Chapter 28 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn woke to the sound of Kell moving around the room, and a small smile graced her lips. It was her husband moving around the room. The man she had pledged herself to last night. She kept her eyes closed as the bed dipped and soft lips met her own. Kell’s kisses were addictive, and she wrapped her arms around his neck as she pulled him close. Immediately he deepened the kiss and she moaned in contentment until he eventually pulled away.
“No,” Emmalyn protested as she opened her eyes and stared up into his dark ones.
Kell grinned and brushed a stray hair off her face. “You need to get up my wee warrior. News of our wedding could spread and I wish to be gone from here when that happens.”
“But I thought we were cautious and no one would know?” Emmalyn questioned as she pushed herself into a sitting position. She wanted at least another day to celebrate her marriage before going back on the road. It was quiet here, peaceful even, and the castle was comfortable. She also didn’t like leaving her parents. In a few short days she had grown to love them immensely.
“I am sorry, but your safety will always come first. And as cautious as we were there is always a risk. I regret taking you from your home, but I am anxious to get you to mine. And I promise, once the threat is over we can visit as often as you like,” Kell soothed.
Emmalyn understood, so she gave a quick nod. Then a surprised gasp came from her as Kell slipped the wedding ring off her finger. He closed his palm on it as he bent her head, moved her hair out of the way and unclasped her locket from around her neck. Then she watched in confusion as he slid the ring on the chain and closed it once more. Her hands automatically wrapped around the ring protectively, as she stared up at him with a question in her eyes. Then her eyes darted to his finger to see his ring was no longer there either. Kell smiled at her as he pulled a leather string from under his tunic and showed her the ring she had slipped on his finger the previous day.
“It is safer this way,” Kell apologized. “I wish no one to know my powers have increased. I am not happy about removing our rings, but I like the idea of them being closer to our hearts. You are mine,” he growled as his eyes darkened even more. “And hiding our rings in no way lessens our bond. I married you last night, and I plan on letting you know just how much I love you every day of your life.”
Emmalyn melted at his words, and she felt a flutter in her belly. She knew Kell would do exactly as he said, and it brought a blush to her cheeks. “I love you too, and I am excited about seeing where you live. I can’t wait to start this new chapter of my life with you.”
Kell grinned and pulled her from the bed, and she laughed at his enthusiasm. “The men are ready, they are simply waiting for us. I let you sleep in a wee bit seeing as I kept you awake so long.”
Her blush deepened and she ducked her head. Kell had made love to her all night. It was slow and sweet and just like any bride would wish their wedding night to be. Emmalyn had thought it perfect, just like the man she had married.
“Do what you need. Wash up and get ready, then we will take a minute to say goodbye to your parents,” Kell instructed. “I’ve placed a day gown on the chair in the corner.”
Emmalyn nodded as she kissed his cheek and climbed from the bed. As she headed for the small bathroom he left the room and gave her some privacy. She appreciated that about him, he was always doing small things like that to ensure she was comfortable. She did what she needed to and braided her hair into one thick rope that hung down her back. If they were traveling all day, she wanted it out of the way. When she looked to the chair, she found a pretty sage green dress lying there. Like all the others she had worn while they traveled, it was made of a soft material and had an empire waist. It was embellished with a small amount of white lace, and when she put it on she felt like the princess she was. Kell definitely had good taste in clothes.
As she left the room and descended the steps, she heard shouting. Quickening her steps, she found Kell yelling at a stunning woman who stood just inside the main doors. Behr and Torin flanked him and both men were scowling at the woman. She was dressed elegantly in a beautiful red gown that hugged all her curves. Her blond hair was piled high on her head, and jewels shimmered from her neck and ears. It was clear she was a royal, and Emmalyn bit her lip as a sinking feeling began to form in her gut.
“I am not here because I wish to push a marriage with you,” she argued hauntingly. “I was traveling this way and hoped to rest for a bit. I haven’t even seen the councilman.”
Kell sighed, and Emmalyn could clearly see his frustration. Without thought she hurried the rest of the way towards him and leaned against his back. Immediately his arm snaked out, caught her arm, and dragged her to his front. Then he pulled her snuggly against his body as he kissed the top of her head.
“Seraphine, I’d like you to meet Emmalyn Kensleigh. She is the lost princess I was sent to retrieve,” Kell announced.
