Then he touched my peacock mask, and I went still. He knows, I thought. He knows I’m no princess. For a moment I was sure of it. But instead of ripping off my mask and raging that he had been deceived, the Lord of Salt smiled: a queer, tilted little smile, showing a single eyetooth at the corner of his mouth. “Such unusual eyes,” he said.
Prince Alessander's twin sister Celandine has long been promised to the pirate lord Dagon Blackstone, who demanded a royal bride as the price for peace. On the night they are first meant to meet, she convinces Alessander to don her clothes and go in her place, as a prank on the sea monster that is to be her husband. He goes along with the prank, and finds himself unexpectedly intrigued by the larger-than-life Dagon.
Dagon is a worldly man, more amused--and aroused--than scandalized by discovering a boy in a bodice pretending to be his betrothed. When the deception is revealed, though, Cel is nowhere to be found: she's fled the royal isle, leaving her brother a scapegoat in her skirts. Their father offers to hunt her down, but Dagon declines: he will use his own fleet to find his runaway princess, and he is taking along insurance. Alessander is brought aboard his flagship as a hostage, albeit an honored one…and until Celandine is found, he must serve as Dagon's royal 'bride'.
The Peacock Prince
File under: identity swap, twin trouble, ex-pirates with a heart of gold, enemies to lovers, royal shenanigans
Content notes: gender play/crossdressing, elements of dubious consent