Nolia Leolin had been wooing the king for days, and all she’d achieved thus far was enduring his snide comments on her brother’s sexual practices. Rian had been caught touching their younger sister, and his trial was to be presented to the king in person. It was embarrassing. Since word had reached the royal castle Nolia had been greeted with nothing but scowls and sniggers. It wasn’t her fault her brother had vulgar tendencies. She was nearing her birthday, and soon she’d lose eligibility as a fertile mistress. However, her mother still encouraged her to marry. The idea of being someone’s wife wasn’t that displeasing. She’d always hoped to become a mistress of some rich man, and have the freedom to go about her life, and demand the respect of others once she had produced a son. But time was a precious thing, and Nolia didn’t have much more to spare.
“Lady,” a voice spoke behind her.
Nolia turned to face the speaker, she had been hoping to catch the king in his private rooms, but instead she’d caught another.
“Sir Ancel,” Nolia smiled.
Ancel Ridere was one of the many loyal knights who were privileged to keep the king’s company. She’d met him on several occasions, and he was one of the only knights she found appealing to be in the presence of. He was tall, with darker skin than most, his hair a lively red. His eyes were a generous blue, and his smile captivating.
“I was hoping to find you here, and speak to you alone.”
“Oh?” Nolia raised her eyebrows at the man, her plump lips pouting.
“My son is of marriageable age,” he said. “I wanted to ask your thoughts on the match, before approaching your father after your brother’s trial.”
The bubble of hope in her belly burst, and Nolia considered looking at this man as her father in law. From what she knew, he had never taken a wife, instead he preferred the company of the help, and he even had a little family on the side.
Nolia got straight to the point, “Why?”
Ancel sighed, and then cleared his throat. “My son is not like me, he doesn’t fantasise the thought of having mistresses, or any, for that matter. And I am not about to let my line die out because of it.”
“And why me?”
“You are beautiful, and intelligent. You understand the importance of having an heir. I know I could rely on you for that.” He smiled a little, “And your father is a good man, I do not wish to see all his children suffer for the act of one.”
Nolia knew what he was referring to. It was pure luck that Lucan and Rionna had been married before their brother’s downfall. Their family would have enough trouble finding places for the younger siblings, let alone Nolia. She had a choice, if she continued pursuing the king and hope that he would stumble into her bed, or marry the son of a wealthy knight and be granted his household to run.
Nolia grinned, “I am willing, and when you ask my father, make sure you tell him that.”