Home > Escaping A Royal Wedding (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #1)

Escaping A Royal Wedding (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #1 - Escaping A Royal Wedding

Escaping A Royal Wedding (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #1)
Elizabeth Lennox



Chapter 1

“I can’t believe you’re asking me to sell my body like this!” Princess Anastasia Elisia Marquenda said, almost in a whisper. She was trying to maintain a sense of dignity but was furious with her family all the same. The previously perfect start to her day was ruined. Pushing a frustrated hand through her thick, titian hair, she tried to remain calm, or at least present the image of serenity. It was extremely difficult under the circumstances though.

Anastasia tried to keep the panic out of her voice but she knew she was failing miserably. “Why, mother?”

Queen Natasha smiled gently at her furious daughter. “First of all, I’d like to mention how lovely you look in that color of green. It brings out your blue eyes and gives your skin a bit of color. As for the current topic, Ana, you’ve known about this betrothal,” she said, stressing the word, “practically all your life. I don’t understand why your engagement party and wedding date being announced is such a shock to you,” Anastasia’s mother said calmly, the epitome of grace under fire. “You should have been expecting it after all these years.”

Her mother was right. She had known about her betrothal since she was five years old. But she’d always expected to be married as soon as she turned twenty one. So five years later, still being unmarried, she’d assumed her “fiancé” had forgotten about the arrangement. Sadly, the announcement of her wedding date only moments ago had taken her by surprise. She’d have to think quickly. Somehow, she’d have to gain more time. The wedding date was proposed for three weeks in the future.

“Why the sudden wedding? What happened to long engagements? Why does the wedding have to be so soon?” Ana said, forcing a calm, even tone to her voice, knowing that her parents would respond better to reason than panic.

Her mother nodded in understanding. “I agree. It does seem to be a bit of a rush. But that’s because King Alexander is in ailing health. Prince Erik will have to take over the crown sooner than expected.”

Her mother’s explanation terrified her even more because it made sense. Rumor’s of King Alexander’s health had been all over the news lately. Shaking her head in an effort to eliminate the reason, she said, “That shouldn’t impact me! I didn’t make the man sick. Why should I be punished?”

Ana wanted to scream and stomp her feet, but years of manners and training at controlling her temper kept her from showing her emotions. The only indications of her true feelings were her fists clenched at her sides, but the white linen table cloth hid them from view, as well as the anger showing in her blue eyes. “Mother, I’m twenty six years old. I was supposed to be married five years ago. I thought he’d forgotten about that silly betrothal contract. So yes, it is quite a shock to all of a sudden have my wedding date announced in the papers.” After a long moment of silence, she turned to face her mother, the anger now apparent on her gentle features. “I wasn’t even consulted!” she said, fighting back angry tears as she pushed her long red hair off her shoulder impatiently. “This is ridiculous. I can’t believe I’m the victim of an arranged marriage. It is too archaic.”

The queen again smiled, wishing her daughter wasn’t so upset about something that had been arranged at her birth. “Darling, that’s the way it is in most royal families. Even your younger sister was betrothed at birth.”

Anastasia kept from shuddering at the reminder of her sister’s fiancé, but only barely. “Yes, and Marabeth isn’t very satisfied with her future either, I can tell you that,” she said without thinking. Ana took a long, deep breath, trying to gain control of her emotions again. “Mother, you can’t really think I’d be happy with that man, can you?”

The queen hid a smile from her daughter, knowing it would only increase her fury. “I’m guessing you’re referring to Prince Erik?”

Ana clenched her fists tighter. “Has the subject spontaneously changed and I haven’t kept up? Of course I’m talking about him.”

Her mother nodded, unmoved by her daughter’s outburst. “I can’t imagine what you find so offensive about the man,” she said diplomatically. “He’s extremely handsome, tall, a wonderful dancer which I’ve experienced myself, a strong military man, which I haven’t experienced, thank goodness, and he’ll be a wonderful ruler over a beautiful country. Why can’t you say his name, dear?”

Ana drummed her manicured fingernails against the white linen tablecloth impatiently. “Because the sound of it is too annoying. I’ve read about his exploits in the gossip columns too often over the past several years. I don’t want to have to think about him,” she sniffed and took a delicate sip of the still hot coffee. “The situation is bad enough without saying his awful name out loud.”

The queen put a calming hand over Ana’s hand to stop the drumming. Looking her in the eye, she asked, “What are you angrier about? The fact that the man has had a few beautiful mistresses? Or that you’re going to be married to him next month?’

Ana pulled herself up regally in the chair and rubbed her forehead. “I don’t know. I resent the fact that he can go out and do just about anything he wants whereas I have so many restrictions placed on everything I do it is like being in a prison.”

Natasha’s face showed her shock. “But you went to college dear. That’s more than what was expected of you. Finishing school would have been perfectly acceptable.”

Ana’s crystal blue eyes looked into the green ones of her mother. “Thank you for educating me and letting me know what I can’t have. I don’t know if it is worse; knowing what’s out there and what I want to do, or not knowing what the possibilities are.”

“What would you like to do that you can’t do as a princess here at home, or as the Queen of Montbain?”

Ana bit her lip, wondering if she could tell her mother what she really wanted to do. Her mother was understanding and seemed to have the ability to influence her father the way no one else could. Did she dare? Looking into her mother’s concerned face, she decided to express her desires. Perhaps it would delay the wedding for a few more years. Maybe completely? “I’d like to go to law school and become a lawyer. I know it isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, but I like the intricacies of law.”

Natasha smiled and put her jeweled hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “Ana, you have an incredible mind and I’m sure if you started using it, you’d understand that your dreams don’t have to be forgotten.”

With that, her mother stood up gracefully and glided across the room. “Don’t forget that we leave for Washington, D.C. tomorrow morning. Rose is already packing your bags but you’ll need to supervise. There will be engagements and obligations, not to mention a meeting with your future husband tomorrow night. You have been avoiding that for years. Tomorrow night you will be expected to join him at dinner regardless of whatever ailments suddenly fall upon your shoulders, young lady,” her mother admonished before stepping out of the room.

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