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Authors: Patrice Hannah

Tags: #romance, #love, #historical romance, #medieval romance

Coins and Daggers

BOOK: Coins and Daggers
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A
Historic
al
Romance Novel
by
Patrice
H
annah

 
COINS &
DAGGERS
Copyright ©
201
5
by
Patrice Hannah

 
All rights
reserved. 
N
o part of this book may
be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means
including information storage and retrieval systems – except in the
case of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews – without
permission in writing from its author,
Patrice
H
annah
. The characters and events portrayed in this book are
fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by
the author.

This book is licensed for
your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author.

Copyright ©
201
5
Patrice Hannah

 

 

A Note From The Author

Thanks for
checking out
Coins &
Daggers.
The plot of this book
came to me one evening while staring through my bedroom window as
it rained heavily outside. I must admit that I’ve never written
anything close to historical romance before but I did try my best
on this one. Just to be a little safe, as I’m not great at History
either, I also created my own little country of Bascain. It was
sort of a challenge that I had set for myself and I hope I managed
to overcome it somehow.

If you enjoy the read, please spread the
word among your romance-loving friends. I’d also love hearing from
you.

Your book-loving friend,

Patrice Hannah

Dedication

To my sister, Janelle;

for daring me to write 50000+ words, your
innocent dares have paid off.

Contents

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Ninteen

Twenty

Twenty-one

Twenty-two

Twenty-three

Twenty-four

Epilogue

From
Ulric
and
Audelia

About the Author

 

 

One

 

February, 1649

The outskirts of Camden Village...

 

H
eavy rainfall beat mercilessly
against the shingled roof above, sending a wave of chill throughout
the entire room. A lone beacon burned brightly near the door which
was used as both an entrance and exit no more than three times a
day. Audelia Rolfen turned on her side, gazing at the dancing flame
and imagined for the briefest of moments, herself burning within
it. On nights like these, that was all she ever contemplated and
when the sun rose and the cycle began again, death seemed to
consume her thoughts above all else. Shifting on the makeshift bed,
a preparation of thick fabric stuffed with thin layers of straw,
she pulled the old brown blanket higher beneath her chin. It was
amazing, truly, how one’s life and comfort could be so
inconsequential to another.

Across from her were dozens of beds like
this one, arranged in parallel rows on the floor with just one
single aisle breaking through the middle of the room. Just before
dusk on every morning, their mistress, Madame de Lucci would stride
down that very aisle and ringing her tiny obnoxious bell to
initiate the morning inspection. It was a ritual, really, where she
and her assistants would mark the register and then prepare the
girls for their morning toiletries. These were girls Audelia’s age,
sixteen and seventeen-year-olds; girls from similar backgrounds and
of even closer circumstances. Girls who did not have a choice.

“Do you believe in God, Lia?”

The question came in a hoarse whisper
directly from her right. It was Jocelyn Bardeen, a seventeen year
old girl and Audelia’s only friend in this entire domicile. They
had arrived together, some three months ago, when Madame de Lucci
had taken them from separate orphanages across the country.

Audelia turned, and even though she could
barely make out her friend’s face, she thought Jocelyn had those
remarkable light blue eyes that could light up even the densest of
caves. Smiling sadly, she searched her heart for an answer. It had
been a while since she’d thought of such things. “Sometimes.”

Prayer had been the only
thing that had kept her going through those long years at Mistress
Gildome’s Orphanage for Girls. She’d prayed because she’d had no
other option. She’d prayed because she knew someone was there
listening. There were times now when prayer was her only solace but
sometimes...
sometimes
she didn’t know what to believe
anymore.

“My mama used to say that God always finds a
way,” Jocelyn went on even more softly. “She’s right, you know.
We’ll get to leave this place one day, Lia. I just know it.”

Frowning, Audelia stared
up at the dark ceiling. She envied Jocelyn’s optimism at times. If
only she could be so faithful. If only she could recall
something...
anything
of her own parents that could somehow reassure
her of a future she’d stopped wishing for long ago. She had no
memory of or ties to them but the name she had been convinced was
truly hers. There were nights when she had truly thought about it
or on the very few occasions she was afforded a mirror at bath. She
would imagine having her mother’s rich brown eyes and perhaps her
father’s deep ebony hair. Or mayhap it was the other way around.
There was really no way of her knowing. Like the other girls, she
had no home and no family to claim as her own.

“Jocelyn?” Reaching out a tentative hand,
she touched her friend on the shoulder.

“Mm?” She was dozing off already.

“Do you pray for me?”


Mm
--yes,” she yawned lightly. “We
should pray f...for each other.”

Audelia rolled onto her back and swallowed,
hoping that the silent prayer in her heart would be heard.

 

 

 


L
ia, wake
up
!”

