Quotes from The Rose and the Thorn

Michael J. Sullivan ·  347 pages

Rating: (15.5K votes)


“I notice you didn’t include a blade with your new attire,” Royce said. “Not even a little jeweled dagger.”

“Lords no.” Albert looked appalled. “I don’t fight.”

“I thought all nobles learned sword fighting.” Royce looked to Hadrian.

“I thought so too.”

“Nobles with competent fathers perhaps. I spent my formative years at my aunt’s at Huffington Manor. She held a daily salon, where a dozen noble ladies came to discuss all manner of philosophical topics, like how much they hated their husbands. I’ve never actually held a sword, but I can tie a mean corset and apply face paint like a gold-coin whore.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Royce made to protest, but Hadrian held up his hand. “Relax. I’ll deal with Count Nightshirt.”

“Viscount.”

“What’s the difference?”

“A whole lot of money.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Royce started for the steps.

Hadrian whirled with his hand up. “No! Just relax. Let me deal with this.”

Royce hesitated, more because Hadrian was blocking the way than because he agreed.

Everyone turned to look at Hadrian as he began kicking at one of the pretty lathed spindles that decorated the porch railing. He snapped one off and wrenched it free.

“Hey!” Abby said.

“Sorry, I’ll fix it later, but I need something blunt to hit them with.”

This got the men’s attention and the one let go of Jasmine, who escaped into the house.

“All I can say is you’d better do a good job,” Royce threatened. “If either of them leaves that porch, they’re mine.”

“Royce, they’re not even armed.”

“They have arms—but I’ll remedy that.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“They smiled too much, were quick to compliment and support, but behind the stretched lips and soft words was a judgment. No one was ever good enough—at least not until they were dead. The dead were exemplary.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Royce reached out and deliberately knocked Hadrian’s mug over, spilling the ale across the end of the table and onto the floor. Hadrian pushed away from the table and looked at Royce, surprised. “What’d you do that for?” “You didn’t get wet, did you?” He had a bemused look on his face. “No.” Royce watched the ale drip off the end of the table for a moment. “That’s because I knew where the ale would go. Besides, I need you sober, because if this fails, we might have to kill a lot of people.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Royce’s tone shifted between amazed and angry but finally settled on a nice restrained tempest.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Royce smiled. “See, you can always count on people doing what is best for themselves.” “Like I did?” Hadrian said. The smile left Royce’s lips. “You’re a freak of nature or the world’s greatest fool. I’m still trying to figure that out.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“It’s only nice not being wanted for murder if you’ve actually killed someone. Otherwise, what’s the point? Besides, what makes you think I’m not wanted for murder?”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“You came all this way for a whore?” Albert asked, and Royce shot him a harsh look.

“Don’t call her that if you want to live a long and happy life,” Hadrian said as they dismounted.

“But this is a whorehouse—a brothel, right? And you’re here to see a woman, so—”

“So keep talking, Albert.” Hadrian tied his horse to the post. “Just let me get farther away.”

Gwen saved our lives,” Royce said, looking up at the porch. “I beat on doors. I even yelled for help.” He looked at Albert, letting that image sink in. Yes, I yelled for help. “No one cared.” Royce gestured toward Hadrian. “He was dying in a pool of blood, and I was about to pass out. Broken leg, my side sliced open, the world spinning. Then she was there saying, ‘I’ve got you. You’ll be all right now.’ We would have died in the mud and the rain, but she took us in, nursed us back to health. People were after us—lots of people … lots of powerful people—but she kept us hidden for weeks, and she never asked for payment or explanation. She never asked for anything.” Royce turned back to Albert. “So if you call her a whore again, I’ll cut your tongue out and nail it to your chest.”

Albert nodded. “Point taken.”

Royce climbed the steps to the House and rapped once.

Albert leaned over to Hadrian and whispered, “He knocks at a—”

“Royce can still hear you.” Hadrian stopped him.

“Really?”

“Pretty sure. You have no idea how much trouble I got into before I learned that. Now I never say anything I don’t want him to know.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“church people had a strange way about them. They smiled too much, were quick to compliment and support, but behind the stretched lips and soft words was a judgment. No one was ever good enough—at least not until they were dead. The dead were exemplary. Saldur”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“There,” Hadrian said. “Problem solved, and you aren’t wanted for murder. Isn’t that nice?”

“It’s only nice not being wanted for murder if you’ve actually killed someone. Otherwise, what’s the point? Besides, what makes you think I’m not wanted for murder?”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“What?” Ann asked.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“I know. You’re just standing there staring. What are you thinking?”

“I was wondering if you loved me.”

She smiled at the mirror, the magical world between the two swans. Amrath imagined it was a beautiful place, a pretty country where troubles never found entry.

“I bore you two wonderful children.” She kissed the crown of Arista’s head.

“That was your duty as queen, but do—”

“Really?” She paused with the brush still holding on to a few strands of Arista’s hair to look at him. “A duty? Is that how you found it?”

“Not for my part—of course not.”

She returned to the mirror and the brushing. “Then why would you think I saw it that way? Did I appear to be suffering? Do I now? It’s such a hardship being your wife. Perhaps you should summon the guard to whip me, lest I stop brushing my daughter’s hair.”

Arista laughed and covered her face with her hands.

Amrath scowled at her. “I could have sworn we had a dozen servants whose job it is to see to Arista’s grooming.”

“There, you see? What more proof do you need? I do this because I want to.”

“That just proves you love your children.”

“Actually it just proves you love me,” Arista whispered.

Ann gave her a gentle slap on the head that caused her to giggle again. “Quiet, you.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Say, Hilfred.” Mauvin turned to him. “Your father is pretty fair with a blade.”

“My father is excellent,” Reuben corrected. “He’s known to be the best sword in the royal guard next to the lieutenant and the captain.”

“You’re talking to a Pickering, Hilfred,” the prince reminded him. “That’s like speaking to a family of Thoroughbred racehorses and saying your father is the fastest plow horse in the county. Their father”—Alric waved at the brothers—“is the greatest living sword master … anywhere.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“Alric looked at Reuben. “Is he telling the truth? I can have him ripped apart by dogs, you know. I love dogs. We use them to hunt, but they aren’t allowed to actually take down or eat their quarry. Always thought that was a shame, you know? I think they would appreciate the opportunity. It could be fun too. We could just let these fools run and bet on how far they can get before the dogs catch them.”

“I bet Horace doesn’t make it to the gate,” Mauvin said; then all heads turned to Reuben.

Ellison looked at him, too, his face frozen in a tense, wide-eyed stare.

“I wasn’t aware of any threat from Squire Ellison, Your Highness,” Reuben replied.

“Are you sure?” Alric pressed, and flicked a small yellow leaf off Ellison’s shoulder. “We don’t have to use the dogs.” He smiled and tilted his head toward the Pickerings. “They’d love to teach them a lesson, you know. In a way they’re a lot like hunting dogs—they never get the chance to kill anyone either. Ever since they reached their tenth birthday, no one has been stupid enough to challenge them.”

“I was, Your Highness,” Reuben said.

That got a laugh from the Pickerings and the prince, although Reuben didn’t know why. “Yes, you did, didn’t you?”

“That’s why you’re our friend,” Mauvin explained.

“He didn’t know who we were,” Fanen pointed out. “He had no idea about the skill of a Pickering blade.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered,” Reuben said. His blood was still up from the fight, and his mouth ran away with him. “If I thought you were there to harm the princess, I would still have fought you.”

A moment of silence followed this and Reuben watched as Alric smiled; then he glanced at Mauvin and they laughed again. “Tell me, Hilfred, how are you at catching frogs?”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“And the other?” Braga asked.

“The other what?” The king looked back and forth between the two.

“The other reason you can’t appoint Simon as chancellor,” Leo reminded him.

“Oh.” The king presented Braga with a wry smile. “Because I hate him. That’s why he’s such a pain. He really can’t get in any worse with his king. So he needles me and revels in his position of being one of the most powerful and disliked nobles in the realm. Worst thing about it is,” Amrath grumbled as he looked back out the window, “if I were to get into a scuffle with Warric, there are no two men I’d rather have at my side than Leo and Simon. It’s true that he hates me. Nothing personal—he just hates everyone, really. I’ve never met a more disagreeable codpiece. But he loves the kingdom. And while he may be misguided, arrogant, and ambitious beyond reason, he’s also tireless in his efforts to keep Melengar safe. That is why I appointed him lord high constable. I imagine there was a mass exodus of thieves and cutthroats the day of that announcement. But don’t worry, once you get to know Simon better, you’ll learn to truly despise him the way Leo and I do.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“And we can’t afford to miss again. We’ll have to literally stab him in the back.” “If we do that, the people are going to want us to find the killer.” “That won’t be a problem.” Saldur smiled. “We’ll just pin it on someone.” “Not another traitor. I’m not sure people will stomach that either.” “No, we’ll find someone else. Someone without a name, someone unimportant and easy to attach the blame to.” “Like who?” “A couple of thieves perhaps—that way nothing can go wrong.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


“I think everyone may have underestimated your mother’s love for you. Me included.”
― Michael J. Sullivan, quote from The Rose and the Thorn


About the author

Michael J. Sullivan
Born place: in Detroit, MI, The United States
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