Rosaline's life had been in ruin for years, surviving on the run, but there's nothing less than heartache with every decision that's made. From becoming a slave to the possibility of losing her soul for true love, there are a lot of horrible consequences. Rosaline is forced to make hard decisions, question all she believes in, and fight for what she wants if she is to succeed in her battle to love whom she desires. This is a hard thing to do when she's going up against the evil sorcerer Draco, who lusts for her heart. When it comes to True Love's Riddle though, anything is possible . . .
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)|
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True Love's Riddle
By Dorrie Rechner
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Dorrie Rechner
All rights reserved.
"Father," I cried "you can't do this! Don't leave me!" I looked at my father with a tear-stained face.
As he stood in the moonlight that cracked through the stone walls of the damp prison, he looked at me with agony and disgust; I couldn't tell if it was for me or for what he had done. His arms hung limp along his sides as he stared back at me by the door. My father looked at me, and mouthed "I'm sorry." He turned around and disappeared for what I knew, could be forever.
"Father, don't leave me! I need you! I love you, daddy! Don't leave, he'll hurt me!" I shouted with more tears racing down my face uncontrollably. I ran at the door but the shackle on my ankle yanked upon my foot, and I toppled down, my fingertips just reaching the cold, evil stone. My face was bruised, my ankle rubbed raw, my hands sore, and all I could do was weep. I had lost my father, the only thing I had left, and he was never coming back. He had sold me.
I heard footsteps traveling down the stairs. I leaped up in all my pain and raced to the wall farthest away from the door. He was coming, and I was scared. I heard the click as the key turned to unlock the door. The master of the household shoved the door open and stepped inside, smiling. His name at the time I did not know, and I couldn't help but notice that he was, in fact, handsome. He was tall, rugged, had beautiful brown hair and sparkling green eyes, behaved in a gentlemanly manner around many people –not me-, and had a courageous smile, but he was evil. That is why none of his glamorous perfections impressed me; I saw through it all. Besides, I was in love with someone else.
He sauntered over to me with a swagger any man could be proud of, radiating confidence. When he stood by me in the darkness of the cell I shivered, feeling the anger, maliciousness, and intrigue beneath his skin. He smelled completely delicious to me, which frightened me even more. It was completely animalistic, these urges, as if he emanated lust, sin, reprieve. I wanted a reprieve. He caressed me from my cheek all the way down to my chest, sending shivers down my spine with my exhalation. He was staring at me but I was trying not to look at his face, to hold off from my unholy desires. His lips came close to my face and neck, making me unbelievably uncomfortable. I may have wanted a reprieve from that toxic, monastic lifestyle that I had been forced into. But I didn't want him. I shoved him hard on the chest and moaned angrily "Get away from me!" forcing some resolve.
He smiled, came up to me, and grabbed my arms, pinning them to the walls. I struggled to get free. His face came right up to mine and he whispered in a devilish tone "Fine; for you, I'll do anything." He released me and stomped through the room, slamming and locking the door behind him. "You'll be sorry!" He screamed at me in a much more bone-chilling tone this time.
I knew I would be sorry; what kind of person –let alone a lady-could live a life by such standards and terms. But I didn't want him; anyone but him. He seemed like a nice guy at first ... He let father and I stay under his roof welcomingly ... but it was all deceit, lies, illusions and sin!
After a week of living peacefully here ... things changed, so suddenly; it was hard to understand what was happening. The next I knew, I was shackled and locked away in this dungeon's lone cell.
Finally after four months of brutal abuse and inability to do anything except hope against all odds, my father came to see me ... and his only reason to do so was to bid me farewell. He could have let me go; he could have given me freedom, proved there was something worthy within him, but no. I refuse; I will not be with him no matter what; not if I have a choice.
But I couldn't just do that; I couldn't stay in that cell, not for a minute longer if there was possibly a chance of freedom.
I slid down the wall, putting my head in my hands and crying so hard I thought I would never stop. I knew what I had to do, though it would be against everything I believed in, it would hurt me, and it would give a lot of that which was mine away. I called out to my new master "Wait, come back! I'll do what you say; I'll let you have me. You can make me do what you want." I hid my face, ashamed by what I had just done, ashamed of the words that exited my mouth.
"You do know what you're doing, right?" He paused, seeming sincere –well, almost-. "You're giving yourself to me fully. You know that?" He was standing right outside the door where I couldn't see him; he always was.
I nodded my head, wiping away tears. "I do."
"Well then, come with me, and I will show you to your new bedchamber." He unlocked the door, came into the room and he held out his hand, waiting for my acceptance. I was on edge wondering if what I was doing was really the right thing. I stood wobbly on my aching limbs and took it -almost unwillingly-, letting him drag me to the door where I could finally step no further.
