Title: The Stable Boy
Author: Megan Derr
Length: 12,000 words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: m/m fantasy romance
On a journey to meet his fiancé and begin wedding preparations, Prince Diggory is betrayed by his bodyguard, who intends to steal Diggory’s life. Left for dead in a river, the last thing Diggory expects is to live.
But surviving is only half the battle, and Diggory will have to figure out how to work around the constraints of a terrible curse if he hopes to stop the man who betrayed him and gain back his life.
This free story from Megan Derr contains all the things I love about her books. The story has a serious theme of betrayal and injury but it’s handled with such a deft touch that the tone of the book is light and breezy.
Prince Diggory wakes up after being betrayed and cursed by his bodyguard, Benoit. He was on his way to meet his fiance but now finds that the bodyguard has usurped his place and Diggory is unable to expose Benoit without the curse killing him. By luck Diggory finds employment as the stable hand to the prince and uses this opportunity to seek out a way to expose the deceiver without waking the dormant curse.
I really enjoyed this short which managed to combine a very likable character in Diggory with a certain amount of narrative tension. It’s obvious that Diggory and his prince fiance are perfect for each other and the scenes where they are together shine with Diggory’s attraction and the increasing regard from the prince. The use of the letters in foreshadowing the attraction was cleverly done and this, coupled with the on page interaction, allowed for the happy ending to take place.
For such a short story there’s a lot packed in but it never felt overcrowded. Instead I read quickly, eager to discover how Diggory would beak the curse and looking forward to a time. I also rather liked that Diggory was no soft-touch and the bloodthirsty way he dispatches his enemies provided me with a grim satisfaction.
Overall, this was a very entertaining and enjoyable story, with the only downside being that we never really get to know the prince, and one I would recommend for those who want a free introduction to this author’s work.