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Royally Claimed

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She’ll have to learn to submit to him…her life depends on it.


“How will I lie beside him at night and act like I’m falling in love with him? Last night it came easy, but now that I know what he’s capable of, I fear for my life.”


Marrying the handsome prince seemed a grand idea, until she caught sight of him murdering his father. She wanted to be queen, but at what cost?


This collection of three steamy romances include: Palace Secrets, Maiden Claimed, and Grave Misfortune.


Palace Secrets


At twenty-three, Princess Isabella must settle down for the sake of her kingdom. Caught up in a secret affair with her lady-in-waiting, Hannah, the princess knows it can only last for so long.


When Prince Alexander arrives to court her, he confides that his father is on his death bed, and he will be crowned king soon. Isabella hastily agrees to the proposal, desiring to be queen, knowing little about her soon-to-be husband.


Maiden Claimed


It was supposed to be a simple trip to the market in Paris.


Nothing for Lady Hannah is ever simple.


One secret after another.


The lies are mounting up.


Lady Hannah has made a deal with the devil. Worse, she’s falling in love with him. There’s no turning back.


Grave Misfortune


Married to a gambler and drunk, Helene is the madame for a brothel. When Vincent, a royal guard from the palace, arrives at her doorstep and tries to defend her honor, little does he know she's both married to the man and a madame for the establishment.


Publishers Note: Murder, secrets, and lies combine with ménage and power exchange in this title previously released as Her Ruined Reputation by Bridget Banks.


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Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 12 août 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781645634249
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0012€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

