Review, Excerpt + Giveaway: UNEXPECTED CIRCUMSTANCES by Shay Savage
BOOK 1: THE HANDMAID
“Parnell, I’m only going to say this to you once.” Branford’s voice turned cold. “Regardless of your feelings regarding my marriage, Alexandra is my wife now, and you’ll not speak of her with any disrespect. I will not have you refer to my marriage as ridiculous. Am I clear?”
“Yes, sire,” Sir Parnell responded, the tone in his voice switching quickly from jovial friend and cousin to properly chastised servant. “Forgive me.”
I felt Branford’s hand through my hair again, nearly lulling me into true unconsciousness. The carriage bounced through a rough section of the road, then continued on as the driver called out to the horses. The rain lessened, and the pattering sound on top of the carriage became softer.
“Something has changed, has it not?” Parnell said quietly.
“What is it, Branford?”
There was a significant pause before Branford responded.
“Parnell,” he said, “when I came up with this plan, I thought I was considering everything. Edgar would be angered but impotent to react since he brought it on himself. Whitney would be insulted, and between both those reactions, one of the next blows would lead to war. At the same time, it gets Camden off my back about finding a wife. Sunniva holds her tongue about wanting grandchildren, and I get it all—the kingdom expanded when we invade, the crown, an heir, and nothing else changes. At home, I have someone who can take care of me and my needs. I didn’t have any intention of being faithful, so it’s not as if my life away from home would change with the introduction of a wife.”
“I thought I had gone through all possibilities,” Branford said, continuing. “The woman who would be the catalyst was always nameless and faceless. It didn’t matter who she was as long as she wasn’t Whitney. I decided on one of her handmaids while I was out on the field because they sat close to Whitney, and it would be more…visually dramatic. I could walk up right in front of her and turn away at the last second. It would also anger her intensely, which is exactly what I wanted. There must have been a half dozen of them, and I didn’t care which. They would all be skilled in matters of the home, which keeps me from having to employ any servants whose loyalties are questionable. I only picked Alexandra because she looked at me early on, when I was first declared victorious, and she blushed when her eyes met mine. The color on her cheeks was simply lovely, and she has beautiful eyes.”
“Now your bride is no longer nameless and faceless,” Parnell said.
“No, she is not,” Branford replied. “When I took her up to my room, I had every intention of bedding her. I had been staring at her in that dress all evening, and I was ready to see what was underneath it.”
“And was she lacking?” Parnell asked. “You can still annul since you haven’t consummated the union.”
“She’s a commoner, Parnell.” His voice turned hard and callous. “I could open the doors of this carriage in the middle of a busy marketplace, take her in front of a dozen witnesses, declare her a lousy fuck, and still have the marriage annulled.
— Shay Savage (@Savage7289) May 20, 2016