A brief excerpt for all those patiently, or impatiently, waiting for Renegade Love.
Rosa stood in the small alcove waiting. It was a beautiful day, the sun bright, the breeze warm, and the hacienda gardens fragrant with new blooms. And yet she felt chilled. In a few minutes she would enter the garden where it seemed the whole town waited to see her wed to Esteban Cesare. She would walk to the arbor plump with red grapes, stand beneath it, beside Esteban, and with a few spoken words she would become his wife… forever.
She shivered at the thought. If only Esteban had convinced his father to have Rosa become a servant at the hacienda rather than become his wife. Esteban had been true to his word and a wagon had come to collect her and her few belongings that day he had told her that he would no longer allow her to live with the Curros. That evening she had taken a stroll through the gardens and had heard Esteban and his father arguing. Esteban thought it more appropriate that Rosa live and work at the hacienda away from the cruel Curros.
His suggestion had ignited a spark of hope in her, though it never flamed to life. Don Alejandro insisted that the marriage would take place, the arrangements having been finalized and the money paid to the Curros.
She had been bought and paid for, but far worse was what Esteban had said after that.
You will regret giving one so innocent to one so evil.
She had run to her room then, her hands over her ears trying desperately to stop the repeated toll of his words in her head. His remark continued to haunt her, more so yesterday when her few possessions were moved to his quarters on the opposite side of the hacienda away from Don Alejandro and his wife’s quarters. No one would be able to hear her cry out.
She shuddered as she heard the guitars being tuned. Soon she would walk alone to meet her fate. She grasped the white lace that flowed in layers from her hips. Her bodice was white lace as well hugging her slim waist and dipping much too low across her breasts, though she did favor the long sleeves. They hid the fading bruises on her arms.
Her dark hair had been drawn severely up and away from her face and a lovely ivory comb had been secured at the top of the chignon, with a waist length, white lace mantilla draped over it.
Dona Valerianna had seen to all the details of the wedding dress and the styling of her hair. When the servants had finished with her Dona Valerianna had fastened four strands of pearls around her neck. The pearls hugged her neck tightly and from the center hung a single strand of small pearls that attached to a good-size pear-shaped pearl that rested just above the crevice of her breasts. She had seen such expensive jewels on the hacienda women and thought them beautiful, though they were not for her; she coveted no such gems. She would have much preferred to be free to make her own choices, to live her life as she pleased.
The soft strands of the guitar music interrupted her musings and sent a shiver through her. It was time for her to meet her fate.
She didn’t know how she did it, but she got her feet moving and kept them going even though her legs trembled, and she thought for sure that she would collapse at any moment. They grew weaker when she saw that the people wore no broad smiles of happiness for her, but stared at her as if she was some poor soul being led to the gallows.
Her steps almost faltered when she caught sight of Esteban. He wore all black except for a red sash that wound around his waist. His hair even appeared darker, drawn back away from his face, though left unbound. His dark eyes glared in anger and his lips was set firm, as if he fought to keep from speaking.
Run before it’s too late.
The words tolled like a warning bell in her head. Where would she run to, back to the abusive Curros? There was no place for her to go. She had no choice but to face her fate.
Rosa took her place dutifully beside Esteban, her hands trembling and her mouth so dry she worried that she would not be able to speak her vows.
Esteban leaned over, close enough so that his warm whispered breath faintly brushed her cheek as his warning echoed her own. “Run before it’s too late.”