Book Title: To Poison a Prince
Author: Aldrea Alien
Cover Artist: Leonardo Borazio
Release Date: July 31, 2021
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
Trope/s: Hurt/Comfort, Man in Peril, Cultural Differences, Dysfunctional Family, Mystery Murderer, Opposites Attract
Themes: Royalty, Wedding, Revenge
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 269 231 words
It is book 2 in the A Tale of Two Princes series
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Someone is out to murder his husband and he might just be the reason they succeed.
Imperial Crown Prince Darshan knew his journey home wasn’t going to be the modest one he hoped for, especially not after eloping with Hamish, a former prince—and now exile—of Tirglas.
When he thwarts a clumsy attempt on his husband’s life during a soirée hosted by his long-standing rival and half-sister, he figures the worst is behind them.
Yet, the threat of death continues to shadow them across the empire. Someone is intent on making the rumours of his husband’s demise a reality, someone who can erase the memory of their very presence from people’s minds.
Darshan must discover who is behind the attempts before they succeed. But who can he trust when the culprit is capable of slipping by the most vigilant of guards?
“Your highness,” Katarina said in a clear address to himself. “I hear you’ve travelled through imperial lands for some months. What is your current outlook on it?” Although she spoke Udynean, the musical hint of her own language whispered through. A much softer melody than the last hedgewitch Hamish had met.
He swallowed the wine and considered the past eight weeks of travel from the distant port of Haalabof to here, of the seemingly endless roads winding along the lands and the villages small enough to barely warrant a mention on a map. “It has certainly been an experience.” He’d been propositioned at least seven times along the way. Maybe even more that had been too subtle for him to notice.
The hedgewitch’s eyes almost sparkled. “You simply must give me details, your highness. It’s so rare to have an outside opinion on Udynea.”
Hamish opened his mouth, his agreement balancing on his tongue, only to remain silent as Darshan laid a bejewelled hand atop his.
“I’m sure my husband is most eager to oblige the request, Madam Hedgewitch, but perhaps another time would be more suited?”
Her lashes fluttering, Katarina lowered her head. “Of course, vris Mhanek.” She picked at the rest of her meal, perhaps looking for a reason to remain silent as she vibrated with an energy that reminded Hamish of his nephews when they sorely wanted to natter people’s ears off.
A pang of longing turned his stomach. A yearning to embrace his sisters, to hear his nephews scheming and his niece’s laughter. He would even take his brother’s good-natured ribbing just for a chance to hear his voice.
Hamish swallowed, blinking furiously to stem the tears threatening to spill. He hadn’t expected to feel homesick, but he’d never been beyond Tirglas before, hadn’t even been more than a week’s travel from Mullhind Castle for years. Now it was months away and there was more land to cover before they reached their destination.
A whole continent between him and his family; people he would never get to see again thanks to his mother’s poisonous ire.
“Do eat up, brother dear,” Onella purred, jolting Hamish from his thoughts. His sister-in-law gestured to the plate before Darshan, the rings adorning her fingers glittering in the candlelight. She had changed gowns, or at least the filmy topmost layer, and her arm showed no sign of Darshan’s attack. “All that dancing must’ve worked up quite the appetite. I can’t imagine the poxy inns you’ve stopped at during your travels had meals sufficient for a man of your power. You must be ravenous.”
Darshan smiled. Hamish wasn’t sure how his husband managed to seemingly detach the expression from his face, but the sight prickled his skin. “I think I’ll pass, dear half-sister.”
“But isn’t quail your favourite?” Onella pressed. “Did all those stodgy meals up north affect your palate?” She leant closer to one of the men flanking her and continued on in a loud whisper. “I hear they do ghastly things like stuff sheep stomachs and eat them.”
“They do indeed,” Katarina piped up as grumbles of distaste trembled along the table. “And the stomachs of cows and pigs.”
“There’s little from an animal we dinnae eat or use,” Hamish added, ferocious pride for his homeland’s self-sufficiency puffing his chest. “And what’s left goes to feed our dogs and pigs. We dinnae let a thing go to waste.”
“Clearly, trade relations with a superior people isn’t listed as one of those things.” Onella sipped at her wine, her gaze boring into him. “But I suppose you’re not privy to such matters, being dead and all.”
A woman part way down the table flung her head back and guffawed.
“He seems very lively for a dead man,” pointed out the woman sitting next to her as her neighbour continued to wheeze.
“Clearly not in the literal sense,” Onella said, her gaze remaining firmly on Hamish. “But it would seem that the news of how the current queen of Tirglas disowned her younger son hasn’t reached all present company.”
Darshan straightened in his chair. “Has it not?” He took up his glass and tapped his forefinger against it, waiting whilst a servant topped up the wine. “What is the rumour mill coming to if it cannot keep up with such trivial concerns?”
Q & A With Andrea Alien
Tell us a little about yourself.
I hail from New Zealand, where I live in a semi-rural plot in the lower part of the North Island. Outside of writing, my job involves wrangling and chauffeuring one mood-swinging teenaged child (and tending to a brood of terribly pampered kitties).
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
That I am bi and genderfluid. Largely because I present as cis/het-passing.
How long have you been writing and what made you fall in love with writing?
I’ve been writing for… well, a few decades now, but I only started publishing those works in 2013. I’m not sure if I could call my feelings for writing as “love”. There are times where I absolutely loathe it, but it’s still something I consider as a necessity for my mental wellbeing. I’ve too many stories buzzing in my head and getting them out there is the only way to make them shut up.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Nah. I wanted to be a paleontologist.
When/where is your favorite time/place to write?
I don’t really have a favourite place. I write wherever I can and that’s generally right smack in the middle of an active household. My favourite time is when everyone’s either out or asleep as it gives me a moment of quiet to fully collect my thoughts.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance/fiction?
I think it was less me choosing and more being chosen by a certain pushy character to write his sprawling epic of a bi-awakening romance. Now I have a whole world to play in, the tales just keep flowing and they tend to involve LGBTQ+ characters.
Do you write any other genre? Kind of?
But only in sense that it’s outside the LGBTQ+ genre. It’s still fantasy romance.
Describe a scene in your writing that has made you laugh or cry? There have been a lot of scenes that make me laugh. The one I recently wrote is in To Poison a Prince and involves a slightly drunk Darshan being thrown over Hamish’s shoulder and carted out of a tavern to their room, all whilst Darshan is “objecting” and pleading, but not really, that people save him from the “foreign brute”.
Give the readers a brief summary of your latest book or WIP. What genre does it fall in?
My latest work in progress is Tracking Trouble and is a prequel for In Pain and Blood. It focuses on the spellster-hunter, Tracker, in the months before the rest of the series. Lots of fighting and killing dangerous magic wielders. I’m currently having a love/hate relationship with it because I don’t really like fight scenes, but the Muse insists.
Give us a little insight into your main characters. Who are they?
They are Hamish and Darshan, two gay princes in their thirties from very different backgrounds.
Hamish comes from Tirglas, where he’s the seventh in line for the crown. He has lived a sheltered and abused life under the rule of his mother who doesn’t approve of him liking men.
Conversely, Darshan is the heir of the Udynean imperial throne. He has spent a great deal of his adulthood living it up in a hedonistic haze, to the point where his father sent him on an ambassadorial mission in the hopes that it would give him some sense of responsibility.
Will we be seeing these characters again? Is this book part of a series?
Darshan and Hamish will appear in other books set within the spellster universe, not necessarily as the main characters, though. At the moment, their story is more or less done with these two books.
What genre/s do you enjoy reading in your free time?
I’m very much drawn to the fantasy romance genre, no matter the pairing, but I also enjoy a little contemporary lgbt fiction when it comes to short works.
How do you relax?
When I’m not reading, it’s video games. More The Sims4 than anything else nowadays. Of course, that has led to me playing out my character’s lives on the odd occasion. Been playing one particular character’s bloodline on and off for months now.
About the Author
Aldrea Alien is an award-winning, bisexual author of fantasy romance with varying heat levels. Born and raised in New Zealand, she lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first.
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