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 we’re getting closer! My fantabulous editor, Danielle Fine, is working hard to get the book back to me ASAP. Now, with the holidays approaching, I’m thinking early December release? Just in time for Christmas! But stay tuned and I will keep you informed.
This series is set in England and France in 1348. Betrothal takes place at the court of King Edward III.
This excerpt is UNEDITED. Please be kind.
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. But when she acquits herself credibly in wordplay, she draws Geoffrey’s ire–and desire.
I’ve skipped ahead a little. Alyse has maneuvered around Geoffrey’s verbal landmines, and draws him out a little in conversation about their forthcoming departure for Spain.
This sample picks up immediately after last week’s. Alyse has now turned the tables and is playing with Geoffrey. I told you he was in for it! LOL
He fought to retain his stern face, but finally chuckled at her play and joined the game. “You have forgotten my name over soon, my lady. Has my witty conversation so diverted you that you cannot remember it?”
“Oh nay, my lord, I remember it very well, but need to make sure you mean for me to address you with such familiarity on such short an acquaintance. Do remember, my lord, we have only just met.” She straightened on her bench and leaned forward, as if admonishing him.
“Aye, lady, you speak true. ‘Tis scarce a day since first we met.” Geoffrey gave a scant nod of his head. “But we met at the announcement of our betrothal and two weeks hence you will share both my name and my bed.” His blue eyes darkened in that fearful and exciting way that set her heart to racing. “I therefore maintain that it is your duty now, in all obedience to your intended husband, to address me as I command.”
His reminder that soon they would be husband and wife brought Alyse’s high spirits back to earth with a jolt. His eyes said he played no game, and her wit deserted her again.
Noting her silence, Geoffrey cheerfully pressed his attack. “Have you suddenly been struck dumb, madam? Is that the reason you cannot say a good, simple English name?”
Roused from her reverie, Alyse narrowed her eyes but spoke in honeyed tones. “My lord, I am unaccustomed to addressing men of short acquaintance so familiarly. I feared, my lord, that I might not give you the proper respect due you. But I see, my lord, your request is but another great compliment to me, to trust me with that which you hold so dear. Fear not, for you have taught me well, my lord. I acknowledge your great confidence in me, my lord, and in my judgment to use your name well, in its proper time and place.”
Geoffrey’s mouth gaped at this speech. She flashed him a look of triumph as she rose from her bench. Princess Joanna had just risen to retire, releasing her from her duties. Alyse aimed to make good her escape. “I beg you give me leave to go now.” She nodded toward the princess, and moved behind the bench in order to follow.
Alyse calculated that in order to carry the field with flags flying, she must make a well-considered exit. Before she turned to go, she bent close, her soft whisper a mere breath in his ear: “Geoffrey.” At which point she turned her back, though not before seeing Geoffrey’s stunned face reveal that he was the one struck dumb tonight.
I hope you enjoyed this latest sample from Betrothal. And today be sure to click here to visit more Sweet Samples.