Yes! It's finally over! Hahahaha thank you all for following the story this far!


The fire glowed on the soft red sandstone walls. The Citadel had always been so beautiful and mysterious at night, and Ino watched four-year-old Tenshi's face, the boy's big green eyes impossibly wide as Sai threw another log on the fire and hot orange sparks shot up into the dark sky.

Sai was telling tales now, stories of the boys' brave Barakan ancestors, of the battles once won and lost here in the dramatic mountains. Sitting on the red wool carpel. Ino fell little Kohaku press his face against her middle, his heart pounding like mad through his two-year-old chest, and she shot Sai an exasperated glance. Her husband was nearly as bad as the children. He loved bringing the children to Zefd, loved these nights when they sat out by the fire and they pretended to be nomads and Bedouin instead of a powerful king and his sons.

"You're scaring them." she whispered to Sai over the little boys' heads.

"It's a campfire. We're telling camplire stories."

"They're still just little boys."

His brow furrowed and he shot a protective glance at Tenshi and then Kohaku who peeped up at his father from beneath his mother's arm. "Should I stop?" he asked the children.

"No, no," cried Tenshi, and of course little Kohaku chimed in, trying to copy his brother, wanting to be brave like Tenshi.

Ino groaned to herself. Sai knew better than to ask the children, but then, men were men and they never changed. Yet she didn't really want him to change, either.

She loved him so much, and she loved to see Sai like this—so relaxed, so happy here in Zefd. When they were here at the Citadel, together like this. Sai's cares seemed to melt away and right now. Sai looked nearly as young and carefree as the boys.

He needed the break, she thought, heart softening. They should have made this trip months ago. But at least they were here now, and Sai was making up for lost time with his boys.

Ino knew she'd done many good things in her life, but nothing was better than making the children. The children had made her and Sai's lives complete.

Ino ran her hand across Kohaku's small head. His black hair was still silky, the long loose curls nearly reaching his shoulders. Someday the curls would be cut. The baby would grow up.

Please don't let time pass too quickly, she said in a silent prayer. Let time slow. Let us stay together for as long as we can.

Sai caught her gaze. He felt the wash of her intense devotion. "You love your boys."

Her chest suffused with bittersweet warmth. "I do. All of them."

A log rolled over, shooting up another stream of sparks, and Ino thought back to the past five years, and she knew she'd change nothing about them, and nothing about their marriage. Sai was perfect for her: the right combination of strength, integrity and sensuality. He kept her on her toes. He never let life get boring. And best of all, he'd taught her that sometimes one has to lose, to win.

So… This is the first book of a trilogy

Tell me, do you guys want to see princess Hinata's story?