aeliea and it was…appealing.





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