The hushed hiss came directly next to her
right ear, startling her out of a deep wet dream of complete
emptiness. Scowling at the ache in her temples, she quickly came to
when someone gave her one harsh teeth-rattling shake. Slightly
dizzy, she stumbled to her feet and eyed Jocelyn wearily. It was
then that she recognized the infamous ringing of Madame de Lucci’s
bell and the tapping sounds of her slippers along the stone floor.
Swallowing tightly, she quickly ran a hand over her disheveled hair
and down the front of her white tunic.

She whispered softly to Jocelyn. “Thank
you.”

Her friend whispered back through the corner
of her mouth, not even daring to make eye contact in case Madame or
any of her assistants were to see. “God knows what she would have
done.” And she quickly crossed her heart.

Madame de Lucci was a beautiful woman with
long blonde curls normally caught up in the most unusual of
fashions. But then again, there did not appear to be anything usual
about the Madame at all. Audelia watched as she made her way down
the aisle, passing at least twelve rows before she made it to the
back of the room, and up to the center again. Dressed in a flowing
mauve gown and matching veil, she looked everything the regal, her
red-painted lips pinched into a tight line.

“Good morning, girls. I see you are all
looking well risen.”

“Good morning, Madame de Lucci.” The entire
room echoed with the response; one of the many dull choruses that
they had been taught to say from the moment each of them had first
set foot inside the building.

“Miss Darcott will be in soon to supervise
you to your morning toiletries and then you will all meet in the
West Chamber to undergo your fortnightly inspections.” Madame
pivoted gracefully, her violet gaze sweeping over every then-pale
face in the room. “So wash thoroughly.”

As soon as Madame had retreated from the
room, Audelia released her breath and shuddered. “Why do we need to
be inspected every fourteen days?”

Jocelyn shook her head and sunk to her
knees, reaching for the blanket she’d tossed aside next to her
makeshift bed. “I don’t know, Lia. But I’m scared.”

Sinking to her own knees, Audelia started
tidying her bed too. “Why are we here?” she said in a hushed tone.
“We are never permitted too leave.”

“I don’t want to think about it, Lia. We
should just--”

The door busted open again and both girls
finished straightening their blankets before jumping to their feet
again. Miss Darcott, a short plump woman with a very keen eye
stepped inside and surveyed the room.

“Come now. You all know what needs to be
done,” she announced in a shrill voice. “Make it hasty too. We
shan't keep the Madame waiting. A single queue, please.”

 

* * *

 


A
udelia Rolfen!”

Her name echoed from the West Chamber and
into the hall where she and the remaining four girls sat awaiting
their inspections. Miss Darcott looked at her and shook her head
sorrily.

“Is that you, child?”

“Um...yes, Ma’am.”

“Then why, pray tell, are you still standing
in that spot, wringing your hands like a blasted buffoon?”

Audelia blinked and uttered a quick apology
before walking ahead with the hawk-like Miss Darcott on her heels.
The West Chamber was a large spacious room with very little
furniture except for the armchair Madame de Lucci would occupy
whenever her feet tired. Apart from that, there was a low wooden
stool positioned on the center of the floor and a wash basin to the
far left corner of the room. There really was nothing special about
the room at all, except that it was one of the most dreaded places
in the entire building. It was the venue for the infamous
fortnightly inspections.

“Ah, Audelia Rolfen,” Madame de Lucci
uttered, eyeing her from head to toe. “How are you doing this
morning?”

“Fine, Madame.”

“Wonderful. On the stool now.” Nodding,
Audelia did as she was told, heart pounding as she poistioned
herself still and standing upright. “Remove the tunic, dear.”

A light cold breeze seemed to have come from
nowhere, planting bitter kisses against her skin. Shivering, she
undid the buttons lining the front of her tunic which ran from
neckline to hem. Slowly, she rid herself of the garment and held
her breath. It was a task she knew she would never get accustomed
to. “C-cold...” she muttered before she’d had the chance to hold it
in.

“Yes, yes I know. It’s quite common for this
time of the year.” Madame de Lucci then turned to the ogling Miss
Darcott. “A rare one, isn’t she?”

“She’s quite well developed, Madame.”

“I agree.” Moving forward, the Madame looked
her over with strange approval and smiled. “You are seventeen,
child?”

“Y-yes, Madame--”

“Eighteen in two months,” Miss Darcott
interjected.

“Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Oh, Miss
Darcott, this one will most definitely do.”

Audelia’s gaze darted
between both women, anxious to know precisely what they were
talking about.
Perfect
? It was hardly a word
she’d use to describe herself and it had never
ever
been indicated as
such whenever she stared at herself in the mirrors. If anything,
she thought she looked just like every other girl in the building.
Pale and distraught.

BOOK: Coins and Daggers
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