“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Pella Lensoil, Primary Heir to the Duchy of Jonessa, Overseer of Procitune, Attendee of the Ducal Petitions, Member of the Ducal Committee on International Relations and Ambassador Plenipotentiary (Ex-Officio) of the Golden Throne of the Kingdom of Coastland. And, as Father has said in occasional private moments, a Royal Pain in the Arse. That’s not an official designation, however.”
Lady Pella Lensoil, daughter of the duke of Jonessa, wasn’t planning on getting married so soon. Lord Kavin Mohiqua, son of the duke of Polimay, wasn’t planning on getting married at all – he was studying for the Temple priesthood. But when you’re the child of a noble in the Kingdom of Coastland, your parents usually arrange a marriage for you, like it or not. Pella and Kavin, who didn’t particularly like it, did everything possible to break up the unwanted arrangement, and succeeded … only to fall in love in the process. So it ended up happening after all.
Well, after an engagement comes a wedding. In Coastland, all the average couple absolutely needs for a wedding is a free afternoon, a pair of wedding bracelets, a couple of friends and a willing priest or lawyer. So after the craziness of Pella and Kavin’s “courtship,” their ceremony should be a relatively smooth affair by comparison.
Should be. Those are the key words.
But soon it turns out that nothing is going quite as it should be. Poor Lord Kavin isn’t entirely prepared for the requirements of being a future duke consort. The mothers of the bride and groom, Duchess Kozina and the formidable (to be nice about it) Duchess Typta, are supposed to be doing the planning, yet can’t seem to come to agreement on anything. And when the engaged persons are one step down from royalty, “public figures,” the event becomes a lot more complicated – the people expect a show.
So when everything—and we do mean everything—starts going wrong, it’s up to Pella and Kavin to literally save the day. From dealing with the local Temple to getting out the invitations, it all lands on their shoulders—mostly Pella’s, as Kavin has other responsibilities to take care of at the same time. They don’t really know what they’re doing, but they’ve got plenty of youthful energy and imagination. And a good thing, too, as there is a lot to do to make the special day happen – while at the same time not causing a scandal by letting the consummation get ahead of the vows!
It’s a good thing Pella and Kavin are crazy about each other. Because before they ever get to the altar, enough may happen to drive them crazy, period . . .
Enjoy an Excerpt
Once all was resolved – the arrangement back on, all ducal parents as placated as they were willing to be – I spent five days as the guest of Lord Delas Mohiqua at Baysend Castle in Polimay. More to the point, I spent as much of those days as possible with Kavin as he showed me the sights of the duchy, talked with me about everything and nothing, and generally made me feel like the happiest woman on two feet.
Really, Kavin was the only sight in Polimay I truly cared about seeing – I wanted to be with him the way a drowning swimmer wants to be with air. But nobility has its responsibilities to the populace, so there was a hastily arranged formal banquet, an even more hastily arranged parade, and a visit to the cloister at Regina Bird Island where he had previously been working toward the priesthood. In his words, he wanted to “fully explain to my brothers and sisters under the God my sudden withdrawal from the community.” Horse pastries. He wanted to show me off – I could tell. He was grinning so widely the whole time, I was worried he might unhinge his jaw like some tropical snake.
But then, I had no moral high ground on which to stand in that matter. I felt like I was floating most of the time. Every touch of his hand on mine was a sugar rush. Every kiss took my breath away. I was absolutely, positively, disgustingly in love.
Looking back, I feel a bit sorry for Yenkin, Kavin’s “personal gentleman,” upon whom fell the task of chaperoning us the whole time. Watching Kavin and me burble at each other with stars in our eyes probably turned his stomach to acid. Oh well – he would understand someday, if the God was kind to him.
The time passed all too quickly, and soon came Sepday. After a lovely service at the castle chapel and a hearty farewell from His Excellency (plus a stiff but tolerant one from Lady Typta), Kavin rode with me to Judefa East Rail Station for the trip home. I didn’t want to leave … well, that wasn’t quite the case. I wanted to go home – that week had been the longest I’d been apart from my family since military training camp when I was sixteen – but I wanted to drag Kavin along with me.
Alas, that was not to be – Kavin still had responsibilities to take care of in Polimay before departing for good to return to Jonessa and become my groom. I would simply have to wait the forty days until we were reunited. No matter how much the tears I fought to hold back indicated that they weren’t the least interested in such a delay.
Meet the Author
Ray Anselmo lives with his wife, two children, one cat and various neuroses in Stockton, California. In addition to being the Second Book of Pella Lensoil, An Unwieldy Ceremony is Ray’s thirteenth book overall and his sixth novel, covering a wide range of genres: romance, science fiction, humor, short fiction of many kinds, even one Western. Ray has two more books planned for 2016, and five for 2017, including the beginning of a new historical romance series. All of Ray’s books are available via Amazon.com worldwide. He also works as an editor and proofreader, and can do cover design in a pinch, in case you’re looking for something along those lines.