Sinner, Book 1 of the kan Ingan Archives
by Toni V. Sweeney
Some call them literary exhibitionists because of that. Gathered here is the story of one of their family—Aric kan Ingan… Sinner… Exile… Rebel… King…
Taken from his mother at the age of twelve, and raised as heir to the Arcanian throne, Aric loses his inheritance when his uncle abruptly married Elizabeth Sheffield, an Earthwoman. Aric rebuffs Elizabeth's overtures of friendship, only to have events take an unexpected turn when he falls in love with his uncle's wife.
While Aric and Elizabeth begin a forbidden passion, other forces in the kingdom are conspiring rebellion and murder…
…with Aric as the not-so-innocent pawn…
Chosen as one of the best Science Fiction Romances series of 2012 by the Paranormal Romance Guild.
Chosen as one of the top ten in SF/Fantasy By the 2012 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.
A Page from:
She was standing on the other side of the room behind the divan, hands resting on its back. Her color was good, eyes bright. The dark hair was once again lustrous and gleaming, loose in a cascade of waves falling about the shoulders of her green gown. She’d gained a little weight, too, and no longer looked like an insubstantial wraith.
She was beautiful.
“My lady.” Aric bowed. “How are you?”
“I didn’t ask you here to discuss my health.”
The words were an attack, no greeting, no acknowledgement of his bow, simply that blunt statement as if he were a recalcitrant schoolboy called before his tutor. To his present state of mind, her hostility was without cause.
“Your health’s of great importance, Your Majesty,” he replied, ignoring her rudeness. There was a flickering of surprise that he wasn’t responding with his own anger. “I appreciate your seeing me.”
The dark brows shot up. “How polite we are today. I’d better watch my step. I’ve learned you’re at your most dangerous when your manners show.”
“Don’t mock me, my Lady, I beg you.” He shook his head, trying to keep the distress out of his voice, horrified when a slight whine crept in.
“Humble, too? Should I get out my sword and shield?” She smiled cruelly. “Perhaps I should call my White to protect me since my husband isn’t here. Why were you so anxious for him to attend the council on Andvari, Aric? Was it so you could play Margrave once more?”
He didn’t answer.
“Poor, poor Lord Ghiralaine! That’s the only way you’ll ever be ruler now, I’m afraid.”
Damn, she knows how to dig in her claws!
“Elizabeth, don’t!” He couldn’t, wouldn’t take any more.
“Your Lordship!” There was mock horror in her voice. “You’ve just committed a grievous social error!”
He forced himself to stay calm. “I need to speak to you, Elizabeth.”
“And I to you,” she agreed. “I think it’s time some things were decided between us.”
“Will you begin, or shall I?”
She hesitated. “First, there’s something I need to know. The last time we spoke, had you been drinking?”
“No, Elizabeth.” He smiled slightly. “I was totally sober.”
She looked dismayed, as if she’d convinced herself otherwise and didn’t want this belief refuted. “Before my daughter was born, you told me you had certain... feelings... toward me.”
“No,” he corrected, “I told you I loved you.”
“You’ve a strange way of showing it!” she flared. “I was under the impression you hated me. God knows, I’ve tried to make you like me.”
“I don’t like you, Elizabeth. I love you.” He wasn’t going to stand there and listen any longer. Nor was he going to spit out pretty phrases. He was going to tell her exactly and bluntly how he felt, once and for all. “Love! Do you know the word? It’s that emotion you pretend to have for my uncle. If there’s anyone I hate, it’s him for being able to touch you!”
“For God’s sake, what are you saying?”
Before he realized it she was standing in front of him, pressing her hand against his mouth. He kissed her fingers and she jerked her hand away as if he’d bitten her.
“I love you, Elizabeth, and I think you feel the same way about me.”
“No!” The denial was too violent to be sincere. She shook her head. “No, no, no!”
“Why did you send for me?”
“I—to…” She tried to speak, swallowed, and stood there helplessly.
“Don’t lie, my Lady.”
“How dare you call me a liar!” She was still attempting to hide behind anger.
“It’s true. You’ve always lied! To Deroes, to me, to yourself. I received your thoughts, Elizabeth. I imaged two men making love to you.”
“You were mistaken!” She didn’t look as surprised as he expected. Had she deliberately done sent him those mental images? “That ability you have can sometimes be wrong. You picked up someone else’s thoughts.”
“There were two! Before your marriage to my uncle, you were wondering how it’d be between us.”
“No, no, no!” She looked ready to burst into tears. “I love my husband!”
“He’s thirty-three years older than you.” He caught her by the shoulders, shaking her. “Gods, he’s having to use medication to perform. You need someone younger, someone who can satisfy you. You need me.”
She didn’t get a chance to answer. Aric kissed her. She stiffened and pulled away. One hand drew back.
He braced himself to be struck.
The hand fell to her side. “Lock the door.”