ROYALLY CLAIMED COLLECTION
ALLISON WESTPublished by Blushing Books
An Imprint of
ABCD Graphics and Design, Inc.
A Virginia Corporation
977 Seminole Trail #233
Charlottesville, VA 22901
©2020
All rights reserved.
No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The trademark Blushing
Books is pending in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Allison West
Royally Claimed Collection
EBook ISBN: 978-1-64563-424-9
v1
Cover Art by ABCD Graphics & Design
This book contains fantasy themes appropriate for mature readers only. Nothing in this book
should be interpreted as Blushing Books' or the author's advocating any non-consensual
sexual activity.C O N T E N T S
Palace Secrets
Maiden Claimed
Grave Misfourtune
Allison West
Blushing Books
Blushing Books NewsletterPALACE SECRETS
ROYALLY CLAIMED, BOOK ONECHAPTER 1
eardrops fall from the sky as I sit in my room with the window open, watchingT the dirt road into the castle. Prince Alexander, from a neighboring kingdom, is
scheduled to arrive at court today. It's no secret I made things difficult for the last prince
who courted me. I can't remember his name, only his beady eyes and putrid breath. I
have no desire to tie my heart down. The thought terrifies me to no end.
There's a knock at my door and I shut my window, keeping the mood from seeping
inside. Silly superstitions.
"Princess Isabella," Hannah says, greeting me with a curtsey. Her blonde hair is
braided intricately across the top of her head and down her back. I wonder who did her
the honor. She's wearing my favorite color on her too, a deep rich blue that accentuates
and compliments her pale blue eyes.
I pull her into my room, slamming the door shut behind her. Hopefully no one saw
her entrance. If they did, we can surely think up an excuse for her presence in my
room. Unlike a boy, there are no rules being broken having Hannah alone in my
chambers. Lucky me.
Without thought, my lips descend onto hers, shoving her forcefully against the door.
Hannah is not shy, though she pretends to be, around my parents. I don't blame her;
they are intimidating and also the king and queen of our land.
"You have to tell your father, King William," Hannah whispers between kisses. Her
fingers slip against the back of my neck, moving my dark locks to one side. Hannah's
rosy lips fall against my bare skin, kissing a path up to my ear. "It's the only way we can
be together."
"He'll never allow it," I say and sigh, letting my eyes shut. I worry that confessing my
feelings for her might result in her banishment from our kingdom. It's not only the fact
Hannah is a woman and our relationship is forbidden, there's also the issue that she's a
lady-in-waiting. She's not of royal blood and I'm to marry a prince and strengthen our
alliance. Nothing can ever develop between us more than lust and romance.
"Princess Isabella," my maid Anne says, knocking on the door. "The carriage is on
its way. Are you ready?"
Hannah moves from the door and rushes to the window, trying to appear as
innocent as possible. She sits on the cushioned ledge, smoothing her dress. I'm almost
certain my maid Anne knows of our tryst, but she's discreet and I appreciate her more
for it.
"Come in," I say, and she opens the door, glancing from Hannah to me. "Your
parents are waiting for you to join them."
Of course, they're waiting for me. It's not as though I'm anxious for this day to come.I turn and glance back at Hannah. There are so many words I want to say, terms of
endearment and exchanges of emotion, but that's not what comes out. "How do I look?"
I ask. I must accept my fate with poise.
"Beautiful as always, Princess Isabella."
I offer her a smile, the only thing I can give her.
Stepping out from my bedroom, my heels clink on the marble floor until I reach the
carpeting twenty paces down the hall. I swear my parents had a hand in designing the
layout of the corridor just outside my room, making it difficult to sneak out of my
bedroom at night or for someone to sneak in. I suppose I'm lucky that Hannah is my
lady-in-waiting and no one suspects what we're up to.
Dressed in a chocolate brown gown, my dark hair is wavy and extends halfway
down my back. My outfit leaves my shoulders exposed, accentuating my bust and my
perfectly pale complexion. While Hannah is petite in size, I've got a slightly curvier
figure accenting all my features. The dress was made exclusively for today. The castle
maids had three weeks to design and sew a gown for my introduction to Prince
Alexander. My mother insisted I look the part of queen, for one day I would be sitting
upon the throne.
"Smile, darling," my mother, Queen Grace, says as I enter the throne room. She
wears the crown well; it's like she was born to be a queen. "You want our guests to feel
welcome in our home."
Actually, I don't, but I hold my tongue. It's best not to cause a scene. Two guards
open the double doors and the three gentlemen walk into the room to greet me. I'm not
certain what I expected but this wasn't it.
The young man in the center looks to be about my age. He is gorgeous, with a
wellbuilt physique and alluring sapphire eyes. I want to run my fingers through his rich dark
hair. My father walks over to the men, shaking their hands politely. "Thank you for
joining us. It is an honor to have you at court. Please make yourselves at home."
I step closer, curious to meet Prince Alexander. I gather that the two standing on
opposite sides of him are his palace guards, both by their attire, age and stature. I'm
sure my family would have done the same if I had traveled to another country.
