The Sun King
by Sandra Kyle
Erotic Historical Romance
Young Cecilia Danet is introduced to the opulent world of royalty when she joins the court of King Louis XIV—the Sun King. Having been groomed her whole life for the role of a courtesan prepares her for everything but the intense passion she feels with the brooding and powerful Louis. Their romance builds, but an intriguing twist changes the trajectory of Cecilia’s course and leaves her caught in the middle of a royal love triangle.
I found it was the marble that fascinated me. The alabaster veins winding their way
through the rich burgundy. I reminisced about quiet moments that provided glimpses of
polished beauty. Stolen seconds in the hall of another’s home as my mother kneeled,
scrubbing away at the floor. I was ever mindful of her warnings as I crept and
investigated the world of the nobility at the age of eight.
Mother had been a servant in a home that could not dare compare itself to the wonder
of this palace in which I now stood at nineteen years of age. In that home she had given
all of herself. Giving her all resulted in the loss of countless hours with family as she
gained calloused hands and aching feet. She worked tirelessly in an effort to support
her children and their future aspirations.
She wished for us to rise above the life of grueling labor. Her reasoning—that there
were many ways to serve the rich. One simply needed to be agreeable to the task. “In
the end”—she would say, removing her soiled boots after a day of drudgery—“love is for
the weak and does not guarantee happiness, only heartbreak.”
Instead of countless hours toiling and sweating, my days overflowed with studies of
etiquette, exotic places and foreign languages, and the ways of the court and its
subjects. The constant pressure of a pen or a brush caused the only callus to be found
on my well-cared-for finger. Whatever the implement, a highly regarded tutor placed it in
my hand during expensive lessons paid for by the physical exertions of my mother.
My feet ached from the repetition of the waltz and minuet, not from traversing the acres
of another’s farm to harvest their crop. To avoid sharing in the same fate as my mother I
accepted the lessons placed upon me with great fervor. In many ways, it was her dream
and ambition more than my own that guided my life’s path.
That path led me here, to the outskirts of Paris in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-
Laye. Inside a room of the king’s palace, I craned my neck to look higher and higher
above my head. Inspecting the mural that covered the entirety of the twenty-foot ceiling
became a needed distraction. I found my wide eyes gazing back at me in the mammoth,
golden-framed mirror. My long chestnut colored hair, parted in the middle, fell across
the sides of my forehead and temples in tight ringlets. An attendant had fussed at and
pinned the uncomfortable hairstyle earlier that evening. I caught my mouth again agape
in the reflection and vowed to clamp the jaw shut with my fingers, if need be, to ensure it
remained closed. I paced in front of the fireplace, ever mindful of my posture.
Will he approve? Of course, I think he already does from what he has seen, but will I
fulfill my duty as he expects? Enough to earn me a permanent apartment in his palace?
An artist’s rendering of the king on a massive canvas held my attention. The eyes of the
portrait’s subject followed my every move. I tried to ignore it. The soulful gaze, an ocean
of aqua, burrowed its way into my body. The painter captured the king’s wavy mane of
golden brown hair, coiffed to perfection, and the lips pursed together at the base of the
chiseled jaw of the divine ruler of France.
If only a painting of this being causes me such distress, how will I deal with the genuine
article in my presence?
Those eyes brought me back to the first time he spotted me in the crowd.
He appeared startled, caught off guard. The stoic expression everyone bowed before
moments ago was replaced with curiosity. His appraisal created a heat upon my
cheeks. A wave of whispers billowed around me.
The expression followed me as he descended the stairs to his garden. With every step
he took, it changed unhurriedly from interest to haughtiness.
The mouth crinkled into a grin.
A lopsided grin.
“It is done.” My brother Michael whispered the simple phrase in my ear once the owner
of the gaze made his way to greet the noble guests.
I turned at the statement, still dazed from the contact made. “What?”
“You will be his. It is only a matter of days.”
“You can’t be certain,” I whispered back, shaking my head.
“Sister, I have seen that look before…as have others.” Michael was not known for
exaggeration. His earnest countenance mixed with pride and sadness. “You must be
I stared at the cut grass beneath my silken yellow shoes. My brother’s black boots
pressed firmly into the ground. An appointment to corporal for Michael had been
bandied about often in conversation as of late. His chief sergeant, most impressed with
his eight years of service in the king’s army, recommended to one of the ensigns that
Michael should be advanced in rank. He hoped to have news within the month.
He did not forget his little sister as he rose in rank and status, however. His gregarious
nature and influence with the other musketeers, almost all possessing noble
backgrounds, kept the royal invitations flowing. Attendance to such functions in the past
year allowed many chances for him to inspect the king.
How many nights did Mother and Michael spend mulling over the most minor details?
How to style my hair? What color should my dress be and of what material? Would
some things be left to the imagination or would a bold showing of my curves be in
The few garden parties I attended as dress rehearsals for this one were children’s tea
parties in comparison. I strolled through the grounds with Michael. The greenery,
exquisitely manicured, flowed in beautiful symmetry next to the castle. He introduced
me to some of his military cohorts as I attempted to appear like I belonged in this
environment. Musicians wafted in and out of the crowds. I lost sight of the king soon
after our brief contact at the steps. Members of his court enveloped him, their very life
dependent on maintaining close proximity.
A twitchy little man burst into the small grouping we formed while the afternoon ticked
away leisurely. He pointed to Michael and panted out his command. “Danet! The king
requests your presence in the courtyard immediately.” His hand waved at me. “And
bring your companion.”
My pulse quickened. The splashes of water circulating in the fountain filled my ears for
some seconds. Michael carefully grasped my wrist and placed my shaking palm over
his. “Come, little sister. Let us go make our introductions.”
Three stories of arched stained glass greeted us as we passed below in the courtyard.
The castle had indeed served its purpose well as a fortress for centuries. The party
awaiting us huddled on the far end of the expanse.
“I fear I will faint.” I dallied, trying to slow down Michael’s pace as he pulled me beside
“None of that, now. As Mother says, you were born for this moment.” He nodded in
On our approach, the guests parted and offered the brilliant sight of our host, King Louis
XIV. His golden attire glittered in the daylight. He posed on the cushioned throne,
placed atop a foot-high step. He glanced down at Michael and then to my person. On
instinct and etiquette, Michael bowed and I curtsied. I slowed my breath and waited for
his order. “Rise.”
I studied the countenance of the king. He was a young ruler at twenty-one. His mother,
Queen Anne of Austria, had served as Regent upon the passing of his father, Louis XIII.
Young Louis XIV, only four when his father died, was not officially king until his
thirteenth birthday. Many said he ruled as a mere figurehead. His youth required
advisors to handle the day-to-day mundanity of taking care of a country. He was known
to pursue pastimes filled with beauteous art and dance and drama and women. His
skin, unblemished and unlined, proclaimed a life of pampering.
“I am told you are a valuable asset in my army…” His voice trailed off, and he bent
down a fraction. The same advisor who found us in the garden whispered in the king’s
ear while balancing on the tips of his feet. “Michael, is it?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The king looked to me. “And I’ve been told this is your sister, Cecilia.” His smile
emerged and illuminated his visage. The blue eyes narrowed. “I hope you are enjoying
I nodded. “Very much, Your Majesty. Thank you.”
“You have been tutored in the arts?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Hmmm.” The strong contours of his face appraised me further. Then, with a flick of his
wrist, he dismissed us. “That is all.”