I know it’s been a few weeks. Life got interesting leading up to the holidays. Happy to report that things are now calmer, safer, and happier.
Oh, and I finished ‘Consort of the Successor’!
What better way to announce the release than with a teaser! Happy holidays, may the new year be everything you need it to be, and be sure to leave a review for every book you read!
“Talin, stop pacing. You’re making me nervous.” Kade laughed, not entirely in jest.
Talin stopped. Reaching his hand up to his collar, he tugged at it. Not that it was tight or constrictive, but out of a need to do something with his hands. “Well, you’re used to all of…this.” He waved his hands over the blue and silver uniform he wore. Royal colors. He’d been a member of the Royal Guard for as long as he could remember. The colors weren’t new. The regal cut of them, and what was about to happen, were.
Kade leaned back in his chair, one arm draped against the back of the empty seat next to him. His uniform was only marginally more ornate than Talin’s. “Oh, come on. It’s not that bad. You did agree to this, you know.” His friend’s face got serious. “You’re not regretting that, are you?”
Taking a deep breath, he replied, “No. Not one bit. I’ll do whatever Lily asks of me. Even if it means ruling at her side. That’s not the hard part.”
“Then what’s the problem?” Kade asked, exasperated.
“You’re going to laugh at me.” Talin moved to a chair on the other side and dropped to the seat. He raked one hand through his red hair and didn’t look at his friend.
“I promise not to.”
“It’s that everyone’s going to be looking at me. I’m not used to being the center of attention.” A muffled chuckle came from Kade. Talin’s head shot up and he glared at his oldest friend. “You promised!” he accused, pointing a finger at him.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Kade’s attempts to hide his amusement were failing. “Try this. Ignore everyone in the room but Lily. Given that it’s her coronation as heir as well, she’s going to be scrutinized just as bad, or worse, than you are. Show her she made the right choice in you as her consort. Lend her your strength, even if you’re an absolute mess inside.”
A thought struck Talin. “Is that how you’re getting through your wedding vows?” He smiled as Kade’s eyes started to shift and looked away at the wall.
“Yeah, well. That’s different.”
Talin laughed, “Of course it is,” he replied.
A door on one side of the room opened. Talin leapt to his feet, his hands automatically tugging on the bottom of his jacket to make sure it fit correctly and wasn’t rumpled. A side effect of years in the guard, he knew, but now he took comfort in the gesture. You’re getting a promotion, he told himself, that’s all. A really big one, sure, but the ceremony won’t be that different. I hope.
Corvin, Kade’s father and the current King of Tiadar, strode into the room and shut the door behind him. The crown worn by the ruling Consort sat on his brow. Keryth ran things, and Corvin supported her in every way he could. That was how it would be with Talin and Lily. And, if he was going to be honest with himself, he was glad for that. He loved Lily with all his soul. But he would’ve been hopeless as king.
“I think they’re about ready out there. How about you two?” Corvin asked.
Kade answered, “I’m fine. That one,” he pointed a finger at Talin, “is a nervous wreck. Lily might have to hold him upright to finish things.”
Talin swatted Kade’s hand away, “Traitor,” he joked. Turning his attention back to Corvin, he said, “I’m ready.” He released a deep breath and knew he spoke the truth. No matter what, he was doing this. For Lily, and the promise of a future with her.
“Good,” Corvin nodded slightly. “You remember everything from the rehearsal yesterday?”
“Yes, I think so. You and Her Majesty go first. Kade and I come out, followed by Lily and Rylin. I stand with Lily, say the oath when directed, and do my best not to fall over.” He smiled at the last.
The King smiled back. “That last bit’s important. You don’t want to pass out like I did. Had a headache for three days from my head hitting the step.” He reached out and placed a hand on Talin’s shoulder. “I’m glad she chose you, Talin. Keryth and I have long considered you part of our family, not just one of our guards. You’ll be able to help Lily in the days and years ahead in a way we can’t. Thank you for that. Your mother would’ve been proud to see the man you’ve become.”
The sincerity in the older man’s voice touched Talin deeply. “Thank you, sir. That means a lot to me,” he said, his voice quiet.
Trumpets blared a fanfare, signaling the start of the processional. Corvin dropped his arm back to his side. “Well, that’s our cue.” He opened the door and stood aside, waiting.
Taking a deep breath, Talin stepped out into the antechamber that led to the main throne room. Keryth stood, tall and regal. There was no sign of Lily or Rylin.
As Corvin strode to take Keryth’s arm, Talin took his place behind the king. After all, when the day came that Lily ruled, his role would still be consort over ruler. Let that day be decades away, he prayed. The tall, ornate double doors parted and the royal couple began their walk to the thrones at the opposite end.
“Remember,” Kade kept his voice low. “This is about Lily more than you. And she’s going to be even more terrified than you are. You and I can open a bottle later tonight, and I can listen to how frightened this makes you. But she needs your strength now.”
Talin nodded his understanding. Kade was right, and he knew it. Lily had grown so much since her return to Tiadar a year ago, most in the months that followed her confirmation. There were signs of the abuse she suffered at Erena’s hands still present, but she was becoming more at ease with her true self. That inner strength he loved so much in her had begun to blossom. But elaborate ceremonies like this, where she was on display, would test that resolve.
Intrigued? I hope so! Be sure to pick up a copy here: myBook.to/consortofthesuccessor