Slowly, I approach the prince and reach for his hand to shake it. "It's nice to meet
you, Prince Alexander."
Instead, he brings my hand to his lips, placing a kiss over my soft skin. I shift
anxiously on my feet, drawing my hand back to my side. I've never courted a young
man before, except for the one prince, and I don't think he counts. Is this what it's
supposed to be like? Warm and strange tingles stir in my stomach. I'm twenty-three,
well beyond the age of marrying. My parents waited until they felt I would be ready to
take this courting business seriously. Or maybe they'd given up after repeated efforts
that had failed. I'm lost in his eyes and his long, thick eyelashes make me jealous.
"The pleasure is mine," he says and bows before me.
It feels weird to watch a prince bow before a princess. We're equals in many ways
and yet he's here, trying to vie for my affection. I'm not sure whether I love it or hate it.
"Would you mind touring me around the palace?" Alexander asks.
"Sure." I smile, gesturing for the door that he just came in through.
Alexander links his hand through my arm as we head into the hallway. I don't have
to turn around to know his guards, along with mine, are following. Until I'm married,there's no chance of us being alone together at court.
"Tell me about your kingdom," I say, leading him through the long corridor and
showing him the inside of the palace, excluding the bedrooms.
"My father, King Charles, has taken ill and we believe he's on his death bed. As you
may know, I'm in need of a queen by my side when I assume the throne."
I don't dare ask how long his father has left or if the rumors are true that the Plague
swept through their village months ago. That would be rude. The prospect of becoming
a queen so young has me intrigued. "How soon do you propose this marriage will
occur?"
Alexander stops walking and his gaze latches onto mine. "Tonight."
That is far sooner than I would like, but if he's under pressure to marry and I turn
him down, I may not be given another chance. I'm silent for a moment, considering all
my options. "I will marry you on a few conditions," I say, needing to stand my ground.
"I'm listening." Alexander's face shows no hint of emotion and I'm certain I won't get
a final say anyhow. King William, my father, will decide if I shall marry Alexander. I
make my demands heard, at the very least, as a shot in the dark. What's the worst that
will happen?
"My maids and lady-in-waiting will accompany me to your court. I will feel most
comfortable with the ladies I've grown up with."
"Is that all?" Alexander asks. I'm not sure if I could allow more or he's fed up with my
demands already.
"Yes," I say. It is absolutely what I require, Hannah to accompany me to a new
court.
"You shall have your maids and lady-in-waiting if they wish to join you. Tell them at
once to pack your bags. We will leave before sundown."
"ARE you really going to marry Prince Alexander?" Hannah asks for the umpteenth time.
"You've known him for ten minutes."
My maids are packing my dresses into a wooden trunk. I don't know when I'll be
back to visit. Anne is carefully folding each exquisite gown, before placing it into the
container. Magdalene gathers the trinkets from my room, placing them between gowns
for safekeeping.
"I'll be a queen soon," I say, knowing I probably shouldn't be happy that Alexander's
father is dying, but it's a huge part of the reason I agreed to marry the prince. Not that I
honestly had a say in who I wish to marry. My father, the king, makes the final decision.
"That's not really a reason to marry him, Ella," Hannah says, calling me by the
nickname she's given me.
I know she'd rather I stand up to my father and tell him I love her, but it would never
work. Quickly, I change the subject. "Besides, you girls all get to accompany me if
you'd like." I hope they will join me. I know Anne and Magdalene don't have families of
their own, so there should be very little holding them back."Did the prince say we could join you, Isabella? Or are you deciding this on your
own?" Anne asks, skeptical. I don't blame her for not believing me. I'm attracted to
trouble.
"Prince Alexander already agreed that you may join me at his court. Please, don't
make me beg."
Hannah grabs a seat beside me on the bed. "You don't have to ask twice. I'll be
there."
A huge smile lands on my face. Without her accompanying me to a foreign country,
I wouldn't want to go.
THE CARRIAGES ARE PACKED, and my maids are spending the rest of the evening on my
hair and helping me into my wedding gown. The ceremony will be at Alexander's castle,
along with the consummation afterward. I'm nervous. The most we've done is hold
hands, and I'm expected to give myself completely to Alexander tonight.
There are several carriages waiting outside. One for Prince Alexander, another two
for my ladies. My parents are taking a carriage of their own to attend the wedding.
Alexander approaches me and takes my hand. "Will you ride with me, Princess
Isabella?"
I had hoped to sneak a little time in with Hannah, but that doesn't look to be a
possibility. The last thing I want to do is cast suspicion on her. We've made it this far
together; she must accompany me to his palace. "Of course," I say to Alexander and
smile, reassuring him that I'm pleased to be leaving my home.
I bid my goodbyes to those staying behind and slip inside the carriage. Alexander is
outside another minute, speaking with his guards before he joins me and shuts the