I whimpered in pain even though I wanted to scream as the imprint of the bolts from the shackles shot from my ankle all the way through my body, dizzying my senses a bit. He noticed this and I saw a look of pure heartache within his eyes as he looked me over. Dropping my hand from his hold he fell down to his knees and quickly fetched a ring of keys from his pocket. He looked up at me and when he noticed that I was staring he darted his view away from mine and concentrated on finding the right key out of that jangly mess; though it didn't seem to have his full attention because he fumbled quite a bit and when he came across the right one he was hesitant. He took my bare leg in his hand and held it up closer to him as gently as a feather, fitting the key into the slot. He turned the key and in that moment I could only hear the sound of the shackle hitting the floor after it split apart.
I could have run, away from him, that mansion, everything. I could have, and judging by the way he stood off to the side, more within the room than I was it seemed as if he was almost suggesting it, as if, he would have let me, if I wanted to. I did; that's what I wanted, right?
He stepped up to me.
"Stay with me?" He asked holding out his hand once again.
I don't quite understand why, but I wanted to. I felt something in the base of my being that was telling me I should stay. Maybe it was my adventuristic side that wanted me to see what would come of this. Mayhap it was my innate nature to choose what would further my unhappiness. Or possibly, it was that with his actions he had recently shown, his heartache-filled eyes, gentle pleasantries, and freeing stance, I was told something about him. Most likely I was simply tampering with the thought of fairytales.
I used to believe in fairytales and happiness, perfection, unreality, but in recent years and through various experiences my father had taught me to expect the worst. I knew then that you couldn't trust anyone, and that you could never truly know what lies in the core of a human's being, their underlying thoughts and values. So, this man's actions puzzled me in the very least. This man, whom before few moments ago was a vile, defiling human, so scorn to my eyes, should have not been so caring, so gentle, and allow me choice. This man, due to the nature of his persona should have been aggravated by the shackle upon my foot hindering our exit; he should have yanked upon my leg, all the while somehow keeping a firm grip, not permitting any form of kindness on his part. This man, in turn, should not have offered me a new room to begin with either.
My mind wandered, leading me back to a week, four months past; a time when he was of a separate form in manners; a time where I had been graced with the presence of a gentleman. Could it have been possible that this man was honourable, good of heart? Maybe it was all an act to belie the man he really was. No; that could not be. If he had been a good-natured man there would have been no way he would have done the things that he did. Nothing can bring a good soul to do such things. Still though, my mind pondered, all within that small moment, of whom this man was, friend or foe? I felt my arm lifting of its own accord and yet again I took his hand –not as slowly this time, I noticed- and let him lead me out of the damp room, down a dark hallway, up a flight of stairs, and through a doorway.
The first thing I saw was something I hadn't seen in quite a while: light.
* * *
I sat on the extravagant bed in my illustrious chamber the man-of-the-house had picked out for me. He had made such a fuss over which room was the best one, while I was just glad that it was warm. I was glad as well that I had on comfy clothes, and that for once in a long time I would sleep in a bed that was as soft as a dove's downy.
It was a beautiful room. Everything was lined with gold trim, and such delightfully detailed markings. As well the view from the window –which was one whole wall-, was just as magnificent as everything else. I stood up and walked across the room to the large window. It was now night-time so the moon was what gave light across the land; it was breathtaking to me even then. I stared at the moon and whispered "I'll come back, whatever it takes; I'll come back to you." I sighed. Even though I was surrounded by such great and wealthy things that I could never have dreamed of ever encountering again -even before everything happened-, I wasn't happy. What was there to be happy about?
I heard a knock on the door. At a time like that he was just the person I wanted to see ... not. I rolled my eyes, wiped my skirt, turned on my heels, and prepared for his entrance. He opened the door and looked at me. "Well, don't you look delightful?" He smiled as he observed me in my red ball gown. "I was just here to bid you a goodnight's sleep." He paused, almost seeming nervous. "Well then, goodnight." He bowed out and left.
I whispered "Goodnight, sir." I smiled half-heartedly until the door was shut. When I finally heard his footsteps thud down the hallway and become faint, my smile withered, being replaced by a frown, a scowl if you please. Why should this man have been acting so kind, when I thought I knew what he wanted from me? Why would he have offered me a new bedchamber? Did he think that I was going to forgive him simply because of comfort and a human's materialistic nature? Though some of the terror had edged away, I couldn't help myself from continuing to believe the worst. When had I become so cynical?
The gown which I wore was rather unnecessary due to the fact that we were located somewhere in the middle of a forest, around no higher company than himself and his servants; no royal code need be heeded here. A simple dress would have made do, especially for my first day above ground in such a long time, not to mention the fact that I was still grungy, grime covering my skin like the cuticle of a leaf. Still though, my disdain for the dress furthered more than its unpleasant feel; it forced me to remember the life that I had once lived, the gowns, the land, the people, the happiness; all the things I no longer could have. Thinking of this, I didn't allow myself to cry; with everything that had happened to me, it was below myself to continuously take pity in my circumstance.
