Authors: Danielle Bourdon
Tags: #Romance, #contemporary romance, #King, #Love, #Billionaire, #Royal, #Princess, #Passion, #Wedding, #Suspense, #Intrigue, #Sensual, #Adventure
The King Takes A Bride
Published by Wildbloom Press
Copyright © 2013
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
For Virginia Sleigh
who always treated me like one of her own
Surrounded by a plethora of supplies, samples, swatches, books, cakes, flowers and the thousand other things that went along with getting married, Chey stared out the balcony windows, distracted by thoughts of the upcoming ceremony. Her mind's eye painted images of petal dusted aisles, pews strewn with gauzy netting, and mini-lights strung through greenery. What consumed her more than those important details was the vision of herself in a dress of pristine white, the layers of satin and tulle floating around her legs and feet.
A dress she didn't want to wear.
Her gaze darted away from the windows, landing on two wedding dresses hanging from garment racks situated adjacent to the array of bridal paraphernalia. Two perfectly beautiful creations, one the traditional white-white in her vision. The
though—that was the gown she really wanted to wear. A subtle champagne-pink in color, with a beaded bodice and rosettes lining swags of satin on the full skirt, it was the dress of Chey's dreams. A gown fit for a Queen.
It was also the dress the coordinators and advisers had gently informed her she
wear. They preferred the solid white, the traditional choice, so that the hundreds of critics who would be watching didn't have much to pick apart. Everything about the white-white gown met their strict expectations.
In her effort to please the advisers and the picky coordinators, Chey had agreed to their request. After all, they had been advising the former Queen Helina for quite some time. They knew more than Chey did about public perception.
Giving the champagne gown a longing look, she entertained a brief fantasy of what Sander's face might look like if he saw her in it. Maybe he wouldn't care which dress she wore, but Chey imagined he would like the coloring of this one against her skin and her dark hair.
“Well, don't you look thoughtful,” Sander said from the doorway of their bedchamber.
Caught off guard, Chey surged up off the sofa and spun around, throwing her arms wide to try and block his sight of the wedding gowns.
“Sander! Don't look! What are you doing back this early? You're not supposed to be here for another three hours! Don't look, it's bad luck!”
“What? Why can't I--”
“Okay, okay.” He pivoted around and shut the door, shoulders trembling with laughter beneath the immaculate black suit.
Exhaling her exasperation, Chey cut around the coffee table piled with wedding things to stuff both dresses back into their garment bags. Buzzing the zippers up, she glanced over her shoulder to make sure he wasn't stealing glances. He stood with his back to her, hands in the pockets of his slacks.
“Done yet?” he asked.
“Yes. You almost blew the whole thing. Then we would have had to start all over
again trying to find the right dress.” Chey glanced at the sitting area Sander had
rearranged to give her a place to plan and plot. She didn't care if he saw the books and swatches.
Sander turned around and paced her way, grinning like the devil he could sometimes be. “So you settled on one?”
“The one the coordinators suggested, yes.” She tipped her mouth up for a kiss when he was close. After he planted a lingering one on her lips, she started straightening the materials on the coffee table.
“That sounds suspiciously vague,” he said.
Chey glanced up, got stuck on the way his thighs stretched the suit pants across the muscle, then found his eyes. He was so distracting sometimes.
“What? It's not vague.”
“The one they suggested—and the one you want, right?”
“Not really. But the one I like best isn't fitting for this kind of wedding, so.” She fixed a stack of magazines, tucked flower pictures into a folder, and closed her organizer.
“You should wear the one you want to wear, Chey.”
She met his eyes. “Yes, I know. But that's not the one
really want me to wear. I can see their reasons.”
He arched a brow and took a seat on the couch.
“I'd rather not start off on the wrong foot with them. You know? Not after everything that's already happened.” She plopped down next to him and propped her temple against her fist, elbow digging into the back cushion.
“I know what you're trying to do. You've got two weeks to change your mind.” He slouched back and draped his arm along the sofa, fingers fiddling with the sleeve of her sweater.
“Aren't you supposed to be advocating their side?”
“Not when it comes to something as important as your wedding. Speaking of which, did you pick the bridesmaid's dresses?” he asked.
“Maid of honor. Just one bridesmaid,” she replied.
“Mm. They're expecting at least six.”
“Six? Who?” Chey frowned. She didn't know six girls in Latvala. Not ones she would include in her wedding, anyway.
“Natalia, two of my cousins, Aurora and Krislin, besides Wynn.”
“Wait, the same Natalia that threw a glass at my head? The one that loathes the sight of me?” Chey couldn't believe what she was hearing.
“She's my sister. The public will expect her to be in it. Just like they expect to see my brothers. A show of unity after the strain my lineage put on the country is what the advisers are after.”
Chey made a face. She couldn't help herself. “I don't want Natalia in the wedding. I have to be honest. And I didn't even know you
“I know. You won't have to interact that much with her. The coordinators will see to it that the bridesmaids get fitted for their dresses. Other than that, she walks down the aisle before you and
keep her mouth shut. I'll make sure of it.” Sander's eyes roamed Chey's features. One hand reached over to trace the edge of her bottom lip. “Of course I have cousins. They were at the funeral, you just didn't see them because they all sat behind us. You'll be meeting them over the next two weeks.”
