Prince Janos Rackoszi, Viceroy of Transylvania made the commitment to marry Baron Szechenyi’s daughter as a last-ditch offer to encourage the man to stop his gambling, and attend to his estate and family before he lost everything to creditors. He never thought the man would take his own life immediately after their agreement, or he would have found another means of encouragement rather than offering to bind himself to a woman he would never love, and have to protect himself from a mother-in-law who thought he was a revenant.
The instant he awoke, the scent stunned him. Tuber rose, musk, and…horse? If the previous two fragrances had been sweat and leather, he’d bet the stable master was flirting, yet again, with the cook in the kitchen. He remained silent when his valet slipped quietly into the bedroom and opened the heavy drapes around the bed.
“The painter has arrived, your grace.” Akos proffered the prince’s usual breakfast beverage and continued. “Erzsebet assigned her the green bedroom in the south wing.”
With raised eyebrows, Prince Rackoszi inquired of his valet, “Green bedroom, south wing? Erzsebet does not approve of the painter?”
“I think the sentiment may be mutual, Your Grace.”
“Really? What contretemps could have occurred so soon?”
“The, er, Baroness arrived accompanied by Csikos, and Erzsebet assumed they were all seeking work in the stables, so she refused the main entrance.”
“Surely Erzsebet can tell a Baroness from a cowboy,” the Prince scoffed. He plumped his pillows behind his back, eager to learn the rest of the story.
“No, Your Grace, not when the Baroness herself was also dressed as one. In all fairness, the Baroness did not immediately reveal her status until Erzsebet refused her entre’.”
The unusual sound of his valet’s mirth startled him. “And how much outraged shrieking did that engender, Akos?”
“None, Your Grace. The Baroness simply lifted Erzsebet off her feet and carried her inside and kicked the door shut behind herself. I think, for once, Erzsebet was incapable of speech.”
“By the ancient gods, I would’ve enjoyed witnessing such a scene. The Baroness sounds like a veritable Valkyrie.”
“Indeed, sir, strong and tall, and most unusual. She insisted on grooming her horse herself before settling into her room. The stable master was quite taken with her knowledge of horses.”
“Well then, I best complete my ablutions and arrange to meet the Baroness. Come, Akos, choose something for me to wear. Oh, and tell cook I’ll be joining the Baroness for dinner so she’s to prepare something interesting to the palate.”
The valet froze in mid-reach for the empty goblet. “You…” A distinct croak came from Akos’s throat as he continued, “You’ll be joining the Baroness for dinner?”
Flinging the linens away, Prince Szigismond Emre Janos Rackoszi, prepared to meet the day with unaccustomed eagerness. “Yes, I will. I think my appetite is returning. Perhaps some fruit to tide me until dinner, what do you think, Akos?”
The valet snapped to attention when a royal finger closed his gaping mouth. “At once, Your Grace. I’ll have a maid bring you an assortment. Ah, I will draw your bath now.”
C. L. Hadyn aka Cyn Hadyn, a career historian with Hungarian/Viking nomadic roots, loads up the gypsy wagon for the last time (hopefully) and heads to Greensboro, North Carolina, to follow her delusion of becoming a New York Times best-selling author. Yeah, sounds silly but it’s true. I’m a transplanted Yankee living way south of the Mason-Dixon Line despite its lack of decent Italian food. Uh, concerning the Italian food, I’d still sacrifice a small digit for authentic Italian cuisine a la Philly, Trenton, or New York.
Before settling down to write full time in the land of ‘bless your heart, and y’all’, I was a Special Operations (US Army and US Marines) military historian/archivist. Now I collect a retirement check and write paranormal, and historical romance. I guess my service with Army and Marine Special Operations left an indelible impression on my writing, because my characters, both male and female, are distinctly Spec Ops in their outlook. They leave no man behind, color outside the lines, and are very, very lethal. I’ve also pushed the envelope a little by including Erotica and BDSM and M/M romance. Which brings me to my latest books: Golden Hours Book 1: Fall Back; Off Track; The Danegeld, and Guarded Hearts, published by Decadent Publishing under the pseudonym C. L. Hadyn.
If you have a taste for the paranormal, historical romance, or something more outre’, I would love to hear from you via Facebook.com/Cyn Hadyn or C. L. Hadyn.
Other books by C. L. Hadyn –