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Also by this author: Unexpected Circumstances
Royalty requires sacrifice.
As King Camden’s health declines, the need for an heir becomes crucial, impossible to ignore. With no other viable choice, Alexandra must stand stoically by when Hadley comes to the court of Silverhelm as Branford’s concubine. The queen’s edict of duty echoes through Alexandra’s mind as she accepts the loathsome conditions for the sake of the kingdom. The only person more devastated by the circumstances is Branford himself.
As Branford spurns Alexandra’s affections and King Edgar continues to press his post-war advantage, all seems lost to the young couple. Treachery still lies deep within the castle of Silverhelm, and the revelation of the traitor will come from the least likely of sources.
ARC provided by Author/Publisher for honest review.
Alexandra and Branford are back in the 4th installment, The Concubine.
You know as well as I how this was going to go. I felt bad for them when this had to be done. Branford needs an heir. Alexandra is not able to bare his child so they take desperate measures to secure the throne. It is heartbreaking for both, but it must be done. At the end, I was shouting I knew it! I need box 5, The Apprehension like yesterday!
“Edgar wants to destroy me from the inside out,” Branford said after some time. “He wants to be sure by the time I take the throne, I will be nothing but a shell for him to control.”
“Edgar cannot win, Branford,” I told him. “As long as we do not let him come between us, he cannot truly win.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because I know the one thing he cannot take from me.”
“What is that?”
I gripped his face, and I turned him to look at me.
“My love for you, my Branford,” I said with conviction. “There is nothing that can take that from me and no one who can force me to feel any other way. No matter what you have to do, my love for you remains. You are everything to me, my husband. I only wish to be with you…to care for you as I am supposed to do.”
He brushed his fingers over my cheek, and his chest rose with his breath. I could feel his heart pounding close to mine and felt its tempo increase as he continued to look into my eyes. We stayed that way for some time, just looking at each other as we had so many times in the past. Finally, he slipped his fingers behind my head and entwined them with the hair at the back of my neck. He pulled me to him.
“Nothing would ever change how much I love you,” he whispered against my mouth though he did not quite kiss me. “I do not believe I am worth what you have endured, but I will endeavor to better myself for you.”
“You may start by letting me do my duties,” I told him. My fingers scratched at his bearded face. “Starting with this?”
Branford gave me the half smile I loved so much and nodded his
“I have neglected you,” he said.
“And you will make up for it now.” Before he could react, I kissed him quickly to avoid the return of his sadness.
We did not leave our room that night and even set a guard at the door to make sure we were not disturbed. Branford bathed me and brushed my hair dry in front of the fire as he spoke to me of the litter of pups Amarra had in the kennel and how many of the young men in his new army were learning their skills. I bathed and shaved him, taking extra care to wash and cut his hair before I made his tea.
As he carried me, naked, to our bed, I felt as though maybe everything would be all right again.