This is Book 3 in the Scottish Queen Trilogy that began with Abduction of the Scots Queen and continued with Queen's Courier.
The Kindle version will be available mid November, hopefully the paperback soon afterwards.
Here's a short extract:
Meg Douglas, niece to Henry of England and with the rich, roaring blood of her father, the Scottish earl of Angus, in her veins, stood at the window of St James’s Palace in her newly sewn shift and held the corset flat against her bosom. Dean, standing behind her, drew the edges together.
“Shall I pull, m’lady?”
Meg inhaled, held her breath and stood tall. Dean pulled and the strings rasped through the eyelets of the leather corset.
“Stop! No more, I beg you! I must breathe!”
Dean tied off the corset strings. Meg placed a hand on each hip and swayed from side to side, admiring the way her bosom jutted out over the smooth straight front of the corset. She preened, eyeing the many reflections of herself in the small window panes. Once in her gown, her hair properly dressed beneath her new headdress, she would look as if she truly belonged to the royal family of England.
“Shall I dress your hair now, or after the gown, m’lady?”
“Do it now, Dean. Oh, if only the sun would shine, the day would be perfect.”
She whirled from the window to the table littered with combs, pins and feathers and the steel mirror, recently polished free of fingermarks. Pouting and smiling at her reflection, she thanked the Good Lord that her teeth were still good and she had not lost her looks.
As Dean ran her comb through the red-gold strands, Meg frowned. Had some of the glowing fire gone out of her hair in the last months? There had certainly been weeks of strain before the great Henry had finally given his permission to marry. “Do you see grey hairs, Dean?” She met her maid’s dark eyes in the mirror. “Tell me truly.”
Dean’s impish smile accompanied a vigorous shake of her brown curls. “Not a single strand, m’lady.”
“It’s all very well for you to laugh, but Princess Mary has them and so has the king. I saw much grey in his beard last week, but none dare remark on it.” She shivered. “Certainly not I.”
“Will His Majesty be at the wedding, m’lady?”
Meg gave a tiny nod. “Thank God, yes. I was afraid he would go off to France and forget all about my wedding, but he will be present. He leaves for Dover the next day.”
Her uncle marching off to wage war on France meant little to Meg when compared to her own good fortune. Henry had made her wait so long that her wedding day must be perfect. At twenty-eight, she had so little time to enjoy marriage and a family. Once passed thirty-five, one thought of one’s gravestone as not too far ahead.
Dean pulled the bulk of her mistress’s long hair back and began to plait strands together.
Meg raised a hand. “No plaits today. I want my hair to fall smooth and shining to my hips when Mathew removes my head dress after the ceremony.”
She shivered as images of what might happen after that slid through her mind. The delights of love had not been a predominant part of her life so far, thanks to Uncle Henry; but she had hopes of an improvement in that quarter once she married Mathew. An image long forgotten slid across her memory; red-headed Matho Spirston and their energetic coupling in the stables of Brinkburn Priory. Meg bit her lip; it must be unlucky to think of him on her wedding day. The low-born fellow ought to have been banished along with memories of Thomas Howard, dead these last seven years.