“Star-crossed lovers during the time of the Bubonic plague, with a happy ending.”
For the month of February I’m spotlighting my very first historical romance novel, Time Enough to Love, set in Medieval England.
I wrote the first version of this book from January of 2009 until the end of July 2009, ending up with 187,000 words! Then I went on to other projects before coming back to this huge novel to carve it down to a publishable length. When I found I couldn’t get it down any further than 140,000 words, I decided to publish the work as three novellas, Betrothal, Betrayal, and Beleaguered. Eventually I published the book as a single title in 2014, and it’s been out on its own since then.
If you enjoy medieval romance, you really should take a look and enjoy!
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?
Throughout the month I’ll be posting a continuing excerpt from Time Enough to Love, starting with today’s scene which begins at the top of Chapter 7.
Alyse has been informed that she is to marry Sir Geoffrey Longford, a man she met the evening the betrothal was announced. She and Geoffrey got off to a rocky start, but Geoffrey has made quite an effort to woo Alyse, and believed he was winning her regard. The scene begins in the chapel the day the first banns for their marriage are read.
Sunday morning Mass found Alyse dressed in her best gown, trying to make herself as small as possible while suffering the scrutiny of the entire assembled court. Today marked the first reading of the banns for her marriage to Sir Geoffrey Longford—an ordeal that bordered on torture.
Court custom decreed that the prospective bride and groom stand before the altar, at the bottom of the raised bema, while the priest read the banns to discern if any impediment to the marriage existed. A simple enough ritual but one that horrified Alyse. Every eye in the tightly packed congregation of courtiers seemed to stare straight at her. For too many agonizing minutes they perused her, judged her, stripped her bare. Her face had to be as red as a pomegranate, but she could do nothing except stare stolidly ahead and pray for the trial to be over soon. After an eternity, the priest intoned the last words of the notice and they were allowed to return to their respective places. She slid in next to Anne and cursed the day she had met Geoffrey.
He had irked her even more than the gawking courtiers.
If she had to bear this humiliation, her betrothed should have at least shared in her discomfiture. But when she had risked a look at him during the proceedings, she had been incensed to discover him grinning unashamedly. The wretch seemed to like the attention. Fuming, Alyse had fixed her gaze on the priest and tried to forget that she would have to endure the same martyrdom twice more.
After the benediction, as Alyse retreated from the chapel, someone grasped her arm. She turned, narrowing her eyes when she beheld her betrothed.
“Good morrow, Lady Alyse.” Geoffrey stopped short. “What is amiss, my lady? You look very unkindly for such a lovely morning.”
“What is amiss?” Alyse bristled, even more outraged that he did not immediately understand her fears. “You even need to ask what is amiss? Were you asleep when you stood before the altar that you did not see all the courtiers’ eyes on us? On me!” Her stomach clenched at the thought.
“You mean when the banns were read?”
Alyse gave him a withering look and stalked silently from the chapel.
“You did not wish to have the banns for our marriage read? Have you still no regard or trust for me then, Lady Alyse?” There was an undertone of pique in his voice.
They had reached the corridor outside the chapel, carried forward by the momentum of Alyse’s indignation. She turned to him, her mouth open, a stinging retort on her lips. Would he ever think only of himself? “’Tis not about—”
The sight of his face froze the words on her tongue. Only the tight, thin line of his lips betrayed his anger. Hurt, however, lurked deep in his eyes, summoned by his assumption of her continued rejection. He stood stoically ready to face her ire.
Time Enough to Love is available in e-book and print formats on Amazon, and in e-book also on B & N, Kobo, and Apple.