Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday’s snippet is about family, and what says family more than a good labor pains scene? In A Wintertide Spell, the prequel to A Spell for Susannah, the story takes places as Susannah’s mother is about to have her third child. Unfortunately, her husband the King seems to be a bit distracted…
When Geneva arrived, Binny jerked open the chamber door and immediately began scolding. “I told you not to go out in this weather. I told you you’d bought enough gifts. I told you the healer wouldn’t let you go.”
The nurse’s voice faded into a buzz of annoyance as the Queen’s watery gaze fell on her two young daughters, seated on the edge of a divan, their eyes wide with concern. The guards set her carefully on her feet and scurried off to tend to other duties.
“Hello, darlings,” she managed between pants. “Mama is going to have your baby sister tonight.”
“Papa says we’re to have a baby brother. I helped him break the Female Curse last week.” Susannah’s unruly, dark hair did not suit her serious nature. She had, however, already showed signs of one of her happier christening gifts—canniness. “I thought I should warn you, Mama, so you won’t give our brother a girl’s name.”
The Queen sighed. They’d tried to protect Susannah, but their eldest daughter had somehow concluded the Middle Kingdoms were in trouble, however indirectly, because of her. Probably learned it from her father, who loved to lecture his daughters. Five and three year olds couldn’t be expected to realize when their Papa was teasing, sadly mistaken—or straying from the bosom of his family.
“Your Papa,” Geneva told Susannah and Calypso, “tells a lot of fine tales.” Including the one about how he would love his wife, and only his wife, forever.
After Binny rang for the maids, the healers and everyone else she could think of, the Queen allowed the nurse to help her out of her clothing. The princesses clung to her, getting in the way yet welcome just the same. They would be separated from her for most of the birthing process, and she wanted to assure them everything would be all right.
“Are you excited to meet the baby?” she asked as they hovered. “I know I am. What color hair do you think she’ll have?”
Calypso’s hair was as red as her grandfather’s had been. She sniffled and threw herself at her mother. Binny caught her before she could latch onto the Queen’s wet, dirty skirts.
“Mama, Mama! Will you die when the baby comes out?” she wailed.
“Of course not. Women’s bodies are made to have babies.” The Queen finished shedding her skirts and held out her arms. Calypso ran into them for a hug, joined by Susannah. “Healer Naudo will be with me every moment.”
“Will Suze and I have babies?” Calypso asked.
“Only when you are much older. And married.” She kissed the children’s cheeks and smiled tightly as a purple-frocked maid burst through the chamber door. “Go with Evette. Mama needs to rest.”
Reassured, her daughters left with the maid, with the promise they could play “Who Shall Be Queen?” on the thrones in the receiving room.
“I told you not to go shopping,” Binny nagged her again as soon as they were alone. “You don’t have to do everything yourself anymore. You are the Queen. You have servants.”
“I like to do things myself.” She breathed deeply as another pain hit her. This babe was coming fast, and all the stalking she’d done today had doubtless accelerated matters.
Another ill to lay at her husband’s door, should he ever deign to walk through it.
“This is what happens when you do too much.” The nurse bagged the soiled garments and helped Geneva into soft, absorbent pantaloons, pantaloons she wished she’d worn today before haring off on her angry mission. “I hope you weren’t anywhere near a stables when your pains began. The babe will look like a horse.”
“I don’t believe in superstition,” Geneva gritted out.
Places you can buy A Wintertide Spell:
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords (where it is temporarily free!!)
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com
Treat yourself to a bunch more familial excerpts: