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Book Three of The Academy Series
Lizbeth wasn't given a choice whom to marry. She'd been betrothed to the, stubborn, arrogant, egotistical, Adan Hammerstrike, barbarian prince, heir to the throne of Alaria, and...and...murderer, since the day she'd been born. But, did that mean she wasn't entitled to follow her own dreams? Especially if those dreams could keep those she cared for safe? And so what if Adan had grown from the troll of a little boy he'd been into a ridiculously handsome, sexy man. Her heart could resist him, couldn't it?
The last thing on Albrath, Adan ever wanted was to be saddled for all of eternity to the screeching, boring, lackluster, Lizbeth Soulenticer. Though her beauty's beyond compare, there are only so many turns of the hourglass in a night to enjoy it. The rest of the unbearable time, he'll be forced to contend with her silly, hero worship, and her stupid pet choices. But, Adan is a man bound by duty and honor, and he will do what he must, even though he longs for a mate who will challenge him in bed and out. Not that he'll give her his heart, mind you, at least not until they both find themselves Taken by the Passion.
He held out a hand toward her. "Spend this one night with me, Lizbeth, and if you still feel the same in the morning, we'll talk about you possibly going to the Academy and taking a few classes now and then. After all, how would it look to my family and friends if my brand new wife took off before the sun rises on her wedding night? I have appearances to uphold, we both do."
Lizbeth sizzled with anger. "I don't like you, remember? I couldn't care less how this looks to anybody, and...and...and, I won't spend this night or any other with you, until I have to, even on a bet."
Adan grinned. "Really? Not even on a bet? What if a bet was to get you exactly what you say you want most? A life of your own without a moment's interference from me until the day I do become king?"
Lizbeth shook her head and turned to leave, yet Adan's next words not only stopped her forward motion but had her turning and facing him once more.
"I never took you for a coward, Lizbeth, guess I was wrong. You say you know me better than I know myself. I say prove it, Lizard. If you can manage to answer ten...no make that five questions about me correctly, you win."
His grin grew even bigger. "And if you win, not only will I escort you to the front gate and wave you through the portal on your way to the Academy, I'll be happy to inform my family and friends that you're leaving me. That you find a dusty, old institution more sexually appealing than you do your own husband, and rightly so."
The grin disappeared from his face. "But, if you don't answer all of the questions correctly, you'll spend this one night, this entire night, willingly in my bed, in my arms, as my wife, in every sense of the word. Deal?"
He held out his hand again, and Lizbeth stared at it. Her fingers itched with the temptation to take him up on his offer. A life without interference or being under Adan's thumb, even for a short while, was more than a little tempting. Could she trust him, though?
Lizbeth hesitated, weighing her options. Other than being a bunny killer, Adan Hammerstrike was known far and wide for his word. Once he gave it, he never took it back.
She'd spent the majority of every day, for as long as she could remember, learning everything there was to know about the arrogant barbarian prince. She couldn't lose, and this was an opportunity she couldn't afford to pass up.
Lizbeth smiled as she shook his hand. "Deal."