Sunday 22 May 2011

Sample Sunday - 'A Knight's Vow' : new excerpt

Here is an excerpt from the first of my medieval historical romances, A Knight's Vow.  In it, the  hero and heroine are growing closer together.


She had filled out a little more in the last few days, lost that grayness under her eyes and in her face. In her new blue gown and with her hair streaming out behind her as they cantered over the downs, Alyson was more vivid than the fresh summer green of the trees, so bright to his eye after the muted, dusty colors of Outremer. She was more delicate than the scattered cowslips, speedwell and orchids that bordered the chalk track they were racing along, giving the horses their heads. She rode superbly - but then, what did Alyson not do superbly?

And she is mine. Guillelm wanted to utter a war-cry from sheer bravado, utter pride and joy. At the castle gate, one of his guards had asked if he was hunting today and he was, though not with hawk or dogs. His present quarry needed more subtlety, and patience. Patience above all, Guillelm reminded himself, thinking once more of Heloise of Outremer and her dreadful warning.

Desperate to avoid that fate with Alyson, he had planned this day as he might a military campaign and only prayed that his preparations would be to her liking. He knew the arts of war but less those of peace. How did an English lord entertain his lady?

He had taken food from the kitchen for them but now, as he spied a stand of oak trees where they might shelter from the midday heat and relax, he was unsure. As a girl, Alyson had enjoyed romping and eating out of doors but as a woman perhaps she would consider those things too unmannerly, even coarse.

‘I thought we might stop here, allow the horses to graze.’ Fool! It must be obvious that is only an excuse, he thought, scanning the sparse grass under the trees. ’If that is acceptable?’ he went on, compounding his error by actually asking permission.

Alyson nodded and reined in. Swiftly dismounting, perhaps so that she did not have to endure his touch, she knelt by one of the oaks. As he wondered what she was doing, Guillelm watched her take a worn knife from her belt and begin sawing at the bracket fungus growing at the base of the trunk.

‘This may be useful for my healing,’ she explained, lifting the fungus onto a clean scrap of cloth she had produced from somewhere about her person.

‘Healing is surely in God’s hands,’ Guillelm began, recalling old childhood tales of poisoned toadstools, but Alyson wrinkled her nose.

‘It may be, but Christ gave us wit and nimble fingers to aid ourselves,’ she said.

He knelt beside her and took her knife, plunging it into the grass.

That is a very round reply, mistress.’ Would she be teased by him, Guillelm wondered. Dare he tease?

The matter was resolved when Alyson thrust her tongue out at him.

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Becky said...

I loved this excerpt. It grabs your attention and makes you wonder how their relationship is going to form.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thank you so much, Becky! I do love writing 'growing together', tender scenes in my romances!