My dear Friends,
My name is Katherine Stanfield. Five years ago, I was betrothed to Lord Nicholas de Lauren, the only man I will ever love. And five years ago, I deserted him for another man.
Fate and a deadly enemy have brought us together again now. Finally, my dream of marriage to Nicholas has come true and I am Lady de Lauren. But I cannot delude myself that this marriage is the second chance at love that I'd prayed for. Not at all. Nicholas is openly bitter. He has not forgiven me for that betrayal of five years ago.
In a recent conversation, we quarrelled about the past:
Following a tense meal in Merton hall, Katherine walked beside de Lauren up the wide castle steps. She went by the lady's chamber, onto the lord's with him. Inside the room, she turned on him.
"You knew. You rendered aid following William's attack. You knew what he had done, yet, you brought me here where my presence could only hurt these good people. Had you no other allies in the vicinity where we could have lodged this night, we were well prepared to sleep on the road."
"Lord Perry is my ally," de Lauren said. "Perry Keep is but three miles north."
"Yet we are here? Why? Sweet Mary, can you tell me why?"
De Lauren's voice was cold. "'It was time Stanfield's lady saw for herself what her noble house has become under William Norris' rule."
Dishonorable. Unscrupulous. Treacherous. Tears burned her eyes. Aye, she knew well that with her marriage to William, she'd destroyed all her father and what Stanfield lords before him had spent their lives building.
"Think you, you have revealed something about William that was unknown to me?" Katherine wiped her wet cheeks with the back of her hand, and straightened her shoulders. "Be assured, I knew what manner of man William was when I married him. And if I had it to do again, I would do the same."
"And if I had it to do again, I would do the same."
I spoke the truth when I said those words to Nicholas. I would not change that past, even if I could. In truth, even if he did forgive my betrayal of five years ago, that would not be the end of it and enable us to start fresh.
For what Nicholas does not know, is that in the last few hours since I became his wife, I betrayed him again . . .