An Auction of Roses
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Jo Tannah
Word Count :85594
Publication Date :2021-01-08
Series : Seasons To Love#2
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3036-8
There are three sides to every scandal. Discovering the truth can be a story on its own.
Prince Guénaël is caught in the midst of a scandal not of his own making. To protect the family name, ius auction, an archaic practice that transfers responsibility for a minor to a protector, has been called. The winning bidder not only wins Gen, but the control over his vast properties.
Prince Lairgnen, Chosen counselor to Anwyll, king of Kizerain, is sent to Merifael in the hopes of discovering the truth and putting a stop to the auction.
What neither man knows is that the Goddess has plans of her own.
Three hours later, Gen found himself in the one place his father had forbidden him to step into.
“Why did you bring me here, Maccus? I told you I never wanted to even come near this area. You lied to me when you said you were taking me to the festival. I was looking forward to it, too.” Betrayal had been the last emotion he thought he’d ever feel with his friend.
Gen looked around in trepidation, quickly spotting more than one recognizable face milling in the crowd. If his father found out, he was going to be in so much trouble. Many were sons of nobility and rich merchants, and their attendance at the soiree thrown by a known procurer proved that he shouldn’t be caught with this group. He could barely hear himself think. The combined volume of laughter and loud music playing made logical thinking impossible. Even if he’d wanted to come here—not that he did—so far, he knew he didn’t like this place. It wasn’t a place he’d fantasized about going.
The place reeked of alcohol, the pungent odor making his head spin, and he hadn’t even been there very long. This manor was owned by Devos Cricirus, a well-known merchant whose financial success was highly suspicious. Gen had heard his father speak of Cricirus in scathing tones. If Gen was to believe the rumors, and he did, procurement was not a reputable business. Most of the time, it involved illegal activities.
“Stop worrying, Gen. Nothing bad’s going to happen. Just relax and enjoy.” Maccus’ words brought him back to the present.
“I’m not going to relax, Maccus,” Gen said through clenched teeth. “If someone sees me here and tells my father, I’ll get into so much trouble. Not only that… Word will reach the king, and Goddess knows how that’s going to come down. No. I need to get out of here before somebody recognizes me.”
“No one here’s going to recognize you.” Maccus smiled sweetly at him. “And even if anyone did, they’re not going to say anything. They wouldn’t dare. You’re a prince, and your father’s a priest. Nobody would dare go against him. Now come on, let’s get inside. We’re missing out on all the fun.”
Maccus took hold of Gen’s upper arm to pull him deeper into the manor, but Gen twisted away.
“No, Maccus. It is especially because I am a member of the royal family that I need to get out of this place. Secondly, what part of I don’t want to go in there don’t you understand?” He glared at Maccus before turning on his heel to go out where they came from.
Maccus cursed behind him, but Gen didn’t look back.
“Gen, come on! Don’t be an idiot.”
Gen bit back a rejoinder but stopped and turned around to stare at Maccus in disbelief.
“Who are you calling an idiot? Me? Because I don’t want to get involved in this sort of gathering? I already told you that I didn’t want to come here, and you completely ignored me. You lied to me, Maccus, don’t you understand that? You’re unbelievable.”
He shook his head, not waiting for what Maccus had to say. He turned around and exited the house in a hurry. Thankfully, the front door was only a few steps away. As he rushed down the stairs, a public transporter stopped in the driveway. When three young men whom Gen didn’t recognize exited the transport, he waved and called out. The transporter blinked blue, and he hurried over so he could catch a ride home. Thankfully, the newcomers didn’t look at him as they ascended the stairs, and no one else was around to compete for the ride.
From behind him, Maccus shouted out his name, but Gen didn’t bother looking over his shoulder. An automated voice greeted him with good tidings and asked him his destination. As he gave it his address, a loud banging on the window made him jerk back in surprise, only to frown when he saw it was Maccus.
“Should I stop to allow the gentleman in, young sir?” The disembodied voice asked in formal tones.
“No. Don’t. Lock the doors and take me to my address as quickly as possible.”
“As you wish, young sir.”
Maccus continued to run alongside the transport, yelling out Gen’s name and pounding his fist on the window. He flinched in his seat but chose to ignore what was going on outside. That was not the Maccus he had come to consider as a friend.
Gen had known Maccus for over three years, but tonight, he could sense a desperation in his friend’s behavior that had been shocking to witness. He breathed a sigh of relief when the transporter sped away and Maccus was left behind.
He glanced at the timepiece on his wrist and saw it was still early enough to beat his father home. Gen leaned back and closed his eyes. Going out without telling his father had not been the best decision. If his father found out about where he’d been, he would be furious.
Two days later, Gen’s world exploded. The sharp slap across his cheek momentarily blinded him. He raised a hand to his cheek, incredulous that his father could react so violently.
“Father, please. I didn’t do anything wrong. I left as soon I learned whose house it was. I swear I didn’t even go inside.” He tried to reason everything out when his vision cleared again.
“Be silent. Your actions have cast shame upon our family name.” Spittle flew from Martin’s lips as he spoke.