After kissing the end of his finger, she pushed to a stand, too agitated to sit. “I
guess I'll have to deal with Natalia and hope you're right when you say she'll behave when it counts.”
“Also, they cornered me after my meeting and wanted to know if we'd made a final choice on the church.” Sander sat forward, watching her pace.
“No, because we haven't even looked at any churches.” She quirked a lopsided grin his way. “I'm not deciding until I at least see pictures.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for? Let's go take a look. There are three on the list.” He stood up and headed for the closet. “I'm changing first, though.”
“I could use some fresh air. Today is as good a day as any to see what the choices are.” Chey followed Sander with her gaze until he disappeared into the closet. While he changed, she went into the bathroom and touched up her face with a quick dash of blush, lip gloss and a smudge of powder over her eyelids. The burgundy sweater and black slacks with an adjustable waist for her thickening belly suited just fine for a trek to the mainland. Drawing on knee high boots, she snagged a jacket afterward to fight off the lingering chill in the air.
In the background, she heard Sander call ahead to have the limousine and helicopter prepped for travel.
“Do you have a preference for one of the three?” she asked when he emerged from the closet. Chey admired the fit of his navy henley, jeans and the palomino boots with scuffs over the toe. He could probably wear a potato sack and make it look good, she thought.
“Yes. But I'm not telling you which one it is.” He cut her a devil's grin and escorted her to the door.
She snorted, stepping into the hallway. “I have ways of coaxing the information out of you, Sander.”
“That should be interesting to see when we're sitting with the guards in the limousine.” He laughed, rakish and unrepentant.
“You know what I meant!” Laughing with him, she bumped his arm with her own and let him lead her down to the waiting car.
. . .
Ferried from Pallan island to the mainland by helicopter, Chey watched the landscape whip by out the window. A foot of fresh snow coated the terrain, clinging to the treetops and rocky outcroppings. Awed by the beauty from this height, Chey found herself thankful for the twist of fate that brought her to Latvala in the first place. As much as she missed Seattle sometimes, she wouldn't change the course of her life for the world.
The first church they visited, a twenty minute flight from the coast, had all the amenities Chey could have hoped for: tall windows overlooking a sparkling lake, a high, sloping ceiling, fresh paint on the interior. Rows of polished pews faced a modest altar with three stained glass windows that added color to the white-and-wood theme. She could easily envision herself walking down the center aisle with guests lined up on either side.
That's where the crux came in. Guests. Although the church
fit the five hundred or so dignitaries and other elite on the list, there was enough doubt in Chey's mind to make her second guess the wisdom of trying to cram them all in. The capacity in their notes read five hundred, which sounded good on paper. There were always people who showed up after declining the invitation, however, and she knew anyone of importance wouldn't be turned away at the door.
She let Sander know her doubts and concerns before they boarded the helicopter and flew to the second location. Larger than the first, she knew right away this wasn't the church for her. Regardless of how many people it might seat, it looked too plain even before they stepped inside, with too few windows for the natural light she hoped for. The inside matched the outside, and although it was clean and neat, Chey was struck with a more utilitarian feel than the quaintness of the prior chapel.
One glance at Sander's expression assured her he wasn't enamored, either.
“I think you'll like this next one,” he said on the way to the helicopter. “It's the last we're looking at today.”
“Who chose it?” she asked, settling into the seat after he handed her in.
“I did.” He winked and sat beside her.
“What's it like? I thought you might have picked the first one,” she admitted.
“The first one is nice. The advisers chose it, though. You'll just have to wait for the next.”
She was anxious to see Sander's choice. Wondered what kind of building suited his taste for a wedding. For
Fifteen minutes later, Chey had her answer. Sander gestured out the window as they approached, drawing her attention to the ground. Dazzled even from this height, she took in the details. Three needle shaped spires soared from thin turrets along the front, giving way to a peaked roof and gray stone that made up the rest of the building. Gothic inspired, the archways leading to the front doors stood impressively tall. Carvings in the stone matched carvings in the thick wooden doors.
After landing in a vacant spot in a nearby field, Sander walked with her across the ground toward the entrance. She was even more impressed seeing it on eye level. Stained glass windows decorated both sides, the colors vibrant and appealing. She knew just by the size of the building that it would easily seat the number of required guests. The church sat next to a rocky shoreline, so that waves rumbled and rolled in the near distance.
Three sections of pews greeted them inside, supporting one main aisle for her to walk down. Columns braced the sides, leading up to a domed ceiling that had been hand painted with graceful, powerful and cherubic figures. The atmosphere was open and airy, with plenty of light for good photos and video. A shallow platform stood at the head of the room, with a podium in place backed by three more stained glass windows.
“This one,” Chey said, holding onto Sander's elbow. “Definitely this one.”
“I thought you'd like it,” he said.
“Is that why you saved it for last?” she asked, glancing at his profile.
“Yes. I figured the first might be pushing it for room, although it's nice inside.” He met her eyes, coming to a halt in the aisle. “This one has everything. Parking, private entrances at the back, separate rooms for the groom and bride if we need them.”
“It's perfect. Tell Mister Urmas we've decided.” Glad this part was over, she could turn her mind toward other things. With two weeks left until the ceremony, time would soon become an issue.
“Excellent. So all that's left is to get everything delivered, do the fittings and make sure you approve of displays and decorations. Right?” Sander asked.