Chapter 1 - 2018 Top Ten Gay Romance

Marcelo nodded and conveyed what he hoped was a commiserating expression.

She nodded briefly in acknowledgement, then entered the hall as a servant announced, “Her Royal Highness, Princess Kemble of Sheburat.”

Straightening his back, Marcelo stepped into place in the entryway. The servant proclaimed, “His Royal Highness, Prince Marcelo of Sheburat,” and Marcelo strode into the packed room.

The royal family and nobles of Sheburat lined one side, and the entourage from Zioneven flanked the opposite. Being male, he stepped into place at the lower end of the row of Queen Giselle’s offspring, rather than in age-order amongst his sisters.

Surprisingly, considering his whole life he’d heard whispers of what backward brutes the people of Zioneven were, they looked much the same as the people on the Sheburat side of the room. The ambassadors from Zioneven with whom he’d conversed at state dinners had been civilized enough, but he’d considered that an aberration—a skill and front that went with their position.

The men and women varied in size, and although the details of the styling of their clothing was distinctive, the basics were the same: long, silk-trimmed tunics made of a finely woven cloth with a colorful strong fabric belt. Coming from a chillier climate, their trousers were tailored tighter than those worn in Sheburat, and were leather rather than linen, but the leather footwear was much the same. Their cloaks were fastened at the left shoulder by a round brooch.

Marcelo scanned the faces on the other side of the hall. The tranquil openness of their expressions suggested honesty and integrity. Certainly, an individual could excel at feigning a disposition that didn’t reflect their true nature, but an entire body of people? They were doing the same, sizing up the nobles of Sheburat. Marcelo stood straight and tall and lifted his chin. They would find no sign of weakness in him.

The man in the middle of the Zioneven lineup was a little taller than average, but not in the same league as the intimidatingly large warriors who had accompanied them. He had short dark brown hair and piercing dark eyes. His bearing set him apart from the rest. The proud tilt to his head, the authoritative demeanor that stopped short of appearing pompous. This regal man had to be Crown Prince Efren. And he was staring directly at Marcelo.

e refused to avert his gaze first. After a long moment, one corner of t

ding beside him, peered oddly at him.

f the royal family with the least status, but nothing of particular im

Ladies and Lords, and people of Zioneven, please accept our warm welcome to Sheburat,

jesty. On behalf of Zioneven, I offer our heartfelt

Sadly, our loss yesterday affects more

een Giselle to either further the conversation toward whether or not he was ready to

The conversation may or may not happen today, but it would occur d

Giselle said. “I hope you’ll find a small comfort in knowing that you may now make your own choice of your future

ren inclined his


e an alternate from among Princess Marcela’s younger

ard of such a thing occurring in Sheburat. Marcelo wasn’t alone in his bewilderment. Everyone on his side of the roo

but Marcelo did qualify as