Along with the redemption of Armas, I wanted the sequel to The Gift of Surrender to show that a couple that is married with children and saddled with responsibilities can still be hot for each other. A recurring problem for the pair is trying to find a time when the children, relatives or advisors aren't intruding on their private time together. Even before Armas arrives, this is an issue for the pair. Consider this excerpt and forgive any errors. It is still unedited:
Sarianna was indeed vexed by the time she pulled herself together for the audience. The problem with any ire she felt toward her son or her husband is that it tended to dissipate after a charming smile. Nikulainen’s was dazzling as he swept in smelling of the brisk breeze. His hair was attractively tousled from the wind and his cheeks deeply flushed. The smile was a wicked one that morn. Sarianna knew that her husband was delighted to catch her alone before the audiences began. She found herself plastered against him an instant after he entered the Receiving Hall.
The admonishment Sarianna had in mind to give was forgotten under a very heated kiss. Instead of pushing, Nikulainen away, she found herself weaving fingers though his cool, silken hair to pull him closer. When he moaned, Sarianna suddenly remembered where they were and pulled away.
“Do not scold me, fair Queen,” Nikulainen murmured with eyes full of heat and mirth. “I could not resist stealing a kiss. It is so rare that we are alone during the day.”
“I would never scold you about that,” Sarianna replied softly. “I still hunger for your touch with every waking breath.”
Those big dark eyes flashed at her. “But you were going to scold me about something?”
“Yes, my fearsome warrior,” she replied archly. “It is past time that you face your fear of battle with our lovely neighbor. I miss your presence during the day when you are avoiding conflict.”
“Aye. I miss you as well,” Nikulainen admitted sheepishly.
“Beloved, I commend your sensitivity to her tender heart, but you will do Laurila a greater kindness by making clear to her your feelings,” Sarianna said gently. “Our Siljanen monarchs have raised many children. I am certain that this kind of thing has happened before. They will not hold us in ill regard.”
Nikulainen smiled at her. “No, I suppose not. The matter will be addressed this day.”
“Thank you, my love,” Sarianna said hugging him close. “And I shall explain to our son that he cannot keep Laurila.”
Nikulainen pulled back to look at his wife with raised brows. She chuckled.
“I am afraid so. It was all I could do to convince him that he should not be sharing a bed with her as we share one,” Sarianna said with a sigh.
The young King sank into a chair and stared at his wife with wide eyes. “I was not so mischievous a child that the Fates would bless us with such a son.”
Sarianna perched on his knee and touched her forehead to his. “I think your mother may disagree. At least he is a loving child.”
“Apparently,” Nikulainen said dryly.
“Though he is quite vexed at me this morn,” Sarianna said. “He had some sort of adventure in the eastern woods while Laurila and I were riding. I did not have time to let him show me what had excited him.”
“I will speak to him after the audience,” Nikulainen replied setting them both on their feet. “Do not fret. He is never vexed at the ladies for long. Now, fair Queen, how will you reward your champion for facing these dangers?”
Sarianna gazed at him through lowered lashes. “Is doing your solemn duty not its own reward?”
Nikulainen pretended to give that some thought. “Nay.”
The young Queen glowered at her husband. “Name your price, then. But it cannot involve the thrones. We have come too close to being caught.”
That brought a wicked grin to Nikulainen’s otherwise innocent features. “Very well. Your price shall be paid in our bath this night.”
“I accept,” Sarianna said with a smile of her own just as the herald entered to announce the audience.
Thus, as the story of Armas' return unfolds and all are swept up in the intrigue and his courtship of Laurila, Sarianna and Nikulainen continue to build on their relationship. And they pursue each other with as much enthusiasm as when they were courting. I hope to show that passion doesn't have to fade with marriage and children. I think that's one of my pet peeves about romances. The book typically end not long after the wedding. The reader never gets to see what the couple becomes. In this sequel we get to know them as husband and wife and as parents. I hope you will find them as exciting as they were during the torrid courtship.
My favorite film couple did not have an origin story. We never got to see their courtship. It must have been amazing because they are a very hot married couple. I'm not thinking of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (though they are one hot and pyschotic couple). This is a much older film couple, pre- color. Once again, if you guess who the characters are and who played them, you win a free pdf of The Gift of Surrender.
Soon, I'll be offering preview copies of The Price of Surrender . The discussions of that story begins in earnest next week.
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