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Exclusive Deleted Scene from Redemption's CALL

I'm excited to share this sweet deleted scene between Erianna and Leer from Redemption's Call. It takes place between chapters 28 and 29. It was something that I removed from the book to bring the overall word count down, but, for those wondering, it is canon within the story.


I hope you enjoy it!


Redemption’s Call

By E. L. Cross

© Erin L. Cross 2021. All rights reserved.





✦ Deleted Scene ✦


ERIANNA


January 21st

I demurely engage with those around me. A smile here, a question there, a polite nod then I begin again. I push my food around my plate at the noon meal, pretending to eat, but I have no appetite. Leer notices and takes my hand, but we are both trapped by the conversations of the nobility around us. Each meal we are surrounded by a different set of dining companions to spread our limited attention around to satisfy the swollen numbers within the castle. I promised Mother Celiea to join the ladies in the solar today. I squeeze Leer’s hand in farewell as I depart with them.

He is pulled in the opposite direction to the war room but breaks off his conversation to momentarily draw me into his arms. He shields me from prying eyes, so I let go of my pretension and rest my head on his chest, breathing in his spicy scent to steady me. Anniversaries are the most trying. I am thankful that next year the bad anniversaries will be interspersed with joyful ones, thanks to Leer and my friends, but, at present, I am haunted by the porcine face of Marshal Drake and the abuse he inflicted.

“Where will you be this afternoon?” Leer asks softly.

“In the solar,” I intone. “I must make an appearance on occasion.”

“I am proud of you for accepting that chore.” He kisses the top of my head. “I shall look for you there as soon as I can.”

Mother Celiea is waiting to hook her arm through mine while I watch Leer stride across the hall.

“Come, Daughter.” She tugs me away. “The ladies are buzzing at the prospect of your company, and I ordered the kitchen to bring your favorite cookies with our tea.”

“Thank you for your consideration.” I appreciate her thoughtfulness, even if I shall be obliged to entertain the ladies for the afternoon. Before entering the hum of the solar, Mother Celiea takes my hands in hers and smiles pleasantly, indicating I should do the same. I do not know if Leer told her the reason for my introversion or if he merely asked her to take special care of me this day, but I can see his tender management of me even in his absence.

“This life is exhausting, Mother,” I say heavily, honestly.

“Aye, but you will grow accustomed to it. Now, deep breath.”

I obey and settle into the role of the Queen of Malesiir until my king husband comes to rescue me several agonizing hours later. It is not all a waste though. I learn more gossip is spreading about the brigands in the North and that there is talk of some of the towns disavowing allegiance to Malesiir. I quell the gossip as nothing but idle prattle created from winter’s boredom, assuring the women that I would know if such problems existed. I do know, and they do exist. But to them, I point out that we just sent Prince Lorennt to the North with General Tareth to ensure the previous trouble revolving around some petty thefts was resolved amicably and to assure our people in the North that we care about their plight.

Being the sort of women that have had little occasion to worry about the lives of commoners, talk happily flows on to a subject they are well versed in—the latest fashions. Lady Artice makes a point to show off her dove grey boots exactly like mine. It is a very nice color, and she receives many compliments. A few other ladies have also placed orders with the cobbler. We discuss the best shops in the area with my favorites being dually noted to impress me. If only they knew that they could not impress me unless they could claim acquaintance with half a dozen people beneath their social class.

We are planning an outing to the city to interrupt winter’s dearth of amusement since the main celebrations have ended for the season when a knock raps on the door followed by Leer. I swallow a sigh of relief.

“Forgive the interruption ladies, but I must steal away Queen Erianna,” Leer explains as he draws me to my feet. I abandon my sewing in the chair I have vacated until next time. My progress is so slow on the tunic I am embroidering for Leer that I do not doubt the leaf pattern around the collar will be out of style by the time I complete it.

“I thank you for your company ladies. I shall attend you again soon.” Echoes of the honor was ours Your Majesty are spoken as I kiss Mother Celiea on the cheek before departing.

I take Leer’s arm in the hall, clinging to my royal mask as we pass servants and nobility until we gain our private stair then our suite.

“Thank you for the timely rescue, my Leer.” I release the sigh I have been holding back all afternoon as he enfolds me in the familiar safety of his arms.

He kisses the top of my head, holding me tightly. “I think I can do better than mounting an escape from the solar.”

“Oh?” I ask halfheartedly.

He releases me and retrieves our heavy cloaks from the dressing room, fastening mine around my neck then doing the same with his. “Come, my Dear.”