door behind him. "I wanted to spend a little more time getting to know you. I hope that's
okay."
We have the rest of our lives to get to know one another. However, I don't object. "Is
there anything in particular you were hoping to find out?" I ask.
The carriage jolts forward, and I know we're leaving my kingdom. I will be back one
day, as queen of both lands, when my parents perish. As an only heir, my responsibility
is to my land as well. It's not something I wish to think about right now.
"It's surprising to me that at twenty-three you're still unwed," Alexander says and
stares at me, awaiting an explanation. Girls as young as twelve and boys at fourteen
get married.
"Do you want to know a secret?"
Alexander nods eagerly and leans forward. Our knees brush slightly, and I feel a
spark of electricity burn between us. He is attractive; I won't deny myself that little truth.
"At fourteen, my father arranged for seven royals and nobles to come to court. They
were supposed to woo me, convince me to choose them, and then my father was to
speak with their guardian to make the final arrangement."
Alexander's eyes narrow. "What happened?""I'm a vixen."
"I need more details that that, Princess Isabella." His eyes are hooked on me, and I
can tell I've got him right in my grasp. It's arousing to feel such power. Will he think less
of me when I divulge the truth? I wait a beat before answering his question.
"Thomas and Christopher went home crying. They were nice boys but couldn't
handle the competition." I leave out the part where I told them we were cousins and it
would be a sin to marry one another. "Edmund tried to kiss me without asking.
Needless to say, I punched him in the nose. The physician had to set his nose and
then my father asked him to return home. He didn't want any young man who was not a
gentleman to marry his daughter."
"That makes three. What happened to the other four, Isabella?"
"Triston and Richard were caught with their breeches down, literally. They weren't
too interested in marrying a woman. My father asked them to leave. Imagine the
surprise when he spoke with their fathers about why they were unsuitable for marriage.
The last two, Nicholl and Piers, made it through the entire month. When it was over,
they begged my father to release them from our kingdom and the prospect of marrying
me." I laugh and reach out for Alexander's hand. "Having second thoughts?"
"No," Alexander says, "I just wonder what you did to scare them all away, and why?"
"Why? I was fourteen, Alexander. The thought of leaving my home was terrifying!
So, I made up stories about ghosts that followed me around and hallucinations that
made the boys beg to be released from my clutches. They thought I was crazy."
Alexander grins. "Yes, but a sane person doesn't know they're crazy. So, I guess I
don't need to worry." He rests his hands behind his head. The carriage bounces along
the dirt path. "How did King William react to the news?"
"Father was angry, but I assured him I would marry. However, he promised not to
bring any more competitions into the castle."
"Good," Alexander says. "Because I would hate to think what you might have tried
on me. A roach sandwich? Maybe some hot peppers mixed into my soap?"
I'm startled by his suggestions. "I'm not that mean!" I laugh and cross my arms. "I
was standing my ground as a rebellious fourteen-year-old girl."
Alexander nods. "What about now?"
I'm certainly no longer a child. I'm twenty-three and my prospects for marrying have
significantly dwindled. "I've grown up," I say. "I'm looking forward to a fresh start."
"As am I." Alexander shifts around in the carriage, coming to sit beside me. "I assure
you, Isabella, that although we may get married tonight, we can take our time getting to
know one another. I don't expect you to love me. I'm not even sure that you'll like me
for some time." Alexander grins and it's the first time I see his dimples. They're cute,
and with his long eyelashes, I do want to kiss him, to discover what those lips feel like
against mine. I refrain from doing so.
"You don't need to worry, Prince Alexander. I do like you. If I didn't, I'd have scared
you from court hours ago with a tale of how I love another woman."
Alexander's eyes twinkle in the moonlight. "Then I'd have suggested we invite her
into our bed."CHAPTER 2
keep Hannah a secret, unwilling to risk her life and my happiness. Arriving atI the palace, Alexander steps out first and offers me his hand. I willingly take it,
appreciating the gesture as much as the help for solid footing. I do my best to avoid
glancing at the carriage with Hannah as she steps out. Even in the darkness outside,
her blue dress catches the corner of my eye. My cheeks burn and I must look away. I
focus my attention on Alexander. If I blush, he must think my emotions are exclusively
for him.
"You have a lovely home," I say, doing my best to sound pleased. Honestly, I am.
The castle is beautiful, with stone walls surrounding the entrance and gray stone
making up its exterior.
"No compliments yet. At least not until you've seen the inside and your chambers."
"My chambers?" I ask. "I thought we'd be sharing a room once we're married."
"All in due time," he says and walks over to his guards, speaking with them briefly
before taking my arm. "Your ladies shall get you ready, Princess Isabella. Our marriage
ceremony will begin shortly."
Butterflies assault my stomach and my hands begin to sweat. Why am I so
nervous? Alexander is a great guy, right? He seems generous in allowing me to bring
