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Now, 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 and I’m so excited! Because my brand new cover for Betrothal can now be posted with my sample! I still have a tentative release date of late-October, and I will keep you informed.
The series is set in England and France in 1348. Betrothal takes place at the court of King Edward III.
Lady Alyse de Courcy is a waiting gentlewoman to Princess Joanna, youngest daughter of King Edward. After receiving the news that the new courtier, Sir Geoffrey Longford, is her betrothed, a dazed Alyse is less than happy with her arranged marriage. I’m skipping ahead to the following night, at dinner, Geoffrey has drawn Alyse over to his table, hoping to talk to her in private. He is met, however, with his group of friends, led by Thomas who think to make sport of the couple. Thomas makes the suggestion (in jest) that Alyse should know him before she is wed. Geoffrey, piqued that Alyse still shows an interest in his friend, gives her leave to answer the lewd statement.
At his suggestive tone, Alyse sent Geoffrey a questioning glance. She had expected him to put Lord Brayton in his place or at least admonish him for such ribald talk. But perhaps he wished to test her mettle.
Flattered that he thought her so capable, she turned her attention to Lord Brayton and gave him her best courtier’s face: head leaned just so to the right, eyelids seductively half-closed, trace of a smile. The man had never given her this much regard before, and she aimed to make him sorry for the slight.
“My Lord Brayton, you do me honor to request my simple conversation, as do all you gentles.” Her voice high and light, Alyse nodded to the men at the table, who all stopped speaking and appeared to hang on her every word. “I fear, however, that I must, regrettably, decline your wish to know me better at this time. For I am charged to wed this man,” she laid her hand on Geoffrey’s arm, “and it is right that only he should have most knowledge of me as can be rendered before the wedding.”
She leaned forward and continued in a mock whisper to Lord Brayton. “For I am sure you know, my lord, that knowledge can be a dangerous or delightful thing, depending on the skill of the scholar and how he is willing to impart it.” The stunned look on Thomas Knowlton’s face filled her with delight. He had apparently underestimated her. Perhaps he regretted that her father had not accepted his suit. Her heart beat a little faster at the thought. “Therefore, it is right that I accept my learning solely from my intended lord.”
After a moment of shocked silence at the table, Lord Brayton threw back his head and laughed, long and hard. “Oh-ho, Lady Alyse, I see you have not only a golden wit, but a tongue of quicksilver as well.” With an exaggerated flourish, he made her a courtly bow, then took her hand and kissed it. “Indeed, your price is above rubies.”
Gratified by Lord Brayton’s compliment, Alyse turned to seek similar approval from Sir Geoffrey, but caught instead a scowl of disapproval. What on earth had she said to draw this response? Her delight at her first successful attempt at courtly wordplay faded, leaving her instead angry and bewildered. She had passed Lord Brayton’s test, but seemed to have failed her betrothed’s. What had she done wrong now? He had made it clear he wanted her to answer his friend’s teasing words. So what had displeased him?
And why do I care? The answer to that question might have far-reaching consequences.
I hope you enjoyed this latest sample from Time Enough to Love. Stop by SSS tomorrow for six sentences from one of my works. And today be sure to click here to visit more Sweet Samples.