Today’s sample is taken from Gavin making sure Sandy has no choice to marry him. It starts off with her watching him during sword practice while she’s walking along the wall that surrounds the courtyard.
King Blackheart gestured to the guard beside her.
The guard nodded and turned to her. “Your presence is required in the throne room.”
“Required?” she asked, thinking that was an odd way of saying she was wanted in the throne room.
“Yes. You have to go.”
“I have to?”
“Yes. The king won’t let you refuse.”
“Oh really? And what is he going to do if I refuse?”
He stared at her, unblinking. “Are you refusing?”
She almost asked him, What do you think? but resisted the urge. Instead, she said, “I have to tend to some personal matters.”
“That can wait.”
“I’m afraid it can’t. Not unless you want me to make an unpleasant mess.”
“I don’t believe you need to go to the privy.”
Before she could respond, he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. Stunned, she didn’t fight to get away from him as he carried her down the stairs. The men around her chuckled, and her face flushed in embarrassment. If King Blackheart thought her guard could treat her like a wayward child in front of his men and get her to agree to whatever he wanted, he had another thing coming.
The guard strode across the courtyard, and as they passed the king, she noticed a slight smirk on his face. Aggravated, she yelled out, “I won’t do it! Whatever it is you have planned, I won’t do it!”
“We’ll see,” he called out.
She grunted. She hated how certain he was that he could get her to do anything he wanted. It only made her more determined to resist him.
The guard carried her into the castle and to the throne room, bouncing her on his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. When he set her down, she realized he had placed her in front of a man with a long blue satin robe and matching hat.
Her eyes grew wide. “The magician?” He looked exactly the way she’d pictured him while she wrote the book, but… “Didn’t King Blackheart kill you for betraying him to one of my knights?”
“In your version of the story, that was true, but we’re not in your version anymore,” the guard told her. Turning to the magician, he added, “You know what to do.”
“What? What does he have to…”
A blue haze surrounded her, and she forgot the rest of her question. She knew he was putting a spell on her. She felt the magic reach out and penetrate her mind, dispelling all protests from her. In its place was a very pleasant sensation. Though a part of her realized she should be alarmed, she couldn’t bring herself to care.
The door to the throne room opened, and she turned in time to see King Blackheart stride across the room with a priest, that knowing smirk still on his face. As much as she wanted to narrow her eyes at him, her body wouldn’t obey. She felt a smile form on her lips.
“You see, Father Augustine,” King Blackheart began, motioning to her, “she’s quite agreeable to the marriage.”
“Yes, I am.” She blinked in shock. Good heavens but did that phrase just come out of her mouth? And was she really smiling as if this was the best thing that ever happened to her? She looked at the magician. She had no idea she made him that powerful.
Father Augustine’s shoulders relaxed. “I’m relieved. While I understand much is at stake, my own life included, I can’t bring myself to marry a man or woman against their will.” With a smile, he stepped between the two thrones, one for Blackheart and the other for her. “Please, come.”
To Sandy’s horror, she hurried over to him, still smiling as if this was the best thing that ever happened to her. She glanced at the magician and mentally grumbled. Who knew magic could be so powerful? Blackheart walked toward her at an annoyingly slow pace. She wished she could groan or roll her eyes, but the magic only permitted her to give him a ridiculous grin. The whole thing made her want to puke.
“Please, join hands,” Father Augustine said.
Blackheart reached out and took her hands in his, and as much as she wanted to pull them away, she clasped her hands around his.
“The uniting of two lives is a splendid thing,” the priest began. “You are joining more than two kingdoms. You are joining your hearts, your lives, your hopes, your dreams. From this moment forward, you will no longer be two, but you will be one. It is a blessing.”
It was a curse, Sandy thought, but she couldn’t say it. All she could do was smile like an idiot. She tuned out the rest of Father Augustine’s spiel about the beauty of marriage. Granted, she used to dream of being a bride. She was almost one, long ago. She shoved the memories back into the recesses of her mind. Josh was in the past, and that’s where he’d always be. The jerk didn’t deserve to be remembered.
