Title: The Homecoming Prince
Series: The Castaway Prince, Book Three
Author: Isabelle Adler
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 05/17/2021
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, action/adventure, bisexual, cross-dressing, established couple, fantasy, genderbending, genderfluid, political, royalty, war
Having returned to the continent following Warren’s illness, Stephan and Warren are certain they’ve escaped the notice of spies from Seveihar and are ready to build a new future for themselves. However, their quiet life is shaken once again when they receive a message from Stephan’s sister, Nessa. She begs him to return home and help her stand against their older brother, Robert, who is abusing his power by oppressing his subjects and starting an unnecessary war with the neighboring country of Esnia.
With dark family secrets coming to light, Stephan is faced with a difficult choice between safety and happiness in exile with the man he loves, and his duty as a prince to protect his people from tyranny. And yet, amid all the dangers, the greatest risk he might face is a broken heart…
The Homecoming Prince is the final book in The Castaway Prince series. For best enjoyment, please read the books in order.
The Homecoming Prince
Isabelle Adler © 2021
All Rights Reserved
“I’m glad to say you look slightly less awful today,” Stephan said.
His tone was teasing, but it masked a very real concern. Warren’s bout of illness had been so prolonged and so grave that for a while Stephan had feared the worst.
Those days had been nothing short of horrible. He’d known plenty of wretchedness and weathered plenty of dangers, but nothing could ever come close to the long hours spent by his lover’s sickbed, holding his hand, wiping the sweat off his brow, and hoping the next rattling breath wouldn’t be the last while Warren thrashed about with fever.
“Always such a sweet talker,” Warren said.
A weak smile played on his lips as he brought a cup of tea to his mouth. He sat up on the narrow bed, propped against a stack of pillows. The only room they could afford at the inn had a tiny fireplace, which gave off more smoke than heat. The feeble flames fought a losing battle against the mid-autumn chill seeping through the windows and walls. But Stephan had piled all the blankets he could find on the bed, and the tea was hot and strong, at least.
Stephan took his own cup, savoring the warmth that spread through his fingers.
“You should go downstairs to the common room and warm by the big fire,” Warren said, having undoubtedly noticed him shiver. The illness did nothing to lessen his usual perspicacity. “Maybe get something to eat too.”
Stephan shook his head. They were running too low on funds for him to luxuriate in more than one meal a day now, and they’d already eaten lunch. Besides, he wouldn’t leave Warren alone in a drafty, cramped room while he enjoyed himself downstairs. Had their roles been reversed (as they so often had been), Warren wouldn’t have moved from Stephan’s side even for a moment unless for some dire need.
“I don’t actually mind the winter,” Stephan said wistfully. “We’ve been traveling through hot-climate lands for so long, the nip in the air is refreshing. It reminds me of home.”
Warren raised a skeptical eyebrow, but Stephan was being truthful. He’d loved Segor; the short time spent living together in the port city of Varta, free to express their love for each other, had been the happiest in his life. But when they were forced to flee, pursued by his brother Robert’s assassins, things had begun to go awry. The South Isles, where they’d found a temporary refuge, had proved too much of an extreme environment for them to thrive in. When Warren had fallen sick, the local physician had advised he return to the familiar climate of the continent—which they had, despite the risk inherent in such a journey.
“I do miss Seveihar sometimes,” Stephan confessed, coming to perch on the edge of the bed with his cup of tea. Warren folded his long legs, making room for him. “Even the winters at the castle, with the winds whistling through window cracks, and those endless creaking staircases. I always knew the cold and the snow would abate eventually, and then it’d be spring again, and then summer. The summers were always so beautiful there, up in the mountains.”
“I remember.” Traces of hoarseness clung to Warren’s voice, but already he sounded so much more vital than before. “I remember how you loved to roam the woods around the castle. Until…”
“Until it became too dangerous for me to go out on my own,” Stephan said. “It still is.”
The old pain of realizing his own brother hated him enough to plot his assassination flared back into life. The worries and tribulations of the last few weeks had almost made him forget the true reason for his self-imposed exile, but he knew better now than to think it was all behind him. The events that had driven them from their safe little haven in Segor into the dangers of the unknown had demonstrated all too clearly that they couldn’t afford to let their guard down again.
Warren reached for Stephan’s hand, threading their fingers together, and they exchanged a brief, bitter smile. Some of Stephan’s anger and disappointment dissipated into their shared warmth, as they always did.
“I’m sorry,” Stephan said.
“I seem to always bring danger to our doorstep. Even when we move halfway across the world.”
“And if it weren’t for you, I’d never have seen anything of the world.”
“Don’t joke. You fell sick because of me. If I hadn’t been so careless in Varta, we wouldn’t have had to travel so far, putting so much strain on you. It’s my fault.”
“It’s not,” Warren said. “And if I had a choice, I would have done it again. All of it. I would do anything just to be with you.”
Stephan shook his head, swallowing around the lump suddenly lodged in his throat.
“I love you,” he said, ignoring the treacherous crack in his voice. “So much.”
Warren’s hand on his tightened, and his eyes flashed in the low lighting, illuminated by the same surge of desire that washed over Stephan. That smoldering look made Stephan’s heart beat faster, filling him with the hope and relief for which he’d yearned for days.
He took the half-empty cup out of Warren’s hand and leaned down to brush his lips against his, tasting the strong flavor of steeped herbs.
It took some effort to pull back. He wanted nothing more than to sink further into Warren’s embrace, but the faint wheezing in Warren’s chest reminded him of the need for prudence.
“It’s late. I’ll go downstairs to fetch us some dinner,” Stephan said, rising from the bed. The desire to see Warren hale again outweighed the need to be frugal.
“I’m not that hungry. At least, not for food. Can’t you stay?”
“You need to eat to get your strength back,” Stephan said sternly. “If you can kiss, you can chew.”
Warren rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically, settling back on the pillows. “Fine. Just please hurry back.”
Meet the Author
A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.