Seduce Me in Flames

Seduce Me in Flames by Jacquelyn Frank

Book: Seduce Me in Flames by Jacquelyn Frank Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jacquelyn Frank
Tags: Fiction, Fantasy
and, in a rush of swishing silk, she knelt at his feet. She bowed until her foreheadtouched the toe of his boot, her graceful arms curling around his ankles. Balkin couldn’t help the sudden racing of his heart and the clutch of excitement gripping at his soul. Just the same, he crouched down as she lifted her head, grabbed her by the chin, and gave her a mean little shake.
    “And what about that little bitch in my jail? What do you propose I do with the empress of Allay? In truth I have nothing, my pretty love, as long as she is breathing!”
    “Kill her. She is not your daughter, your mother, or your sister, and therefore not of your direct blood. There is no law against killing her to secure your throne.”
    He laughed coldly. “It’s all so easy for you. You think you can simply discard the entire Allay line and there won’t be repercussions? The IM—”
    “The IM can interfere only if there’s a crime against the laws of our country or some kind of mass brutality at your hands. An act of genocide or terrorism. An act of war against another country of Ulrike or any of the Three Worlds. An overthrow of the natural order of government in a given country. But this is the natural order of our government. You are the proper heir by blood and divine right. And as I said, there is no proof of any foul play. Nor will there be. Balkin suffered a massive stroke. His son’s death was an unfortunate fluke. People die for unexplainable reasons all the time.”
    Balkin narrowed his eyes on her.
    “Tell me. Did you do it? Did you kill the boy?”
    She smiled. “If I did, I certainly would not tell you. You cannot be trusted, Balkin. If the IM did begin to investigate you and you felt you were in danger of their justice, you would feed me to them like a bone to a dog in order to escape them.” She reached to stroke warm fingers over his cheek. “You are a strong man. A devious man. A man who knows when fortune is turning in his favor. I know you won’t let this slip away from you.”
    “I wouldn’t throw you away like you say,” he said quietly. “I love you, you cunning little harlot. More today than ever before, I promise you. But there is one very large hiccup in all your puppeteering, my love.”
    “Oh?” She raised a silvery brow, clearly amused by the notion that she had not thought of every detail.
    “The princess has escaped from the catacombs.”
    She went still, a hard coldness entering her eyes.
“What?”
she demanded. “No one has ever escaped from the catacombs.”
    “True. And at the moment we aren’t sure she actually made it out alive. They’re still sorting through the chaos. She never passed the outer portal, but instead went deeper into the tunnels. Odds are the little idiot drowned herself trying to make an escape. I would normally assume as much, except—”
    “What is it?” she wanted to know, her impatience very out of character for her. Eirie did not like to show ruffled feathers. She was always seemingly calm and in control. At least in public.
    “Except she had help. They came with explosives and a planned distraction to occupy the guards. Some Tarian brute. A mercenary no doubt. Hired perhaps by Prelate Kitsos or some other powermonger in this court.”
    She made an indelicate sound. “In that case I would hardly worry. It sounds as though it was a botched job all around.” Her eyes lit and she smiled. “Actually, this could be very fortunate for us! If she died in an escape attempt, you can hardly be blamed. Oh, how clever. I wish I had thought of it myself. And if she is dead … oh, my great and glorious lord, you are well and truly emperor of all Allay.”

 
    “Dead!” Ambrea felt her entire chest closing in on itself. She had no idea how she was even able to force words and breath out of it. “I just saw him! He was well and healthy and … I just saw him!”
    “Two days ago he fell suddenly ill. He was gone by dawn this morning.”
    “We suspect he was

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