Sacrifices For Kingdoms by Patricia D’Arcy Laughlin (EXCERPT)

Read an excerpt from Sacrifices For Kingdoms, a debut contemporary romance/women’s fiction novel featuring Elizabeth, a sophisticated activist and philanthropist from Trinidad, and Michael, a socially conscious European prince, who are irresistibly drawn to one another. As their love deepens, they must navigate dangerous secrets, political intrigue, and the struggle to reconcile their opposing loyalties.

Elizabeth is a charismatic public speaker, advocating for equality with her provocative speeches on topics like “God Has No Gender.” Her activism draws the wrath of religious extremists, putting her safety at risk. Tragedy strikes when an assassin’s bullet hits its mark, leading to shocking revelations and the division of loyalties.

We were graciously given permission to let you take a look inside, with a passage from Chapter 2!


An Audacious Prince

They were about to slip away from the crowd when Elizabeth caught a glimpse of the group who had befriended her earlier. “I forgot to say goodbye to those lovely young people.”

The prince looked in the direction in which she was looking and said, “Ah, the twins and their friends. I’ll tell them you had to leave in a hurry later.”

“You know them?”

He grinned, “I should hope so. I’ve spent 18 long years helping them grow up. They’re my sister and brother.”

Elizabeth couldn’t hide her surprised look—she hadn’t recognized them, all grown up now. She smiled at him as she said, “This day has certainly been full of surprises.”

Her biggest surprise of all, was at herself. She was amazed she hadn’t been irked by the way he took control the moment she agreed to go with him. It had been a long time since she had allowed a man to take control of her. Somehow it seemed natural, comfortable, with him, and after all, she was in his territory.

He warned they had a long walk through the palace pathways and hallways to get to his car, much of it paved in cobblestones, rough terrain for her heels, so he must hold her hand to keep her steady and prevent her from tripping.

At first, she thought, Yeah, right, and gave him a cynical look to suit as she felt this must be some sort of “royal come-on.” Because of the intimation of where a garden party would be, she had deliberately worn just 2-inch-high, thick-heeled shoes instead of the 3-plus-inch stilettos she normally preferred when dressed up. He caught the look but simply smiled and said nothing.

Within minutes, she was grateful for his hand and clung to it tightly as she almost stumbled when she came upon the rough terrain he warned about, aged and rounded cobblestones with wide grooves in-between. It was his turn to give her a look—it said teasingly, “I told you so.”

They passed through several interior hallways and rooms with smooth marble or wood floors, guards standing at attention at each end, but he didn’t release her hand.

Pointing out historical rooms that existed behind closed, carved wood and iron doors, he told her interesting anecdotes about them. He began asking her questions about herself, starting with where did her “lovely unusual British-American accent come from,” expressing surprise when she told him she had been educated in various European countries and the United States but had been born and was presently living in Trinidad. Intrigued, he remarked, “I haven’t been there, but a bunch of my cousins have. They sneak in for your famous Carnival every year.” He smiled and winked as he said, “I’ll obviously have to join them next year. I hear it’s a blast.”

She feigned nonchalance. “Oh, it’s all right, if you like that sort of thing.”

He gave her a look of disbelief. “Don’t you play mas? I thought all the young people would be involved. From what I’ve heard, and the pictures, magazines, and films I’ve seen, everyone has enormous fun.”

She wasn’t surprised at him using the Trinidad Carnival terminology “play mas,” which meant to dance in masquerade in the streets while following Calypso Soca playing bands or disc jockeys in trucks on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. She knew his cousins probably would have told him the terminology, but she wanted to discourage any further conversation about Carnival and Trinidad. Under no circumstances did she want him coming there for any reason, especially any having to do with her, which she surmised was why he gave her that smiling wink.

“It would be too dangerous for you,” she lied.

Despite the crime increase in Trinidad after the money started flowing in as the oil flowed out, Trinidadians didn’t allow crooks to spoil their Carnival. It was their annual, much-awaited heavy dose of contradictorily stimulating yet tranquilizing therapy for a normally hectic past year.

Unlike the comparably dangerous Carnival in Brazil, except for a rare jealous lover’s crime passionnel, the worst crimes committed were pick-pocketing, or a drunken fight, which more sober masqueraders, band security, or police would soon put to a stop before any real harm could be done.