Her gaze focused on Blackheart, and she wished she could slap that stupid smirk right off his face. The thought crossed her mind that she could give him the same news she gave to Josh shortly after he proposed to her. That would be the easiest way out of the marriage, but what was the point? Blackheart was a character in her story. He wasn’t real. None of this was actually happening.
As real as it felt, this world and the people in it stemmed from her imagination. This was all fake, and when she found her way back to reality, everything that happened here would be null and void. So it didn’t matter if she was married. She was only married in the story, and any story could be rewritten. Even so, it irked her that he dared to force her into something she specifically said she didn’t want.
Father Augustine finally finished talking and clasped his hands over theirs. “From day to day may your love flourish and grow stronger, regardless of what happens, good or bad. You have my blessing and are now husband and wife.” He let go of their hands and motioned to the magician. “You may hand the king the bride’s crown.”
The magician stepped forward with a delicate gold crown with a few rubies embedded in it. Blackheart let go of her hands and accepted the crown. She wanted to run off and get out of this wretched castle, but the magic held her in place. He put the crown on her head.
“Let your kingdoms prosper and your subjects know peace,” Father Augustine said before he bowed.
“Thank you for coming,” Blackheart told him.
“It was an honor to be here for this blessed event.”
Sandy inwardly groaned and averted her gaze from the jovial men. Blessed event, indeed! It was something alright, but blessed wasn’t the word she’d use to describe it.
Once Father Augustine left, Blackheart instructed the magician to undo his magic spell. The instant he did, she was able to scowl at Blackheart.
“It’s good to have you back to your normal self,” Blackheart dryly commented before turning to the magician and guard. “I have it from here. You may leave.”
The two men bowed and hastened out of the room.
She crossed her arms and glared at him. “Don’t think you’ve won. This was but one battle.”
“I did what was necessary,” Blackheart replied, placing his hands behind his back. “As we speak, word is being sent to your kingdom that Crystaline and Havenshire are united.”
“I hate to admit it, but even with all the things you’ve done to keep me prisoner, I never thought you’d use magic to force me to marry you.”
“Now you know what it feels like.”
“Now I know what it feels like?”
“You had me slaughter innocent people and destroy villages against my will. I protested it each and every step of the way,” he pointed to her, “but you made me do it. So yes, now you know what it feels like to be forced to do something against your will. It’s not very pleasant, is it?”
I always enjoy your samples! 🙂
Sorry for posting this here, Ruth. I can’t post it there due to no reply button.
No, I have not posted any thread on Goodreads yet. I know what you are saying about the trust issues is right. I think I was hoping for some emotional/mental abuse rather than physical. Thanks for replying though. 🙂
Now for this post, “His Abducted Bride” sounds very interesting. Sandy got her perfect match. 🙂
I have to shut down a thread after two weeks or so. That way I don’t have to answer comments on a post that is old. I’ve had people comment on a post that is over a year old. LOL
Yeah, emotional/mental abuse is darker than I prefer. I’ve touched on it but haven’t gone as much into it as you probably want. The people at Goodreads have a wealth of knowledge on what books offer what in the way of a plot or character. I definitely think that is the way to go.
LOL Yep, Sandy needed someone like Gavin. 😀
I’m looking forward to this book.
Didn’t your mom read Suddenly a Bride and Runaway Bride?
Yes, she and I both did. She’s read some of your other books, but I think she liked these best.
That’s what I thought but wanted to make sure. I’ll send both of you a paperback copy of His Abducted Bride and Runaway Bride when they’re ready. I gave you a copy of Suddenly a Bride, right? I know it wasn’t that long ago, but my memory is shot when I have kids buzzing all around me. 😀
You did put a copy of Suddenly a Bride for my mom in with the books I won. That was SO nice, and my mom was thrilled. I appreciate you so much, Ruth. You’re such a dear!