Welcome to Medieval Monday! During the next several months, I will be featuring different Medieval authors and their stories. Each month there will be a specific theme. This month’s theme is, “First Encounter with the Hero and Heroine.”
Barbara Bettis is here today with an excerpt from her book, Silverhawk.
He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.
Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape. Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate. But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them. For he’s everything a proper lady should never want, and she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
(Sir Giles has been rescued from outlaws by Lady Emelin’s escort of soldiers and she’s insisted that she take the unconscious knight to her betrothed’s castle for treatment.)
Swollen eyelids, a puffy cheek, and bloody scrapes couldn’t hide the knight’s handsome features. Waves of midnight hair fell across his wide forehead to brush one side of his square, stubble-darkened jaw. Grit clustered on the high bridge of his nose. What shame such a strong, rugged man should be cut down. Her pulse fluttered, and she sucked in a sharp breath. Ashamed of such reaction, she squeezed shut her eyes.
Would Stephen have been so handsome, had he lived through the crusade? She hardly recalled what her youthful first betrothed looked like when he left, a hopeful squire at nineteen, to follow his foster father on King Richard’s journey. If only he’d returned from Outremer, she’d be wed now, with the family she craved.
She sighed, reached for her patient’s cheek—and found herself staring into the palest gray eyes she had ever seen. His mouth moved, and she leaned forward.
“What is it?” she murmured.
“Before…I…die…” came the hoarse whisper.
“Yes? What would you like before you die?” If it were in her power, she would provide the poor man with his wish. Drink? Food?
A strong hand gripped the back of her head, pulled her forward. That close, she saw his eyes weren’t flat gray, but clear, layered like a winter pond winking with ice. They were silver.
“To…kiss…a nun,” came the outrageous reply before his lips met hers.
The brush of his warm mouth robbed her breath for an instant. Then she snapped back with a gasp. And, with in-born reflex, slapped him. His head jerked, his eyes closed, and he lay motionless.
“Oh, Sweet Mary,” Emelin whispered, “I’ve killed him.” Leaning close, she saw his narrow, beautifully molded lips relax. His mouth curved at the corner.
At least he died with a smile on his face.