When I saw WordPress’s word-of-the-day prompt today, I couldn’t help but think of my novel, The Queen’s Assassin. I wanted to write a romance which was largely devoid of the usual YA romantic cliches, one which stressed friendship over hormones and love over passion. That’s not to say this is a stale and boring relationship; burning, silent and steady through the entire background is a flame of desire. It lights up the entire story. How could I resist such a prompt?
My hero, Edward, is the quiet prince – his feelings for Emmeline kept buried for almost the entire first half of the novel. Emmeline, on the other hand, has too many other issues to focus on romance and often misdiagnoses love as paranoia, pain, or other problems.
I hope these clips help showcase a taste of their love story.
“Your father wanted to see me privately before the banquet.” Emmeline kept her voice low as they danced.
Edward missed a step.
“He wants to see to it that I am not controlled by any wayward force here at court, but I have deeper concerns.”
Edward broke form to look down at her.
She looked back into his eyes, green like his father’s. “I’ve seen the love you have for your brother. I would no sooner part the two of you in some banal race for my heart than I would part the seas. If you ever put me before Henry, I will slap you in the face. Do you understand me?”
His mouth fell open.
“To find someone you love and trust is an extraordinary luxury in this world.” She twirled outward, her satin gown flying around her legs.
“Thank you. No one has ever said that before.”
Emmeline’s eyes swept the crowd as they danced around the room to the music. “I get the feeling that everyone here expects us to put on a show like one of the great legends, a love-triangle where one hero must slay a dragon to win fair maiden’s heart. The thing is, Edward,” she glanced up, “I’ve seen what epic love stories look like up close, and I would not wish one on anybody.”
Henry made her laugh; Edward, on the other hand, was so much quieter than his brother that he was harder to read. And, naturally, it made Emmeline try to read him all the more. His face was harder and less handsome than his brother’s, with a stronger, sharper jawline. Where Henry would garner attention and become theatrical, Edward stilled and grew more polite. His eyes, however, were the most unremarkable thing that worried her. They were often narrowed in an examination of the world around him.
She would have to keep her eye on him. If anyone were to notice an anomaly in her behavior, a misplaced word or the hint of suspicious actions, it would be he. Emmeline contemplated what would happen if she married Edward, how long she could hold on to her secrets as his queen. It didn’t seem like it would be much fun then. No, it would be utterly brutal to hold back her secrets from such a fellow.
Emmeline fell, she simply couldn’t keep herself upright anymore.
But Emmeline didn’t hit the ground. Instead, she landed in a strong pair of arms. “Are you all right?”
She looked up into Edward’s eyes. “No. I may have overextended myself.”
His eyebrows rose in an amused sort of pity and he swept her up into his arms. “Let’s get you to the court physician.”
“I’ll be fine,” she interrupted sharply. “This happens to me on occasion, I simply need some medicine from my room and a long nap.” It was hard to sound authoritative when he was striding down the hallway carrying her like she was a little girl. It felt good, to be wrapped in caring arms. In spite of the jostling, she was so relaxed that she could have fallen asleep.
“Thank you,” she whispered
After the hours of verbal sparring with Henry: explanations and excuses, pleadings and promises. Edward’s simple words were a breath of fresh air to her lungs.
When they finally reached the door to her tower, Edward stopped and looked down at her. “Can you stand?”
She nodded. “I think so.” He set her feet on the stones of the hall and straightened with her, keeping her stabilized with his arm. “You’re oddly proficient at this. Did you take lessons on carrying damsels when you were little?”
“If I had, I wouldn’t have done well at all today.”
He smiled down at her. “You’re not a damsel; you’re too proud for that.”
Emmeline felt a slight flutter in her stomach. She needed to get rid of him before she started bleeding through her dress.
He smiled at the thought that his question had pleased her. Edward refolded the letter but didn’t put it away yet. The paper had kept him company since they’d left the main body of the Royal Guard.
“That from the girl?”
Edward glanced up. “Excuse me?”
Longshanks tossed his apple core into the fire and wiped his chin with the back of his hand. “Rumor has it you and your brother have a girl waiting in Amarys.” He nodded at the letter. “A lad only smiles like that when it’s about a girl.”
“I had much the same sentiment toward my father once, so a better question might be: will you fight for her? Emmeline?”
“Henry and I-”
Longshanks brushed away the words before they even came out of Edward’s mouth. “I’m not talking anymore about fighting your brother or taking the crown. Her. Will you fight for her?”
“You are allowed to grieve your father for as long as you want, in any way that you require, and that is something I can understand.” He had offered her an escape from a rite he thought she did not want, but Edward had needed an escape instead – from grief.
She released his hand and turned to leave.
Edward scooped an arm around her waist and pulled her close, kissing her deeply. When he came up for air he whispered, “This,” he leaned his forehead against hers and held her in his arms, “you are what I need.”
Here’s a little drawing I did of my darlings in Photoshop! Feel the flame, people.