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DUTY AND THE BEAST
[ 3-day rental ]
DUTY AND THE BEAST
Princess Aisha has been captured by one of the candidates vying for the throne, crushing her hopes to one day marry a man she truly loves. Being treated like a mere pawn, she trembles at the thought of a future in captivity. However, she is rescued just in time by Sheikh Zoltan, the handsome prince from a neighboring country. Despite his arrogance, she finds warmth in his strong, gentle arms; however, he has his eyes on the throne, as well. Has Aisha left the frying pan only to find herself in the fire?
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©TRISH MOREY / YUKI SHIOMIYA
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- A little empathy can go a long way 4
- CJ 02/21/2020 2 people found the following review helpful
SPOILER ALERT: The king is dead, and by treaty and national constitution the brother that marries the princess of the neighboring kingdom will be the new king. To this end, the princess has been kidnapped to force her marriage to the eldest, but before that can happen a daring night raid by black-clad warriors steals her back. She thinks she’s going home, but when she wakes the next morning she is greeted by her father and the happy news that she will never go home again because she will be marrying the younger brother, the hero who was also the commando who rescued her, the very next day to secure his ascension to the throne. To be sure, it would appear he is the nobler of the two brothers, but to her mind, he is just as heartless. Given no choice, she goes through with the marriage, but a marriage bed with a man she hardly knows so recently after the kidnapping and its trials proves too much, and being accused of being as barbaric as his brother calls a halt to the evening’s consummation. Complaining to his commando friends the next day, the prince is told her feelings are not unwarranted considering what she’s been through, and he needs to romance her, but he’s going to need to do it quickly, because he has to bed her before the coronation ceremony if he is going to claim the throne. He decides to take their advice and takes her an oasis near the palace of the coronation. It’s beautiful and there he starts talking with her instead of down to her. As they walk, they come across a child with a cut leg from one of the nomadic tribes staying nearby, and he watches her comfort the child and tears her gown to get a bandage for the wound. He starts second-guessing what he knows of her. He thought she was a vain, spoiled princess like her sister (who would have been the one to marry him had she not had children out of wed-lock), but he’s starting to wonder if that’s right. When the child’s mother finds them, the hero carries the child to a doctor and sees them on their way. The heroine is surprised to see this gentle side of him. That night, while they share a tent, instead of forcing himself on her again, he sleeps on the couch considering how different she is from what he thought and wondering how he is going to broach the subject of the marriage bed needing to happen before the coronation. The next morning she wakes and follows him to the oasis where he is swimming and he speaks of his brother and his past. It turns out they have a lot in common, and it is becoming clear they are mutually attracted, but he brings up their duty again. She gets irritated and runs off reminding him she is a person with a heart that can be hurt or made happy, and that he is the same. After a while he gets worried because she still hasn’t returned to the tent. He is starting to get frantic when he sees the nomad tents. When he arrives she is reading to a circle of children (in her kingdom she headed up a program to teach reading and writing to low-income kids, but he called her replaceable because he thought she was just volunteering for photo ops). He hears about her heading up the program in her kingdom from one of the nomads, and they are invited to dinner where she gets to talk about her past, and her efforts to help kids and the hero regrets what he told her. In gratitude, the nomads gift her with an elaborately embroidered traditional bridal gown and hold a lively reception for the newlyweds. On the way home from the festivities he talks of his desire to be a good king and marvels at her beauty in the moonlight even as he wonders what to do about the coronation which is scheduled for the next day. They hold hands and she speaks of some of the cruelty she suffered when she was his brother’s captive, and he understands how cruel he was to her initially. He begs her forgiveness. His gentleness leads to kisses which leads to mutual desire and they do indeed consummate the marriage. When the coronation occurs the next day, while she is marveling at their wonderful night, she hears him swear publicly that she was properly bedded, and feels utterly betrayed. After the ceremony, he tries to apologize, but she can’t believe he just wasn’t manipulating her to get himself the throne. That when they get word that her sister, who had been arriving late to support the heroine, has been kidnapped by the elder brother. Word had leaked of their fight on their wedding night and he planned to use her sister to strike a deal, reverse his fortune and nullify their marriage. Knowing that if the brother finds out that they have met requirements now, he may take his revenge on the sister, the hero reassembles his team promising to rescue her too. The heroine is left to wait, feeling guilty for not going through with her duty when she was supposed to and thinking back over whether the hero really manipulated her or not. Meanwhile, we see the elder sister losing to the elder brother until the hero and his team intervene and we get a happy reunion, first between the sisters and then the hero and heroine. He gives her a more complete explanation for his stupidity of not talking when he should have and then drops to the knee to say he loves her. Of course, she returns it and we end with a loving embrace. This was a nice story, and the vows and bed came in the right order which I appreciated. I also appreciated the art. It was very well drawn, and I enjoyed reading it.
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