Emmalyn leaned against Kell as she realized this was the princess the councilman was pushing on him. Seraphine’s eyes darkened for a minute at the introduction, and Emmalyn saw evil lurking there before a mask slipped in place and the girl was smiling once more.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, and as I told Kell I am not here to cause trouble,” Seraphine remarked as she raised her chin.
“You’re always causing trouble,” Behr sneered. “There’s an ulterior motive hidden somewhere.”
Seraphine frowned as she turned beseeching eyes on Kell. “I have found someone that I have fallen in love with. I no longer wish to marry you. I understand we were both being led in that direction, but I wish to join with another. If Emmalyn is who you want, I wish you a life of happiness.”
Emmalyn studied the woman as she uttered the words, and surprisingly she believed her. A softness momentarily crossed her face as she spoke of falling in love. It was the same way Kell looked when he spoke of her.
“Who is this man?” Kell questioned, as he placed his palm on the back of her neck and his thumb gently caressed the spot right under her ear. Seraphine zeroed in on Kell’s hand momentarily, then she looked away.
“It is not your place to question who he is. I will tell you he is an equal, and I will do well with him, but that is all I will say,” Seraphine sweetly answered.
Emmalyn instantly felt the unease come back. The woman appeared to be keeping his identity a secret for a reason, and she had a feeling it was someone Kell would disapprove of. When she turned and glanced up at him, she saw the furrow of his brows and knew he was having the same thoughts.
“I am happy and it appears you are happy. Although she doesn’t seem like she fits beside you. The council will not be content with your choice. It is clear she is well beneath you,” Seraphine smirked.
Kell’s entire body locked at her cruel words and Emmalyn knew the girl said them to get a rise out of him. Obviously it worked. She bent over and slipped from his arms before he could stop her and then stepped forward so she was right in front of Seraphine’s face. She made a production of lifting her dress and pulling out the dagger Kell had given her. Then she twirled it in her hand, catching the girl’s attention.
“I’ve killed three men since coming to this world,” Emmalyn declared as she smiled sweetly at Seraphine. “One was an assassin. I would say I fit perfectly beside Kell.”
Kell chuckled while Seraphine’s eyes got big. “I thought it was two and a half,” Kell teased as he stepped up beside her and ran his finger down her cheek.
“Well I wounded one pretty bad, you just ran him through with his sword before he died. I think it’s fair to say my blow would have killed him,” Emmalyn argued.
“Fine,” Kell huffed, as Behr and Torin both laughed. “I’ll give you that one.”
“Who the hell are?” Seraphine gasped in obvious affront. “You’re barbaric. Surely you can’t want to wed a girl like her?”
“Oh I do,” Kell grinned as he hooked her around the waist and pulled her back into his side. “Emmalyn matches me in every way and I’m completely smitten with my wee warrior.”
“I think it’s time to show you out the door,” her father bellowed as he popped out of a side door. “Normally I would have no problem letting you stay, but I won’t tolerate any insults regarding my beloved daughter. She is a treasure and all here have fallen for her charms. You are most unwelcome.”
As Emmalyn watched, Behr and Torin moved to stand in front of her and her father ushered Seraphine out the door.
“I’m not after Kell,” Seraphine reintegrated, but it fell on deaf ears. “I was just stating the facts.”
Kell pushed Emmalyn behind him and moved to the door. “Maybe so, but you still came with an ulterior motive. Your reputation precedes you.”
Seraphine huffed as she moved to the coach that waited at the foot of the stairs. Her men opened the doors, but before she got in, she turned to address them once more.
“One day you will get knocked off that high horse of yours,” Seraphine sneered as she glared at Kell. “And it will be by someone unexpected. I just hope I’m there to see it.”
Then Seraphine ducked her head and stepped inside. Before she could sit, Emmalyn closed her eyes and sent a message to the two horses tethered to the carriage. They instantly reared up, jostling the carriage and sending Seraphine slamming to the floor. She shrieked as her guards grabbed the reins and attempted to settle the horses.
“Evil,” Kell chuckled as he bent to her ear. Then he kissed her soundly as he turned his back on a clearly furious Seraphine and led her away. “You’re goddamned perfect Mrs. Hawthorne.”