The book is almost ready to go to the editor! Here is a random snippet:
Heart thudding, she looked into the old and haughty faces of the two men opposite her. They appeared quite civilised, but especially with nobles, appearances never told the entire story.
“Why don’t you ask the king what he wants.”
Johan Delacoeur scoffed. “He’s not in a state to–”
“He is not dumb if that’s what you were going to say.”
“No, I wasn’t.”
Yes, that was exactly what he was going to say. “Roald?”
He sat bent over his book, but his eyes weren’t moving. He held his hands clamped between his knees, and a muscle in his forearm kept alternately tensing up and relaxing.
“Roald?” She put an arm over his shoulder. Drops of sweat pearled on his forehead. He smelled sweaty, too.
“I was rude to them,” he said.
Fleuris LaFontaine snorted. “He was, too. I don’t know where a prince learns that kind of language.”
“They were rude to my women,” Roald said. “The maid and the witch. No one is rude to my women.”
“I know. It’s all right.” She spoke very softly, hoping that the men couldn’t hear her well enough to understand.
“You’re mine. Nellie is mine. They can’t be rude to you.”
“It’s all right, really. Calm down, please.”
“Your Highness,” said Fleuris LaFontaine.
“Tell them to leave,” Roald said.
“They won’t listen to me. You’re the king. Tell them.”
“I can’t talk to them. They’re rude. Father says I can’t talk to rude people.”
Johan Delacoeur cleared his throat. “Your Highness…”
Johanna turned around. Why couldn’t he see that she was busy? “The king will talk to you if he wants. Right now, he asks me to tell you to leave.”
Johan ignored her. “Please do tell us, Your Highness, if you would prefer to wed a woman of your status–”
Roald got up from the table so suddenly that Johanna had no chance to stop him. He faced the two men.
“They are my women! You can’t take them away from me I forbid you to take them away from me. I’m the king, you have to listen to me and do what I say. I want you to leave. This is my room for me and my women.”
“Roald, it’s all right. Calm down.”
“No, it’s not all right. They are here to take you away. I don’t want you to go. You’re mine. I love you.” His cheeks had gone red.
He turned back to the men, whose eyes were wide. Johan Delacoeur’s mouth hung open.
“You hear that? I love her. Now, you leave. Get out of here. This is my ship. Go, go, go.” He more or less pushed them up the stairs, Johan Delacoeur first and then his colleague.
Fleuris LaFontaine stammered, “Your Highness, I’m sorry to have caused offense. It was not my intention–”
“Go, go, go!” Roald was almost shrieking now.
“Come, my friend,” Johan said from the top of the stairs. “We know we’re not wanted.” He met Johanna’s eyes. “I can only say, young lady, that this is a very bad move–”
“Go, go, go! Stop talking. Stop making noise. Yap, yap, yap, yap. Get out of here.”
Fleuris LaFontaine had reached the top of the stairs, his face red from exertion. Men of his standing did apparently not run up narrow and steep stairs, infinitely more comfortable than the previous ladder they were.
They pushed the cover shut, and Johanna was left alone with Roald.
They looked at each other.
Johanna stifled a snort of laughter.
“You think that’s funny?”
“I think you were brilliant.” There would be consequences, but the sight of those two portly men scrambling up the steps was not one she’d forget quickly.
“You liked it.” He said that in a tone as if he could barely believe it.
“Yes, I did.”
He started laughing, too. “Did you see how scared they were? How I chased them up the stairs?”
Johanna laughed out loud. She put on an arrogant voice. “Your Highness, wouldn’t you prefer to wed a woman of your status?”
Roald giggled and snorted.
“They could hardly be more crass about what they wanted. And you know what the funny thing is? Ha, ha, ha. They don’t even have any daughters.”
Roald squealed with laughter.