my maids and lady-in-waiting to his home. What did my father offer him in return for my
hand in marriage—land, money, something else?
One of Alexander's guards approaches my ladies. "Sebastian will be leading you up
to your chambers. I shall meet you within the hour."
At least my hair is done. I don't feel ready, but will I ever be prepared for marriage?
I'm doing this for the good of my kingdom and his.
Sebastian leads us inside the castle through the back entrance. Oil lamps light the
hall corridors as we walk up to the third story inside the palace. As my eyes adjust, I get
a better look at Sebastian with his reddish-brown hair. He's taller than Alexander and
more muscular but that's not surprising. He would have to be prepared for battle and
capable of protecting a prince. There's a dusting of freckles over his cheeks and his
eyes are small and narrow as he focuses on the instructions given to him. I would
guess he's an honorable man; it's why Alexander trusted Sebastian to accompany him
to our kingdom. Not that the ride is unsafe, both of our nations have established peace
between one another, but that doesn't mean a rebel or outlaw isn't causing trouble.
"The princess' chambers are on the right," Sebastian says. "The room across the
hall is fit for a lady-in-waiting. We have maids' quarters downstairs; I can show you
those after you bring the princess' items to her room."
"Isabella," I say, correcting Sebastian. I have always hated being called 'theprincess'.
"Of course, my apologies, Princess Isabella," Sebastian says and bows his head.
"Can I get you anything else?"
"No, thank you." I enter my bedroom and am pleasantly surprised by the decor. The
room is warm, with colorful paintings hanging on the walls and a beautiful gold and red
bedspread covering the mattress. Am I expected to sleep in here or with my husband
after we're wed?
Hannah is right behind me and her presence is comforting. She makes me feel right
at home.
Anne and Magdalene carry my trunk up to my room before finding the chambers in
which to bring their belongings. I know they'll unpack my gown and trinkets when they
have time. Leaving everything on the carriage unattended is a bad idea. Certainly, we'd
like to believe everyone is honorable, but thieves may very well be waiting for the
opportunity to strike.
While my maids are occupied, Hannah opens the trunk and lifts the wedding gown.
"I need your help." I point to the laces at the back of my gown. I can't undo them on
my own. They are much too tight and out of my reach.
Hannah walks over and loosens the gown, making it possible for me to remove.
"Get undressed. We don't have much time."
I hide behind the changing curtain, not that Hannah hasn't seen me naked, but I try
to have a little modesty. Besides, at any moment, Prince Alexander could enter without
warning.
Hannah tosses the gown to me over the partition and I step into the outfit. It's
absolutely stunning. The bottom is a pale blue. It reminds me of Hannah's eye color.
Anne designed the gown, had that been her intention? Of course, blue was also the
color of purity. The top of the gown is a beautiful cream, covering my breasts and
clinging to my shoulders. It's embroidered with white flowers and a gold lace trim.
"Hannah." I step out from behind the curtain revealing the gown to her. "Can you
lace the gown?"
"You look amazing, Ella."
I approach the window, staring out the frosted glass as she works the ribbons on the
back of the gown. The castle is quiet. I can hardly believe a wedding is about to ensue.
Anne and Magdalene rush into the room without knocking. Another reason I needed
to be behind the partition when I was changing. Usually, they're proper with announcing
themselves, but those two in a rush tend to forget the most essential requirements of
being a maid.
"I'll finish with her gown," Anne says, shooing Hannah away.
"Fine, but I'm almost done." Hannah stands beside me and opens the glass window.
We stare out into the garden. It's beautiful, even at night. There isn't a seat by the
window, and I do miss my home, but I feel like I might be able to fit in here.
"Do I look presentable?" I ask, turning around to face Hannah.
There's a sadness and a look of longing in her gaze. "You are beautiful as always."
Hannah returns to my trunk and retrieves the veil sitting on top. She secures it to my
hair, pulling it down to cover my face. "I wish I was the one you were walking down the
aisle to meet."
She's said it. I've known it to be true, but Hannah has always kept her feelings toherself. Stepping forward, I lift my veil, letting her see my gaze. "Just because I'm
marrying Alexander doesn't mean I love you any less." We can't marry; it's not an
option, and I'm not sure she would be happy marrying me if she could. I'd likely be
denounced from a princess to a peasant. Would that make her happy? She, too, would
find life less enjoyable living outside the palace. It's better this way, sharing a secret.
Hannah nods and her lips quirk to the side. "I came here to be with you, Ella.
Promise me after you marry Alexander, our lives together won't change."
"If they change, it'll be for the better," I say, trying my best to assure Hannah that it
will work out. I won't let her get caught in the middle and have it destroy her life. She
will not be labeled a whore.
"Princess Isabella," Sebastian says, knocking on my door.
Hannah walks over and opens it, glancing him over. "Yes?"
"The ceremony will begin shortly. Please follow me."
My hands are trembling, but I shove them back at my sides.
"Hold on!" Hannah rushes toward me, bringing the veil back down over my face.
