Thanks again to the wonderfully talented Steven Novak for my latest cover.
Hearts and Crowns is the story of Gallien, grandson of the original hero of The Montbryce Legacy series.
Gallien has sworn never to wed again after a catastrophic marriage to a shrew who betrayed him with another man.
You know the old saying, Once bitten…twice shy.
Peridotte de Pontrouge has long dreamed of marrying Geoffrey Plantagenet, but her hopes are dashed when he is betrothed to the daughter of King Henry of England.
Political intrigue forces Gallien and Peri to marry against their will.
Here’s a snippet from the betrothal ceremony, the first time Gallien and Peri meet.
Peri paused before the small wooden door to the Chart Room of Ellesmere Castle. “A moment,” she whispered to the Comte d’Anjou’s emissary.
Ballustre bowed, stroking his pointed beard. A tight smile flickered for only a moment, betraying his nervousness.
She smoothed her hands over her skirts and carefully adjusted the veil that threatened to slide from her braided hair. Alys had worked her usual magic with the wrinkled gown, barking orders at the maidservant sent by the Countess as if she were the lady of the castle. They had chosen the gown of forest green wool because it suited her skin and hair color—and her mood. This was not the festive occasion she had dreamed her betrothal ceremony would be.
She had not slept. None of the Montbryce men had returned by the time she had retired to her chamber the previous evening.
She raised her chin, then turned to her escort. Despite the dread churning in her belly, she said, “I am ready.”
He laid his palm against the door. It swung open without a sound and he ushered her inside. Her knees threatened to buckle as she stepped over the threshold into a new life she did not want. She was to be bound to a man who had not welcomed her and who had failed to appear this morning in the Great Hall.
She had broken her fast in uncomfortable silence with Fleurie and Isabelle, nibbling on a crust of freshly baked bread, feeling like a prisoner condemned to the gallows.
Determined to appear unruffled, she thrust out her chin. Her gaze fell on two heads of silver hair, both bent to the close study of some document upon the table. She faltered. By the wood of the true cross! Had King Henry betrothed her to an old man?
At her gasp, both men looked up. They shared a resemblance, except one was a good deal older than the other. The older man smiled, his eyes full of warmth and welcome.
The younger, taller knight straightened. Back rigid, lips in a tight line, he narrowed his eyes. Her belly lurched. Gooseflesh marched across her nape. She had never seen a young man with hair the color of moonbeams. It was strangely compelling. The unrelieved black of his doublet, hose and boots made his appearance all the more startling. Under his dark gaze, she felt like a rabbit caught in a snare.
He was much taller than she, a broad-shouldered warrior whose bearing and attire left no doubt about his wealth and power. It was immediately evident he did not welcome this betrothal. He did not want her.
Hearts and Crowns is available on Amazon