The Daisy and the Bear
Chapter 1 The Queen’s Secret
Margaret of Anjou, queen of England, looked around her room with barely disguised contempt. She was bored, disappointed with her weak and ineffectual husband, sick of the weather – the endless rain, the sun that never seemed to shine, and most of all, the mud that got in everywhere, even inside the very rooms of Windsor, her favourite castle. If it didn’t get better soon, she feared, she might go mad. The only bright spot in her life was her secret lover, the identify of which she had not told anyone. Closing her eyes, oblivious to the chatter of her numerous women busy at their tapestries and gossip, she allowed herself to remember. He would be here soon, creeping through the empty corridors, hiding behind a convenient wall hanging, waiting for everyone else to leave her alone so he could be with her, just the two of them, alone together. When she thought of him, it was in French, even though he was English. As English as ziss wet day, she thought, though he shone brighter than the sun. Perhaps tonight, when they came together like the ocean and the shore, heaving against one another, pushing the other one to more and more until, finally, they crashed and clashed and fell back, exhausted, dizzy, deliriously happy, on the cushions of the bed he would give her what she wanted more than anything. What her husband couldn’t. What no man could but this one. A child. A son. An heir. The next king of England.
“Your Majesty,” a voice said hesitantly waking her up from her pleasant reminiscences.
“Oui?” The arch of her eyebrow was echoed in her voice.
“The dinner gong,” the woman quivered. “It has sounded.”
“Go, go!” Margaret almost shouted, standing up and waving her hand gallicly. “Leave me. I will eat ‘ere tonight. Alone. By myself.”
She practically pushed them out of the door then went to her mirror in the corner and sat down, checking her titian hair. She was beautiful. She knew she was. Almost the most beautiful woman in England. If it wasn’t for the Duchess of York, she would be. Damn her! she thought, her hand suddenly trembling. Her heart thumping she went to the door, knowing he would be there. She opened it. He was. She held out her hand and he took it and pulled him inside.
“Monsieur le Kingmaker,” she whispered throatily. “Please do come in.”
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, oldest son of the Earl of Salisbury, married to the dreadfully pale and simpering weakling Anne Countess of Warwick, looked down at the tiny Frenchwoman he had come to love so much, his lip curling almost in a sneer. But she knew it was a smile. A smile just for her.