Erling awoke when Zanton burst into his bedroom followed by Tyrin. In the predawn light, he saw Zanton’s eyes fill with rage when he saw Koriann.
Koriann, startled awake, gasped, “Zanton!” She sat up in bed, looking vulnerable in nothing but a knit undershirt.
The King crossed the room in a few strides and pressed his sword point against Erling’s throat. “I was going to kill you in a duel, but now I think I’ll just slit your throat for touching my woman.”
Erling broke into a sweat. “She’s not your woman anymore.”
“She is, by God, and she’ll still marry me!”
“Put down the sword!” Koriann demanded. “You have no right to barge in here.”
“You’re a filthy whore.”
“You forget you’re talking to the Queen of Jaipar,” Erling said, not daring move with the sword at his throat.
Zanton glared at him. “I’ll call her what I like. She’s played the virgin with me while whoring with you.”
“Get out, Zanton,” Koriann said. “Return to Haklute. It’s over between us.”
“Fulfill your promise and marry me!”
“Never!” Koriann threw herself at Zanton’s sword arm, knocking the weapon from Erling’s throat.
Erling sprang off the bed, grabbed his blaster from the dresser and aimed it at the king. “Get out of here, Zanton.”
All four guards drew their guns on Erling.
Zanton’s sword blade moved to Koriann’s throat. “Drop the blaster or she dies.”
“Don’t be stupid!” Erling growled. “She’s Queen of Jaipar. You’ll never get away with murdering her.”
“I’ll say you murdered her, so I killed you.”
Erling’s stomach twisted in fear for her.
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