Excerpt from Chapter Two
The length of the runway was crowded with photographers, fashion buyers, and writers, along both sides of the catwalk, as well as at the end.
She hated the clingy emerald cocktail dress she modeled, but she wore it with an air of pomp and circumstance, as if it had been tailor-made for her.
Lady Poinciana Victoria Lancaster was always nervous on her photo gigs. She knew her body was in great shape, and she considered herself reasonably pretty. It was just that she had to assume a haughty attitude on the runway, a deportment completely opposite her normal buoyant, outgoing personality. However, she had to make a living, and modeling was all she knew.
Tall, but not thin, her hair was the color of scrap iron, defused with wandering streams of frozen sunlight. Fluffy curls bounced off her shoulders, shading her size 32-C cups.
Ciana, as she was known by her friends, was an obscure doyenne, owning little more than her title. At nineteen, and on her own, she struggled every month to pay her half of the rent on a small flat. It was a lovely place in Hillingdon, near Heathrow Airport, in Branpton Lane, but still expensive for her budget. The four hundred pounds a month was a lot for her.
The flat was near a tube station, which was handy to get her any place in London for her photo shoots. Maybe in a year or so, she could buy a second-hand automobile. But for now, the subway and Uber would have to serve.
Her roommate was a great guy; handsome, and just a year older than she. He shared the duties of keeping the apartment clean and neat, and he occasionally cooked a meal for them. But usually he did the cleanup after diner, leaving her time for her schoolwork. Most evenings, they ordered in. She attended night classes at Westminster University, working toward a degree in fashion design.
She and Bradley had an agreement about overnight guests; if either of them wanted a friend to spend the night, the other roomie would make plans to sleep at a pal’s place. It was a slight inconvenience, but it seldom happened more than once or twice a month.
Ciana liked dating, but she always ended a relationship before anything serious developed. Other things were more important at this point in her life.
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The queen of England is 98 years old. The process of installing a new monarch is already being organized.
Her son, Prince Charles, is the heir apparent. However, someone is attempting to alter the line of succession.
There are over 140 people in line to become monarch. If Prince Charles is for any reason, unable to ascend, then the next in line, Prince William, will become King. If he is unavailable, Prince George will be next in line, and so on, down the list.
Evil plans are being executed.
Lady Poinciana Ciana Victoria Lancaster, known to her friends as ‘Ciana’, is number thirty-seven. William George Tindall Mountbatten is number thirty-eight on the list of Royals.
Wearing a disguise and going by the name of ‘Scipio’ William Mountbatten accidentally meets Ciana in a London pub.
Long ago, a general famously said, ‘All battle plans fall apart upon first contact with the enemy.’ That is exactly what happened when Ciana and Scipio come together.