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Forever Moore A Gay Fairy Tale (Forbidden Love #2)
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With his raven hair and snow-white skin, Lord Ansil Eirwin draws unwanted attention wherever he goes. After his father’s untimely death, Ansil is set to become Duke of Ravenswood on his next birthday. The gallant and timid lord would never dream of shirking responsibility, so he subverts his desires in order to please his mother and new stepfather, Reginald.
Orien Moore, known as the Huntsman, lives on the fringes and has forsaken close bonds with anyone, even the misfits he has taken in. When Orien is called upon by his brother, Reginald, to kill the pampered future duke, it is the perfect opportunity to seek revenge against his power-hungry brother. Orien formulates a plan to use Reginald’s vicious request to his advantage by kidnapping Ansil and holding him hostage until he can fulfill his birthright.
Soon Orien realizes that Ansil is nothing like he’d expected. Kind and joyful, Ansil enchants Orien and his ragtag group. And Ansil, in turn, cannot help but be curious about the gruff huntsman as Orien’s vulnerabilities are exposed. Their mutual interest transforms into affection, followed by overwhelming desire. But they are living on borrowed time.
With Reginald seeking power in Ravenswood, they have no way of knowing what will transpire once Orien returns Ansil to his proper place in society. The only certainty is that the odds are stacked against them. Will the young lord and his huntsman ever have the chance to experience the happily ever after they’ve found in each other’s arms?
***PLEASE NOTE: FOREVER MOORE is a romantic fairy tale—minus the magic—that features one reluctant lord, one brooding huntsman, and plenty of angsty, forbidden love. It’s loosely based on a treasured fairy tale in a make-believe setting that isn’t part of any specific time period and doesn’t play by any traditional rules. It also completely stands alone from EVER AFTER.
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Orien Moore focused on the crunch of snow beneath his feet as he walked through the woods. He was surrounded by trees that looked as though they reached the sky and maybe beyond, with barren limbs typical of the long winter season.
He despised being so close to Ravenswood, even though the horseback ride into the village was still an hour away. He’d vowed never to step on Ravenswood grounds again, and it was a promise he planned to keep.
He gritted his teeth as thoughts of his life there attempted to muddy his brain—his brother, father…his mother. Christ, what she had endured… Orien forced those memories into the dark recesses of his mind. He would not give them power over him at the moment. Not with where he was going. No, he must keep a clear head, as he did not know what to expect.
He had left his horse, Valkyrie, tied to a tree, a few yards back. He had instructed Gaius, his truest friend and the person he trusted most in the world, to meet him there in an hour’s time. Gaius did not know Orien had planned to go earlier without him, or he would have fought Orien on it. But Orien would not allow Gaius or his horse to fall prey if this was a trap. He could sacrifice himself but not them. Gaius would care for Valkyrie and the others if it came to that.
Though truly, he did not believe it to be a trap. On his own, Reginald was not brave enough to attack him, yet Orien also knew no other would be at the small cabin Reginald summoned him to through Gaius. He was too proud for that. When Orien had returned his intent to meet with Reginald, he had changed the time of the reunion without Gaius’s knowledge.
Orien heard a neigh and looked back at this Thoroughbred, who was watching him, not happy about being left behind. He did not fear leaving Valkyrie tied to the tree, for it was common knowledge she belonged to the Huntsman, and for that alone, none would take her. She would not allow herself to be taken easily either.
With each step he took, the bitter taste of bile on his tongue became stronger, now not so much because he was closer to Ravenswood, but because he was nearer to Reginald.
He was not surprised when the door to the old cabin opened as he approached. There were holes in the wood, the years having had more effect on the structure than Orien had considered. It had belonged to his family, and where he had gone with his mother when… Again, Orien closed his thoughts to those memories.
Reginald did not step out, so Orien continued to move forward—his sword and bow secure on him. He’d left his long, wavy hair free, rather than tied back like he often kept it, because he knew it made him look more like the heathen Reginald thought him, the heathen he was.
He stepped inside, no fear, just anger he bit down and fought to contain before he burst open from it.
“Brother,” Reginald said, pulling Orien into his arms. There was no doubt in Orien’s mind that his brother sought something from him. He could not remember the last time they had embraced, and he much preferred it that way.
“Brother,” he gritted out in return, but if Reginald noticed the anger on his tongue, he did not speak of it.
He very much doubted he looked healthy. He’d been gone for days, back at his home less than twenty-four hours before Reginald had summoned him. “You look…”
His hair was neatly tied back, never loose the way Orien’s was. It was a similar brown to Orien’s, only Orien’s was lighter, not as controlled. He wore well-crafted trousers and a waistcoat in royal blue and red, unlike Orien’s faded brown breeches and tunic, and leather at his wrists, his weaponry at the ready on his person. Reginald’s face was neatly shaven, again different from Orien, who kept a short beard.
They did not appear to be of the same blood, the same meager background. Reginald had always carried an air of superiority about him, of pride he did not earn. He was a man who cared of station and society and not of family or right from wrong.
The thought made Orien sick, and he tightened his hands into fists, tasted blood as he bit down to hold his fury at bay.
“Cannot finish your sentence?” Reginald queried, causing him to realize he hadn’t.
“You look well, Brother,” he returned. Brother. They used that term so freely, when it was no secret they were estranged.
“I do not have much time. I apologize for my need to get to the point.”
Oh yes, he truly must want something if he was apologizing to Orien. He typically would not waste his time. To Reginald, Orien was a brute. Even had he not been that, he saw Orien as unworthy.