Welcome to Medieval Mondays! Our theme for this year’s first round is the hero and heroine’s first meet.
This is the final week for the First Meet theme, so I’m hosting myself for the final segment of
Time Enough to Love
When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?
As they continued down the long side of the Hall, Geoffrey leaned over to ask, “Why so quiet, my lady? Are you in awe of me or merely stunned by the good fortune of our betrothal?”
Outraged by the conceited fool, Alyse opened her mouth to explain exactly how unimpressed she was, both with him and her so-called good fortune, but instead met eyes of darkest sapphire flickering with merriment at her indignation.
So the oaf has wits.
Alyse fought to keep her countenance firm at that thought. Observing his infectious grin helped none at all. “Nay, my lord, I do not think I would quite call it ‘awe’ that you inspire in me.”
“Then what would you call it, Lady Alyse?”
“Wariness, my lord.”
She cut her eyes at him then returned her gaze to the front.
“You are wary of me, lady? Do I inspire suspicion in you?”
“Aye, my lord. That you do.”
Geoffrey slowed his pace. Another swift glance caught his frown. “Why? I am an honorable man, of good family. I served King Edward well in the recent wars. So well that I was given lands and raised in station to serve in Princess Joanna’s household. If the king himself places so much confidence in me, my lady, I think you must as well.”
Alyse’s mouth twitched with suppressed amusement at Sir Geoffrey’s impatient tone. One did not bait an unchained bear, unless one was prepared to run swiftly.
Please, Lord, let me be fleet of foot.
“I am sure His Majesty trusts you completely, Sir Geoffrey, for he has known you for some time, I believe?” After his curt nod, she continued. “The question, then, is why should I? I know you not, my lord, for I met you but moments ago. And in the few minutes since, you have managed to insult me, by making me think you would reject the marriage, then fixed me as the center of attention before the company by displaying me throughout the Hall when we were but six steps from my seat!” That irked her most of all, but she swallowed her anger and resumed the conversation with scathing civility. “Considering all these things, my lord, I do not see how even you can trust you!”
To her consternation Geoffrey relaxed and chuckled. “Aye, lady, when I behold you I do distrust myself.” Alyse saw again in his eyes that unknown flicker. “Yet I still believe you do me wrong, lady, to have so little faith in me. Be assured I would do naught to dishonor you. Even on short acquaintance, I vow to speak you fair in all things, as you are my betrothed and therefore as dear to me as my own life.”
“Very pretty words, my lord,” she answered then muttered under her breath, “would that they could be matched in pretty deeds!”
Geoffrey leaned closer. “What deed may I do, gentle lady, to prove myself worthy of your regard?”
Time Enough to Love is available at Amazon.
Books in Jenna’s Medieval Time Enough to Love Series: