The Blood Spell by C. J. Redwine


The Blood Spell by C. J. Redwine

Author:C. J. Redwine
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: 2019-02-12T00:00:00+00:00



TWENTY-SIX

TWO HOURS LATER, Kellan found his mother on a settee in the receiving room off her bedroom suite. Even reclining, she looked regal. Her spine remained straight, her evening gown draped elegantly across the settee and onto the floor, and her hair, thick as Nessa’s, was still secured in an impeccable twist at the top of her head.

“Good evening, Mother,” he said as he walked into the room and dropped a quick kiss on her cheek before settling into a chair close by.

She gave him the smile she reserved for times when she was alone with her children and sat up straight. “I see you received my summons.”

“Nessa refused to listen to any of my excuses.”

The queen’s smile widened. “That girl is just as stubborn as I am.”

“How am I to survive in this castle with two such formidable women watching my every move?” Kellan stretched his legs out in front of him and considered how best to approach his mother about Blue’s situation.

The queen had spent the day hearing requests from citizens of the realm, advising magistrates on difficult cases with the help of the castle’s solicitors, and meeting with her steward and the royal event planner to discuss final preparations for the ball that was to happen in one week.

One week to sift through all the pros and cons each head family brought to the table and choose a girl to be his queen. One week to get used to the idea that his heart wanted someone he could never have. The thought made it difficult to breathe.

One week, and the course of his life would be set in stone. He’d have to cajole goodwill out of the families whose girls weren’t chosen. Offer prestigious diplomatic posts to the girls and whichever man they eventually chose to marry. Give the families more contracts for royal goods and services. Choose their favored children, nieces, and cousins for upper level military or magisterial positions.

“How are you?” his mother asked. “And give me an honest answer.”

He took a moment to think before he spoke. “Tired. Worried. Ready for this to be over, but unsure that I have enough time left to make the best choice.”

“That’s what I thought we’d work on tonight.” She gestured toward some parchment sitting on a small table beside his chair. “I thought we could list pros and cons for each girl to help you make your decision.”

He shifted in his chair. “That makes it sound like a business transaction with the girls as goods we’re evaluating. I don’t like it.”

“You don’t have to like it. This is how things are done in your kingdom.”

“But we can’t just discuss the girls like they’re horses we’re thinking of buying. It’s disrespectful. They’re people, and they deserve to be treated with dignity.”

His mother smiled again. “My sweet boy, your heart is going to make you a great king. Beloved by all and remembered through the ages. But part of being a king is knowing when you have to do things you don’t want to do because it will keep the peace.



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