Kate can’t avoid the simple truth any longer; as much as she loves Kiefan, he’s now the king and his duties leave him precious little time for her and their newborn son. Kate’s husband Anders, the ne’er-do-well knight, is the one who kisses her cheek every morning and soothes the baby to sleep on his shoulder.
Kiefan’s protective jealousy still casts a shadow over her life. He would gladly throw Anders to the wolves if it will keep alliance negotiations from collapsing. Their homeland desperately needs these allies against the invading Empire. The kingdom barely survived the first wave of the enemy’s monstrous army and more is to come.
But Kate can’t stand by and let Anders become a victim — or let Kiefan suspect she’s falling in love with her husband.
Targeted Age Group:: 16+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I don’t write from inspiration, I write because I need to.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters are lively, ornery things so I’m not entirely sure how much of a hand I really had in creating them!
Rafe burbled against my shoulder. I tossed a quartered log down by the hearth and lifted my son in both hands. “Good-morn, sweetling. Your fourth Saint-day, now — what shall we do this time? We’ll go to the disciple’s dance at noon. You’ll get to see everyone during the meal, I’m sure. You were everyone’s favorite last week. But what to do this morning?”
He turned his head, and it lolled to one side. Anders leaned in to kiss his chubby cheek and Rafe’s mouth gaped open. Meaning to smile, I was sure.
“Come and watch the horses,” Anders said.
“He loves the horses.” I settled him back on my shoulder. “He always kicked, when I was riding.”
“Of course he did.”
I looked up; Anders’ flaxen crest hung to one side, loose, and a smile tucked up the corner of his mouth. His hand touched my arm and he leaned closer to kiss my cheek. I turned against his scratchy stubble to kiss him back, and slipped one arm around him. A squeeze, warm and close, smelling of horses.
Love him while he’s here. My throat tightened, of a sudden. Anders’ arm loosened, but I kept my grip on him. He hugged me again, easily persuaded. And nuzzled against my temple, in place of a question.
So easy to kiss him, if I dared, to be the wife he should have. If only Kiefan had seen something in the duchesses. If only he’d sounded more glad to try —
Anders’ mouth touched mine, gently tipping my face up. My breath caught, my heart skipped a beat in fear. I pulled back, my arm around him stiffening to an arm’s length. He went still, tracking me with the calm, unruffled gaze he used on skittish fillies.
“I’ll not put you in danger,” I said. Until I knew Kiefan agreed with me.
Anders’ gentleness shifted to resolve. “I’m not afraid of him.”
I heard a door open; Will was awake. “Let him find a bride,” I got out before Will shuffled into the kitchen. He tossed out muttered greetings, rubbing his eyes.
Anders shot me a measuring glance before he cuffed his brother and started up the talk of horses. It would have to do until we had another chance to talk. Rafe gurgled against my shoulder, fussed a little. “We’ll watch the horses this morning,” I told him.
About the Author:
L. Blankenship started writing animal stories as a kid and it’s just gotten completely out of hand since then. Now she’s out publishing her gritty fantasy and hard science fiction adventures. L grew up in New Hampshire but currently lives near Washington, DC.
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