Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Sample! All excerpts here are rated PG-13 or milder. Here’s another post from my new WIP, my medieval trilogy Time Enough To Love. Part 1 is called Betrothal. The series is set in England and France in 1348. Betrothal takes place at the court of King Edward III. I’ve almost completed the first revision!
Lady Alyse de Courcy is a waiting gentlewoman to Princess Joanna, youngest daughter of King Edward. As the book opens, Alyse is anxiously awaiting word of her betrothal. She would prefer to marry Lord Brayton, a knight and courtier to the king, who has taken her fancy. Alyse is watching Lord Brayton while a new courtier is presented to the court. Now Alyse has been called before the king. (Disclaimer: This work is not yet edited, so please forgive any flaws.)
“I beg pardon, Sire.” Alyse shot up off her seat, afraid she had kept the king
waiting. She hurried from behind the table to stand before the king. “ What do you require of me, Majesty?” With a sigh of relief, she dropped gratefully into a deep curtsy, face hidden in the folds of her skirt. She disliked being a spectacle at the court and wished she could remain bowed thus before his majesty for the remainder of the evening.
King Edward laughed. “Obedience, Lady Alyse, as I require of all my subjects. As your father requires of his daughter.”
Her heart thumped wildly in her breast. That could only mean one thing.
“Rise, my lady.”
She did so on unsteady feet. “I am ready, as always, Your Majesty, to obey my father as I would you.” Holy Mary, let it be Thomas Knowlton.
King Edward lifted an eyebrow toward Alyse. “A very pretty answer, my lady. And are you ready to accept your father’s decree for your betrothal? His messenger has today reached me with the contract, as I am to stand in his stead in this matter.”
Alyse took a deep breath and hoped her voice did not tremble. “Yea, Majesty, I will obey my father and accept his choice.”
Alyse turned, until that moment unaware that Geoffrey Longford stood beside her before the king. Chills coursed down her body as the king’s words echoed in her mind. The sensation of falling backward assailed her, as though she rushed away from the tall man at her side even as his figure loomed larger and larger in her sight.
Not Thomas Knowlton. Her numbed brain repeated the phrase, trying to comprehend that instead he was to be her husband. Geoffrey Longford. God have mercy on me, for by the look of him, this man will not. Fearful, her gaze climbed higher, over his chest, over his chin, finally resting on the dark blue eyes turned toward her.
Geoffrey returned her appraisal, his eyes sweeping her figure as a smile crept over his face. “Your Majesty.” He spoke to the king but his attention remained fixed on Alyse. “I also give my obedience to you, and to my father, doing your bidding in all things. My father told me of the betrothal contract before I left his home and I was then resolved to play the dutiful son. I find, however, I do not wish to act that role after all.” His eyes held hers as he paused.
Dear God, does he mean to renounce me here before the entire court? Alyse stared at the man beside her, willing herself to remain erect, despite the chills and heat that alternated through her body.
“Now I find I would rather play the ardent lover.” An amused murmur ran throughout the hall at his words. Geoffrey grinned, his eyes now sparkling with humor and something more. Despite the uneven light, Alyse saw an unfathomable promise in their dark depths. She took a deep breath and looked away.
I hope you enjoyed this sample of Time Enough to Love. Stop by SSS tomorrow for six sentences from 7 Days of Seduction. And today be sure to click here to visit more Sweet Samples.