UNEXPECTED CIRCUMSTANCES by Shay Savage
BOOK 2: THE SEDUCTION
As Alexandra tries to conform to her new life, she soon discovers that betrayal lies inside the castle walls. When noblewomen plot against her, Alexandra ends up on the receiving end of Branford’s rage. Earning the trust of her wary husband will be no easy task for the young handmaid.
Branford may know his way around their bedchamber, but he’s finding himself ill-prepared to handle the duties of both prince and husband. His missteps bring down the wrath of the queen, and he will have to do everything in his power to atone for his transgressions. Branford must find a way to open his heart to his new wife if either of them has a chance of overcoming the treachery ahead.
“Please don’t get rid of me!” I finally cried out and then covered my mouth with my hand, horrified.
“Oh, Alexandra!” Branford shook his head. “Why would you think such a thing?”
I had to look into his eyes because he sounded so sincere, and I needed to understand.
“Because I’m not good enough,” I said. “I’m only a handmaid. I don’t know how to be your wife. I have no idea how to behave as the wife of a prince.”
“Alexandra,” he said, slowly drawing my name out. “I’m not going to send you away.”
“You could,” I whispered, “or worse.”
“Alexandra,” Branford repeated, his voice nearly as quiet as my own. “Have I given you any reason to think I would do such a thing?”
Sunniva’s words about assertiveness and being noble of heart came back to me. Maybe he hadn’t said as much in my presence, but he hadn’t said anything to the contrary, either.
“You haven’t given me reason to think you would not.”
“Why would I cast you out?” Branford asked.
Did he want me to list all the reasons again, or was he looking for something else? I was certain I had spent more time second-guessing myself in the last two days than I had in my entire life.
“You have…you could…there could be someone else you want to choose instead,” I whispered.
“What on earth are you talking about?”
I took a deep breath and decided if I didn’t say it now, I probably never would.
“I saw you…last night,” I said, hesitating a moment. I took a deep breath. “You were with that pretty woman from the court.”
I felt his chest muscles contract under the side of my face, and his arms gripped me tighter for a moment before he relaxed again.
“What do you mean, you saw me?”
“You were in the garden,” I said. “While I was waiting for you, I went out to see what it looked like at night. You were there…with that lady.”
“You were talking…and I heard you say…” I paused, both to try to remember his exact words as well as wonder what on earth I thought I was doing. If my words were taken as an accusation—right or wrong—against my husband and prince, the consequences could be dire. He owned me, and if he decided to either cast me out for the favor of a new wife or keep me to the side as he entertained himself with someone else, there would be nothing I could do about it.
“Say what, Alexandra?”
“That you would have to replace me.”
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G8X5T3K