TITLE: A Hundred Breaths
GENRE: Adult Historical Romance
13th century, Scotland. Gwyn is a Nord-Ancients woman who's been kidnapped from the isles and forced to wed Simon (a Scotsman) in a revenge plot against Gwyn's father. She refused to show up in the wedding chapel, so Simon's father brought the priest up to her bedchamber. Accepting her fate, she consents to the union:
The priest cleared his throat. “Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together after God’s holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love him, submit to him, honor and keep him, so long as you both shall live?”
Gwyn paused. Simon’s vows had lacked submit.
Simon’s father Alroy coughed.
Her groom’s eyes never left hers. They were as vast as the sea.
Her whispered words caught in her throat. “I will.”
It was done.
“Our help is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” the nasally priest said, taking both of their hands into his cold ones. “Blessed be this union.”
Simon didn’t release their connection. He stood unnaturally still, his face expressionless.
“Kiss your bride, Sir,” the priest encouraged.
Simon bent down to her level, turned his head to the side, and planted a soft kiss on her lips. She leaned ever so slightly in and allowed her own lips to meet his. She had never tasted a man’s lips before, and it was the briefest of moments. She’d expected ale or perhaps pungent cider, but as she pulled back and he released her hands, all the taste that remained with her was of fear.
And not just her own.
Simon turned on his heel and left without another word. His father followed, brimming with satisfaction, and lastly, the priest slinked away.
Once again, she was alone in her room. Alone on her wedding night, a Nord woman the new lady of Eilean Donan.