"Thank you," I whisper, catching the sight of her eyes glistening with tears. I swallow
the lump forming in the back of my throat and step out into the hall, letting Sebastian
lead me toward the ceremony.
I FOLLOW Sebastian through the narrow corridors and down to the church palace.
Alexander is waiting to my right and I approach, joining him on the left side.
The priest asks, "Is there any reason this couple should not be married today?" The
room is crowded with spectators and guests. The priest proceeds to ask Alexander and
me the same question. Neither of us knows of a reason we shouldn't be wed. We're not
related or already bound to another legally.
"Alexander, wilt thee have this woman to thy wedded wife, wilt thee love her, and
honor her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a husband should a
wife, and forsaking all others on account of her, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye
both shall live?"
"I will," Alexander says. He locks eyes on me, a dark sea of blue that I can easily
get lost in.
"Isabella, wilt thee have this man to thy wedded husband, wilt thee love him, and
honor him, keep him and guard him, in health and in sickness, as a wife should a
husband, and forsaking all others on account of him, keep thee only unto him, as long
as ye both shall live?"
"I will," I say. My father gives me to Alexander and we both exchange our vows. The
moment feels surreal and my hands are visibly shaking. Does this happen to everyone
who gets married or just me?
Alexander's eyes meet mine again. There's kindness and warmth that relaxes me a
little. He continues the ceremony with his vows. "I, Alexander, take thee, Isabella, to my
wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer,for poorer, in sickness, and in health, till death do us part, if the holy church will ordain
it. And thereto I plight thee my troth."
I open my mouth to speak my vows, but the words don't come. My heart is beating
frantically in my chest, and I glance back at my parents. I don't wish to disappoint them.
Alexander is a nice enough young man, and in time, I'm certain I will grow fond of him.
Will I ever love him the way that I feel for Hannah? I do not know. My eyes scour the
crowd and I see Hannah standing watching amongst the people. She's beautiful and I
want everything that's best for her as much as for myself. Denying myself this marriage
would eventually destroy her and us. Finding the courage within me, I speak my vows
aloud. "I, Isabella, take thee, Alexander, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold
from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in
health, till death do us part, if the holy church will ordain it. And thereto, I plight thee my
troth."
The rings are exchanged, and then the priest offers a blessing and prayer. I'm
surprised by the exquisiteness of the band Alexander has presented to me. Of course,
he's a prince and has money and jewels, but it's more than that. It fits perfectly, and it's
more beautiful than I could have imagined.
The ceremony ends and Alexander takes my hand, directing me to the heart of the
party with music and dancing. The celebration is for us. It feels wonderful. I lean in and
stand on my tiptoes, my lips brushing against his ear. "Dance with me," I say.
"It would be an honor, Isabella." He leads me to the center of the room.
The crystal chandelier hangs graciously from the painted sky ceiling. Candles
twinkle, providing the perfect amount of ambient light for a nighttime affair. The room is
absolutely beautiful. We dance, his hand in mine as he twirls me around the floor, and
we keep tempo to the music. Other couples dance beside us, but I pay them no
attention. With Alexander, I feel rescued from a life I didn't know needed saving, unless
you count boredom as peril. He is the perfect gentleman and incredibly handsome. The
longer I stare into his blue gaze, the more I realize I'm falling for him. Is that a crime?
Tonight, we'll be expected to consummate our marriage, so at least I'll enjoy it.
"Can you call me Ella?" I ask him as we dance. It's the name that has only grazed
Hannah's lips. Perhaps it's a sin asking him to call me it as well.
THE FESTIVITIES CONTINUE into the night. I slip away into my room to get undressed and
prepared. Hannah's been kind enough to help me into my chemise, but we've barely
spoken two words to one another. I can't read her mind, but I can see the pain on her
face. She's trying to accept my marriage, and I have no choice but to go ahead with the
consummation. Whether it's tonight or two weeks from now, it will happen. Why delay
the inevitable?
Hannah escorts me to Alexander's chambers where the consummation will take
place. My hands are shaking once again, nervous. It's not as though I've never been
intimate with another person; it's the thought of doing so in front of others. WithHannah, it's always in secret and something I've grown accustomed to, keeping my
emotions and feelings buried to protect us both.
Several spectators join us in Alexander's room, as does Hannah. Seeing him
causes my heart to flutter. He's dressed down as well, making it easier for both of us to
remove our clothes in bed.
Alexander steps closer to me and his breath tickles my ear. "I meant what I said. If
you're not ready, we don't have to do this tonight."
All eyes are on us, waiting for it to happen. I won't be a prude. We're to be king and
queen someday soon.
"I want to," I whisper, staring into his pools of blue. I climb back onto the bed,
