Yesterday, I completed a manuscript about royalty in a small principality in Europe that I made up–Desjardins was loosely patterned on Monaco. The story line loosely followed the abdication of Edward VIII, a favorite topic of mine.
Here is the first of the first chapter. I’d appreciate your opinion before I get Carina’s opinion, hopefully a ‘yes’.
Up the Back Stairs
Fashion—and elegance—are more than the clothes you wear. They are a lifestyle.
Virginia Claire MacDonald had learned that lesson from a man…a beautiful man of class and style…a worldly man born of royalty that, along with his good looks, had vaulted him to fame. Long before she met him, she’d seen, even sought, photos and news of Alexander Leandres, everything a prince should be.
Alexander was svelte, tall, slender with the blackest hair and the bluest eyes, the rare combination that melted women’s hearts. Hearts did melt, the world over. Ginny watched him from afar, never dreaming that one night she’d creep up the back stairs in a cape, its hood covering her face and reminding her of a century past.
“Prince Abelard Alexander Leandres, Heir Apparent to the Desjardins throne, swung his lovely Ingrid into a waltz to the immortal The Blue Danube. Around the opulent ballroom of whites and golds, they spun. The gilt, frescoed ceiling reflected the crystal chandeliers, making the polished floor appear liquid. Gazing into each other’s eyes, they smiled as if the world were theirs to command…and it was, to their way of thinking. Around the globe, people are speculating the pale blonde beauty will soon be a princess of Desjardins. For a long time, any news of the Prince’s relationship with Ms. Pedersen has been viral on social media.” In the reporter’s head, the article formed as he watched the spectacle of beautiful people in a royal ballroom. Disguised as a foreign dignitary, he’d gained admission to the Royal’s Midsummer Ball. He sat on pins and needles. afraid he’d be discovered and escorted from the festivities.
Gazing into Ingrid’s eyes, Alexander lost focus. For the past months, something inside him, some restlessness or deeper need, had eaten at him late at night. Sometimes, like now, these strange feelings lifted their anonymous faces to torment him. Ingrid’s dazzling perfume engulfed and suffocated him. Like a dying man, he sucked in a deep breath.
(The Prince of Desjardins on a work-a-day, pensive mood)
In a dark blue ballgown, his lover looked exquisite, the sweeping skirt emphasizing her small waist. Her long blonde hair had been braided away from her face—a beautiful face. So, what the hell was wrong with him?
The waltz ended, and the band in Leandres livery segued into another classic. Ingrid’s hand slid to his elbow. Was it more a sign of possession than affection? She offered him a flirty wink and a pretty smile as he escorted her from the dance floor. Ms. Pedersen wasn’t a woman to be ignored. Her beauty alone turned heads, and her fashion designs were gaining popularity in Europe. However, if she and the Prince of Desjardins weren’t linked as an ‘item’, she wouldn’t be on the cover of chic magazines and tabloids all over the globe.
“This is our second anniversary, Lex.” She squeezed his arm, her silver nails denting the fabric of his tuxedo. “I bet you’ve forgotten.”
Lex winced, stiffening slightly. He had forgotten. It was hard to believe that Ingrid and he had been lovers for two years. Already, the media had them engaged, but he wasn’t of the marriage mindset yet. She was intelligent, beautiful, and a dynamite sex partner, but there was just that something missing. Surely, a man his age shouldn’t believe in romance or soul mates. His father constantly reminded him that at twenty-six, he’d had a wife and an heir, and within three years thereafter a daughter. Therefore, as Heir Apparent, Lex should have a devoted spouse and offspring by now. The King littered his son’s path with nubile young maidens, but Lex had Ingrid, and no one else appealed to him the way she did. Until now, when her very presence annoyed him. He felt that something big, perhaps a life-changing event, was happening, and he couldn’t fathom what it was.
In his custom-tailored tux, he shivered but kept his smile in place.
At each island of people, they made the obligatory stop for a brief conversation, constantly moving in the direction of a favorite, quiet alcove across the room. He was far from reclusive or introverted, but tonight simply wished he could ditch the party for solitude. He would much have preferred to be finalizing the American ambassadorship or arguing world politics with his sister. However, he owed a duty to the people of his country—even if that duty was merely to be seen in a tuxedo.
Frowning, Ingrid tugged him to a halt. “Are you ill? You’re very quiet.”
He gave her a quick one-armed hug. “Nothing’s wrong,” and darted a kiss to her cheek. “Perhaps, I’m only in a pensive mood.”
“Eugenie upstaged us on the front page of the Mirror today.” She gave his arm a squeeze, presumably to recapture his wandering attention. “They caught her leaving her Paris flat in dark glasses and a scarf tied around her head. She looked like a film star.”
“My sister can have the front page,” he said with a wry smile. “She doesn’t want the spotlight. She was being incognito, I suppose. When she left Desjardins for Paris, she’d already enjoyed all of the media she could stand.”
“Ha!” Ingrid laughed. “I thought she liked to make waves.”
“She merely wanted her freedom.” He gestured. “From all this.”
HAPPY FRIDAY ALL!! Have a fabulous weekend.