Only "A Whisper in Spring" by Lynn Kurland

The Queen in Winter - Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Sharon Shinn, Sarah Monette

This is a prequel novella (0.25) to the Nine Kingdoms series.

 

Symon of Neroche is sitting in his home, which is more of a hunting lodge, contemplating the problems from the north of his kindgom when in walks an unexpected guest. An elf, banished from his homeland, comes asking for help in rescuing his sister, Iolaire - princess of Ainneamh.

Iolaire was stolen from her home, banished by default for leaving - regardless if it's against her will - and stuck in Lothar, the black mage of Wychweald's dungeon. Her choices seem slim, become Lothar's wife, or die like her cousin. 

Symon quickly agrees to attempt to save a woman he has secretly dreamed about for years, though it may mean his life in trade.

Lynn Kurland long ago become one of my favorite authors for her smart, witty, sweet romances. I can't help but love her characters. Symon is charming, gentlemanly, and incredibly kind - on top of being a very, very powerful mage. Even that might not be enough against Lothar, but he still instantly agrees to go rescue Iolaire. Granted his reasons might have some small personal reason, but I know he'd have gone anyway. What I really love about Iolaire is that she's strong - she, in the end, can save herself. And she's not afraid to stand up against her overbearing brother either. Which is pretty humorous.

I always, always, always, end up laughing when I'm reading these stories. The banter between the characters just makes me chuckle.

Reading the Nine Kingdoms series is a bit like coming home to a comfortable fire, listening to and chatting with great friends.