My mind felt like a rope being jerked incessantly in opposite directions, from my past life, to my life then –if you could call it that-, as well as between the two opposite men I had discovered within this landowner, the moral and the horrid. I quickly went back to look out the window hoping for something to take my mind away. To my surprise, the man I meant to mentally avoid appeared soon after in the garden, tending to a rosebush. I wondered again whom this man could possibly be. The one I had known in the cell was much different. The one who had abused me every night! The worst being that my father knew. What is he doing? I thought about going to talk to him, straighten out this mess, get some answers, and decided it couldn't be that bad of an idea.
* * *
I went to the garden just to find he wasn't there. I have to say I was a little disappointed, though I knew I shouldn't have been. Like an idiotic simpleton I wandered throughout the mansion to find the entrance so that I could at least get outside. Then I wandered around the side of the house to the garden. Instead of all this I simply could have gone out and down the balcony off of my bedroom window. I suppose that I didn't want him to see me coming but that didn't mean I didn't want to see him. I realized as I was finding my way to the garden that there was something more than wanting answers that was drawing me to him, to be in his presence. It seemed there had always been something more; I just had no idea what. So, defeated, I wandered the garden, and found a peaceful little garden-swing. I looked around and was quite tentative before sitting in it and settling my skirt. I listened for something, anything; it was extremely quiet. Though, there was something -a delicate tune- that was carried by the wind in the most intriguing way. Then it simply stopped and I felt cold again.
"May I join you?" a voice asked from beside me after a short while of silence.
I jumped inside of myself before looking his way; I hadn't been expecting anyone. I realized later that I had finally for a little while forgotten about everything, except the music. I bowed my head. "Of course, sir. Please do." I shuffled closer to the rail.
"It's my pleasure." I told him. I hesitated, then asked "May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?"
He thought about this and finally said "Yes, you may. But on one condition."
"Sir? What is it?
"That you give me a chance. Consider me as a friend. Let us get to know each other. Don't be nice to me just because you have to. Let me know you." Urgency seemed to lay in his voice.
I took this into consideration. If I do this I would be giving another thing away ... but it would help. He never implied anything thing about being tied to him, having to perform acts that I wish not. Truly he implied not to be nice to him if I didn't want to but to simply give him another chance. Not only that but he used the phrase 'friend'; can I allow this man to be a friend of mine? I do not wish to, but what inside myself keeps contradicting that statement? Why, around him, do I give up so easily? What am I missing? Logically and emotionally I'd be insane to accept such an offer, but as well I'm likened to go insane if I don't. What about everyone back home? I know that I'm not supposed to befriend anyone; eventually I must leave and I cannot risk getting careless ... but it would be so easy... How do I make it stop, this war raging within my brain? I took a deep breath, one way or another my life would have to change.
"I will, but only as friends." There was sharpness in my tone.
"Of course;" his face brightened, "let's start over. My name is Frederick Night." He held out his hand. His merriment melted my resolve, making my lips turn upward.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, kind sir." I shook his hand while saying "My name is Rose Day." We smiled.
"Well, Miss Rose, would you like to hear some beautiful music?" His voice was deep and breathless.
This made me remember the quiet music I had heard. "Yes, please. I haven't heard music in quite some time. It's one of my favourite things in the world!" I smiled shyly, embarrassed by my pining.
"Mine too! Come with me?"
I took his arm –which was still, in my confusion, a little too close-and I ran with him. He took me to a candle-lit porch; sitting by the railing was a Grand Piano. I let go of his arm and rushed to it, driven by breathless longing. I ran my hand across the sleek black top – which was set down- and traced my fingers across the keys. Oh the joy of touching such an instrument that held such precious melodies within. I slid the bench out and sat down, placed my hands on the keys, took a deep breath, and started playing "Dreams". When I finished I sighed a sigh of exhilaration and excitement. I had missed playing so much!
"I see you can play quite excellent yourself. I never expected –with your background- that you could acquire such a skill." He sat beside me. "How did you learn to play?"
Excerpted from True Love's Riddle by Dorrie Rechner. Copyright © 2014 Dorrie Rechner. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1: Rosaline – Given Away, 1,
Chapter 2: Frederick – Confused, 54,
Chapter 3: Rosaline – No More Denying, 67,
Chapter 4: Charles – Searching for Answers, 81,
Chapter 5: Frederick – Our Lives Now Twined, 88,
Chapter 6: Rosaline – Floating Flowers, 97,
Chapter 7: Frederick – The Night's Gentle Fire Burns, 111,
Chapter 8: Rosaline – Awakened, 123,
Chapter 9: Frederick – My Beautiful Cliff-face Dusk, 140,
Chapter 10: Charles – I'm Not Being Treated like a King, 153,
Chapter 11: Frederick – Kissing on the Grass is just One of the Ways I shut her up, 164,
Chapter 12: Rosaline – That Final Night, 168,
Chapter 13: Frederick – Rest Was Something Only the Dead Had Time For, 185,
Chapter 14: Rosaline – Clutching my Dying Soul, 194,
Chapter 15: Frederick – My True Love, 201,
Chapter 16: Rosaline – True Love's Power, 219,