Another Thursday, another taste of sleeping beauty. She's been spelled asleep, queue the Prince. The whole story is available on WattPad and there are more fantastic tastes available on the blog.
Russel was his father's favourite son. Second in line, he wouldn't likely take the throne, but he had the guile, the drive to usurp his brother. If he ever wanted to reign, Marcus wouldn't stand a chance. He rode back from his hunt, the pelt of the wolf that had terrorized a village strapped behind him. There was a more precious pelt underneath. He'd found a golden fox while he hunted and bagged that as well. It was safely hidden until he could take it to the furrier and be handsomely paid.
The daughter of the town elder had been happy for his company, even smeared with the blood of the wolf. She'd washed him, bandaged the small wound on his leg, and settled him in her own bed. Her father had argued, but the girl was old enough to make her own mind, old enough to enjoy the hero come home.
She had been fun for a night. Many women had shared his bed and left happily. Few had tried to push for advantage, trying to gain his attentions for a second night. The few who had were quickly set to right. He was the prince, not their lover. He would not be at a woman's beck and call.
Giving his reins to a stable boy, he released the pelts and carried them in on his shoulder, dried brown blood smudging his cloak.
“Russel,” his father greeted him. “You've returned already? And with the culprit in hand. Well done, son.” The king clapped him on the back, and led him to the thrones where the wolf pelt might sit for the night, telling all of his heroic act.
“Yes, and with more for the bargain,” he said, smiling. He flipped the wolf over to reveal the fox.
“Golden fox,” his father murmured, running his hand through the soft, fine, shimmering fur. “I have always wanted one of these.”
“I'll trade it for the birthright,” Russel answered, smirking.
His father punched him in the arm, hard. He wavered, but didn't budge. “You know I can't trade for that. You know what you must do to get it.”
“Should I trade his pelt as well?” he asked, joking. He wasn't about to kill his brother.
“Crass,” his father said, laughing. “Such black humour. Go, take your prize with you. Then return, we have a guest tonight.”