Welcome to Medieval Monday, a blog hop for those who love a medieval romance. Over the next 11 weeks, I and 10 other medieval romance novelists will share snippets from one of our works.
This is our last session for our theme of Nature, and I’m finishing up with an extended excerpt from my medieval romance Time Enough to Love.
We began toward the end of the book, when the hero, Sir Geoffrey Longford and heroine, Lady Alyse de Courcy, have just escaped the Black Plague in Bordeaux, France, and are traveling toward Alyse’s father’s home in northern France. They have been camping for almost 10 days as their journey takes them out into the beautiful French countryside.
As they put up camp and settled down for the night, Alyse becomes ill, which brings out the fact that she is pregnant. The question upon which that revolves is whose child is it?
When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?
“I know not what to hope for, Geoffrey.” The stony silence cut her like a knife. She had known he would take the news ill. ’Twas why she had hidden it as long as she could. Mayhap she could reason with him.
“This child is the only hope that some part of Thomas is still alive. He has no other heir. If this child is yours, Thomas and the Knowlton line are dead. As much as I would love to think that I bear your son, there is part of me that prays it is Thomas’s I bear instead.”
He stared at her so long without speaking that she began to tremble. What manner would his disappointment take?
“’Twas always Thomas you loved, was it not, Lady Braeton?”
She inhaled sharply. Lady Braeton. He would deny their very marriage in his rage?
“Thomas warned me you were in love with him the night our betrothal was announced. I saw it in your face, although I chose not to believe it after we met. I dared to think I had managed to capture your heart.” The bitterness in his voice was almost more than she could bear. “More fool I to think I could compete with the many charms of Thomas Knowlton.”
Icy fingers wrapped around her heart. “Geoffrey, that is not true! I have loved you almost from the moment of our first meeting.” He must believe her, for ’twas the truth. But she was too tired to think, too tired to reason with him.
Geoffrey’s harsh chuckle made her cringe. “I suppose it was quite a pleasant surprise to find me wed to another and Thomas asking to marry you at my request. I have done you great service since June, have I not, my lady?”
“No.” Would this nightmare never end? “My life has been naught but misery since then.” Alyse longed to scream at him, to pound his chest until she could beat sense into him. But his scornful words thrust too deep into her heart and exhaustion sapped her will. Miserable, she turned away from Geoffrey and vowed she would stay as far from him as possible. Perhaps she would find solace in sleep. She muffled her sobs, her last remaining strength draining into the cold ground.
The Time Enough to Love series by Jenna Jaxon