Brida has only ever known war — her people have been fighting a bloodthirsty feud with their neighbors since before her birth. When at last her father finds a solution, it comes at a cost: a man named Cynric will use his extraordinary powers to conquer their enemy, if her father pays a king's ransom in gold. When the time comes to pay and funds fall flat, Ulric offers Brida instead. Brida, of course, hasn't the heart to argue with the salvation of her homeland — but will her heart come to love the source of that salvation, even when she discovers the beast within him?
**Complete short story, no cliffhangers.**