I am both excited and proud to reveal the cover for Beleaguered, the final installment of my medieval serial novel Time Enough to Love! This cover was also created by my wonderful editor, Danielle Fine, who has done the whole series (which I love!).
The current release date for Beleaguered is July 11, 2014. Until then, here’s the brand new blurb and an excerpt to tease you. I’ve also included the links to Books 1 & 2, which are available now if you haven’t checked them out yet.
When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?
Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas return to their roles as courtiers to Princess Joanna. Their passion for one another continues to smolder hot and deep—until one fateful encounter changes everything.
During a formal banquet, Alyse must share an intimate dance with Geoffrey, her first love. His searing touch proves her love and desire for him is as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.
Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head, decimating the princess’s retinue and threatening all their lives. Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves. But which love will survive?
Excerpt from Beleaguered: A Fateful Dance
At last the strains of the new melody reached Alyse and she eagerly stepped toward the gathering couples. After another few measures of the piece she frowned and turned to her escort. “I fear I do not know this music, Sir Geoffrey, or the dance it seems designed for.” She watched the couples forming a circle, but the rhythm of the music was too fast for a carole.
Geoffrey smiled at her tentatively, apparently still wary of his reception. “The music is new, Lady Alyse, from Italy brought to the court by musicians just yesterday.”
“But then how do the other courtiers know the dance, but I do not?”
“Princess Joanna had this dance from her musician, Gracias de Gyvill, ‘ere we sailed,” he was quick to inform her. “I believe she thought the dance too scandalous to teach to her courtiers, until the . . . incident on the Phillipa. After you and Thomas were confined to your cabin she had it taught to us. As a distraction I suppose.” Thank goodness for that. There had still been gossip enough to go around she supposed.
He hurried on with a suggestion. “’Twould be the work of a few moments for me to teach it you, my lady.”
It would have to serve. She shot a look over her shoulder at her husband, who nodded and laughed as at a jest with the princess. Yet his eyes were trained on her. Best get on with it then. The sooner ‘twas done, the better.
“Your skill at dancing is such, that you would certainly learn the steps with but slight instruction from me.” Geoffrey’s voice, so close to her ear made her jump and recall herself.
He turned his practiced courtier’s smile toward her, and she caught something deeper shining in his eyes that she fought not to see. Her heart stuttered a beat. Misgivings swirled in her mind, even as her body flushed with the anticipation of dancing with him again. No good would come of this dance, but Thomas watched closely to see that she acted cordially to Geoffrey. Would that it was an act. With a sense of heavy foreboding, she extended her hand to him.
“Very well, Sir Geoffrey. What must I do first?”
He led her to their place in the circle of dancers, then grasped her hand and pulled her around to face him.
The moment his hand touched her skin a burst of fire shot through her. Her mouth went dry and her eyes riveted to his. Surely he felt that as well?
He stared back, his eyes mirroring all too clearly the blaze that coursed up her arm and spread like wildfire throughout her body.
Damn Geoffrey Longford.
In a daze, she looked around at the other dancers, as if expecting them to stare accusingly at her. As if they could see this sinful feeling that licked at her soul. At a loss for what to do, or how to act, she raised her gaze to beseech Geoffrey. “What do we do now?”
‘Twas an apt question for, God forgive her, at the touch of Geoffrey’s hand all thought of her husband fled. She was back on the deck of the Phillipa, facing him once more. Loving him once more.
Geoffrey cleared his throat, his face flushed, and said simply, “Follow me.”
Then they were twirling around the circle, hands clasped, arms touching intimately as a firestorm coursed throughout her body, branding wherever he touched her. The figure reversed and her other side was scorched, as if a red-hot blade pressed against torn flesh to sear it back together. Her gaze locked onto Geoffrey’s and the music, the dancers, the Great Hall and all its inhabitants melted away until all that was left was the whisper of his breath in her ear and the heat of his body pressed close against her.
He leaned in closer to whisper, “I must lift you now.”
Stay tuned for additional excerpts on Weekend Writing Warriors on Sundays in the coming weeks and I’ll keep you apprised of the release festivities I’m planning for Beleaguered in July. Thanks for stopping by for my cover reveal!