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A York woman and a Lancaster man are forced into a marriage contract to please King Henry VII.
Blanche Langley is swept into King Henry's ambitious maneuvers to secure the throne. Tensions flare as a plot to overthrow the king is discovered.
As the York forces gather to make one last effort to win the throne, will Blanche betray her king and her husband, Giles Beaufort?
I heard a commotion at the far end of the hall and my household men jostled a group of strangers dressed in riding clothes stained with mud. My immediate thought was to rush out of the hall to my rooms but as head of the house at Langley mansion I must deal with the arrival of newcomers. The steward talked with hasty gestures designed to delay the men, but they pushed past him and strode to the front of the hall.
I rose off my chair, regretting my choice of attire. The men looked roughened by hard riding and I had no wish to attract attention. They paused in a semi circle and shuffled their feet.
“What’s the meaning of this intrusion?”
A young man broke through the line of ruffians, boldly staring at my person. The sight of his proud stance, even though his dress left much to be desired, irritated me.
“We seek the mistress of the house.”
I flinched. He wore the livery of Lancaster and carried a missive bearing an official seal causing a shudder to run through my bones.
“You carry a message for Lady Langley?”
The young man grasped the message tightly. “It must be delivered in person.”
I dreaded the content of the letter. King Henry had the power to remove me from my home and pass ownership to another noble, driving me into destitution.
“Follow me.” We moved through the passageway leading to my father’s private room, used for dealing in matters of our estate. My steward discouraged the others from following and I faced my unwelcome guest with impatience.
“I am Lady Langley.”
My hand reached for the letter but he eyed me dubiously and refused to hand over the message.
“I seek the mistress of Langley. The woman betrothed to baron Somerset.” The strength and timbre of the voice belied his years, and cloaked in confidence his bearing held effortless grace. Steel gray eyes met mine without a shred of humility.
“Give me the message.” His hesitation irritated me into sharp speech, a thing I did when vexed by servants. “Now, damn you!” I tore open the missive and read it twice before laughing in contempt.
“Somerset is reported dead. I can no more marry him than I can marry Richard of England.”
“You are Lady Langley?” The cheeky lout stared at me with a curious quirk on his lips.
“I am Blanche Langley, mistress of this house.”
“Indeed,” he mused.
“The king orders me to marry the baron of Somerset within the month. Does he not know the man died?” I shrugged in confusion.
“I am Giles Beaufort, heir to Somerset.”