Novella Excerpts

Just as Ferand reached where two hall­ways inter­sect­ed, a fig­ure round­ed the cor­ner at blaz­ing speed and crashed into him. Instinc­tive­ly, Ferand grabbed on to someone’s elbows and looked down.

His gaze met the deep, green eyes of Elia de Wolfe.

Come back!” a voice called from a dis­tance.

Lady Elia cursed under her breath. She removed a scroll hid­den inside her kir­tle and slammed it against his chest.

Take it!” she hissed.

Ferand released one of her elbows and accept­ed the small scroll. The seal remained affixed. On it was a head of a wolf. He assumed it was a mis­sive to her from a fam­i­ly mem­ber, most like­ly her father.

Hide it,” she com­mand­ed as the foot­steps grew loud­er.

She pulled on him, lead­ing him around the cor­ner. “Promise me you will not read it.”

He saw the pan­ic welling in her face and how she fought against it.

I won’t.” Ferand slid it inside his tunic.

Lady Elia!” The voice came clos­er.

God’s Bones,” she mur­mured. Look­ing around, she pulled Ferand toward a near­by alcove and pushed him par­tial­ly in it.

Kiss me,” she ordered. “And make it look like the kiss of your life.”

Ferand need­ed no fur­ther invi­ta­tion.

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Geof­frey said, “I have some­thing for you this Christ­mas Day.”

Sur­prise filled Merryn’s face. “Me? That wasn’t nec­es­sary.”

It was to me.”

He stood and went into their bed­cham­ber, fetch­ing the pair of ear­rings he’d had the vil­lage jew­el­er craft. He wrapped his fin­gers around his palm so they couldn’t be seen and returned to the solar, wrap­ping his arms around his wife’s waist and pulling her close.

Do you remem­ber what I gave you on our wed­ding night?” he asked.

You gave me a brooch from France. I wear it every day.” She fin­gered the piece rest­ing on her breast.

I told you the sap­phire stones remind­ed me of your eyes.”

Mer­ryn smiled. “I remem­ber. I remem­ber every­thing about that night.”

He brought one arm between them and opened his hand, palm up. “These also are the deep blue of your eyes.”

Oh, Geof­frey!” She stared at the ear­rings. “They’re love­ly.”

Put them on,” he urged.

His wife took one and fas­tened it to her ear­lobe and then did the same with the oth­er.

They match your eyes,” he told her. “I’ve nev­er seen eyes as blue as yours.” Geof­frey cupped her cheek. “This Christ­mas is the first of many we will spend togeth­er, Mer­ryn.”

He brushed the back of his fin­gers against her bel­ly. “Next Christ­mas, our fam­i­ly will grow by one. I hope more chil­dren are to come.”

I love you so much, Geof­frey.”

I will always love you, Mer­ryn. For­ev­er and ever.”

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Stand­ing before him was a woman of incan­des­cent beau­ty.

Her hair drew Godwin’s eyes. It spilled about her shoul­ders and down past her waist. It was as if it had been lit afire and burned with all of the shades found in flames. He itched to run his fin­gers through the silken waves. Vibrant, green eyes dom­i­nat­ed her oval face, though pink, full lips tempt­ed him to kiss her before he spoke to her.

Push­ing that notion aside, he asked, “What’s your name, pet?”

Her eyes nar­rowed in dis­plea­sure. “What is yours?” she coun­tered, rais­ing her chin a notch.

Beau­ti­ful and brave. A lethal com­bi­na­tion.

God­win couldn’t help but chuck­le at her dar­ing, a mere slip of a woman stand­ing up to a pirate. “I am Cap­tain God­win Trenoweth of Poseidon’s Legion. Some even call me God of the Seas.”

Her nose crin­kled in dis­gust. “Oh. A pirate. I’ve heard of them. They take what isn’t theirs.”

He closed the dis­tance between them. “They do,” he con­firmed. “Your name, my lady? I’ve told you mine.”

She hes­i­tat­ed a moment and then said, “Melisent Win­ches­ter.”

God­win knew the king had been known as Hen­ry of Win­ches­ter before he took his Plan­ta­genet throne. Clever of her to use that sur­name. She also wore some­thing shape­less of undyed wool, a gray, col­or­less thing that was no bet­ter than a sack cov­er­ing her, instead of the fin­ery that a princess would wear.

Idly, he won­dered what lay beneath the sack.