is our theme for this round of Medieval Monday!
Join us and discover some of the most evil and dastardly villains our medieval romances ever produced! And we are doing something a bit different this time around. We’re breaking our excerpts up into tantalizing little bites–only 8 to 10 sentences each week. So you’ll need to keep up to get the whole excerpt. We let you know each week whose blog we’ll be at the week so you can keep up with each Medieval Monday author’s work the same way.
This week’s excerpt finishes my excerpt we started back in February from my romance, Time Enough to Love, Book 3
Inclining his head toward Alyse, he spoke firmly. “My sweet, return to the solar with your father until this matter is finished. I will find you when I am done.”
“No, Alyse, you cannot stay. ’Twould not be good for you to witness this.” She must not watch anything to distress her or harm the baby. To see an old acquaintance slain might do both.
“Aye, my love.” She nodded as though she understood. “I will wait for you.” One piercing glance at him, filled with love, and she sped into the solar, followed closely by Etienne.
Geoffrey’s attention now rested on Guy and his arrogant sneer. ’Twould be wiped off that sallow face ere long. He assessed the Great Hall for its advantages and disadvantages as a place of combat. The room was a good size, with tables and chairs pushed against the walls. No impediment to their swordplay then, save the rushes beneath their feet.
The two men closed distance, and Geoffrey thrust out boldly, pressing the advantage of the first strike. His blade sought an unprotected shoulder.
Guy parried easily. “This is the way you expect to kill me?” He smiled as he struck out at a seemingly vulnerable leg.
“This is the way I begin. I end with you on the floor, bleeding at my feet.” Geoffrey lunged forward with a cut to Guy’s head, a blow that would have split his opponent’s skull in twain had it not been blocked.
Guy thrust Geoffrey’s blade over in an effort to bind it to the ground. He planted a foot on Geoffrey’s chest, and Geoffrey crashed to the floor and rolled away. Guy’s sword whistled down, sinking into the rushes where Geoffrey’s head had just lain.
Geoffrey rolled into a kneeling position and struck at Guy’s exposed legs, his blade nicking the left one as the man danced backward. Geoffrey came to his feet, a smile twisting his lips. “I draw first blood, de Valere. Care to wager who draws last?”
“I have already done so, Longford, and will have sweet Alyse to soothe my wound.” Guy circled to Geoffrey’s left, forcing him toward a poorly lighted section of the hall. A trap, to be sure.
Geoffrey sprang forward, his sword a blur as he attacked and parried, driving the smaller man down the hall almost to the front portal. He had a glimpse of Alyse pressed against the doorjamb of the solar, eyes wide.
She should not be there.
Geoffrey lunged, trying to pin Guy to the door.
The small, wiry man nimbly sidestepped the attack, and the pommel of the Frenchman’s sword landed a crushing blow to Geoffrey’s back. His knees buckled.
He shot a look to the solar where Alyse’s father had grabbed her skirt and hauled her back inside.
The pain and Alyse’s scream cleared his head. He rose to face Guy again.
His opponent sneered gleefully. “Fear not, ma chère,” Guy called to her. “When this is done, I promise I will make you forget Seigneur Longford ever lived.”
Geoffrey laughed. “When this is done, de Valere, you will be dead, and it will be as though you never lived. At least to my wife.” He spun about, and his blade flashed. Blood flew from Guy’s arm.
“Pautonier.” Guy strangled a curse and launched his own attack, raining punishing blows to flank, shoulder, and head.
Geoffrey’s blade sang as it shielded him from blow after blow, a smooth rhythm flowing through him as it always did in battle. He returned cut for cut, and his superior reach and stamina began to take a toll on Guy.
De Valere retreated up the hall, sword flailing as he tried to find a hole in Geoffrey’s defenses.
Let me end this. Geoffrey let his guard slip, leaving his right flank exposed.
“Ha!” Guy charged with a thrust to his side.
Geoffrey neatly sidestepped the lunge, and as Guy swept past him, Geoffrey reached out and snared the Frenchman about the chest. He kicked Guy’s legs out from under him and laid his blade against Guy’s throat.
Geoffrey chuckled. “What an interesting turn of events. You asked how I intended to kill you. This appears to be it.” He pricked the defenseless skin, and a drop of blood welled forth. “Do you yield to me, de Valere?”
When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?
Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas’s 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 her first love. His searing touch proves Alyse’s 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. 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?