Excerpt from Addleberg Lang:
So. I could explain this story in great depth and make every single last bit of it make sense, but it would ruin a huge plot twist in one of my series. I’m not even going to say which one. I’m not going to say anything about this story at all. Nothing. But if you read the book Angus Black appears in and you still remember this story, you’re going to go, “OH MY GOSH THAT’S WHO HE IS?” I’m going to be nice and not ruin that moment for you. You’ll just have to read this with no back story or explanation. Also, I’ll admit that I cry every time I read this. In all the best ways, I hope you do too.
A Growing Secret
Arilee sat next to her window, waiting anxiously. She peered out into the dark courtyard, eyes seeking a figure she knew she wouldn’t see. She prayed to any god that might hear her, Let him arrive safely. Please let him arrive safely. There was a faint rustling from the bushes beneath her. A mop of black hair rose from the foliage and in a matter of seconds, a man had flung himself through the window.
Arilee let out a half-choked laugh, “Braeden! I- I didn’t see you!” Braeden flashed her a sharp-toothed grin, his white teeth glinting in the candle light.
“Of course you didn’t see me, love. I didn’t want to be seen.” Arilee smiled weakly, her pulse still wild with fear. She kissed Braeden and closed the curtains behind him. “How are you dear?” Braeden asked, following her as she checked to make sure the door was locked for the dozenth time that night.
“Alright. You?” she said as she turned. Braeden was giving her that sharp, calculating look that had made him infamous in court.
“Worried,” he replied. Arilee’s heart jumped into her throat. What could worry him enough that he would tell me? Braeden always made a point of not telling her things that would unnecessarily upset her.
“About?” she asked tensley. She prepared herself for the worst, but was surprised with his answer.
“Me?” she asked. Her voice cracked slightly. “I’m fine! Why would you worry about me?” Braeden took her hands in a gentle grip.
“I’ve never seen you like this,” he answered. “You’re pale and look as though you haven’t eaten or slept properly in weeks. You’re shaking like a leaf.” Arilee held his black-eyed gaze for a moment and then began to cry. She hated herself for it. Braeden didn’t say anything, he just held her close and made soft shushing noises.
“I’m so sorry,” Arilee cried. “I can’t keep doing this. It won’t work anymore.”
“I know, love. But we should’ve told them we were married weeks ago. But now that we’re at war…” Braeden let the sentence hang. They both knew the repercussions. Already there had been people on both sides who had been hung for treason. For a brief moment, Arilee wished they hadn’t married, that they had never fallen in love, that she had never caught his eye from across the dancefloor. Those thoughts were quickly banished. If I could do it over, I would do the same thing, she thought.
“It’s not just that…” she whispered. This wasn’t how she had wanted to break this to him, but he needed to know. “Braeden, I’m with child.” There was a brief moment where Braeden’s face was horrifyingly blank. But then he broke into a shocked grin.
“You- really? Are you really?” Arilee nodded. For a moment, Braeden forgot about the possibility of being heard and let a joyous whoop. “This is wonderful!” he crowed. “How long have you known?”
Arilee couldn’t help but smile. “I found out right after you left last time.”
Braeden practically picked her up when he hugged her. “This- this is amazing! We’re going to have a child! I’m going to be a father!” Then the grin melted off his face and was replaced by a look of despair. “But, everyone will know. You can’t hide something like that for long.”
“What are we going to do?” Arilee asked in a small voice. She had never been faced with a problem like this before. It felt as though she had been thrown into an icy pool with rocks tied to her feet. Silence filled the room, heavy and sorrowful. Braeden suddenly grabbed Arilee by the shoulders, startling a squeak out of her.
“We’ll leave!” he said, eyes flashing with determination. “No one has to know!”
“But where would we go?”
“Out of the country! To the South! We could go to Gilgrameer and see the City of Gems and the temples coated in gold!” Hope began to kindle in Arilee.
“I’ve always wanted to see the City of Gems….” she admitted.
“And think!” Braeden continued, “What a place to raise our child! There’s dozens of Fludentine schools there!”
Arilee started to smile, caught up in her husband’s excitement.“We’d never have to sit through a stuffy council again.”
“Or be reprimanded by stewards!”
“Or gossiped about by nosy baronesses!” She let out a relieved laugh. “But when do we leave?”
Braeden thought about her question for a moment before answering. “On the new moon. It will be dark enough that not even the best sighted guards will see us.”
“But how will we see?”
Braeden tapped her on the nose with a devilish grin. “I’m a vampire, remember? I don’t need light to see.” Arilee pulled Braeden on to her bed.
“But how exactly will I get away? I’m not very good at sneaking around.”
Braeden kissed her on the forehead. “Not to worry, dear. I’ve come up with a rather flawless plan.”
Want to know what their plan is? Or why the subtitle includes the word ‘tragic’? You’ll have to purchase Addleberg Lang to find out!