In Lord Markov's absence, Josselyn leaves the estate behind in desperation of a brighter future. With her new ally beside her and assistance from a familiar face, they begin to unfurl the mystery behind the Terryn family murder. But what Josselyn finds will change everything she knows, and make her question everything she holds dear.
~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~
Cyprus, Isabelle and I lay across my bed side-by-side on our backs. I was positioned between them and took comfort in their warmth. I’d managed to reign in my emotions and steady my breathing. While I traced the designs of the ceiling with my eyes, a fond memory returned to me.
“I remember…one day Jeremi came home from work with six bottles of wine and a deck of playing cards. He set up a table with a huge plate of food and the drinks in this room, made sure Victoria and I were comfortable, and then ordered the servants to leave us be for the night.” I smiled, recalling how excited he’d been.
“What did you do?” Isabelle asked.
“I’m guessing Victoria taught him how to play Finan.” Cyprus replied.
“You’re right, she did.” I nodded. “And Jeremi wanted to bring me in on the game--with two new rules.”
“How do you play normally?” Isabelle asked, toying with a loose strand of my hair.
“Each card is assigned a value, and your end goal is to have the lowest score of everyone.” Cyprus summarized.
“Seems simple enough. What were the new rules?” She looked at me.
“If you win, you drink half of your glass.” I giggled. “And if you empty your glass, you lose an article of clothing.”
“That’s a lot of wine to get through,” Isabelle laughed, “and not very many pieces of clothing.”
“And playing a game that’s extremely in Victoria’s favor.” Cyprus joined her. “We played it all the time in Lorelyn.”
“Learning was easy, mastering it was harder, and I’m certain they let me win more than a few times. We spent the entire night in here, laughing and draining more wine than I think I’ve ever consumed in my life.” I remembered we’d all awoken on the floor the next morning, haphazardly covered in the blankets from my bed. Not one of us remembered how we had finished the night. But…that part never mattered. I just wanted to be near them always.
“Josselyn, tell me,” Isabelle whispered, “what is it like…to be a Ring?”
“Isabelle…? Are you sure?” I turned toward her, only to have her lips meet mine.
“Yes. Show me,” she murmured against my mouth, “both of you.”