Today we visit By God's Grace, Book Two of the Renaissance Hearts Series, this scene takes place after Duncan has been ordered by the council that he must marry and produce an heir. Various women have paraded before him but none were found good enough so a tournament is set to decide his fate.
Knowing that approaching Duncan in the normal fashion would never garner his attention, Arbella Kincade poses as Aonghas, a young Kincade lad. In this scene Arbella has just won the tournament and is about to reveal her true identity. Let's listen in:
“Laird Sinclair, I appreciate the privilege to compete in your tournament. I accept my right to name your bride from clan Kincade.”
Duncan stood. The corner of his lip twitched upward. “Congratulations, lad Aonghas, on yer victory in these games on this St. Michael’s Day Festival. I am ready at yer convenience to hear yer choice for my future bride.”
She cleared her throat. The need to be clear and concise when she spoke was of the upmost importance. Chaos would ensue after the unveiling, yet there must be no doubt as to what was said before the pandemonium ensued. Like a dream, the act was performed.
Slow and deep breathing to calm the nerves, her hand was placed on the head covering. Now it was time for the speech. She’d rehearsed this part time and time again in Annot’s room of torture. If she closed her eyes, she could imagine herself back there. A pent-‐‑ up breath was released. “The Kincade clan chooses,” she paused, ripped off the fabric covering, and shook out her dark brown, waist-‐‑length hair. “They choose me, Arbella Kincade, as your future bride.”
After the announcement the silence was deafening. Jamus’s eyes widened. Tavis and Tavish stood beside her in a rigid pose. All the men on the field held their breath.
Duncan hadn’t moved. Then above the silence was heard, “Seize her! Throw her in the dungeon!”
The nearest tournament participants grasped Arbella’s arms in a vice-‐‑like grip. In Jamus’s direction, she sent an awkward glance. “I told you this was a bad idea.”
Men propelled her away. Grant asked Duncan, “My laird, was that necessary?”
“Aye, it was necessary. Clan Kincade has made a mockery of these proceedings. Have Jamus meet me in the main hall without delay.”
The last thing Arbella saw was Duncan as he stalked to the hall and left the gawking crowd behind.
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