He leads me down the stairs and out of the castle to the lower bailey where his gelding waits held by a groom with our guards at the ready. Leer lifts me to the fore of the saddle and climbs up next settling me against the comfort of his chest. It has been months and months since I have been held while riding, so long, in fact, that Valor was the last man to hold me like this when I felt ill from my first cycle. I have always preferred the independence of riding Sacha. But not today. Today, there is no where I would rather be than close to my husband. I nuzzle my face into his shoulder as he sets a gentle pace, heading for the city.

“I thought we could spend the rest of the day finding the perfect gloves for you before dining in the city.”

“Hmm,” I smile softly. “That sounds delightful, though I am certain you are warmer than any pair of gloves.” Truly, my fingers are not the slightest bit cold. I slid them under the hem of his tunic to rest against the skin of his firm waist. “So long as I have you, I doubt I will ever be cold again.”

“Assuredly, my Dear, I will endeavor to always come warm you when you need me.” He chuckles. “But for the majority of the time when you feel more independent than fragile, I shall provide you with gloves to make your own warmth.”

I gaze adoringly at his profile above me. “You think of everything, my Leer.”

Leer does indeed find me the perfect gloves that are soft and supple with fur trim at the wrists. The jubilant spirit in the tavern where we take a leisurely dinner combined with Leer’s dedicated effort to brighten my mood distract me from the gloom that has hovered over me this day. Then Leer does something completely unexpected and leads me to the card table where a handful of men and a few soldiers have begun a game.

“I wish you the best of luck,” I tell him with a grin. “Prepare to lose a good amount of coin.”

“I think you forget that we are evenly matched, Dear One.” He hands me the coins to enter the game as all the players rise and bow to us.

I raise my hand to them. “Please, none of that. We left our crowns at home for the evening.” The men chuckle and regain their seats.

“Does the Warrior Queen also know how to play at cards?” A jolly middle aged man asks.

“Do you not take great care with your coin, you shall learn firsthand,” I reply as Leer seats me at the table then claims the chair next to mine.

Two rounds of cards are played out, and the players at the table fold early in the hand, allowing Leer to claim two easy victories. I quirk a brow at the men around the table. This happened when I first began playing for coin with some of the soldiers. Just as I did then, I begin to chat with the men around the table, setting them at ease with us and including Leer wherever I can in the conversations.

“Your Majesty has a talent for cards, it seems,” one of the younger soldiers comments.

Mischievously, I chide, “I thought I said none of that Your Majesty business for the time being. Though I suppose you must call me something…” I tap a finger to my pursed lips for dramatic effect. “Definitely not my given name, but what of my surname? It rolls off the tongue so nicely.” I direct my next words to Leer with a playful smile, drawing out the syllables. “Rodiharian. Hmm. I like that very much.”

“I believe anything sounds lovely coming off your tongue.” Leer’s flirtatious smile makes me blush.

“Lady Rodiharian then?” The young soldier asks, picking up on my jocularity.

“No, still too formal. What is it you call a respectable married woman?” I ask the table.

“Mistress,” the men reply.

I wrinkle my nose and make a show of considering my options before laughing and sharing the jest. “In Limba, we had a dated way of address and called such women goodwife. So for tonight, I shall be Goodwife Rodiharian.”

The men laugh, and the older jolly man puts the decision to Leer. “What say you, Majesty? Is she a goodwife or not?”

Leer gives me the rare look that says he has resigned himself to enjoy my foolishness for the time being. He brushes a kiss across my knuckles and says with sincerity, “She is unquestionably a goodwife.”

My blush deepens, and I shyly lower my gaze to the tabletop as the men hoot good-naturedly.

“What of you, Majesty? Are you in need of a new title for the evening?” A burly man asks.

Leer transfers the question to me with a lift of his brows.

I consider him for a moment before pronouncing, “I think that we could dress you as a pauper and drag you through a mud puddle yet still you would be recognized as a king.”

Leer merely shakes his head at my silliness.

I decide, “I think we had better call you, Sire. You do prefer the shortening of your name, after all.”

We play and laugh our way into the early hours of morning. Each address of Goodwife Rodiharian makes me smile brightly while Leer watches me carry on with the look of a man enamored. We bid fare well to our companions when the tavern closes, congratulating the jolly man on his winnings. Leer teases me during the ride back to the castle by telling me all the ways I have earned the title goodwife, of which only about half have anything to do with being a good wife. The other half are bits of foolishness like the way I eat soup or the way I pronounce “Grandileer.” So far removed am I from the Princess Erianna of Limba that I forget the horror of being ravished three years ago today, just as Leer intended.


 

I hope you enjoyed this deleted scene. The release of Book Three, Redemption's EMBRACE is right around the corner. Hop on over to Amazon and reserve your copy today! If you haven't yet read the first book, check out Redemption's Pursuit.

Happy reading,


Erin

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