She also didn’t want him to realize that not only did she know that, along with hundreds of other celebrities, his cousins sneaked in for Carnival but that she herself often danced, or in Trinidadian lingo, “jumped up,” with them. They played mas with the same band she had been a member of since she was seventeen, when her parents first allowed her to play mas in costume on the streets with her own older cousins.

Moreover, not only was she involved in every aspect of Carnival—socializing and helping with costume decorating at band headquarters, going to steel band rehearsals at pan yards all around the city, and attending all the fetes and shows that started taking place around Christmas—but she loved it all so much, her most disturbing nightmare was that she would fall asleep on a Carnival Sunday night after partying all weekend and not wake up until Ash Wednesday morning to depressingly discover she’d slept through the whole of Carnival!

Michael sensed she was uncomfortable with this subject and decided to let it drop, although he wondered if her discomfort had anything to do with her being white in what he thought was a predominantly black country.

He pointed to a wing of the palace as he said, “That’s where my family’s private quarters are. I have my own apartments on the far side overlooking the gardens. I’ll show it to you sometime…if you’d like, that is.”

The stirring in the neglected area of her otherwise well-looked-after body returned, but she simply smiled demurely, not knowing how to respond verbally. Then she got concerned that he might think her silence meant consent, so she asked, “Does every member of your family have their own apartment?”

“No. The twins still live with my father, and he keeps a strict eye on them. So do his two older sisters, who live in their own apartment next door. But me being the eldest, and the heir, I get to have my own space and…privacy.” He gave her a look again, although this time there was no smile, no wink—it was serious, although not solemn—and she was unsure of how to read it. What she was sure of was that it sent sensations to the place in her that she’d been deliberately ignoring for quite some time.

They walked slowly through the Great Hall, taking in its regal grandeur. Heavy crimson, embossed velvet draperies trimmed with gold fringe and tassels adorned the tall, arched, mullioned windows, complementing the ornate, gold-gilt-framed, museum-quality paintings, tapestries, and life-size marble and bronze sculptures. Everything was strategically placed around the enormous room for viewing enjoyment, the wall hangings enhanced by giltwood scrolled carvings surrounding them on the ivory-colored walls. Standing under them like inanimate antique sentinels were mahogany and gilt sideboards, commodes, and glass gilt and rosewood cases, all displaying untouchable priceless treasures of splendiferous bygone eras. On the perimeters of the ceiling and across its center in four equally distanced sections were detailed relief scenes, in plaster and alabaster, of flying cherubs playing various musical instruments, trailing vines with fruit and flowers in abundance. Hanging from the four center sections amidst the playful gesso cherub musicians were enormous but exquisitely delicate Austrian crystal and gold chandeliers.

Elizabeth took it all in with a quiet dignity that did not reveal her feelings. Haunting memories evoked nostalgia for majestic elegant places and times she had so much enjoyed in the past. With it came a strengthened reminder to never again take anything for granted.

Prince Michael acted like an enthusiastic docent as he gave brief histories and explained the symbolic meanings of many of the objects they paused in front of, so proud was he of his family dynasty, despite the reduced power of the monarchy at this point in time.

As the attending guards opened the last door for them, he stopped and held her back regarding her speculatively. “You’re not very impressed, are you?”

“Oh, but I am—it’s all very impressive. And your extensive knowledge of the history is most admirable.”

“I get the impression you’ve been around palaces before. Which ones have you seen?”

“Um…actually, all the major ones…including yours.”

“I see. As a tourist?”

“Yes…of course, as a tourist.” She lied again. It bothered her how easily this new mendacity came to her; she had always prided herself on being scrupulously honest. However, she felt it necessary to keep everything simple and restrained between them. For now, she couldn’t handle another complication invading her once-perfect life. So, the less he knew about her, the better for all concerned.


This excerpt is from Patricia Laughlin’s new book, “Sacrifices for Kingdoms.” Reprinted with permission from the author.

Sacrifices For Kingdoms by Patricia D’Arcy Laughlin was published today October 24 2023 by DRoyalty Publishing, and is available from all good booksellers, including

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