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Rainha ~ Queen and only surviving heir of a the ruling family, five centuries strong
Lance ~ A knight when he met Rainha, he became king through marrying her
Jalin ~ Commander general and best friend of the king
The Stranger ~ A man Jalin escorts into the queen's bedchamber
EXCERPT from FOR THE KING
My eyes darted to movement at the door. I held my breath as someone entered our bedchamber. It was Jalin, Lance’s long time friend and governor general. Light leather armor covered his torso and arms, engraved with the black bird insignia of Lenaneir. A chain holster around his waist held a scabbard and sword. Similar to the king in stature, they only differed in hair and bone structure. I looked over his short, combed blond hair, neatly clipped gotee framing his set jaw, and light colored eyes that revealed nothing of his intentions.
“What are you doing here?” I raised my voice to ask across the spacious room. I had been around armored men so long that the sight of one didn’t disturb me, but coupled with my husband’s strange behavior it sent a chill down my spine.
Before he or Lance could answer, another man stepped into the room. He was a stranger. I tensed, drawing the blankets back over my chest.
The man stood beside Jalin, nearly half a head taller and a hand’s length broader. Muscular arms and a broad chest lifted and fell beneath a simple v-neck cotton shirt. His defined facial features shone through well sunned skin. Partially damp, long curly black hair surrounded his face. Oval lines beside his mouth hinted at his age. His eyes were bright, and he stared at me without expression or movement.
I didn’t have to ask why he was here. I knew when Jalin escorted him in. And it meant that Lance was serious about every word he said.
“Get him out of here, now,” I commanded, turning to Lance.
“Please listen to me first Rainha.” His handsome face kept my attention. My eyes traced the curving lines of his etched chin, the subtle rise of his cheekbones, and his back-set narrow eyes. The same face I kissed hungrily while we made love. The same that used to find me during pauses of tournaments, lifting off his helmet to reveal his attractive features. The face of the man I loved, the king.
I said nothing to him, but kept his gaze.
“You swore an oath to the kingdom before you swore one to me,” he said with deliberate words. Lance nodded towards the door and Jalin closed it and pushed the bar to lock it. I shuddered. Jalin and the stranger began to approach the bed. I shook my head, hoping Lance would start laughing at the joke he had played on me. He remained serious and I felt my stomach cramp.
“This man is a loyal citizen of Lenaneir.” I looked back over to the stranger. He stopped a few steps from the foot of the bed with Lance beside him. His expression didn’t reveal any embarrassment or smugness. He clasped his hands behind his back and stared back at me. “His family has carried on a proud tradition of skilled craftsmanship for many generations.” Studying him, I figured he was also chosen because his complexion and hair color was similar to Lance’s. “He is a good, wholesome man. But most importantly,” Lance squeezed my arm to make sure I was listening, “I’ve seen his children.” I turned to meet his gaze. “Healthy, strong, playful children.”
The gods help us, he is serious about doing this.
I was about to make my grand proclamation for them all to leave my bedchamber immediately, but I heard Jalin on the opposite side of the bed.
“My apologies, Queen Rainha,” he said with a deep bow. When he rose I saw sadness in his eyes, but otherwise couldn’t read his face.
“Jalin, you have to talk Lance out of this thinking. He’s gone mad!”
Jalin sat on the bed beside me, avoiding my gaze.
“Tell him how insane he is sounding!”
He bowed his head. “I am sorry, my lady, but I will obey the king.”