As her older sister’s wedding begins, Keiko struggles to cope with a level of society she has never prepared for. Raised a peasant, Keiko is now a member of nobility. Despite that, she longs for the simplicity of her rural peasant life but her family’s choices mean that Keiko will never go home again.
Worse, everyone at the wedding assumes that Keiko will marry her future brother-in-law, Ammad, despite Keiko’s fascination with the visiting Lady Tamami.
Following the Trail is a sweet romance where cruel gossip and sheer determination create a trail to a new life that promises everything Keiko could ever want.
Following the Trail
By Meyari McFarland
Ammad smiled as he made his way through the crowd towards Father. The formal announcement of the nikkah naama’s terms, including the money bestowed on Shizuka for her support, had gone flawlessly despite the disaster with Their Majesties’ representative and the miso. Mori had been quite gratified to learn that his support was included in the contract. Gentle Rain had beamed at the offer of a job handling Breding Manor’s books. And even though Keiko had shown up last for the actual signing, she’d been visibly delighted by everything that Nabeela and Shizuka had agreed upon for their marriage.
His face ached, stiff and painful from his fixed smile. Sixteen comments about his ‘private dinner with Keiko’ and counting had him on the verge of bellowing at them all to get out, wedding or no wedding. As one of the guests, a friend of Duke Laughing Seal’s who had sailed up specifically to wish Shizuka and Nabeela the best, caught Ammad’s elbow, Ammad swallowed down the anger and tried to make sure his smile wasn’t completely stony.
“It appears your lovely lady is here,” Falling Star said, nodding towards the door to the ballroom.
“She isn’t my lady,” Ammad said, automatically glancing that way. He turned and looked again because yes, Keiko was there along with Haruka but it was Rina trailing in behind Lady Tamami who caught his attention.
Her kimono was a luscious rose that made her dark skin glow. She’d topped it with golden hakama that moved around her much like Nabeela’s best skirts, the ones that shifted and danced as if they were alive. Keiko and Haruka moved towards the windows with Lady Tamami but Rina scanned the crowd as if looking for someone.
Their eyes met across the room. Ammad’s heart clenched at the way Rina blushed, ducked her head and then raised it again, slowly, staring into his eyes as if she wanted to memorize him standing there with his mouth open. He snapped his mouth shut, waving at Falling Star’s puzzled question about what he’d seen that made him look that way.