Double Dragon Publishing
Book 8 of the Nublis Chronicles and the sequel to The Orion Property, Fortune's Hostage, tells the story of two hereditary enemies who are forcibly married to one another as part of a peace initiative to bring the centuries-old war between their two countries to a close.
Fortune's Hostage is a bittersweet story featuring a strongminded heroine with no looks whatsover. Princess Sybilla of Lodebar is forcibly married to her mortal enemy, Prince Darius of Illyria, and falls deeply in love with him. When she discovers that her reluctant bridegroom is carrying a torch for another woman who is as beautiful as she is not. Sybilla decides that all is fair in love and war and sets out to win him for herself.
Sybilla thought of the grim wooden scaffold with its masked executioners, burning brazier and ancient instruments of torture and shuddered. Even if those two had murdered Daniel in cold blood, it was an unbelievably horrible way to die. Had it been up to her, she would have opted to give them a more merciful end. But the penalty for high treason in Illyria was an awesome one. Coupled with regicide, there was no possible leniency.
It made little difference that one of the assassins was a young woman. She would still die inch by agonizing inch and her shrieking soul would only be released after she'd seen her traitorous partner draw his last breath on the rack beside her. Not only was Darius required to preside over every minute of the afternoon's dreadful festivities, it was he who would have to deliver the final blow.
Tickets to the massively publicized execution had been scalped at record rates. Bidding on souvenirs from the doomed pair had risen to a fever pitch and the interplanetary press was out in force. The Synod's gambling syndicates were offering astronomical odds on whether the condemned would last long enough for the king to kill them and the whole thing would be carried in living color across the entire Synod. Only a few isolated voices had spoken out in protest and they'd been quickly silenced. No sporting event had ever caught the public's interest like the public execution of King Daniel's assassins and nothing was going to interfere with their entertainment.