pushing the curtain slightly aside to get comfortable on the mattress. Before removing
my chemise, I wait for Alexander to join me on the bed. He climbs up on all fours and
shuts the curtain around us. It's a hint of privacy, but I know we're being watched and
heard. The act itself should feel intimate, but instead it's as though we're put on display
for other's entertainment.
However, I understand the rationale behind it. Consummation assures the marriage
contract is binding, and when it comes to land, kingdoms and dowries, one must be
certain it's official. I do my best to shut off my mind as I crawl beneath the covers and
slip out of my attire. I toss the clothes through the curtain and onto the floor, hearing
them land with a solid thud.
There are gasps and whispered voices, but I can't tell what's being said. Why
should I care? This happens with every wedding. Just because we're royals doesn't
make us any different.
Alexander's grin is breathtaking. His eyes have darkened a deeper hue of blue,
something I never thought possible, as he looks at me, probably wanting to ravish me.
Deftly, he removes his clothes and tosses them out to the spectators. He slips under
the covers with me, and I feel his warm skin against mine. My cheeks burn red.
"Don't think about them, Ella," he says into my ear, crawling above, but his weight
isn't on me. His lips find mine, descending down and kissing me. Soft fingers trail along
my hip, quickly warming me up to him.
My hands move across his back. His muscles are thick, rigid. The pads of my
fingers trail down to his lower back, listening to the soft moan of his lips as his tongue
seeks entrance into my mouth.
I oblige. My hips buck off the bed, grazing him above me.
He lowers himself down, not into me, just closer. His fingers move across my
stomach and down between my thighs. I gasp, feeling his touch. It's foreign to me, his
thick fingers, as he separates my folds. Already, I shudder against the mattress and he
slides two fingers inside me, forcing a moan I didn't know I had coming. His fingers are
wide, barely fitting into me. I'm nervous to feel what it'll be like with him instead of his
digits.
"Just relax," he whispers into my ear, sucking the lobe, forcing wetness to seep
down my thighs as he strokes me. My hips move in time to his movements, building a
rhythm as I feel his fingers slip out and I whimper in protest. "Soon," Alexander
promises. I hope he's not lying, or I might have to grab Hannah and finish the deed
without him.
He positions himself at my entrance, slowly inching into me. Warmth radiatesthrough my body. My head tilts back and my hips move with him, groaning as he enters
me. The pain is good but continues to grow as he moves deeper, filling me. His length
begins to slide out and I run my hands down his back and across his ass, pulling him
deeper as I spread my legs further. I want to feel all of him, no matter how hard it hurts
the first time.
The sheets fall down his back, his body moving with mine as he rolls us around,
letting me take the lead. I ride his length, moving my hips up and down. His hands find
my breasts, playing with a taut nipple with one hand while the other moves to my clit.
My hips continue thrusting and my head lulls back, eyes shut in ecstasy. The moment
lasts far longer than I ever remember with Hannah. It's intense, passionate, and I fall
into Alexander, shoving my lips against his ear. "Fuck me hard," I whisper, wanting to
feel him come inside of me.
Alexander rolls us around again. Panting, he drives into me and I wrap my legs
around him, my hands grazing his bare skin. His body is exquisite. His skin glistens in
candlelight. I lean upward, finding his lips and leaving a trail of kisses across his neck,
wanting to keep him as close to me as physically possible.
I can no longer tell where the whispers outside begin and our gasps end. The music
is art to my ears, a sweet melody that reaches a crescendo as we peak together.
Alexander leans down into me, his teeth tugging on my ear lobe. There's a slight pain
that tingles and stirs something deep within me. The moan slips past my lips before I
realize how loud I am. Any thought of caring is quickly dismissed. My toes curl and I
clench down, pulsating around him. He's shuddering above, spilling himself into me
before rolling off my body.
Gasping for breath, my head turns to meet his smile. "You know they're going to
want to see the sheets to prove our union was consummated." It's not the only reason
they'll want to examine them; they will also want to make sure my virtue was intact.
"I'm not moving," Alexander says and rolls into my body, draping a leg over mine.
His voice is quiet, keeping the moment shared between us. "Make them drag us from
the bed. Let them see how powerful we are."
My eyes flutter closed, allowing my heart to settle and my body to relax. It has been
an exhausting day.
Alexander pulls the covers up around us and wraps an arm across my waist. "Sweet
dreams."
THE NEXT MORNING, I slip out of bed from Alexander's grasp and put back on my chemise.
Tiptoeing out of the bedroom, I wander down the hall to my chambers to bathe and
dress. Within minutes, my maids are doting on me, smiling and carefree. I don't ask
why they're happy. Is it because I'm finally wed, and they thought the day would never
come? Or something else?
There's no sign of Hannah, and I can't ask Magdalene. I do feel terrible and hope
she left the room before Alexander and I were intimate. Had the situation been

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