Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Medieval Knights and Maidens make for perfect ValentinesDay Reading

If you enjoy historical romance and medieval knights and maidens, why not look at my novels? Several you can read for free on Kindle Unlimited and many are over 400 pages plus.


You can read an excerpt from my medieval romance novel "A Knight's Enchantment", with my female alchemist heroine here

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If you enjoy the world of jousts, have a look at my novel "A Knight's Vow"

A crusader, haunted by grief and guilt. A bride-to-be, struggling with old yearnings and desires. Can Sir Guillelm de la Rochelle and Lady Alyson of Olverton rediscover the innocent love they once had for each other? When Guillelm makes a fearful vow on their wedding night, is all lost forever between him and Alyson? And will the secret enemy who hates their marriage destroy them both?

“A Knight’s Vow” is a tale of romance and chivalry. In a time of knights and ladies, of tournaments and battles, of crusades, castles and magic.

(First published by Kensington Publishing, New York, in 2008.)

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Chapter One 

Chapter 1

England, Summer 1138.

‘Sir Guillelm has returned! The son of Lord Robert has come back to us!’
‘Thanks be to God, we are saved! The young master has returned!’
Alyson heard the shouts from the surviving men-at-arms and jerked her head up, all thought of prayer forgotten. ‘My Lord Dragon,’ she whispered.
Struggling to rise to her feet from the hard cold floor of the small narrow chapel, she re-pinned her simple veil and pinched colour into her gaunt cheeks, feeling her heart begin to race. ‘Can it really be true?’ She had waited for him for so long, she could scarcely believe it. Guillelm, here, in his family’s castle of Hardspen. For a moment she felt stunned with happiness.
‘My lady!’ The reedy voice of her seneschal, Sericus, floated above the hubbub in the great hall of the castle, calling ahead as he tottered on gangling legs to find her, to bring her this miraculous news.
‘I am here!’ Alyson called, darting from the chapel. Sericus was lame, and to save his withered limbs she picked up the hem of her plain brown gown and hurried down the spiral staircase of the keep, a small, slender girl with a mass of long black hair, large, very dark blue eyes and delicate features whose naturally bright, high-coloured complexion had been dulled by weariness and grief. Longing to see Guillelm, she was reckless in her haste on the torch-lit stair, where only her natural fleetness of foot prevented a fall.
Would he remember her? She had been fourteen years old when he had answered the call of his kinsman, Raymond of Poitiers, and gone with him to the Holy Land. He had been in the exotic, dusty lands of Outremer for seven long years and she had despaired of ever seeing him again. For the last three years, with no news of him, there had even been the terrible rumour that he was dead. But he was alive!
Was he greatly changed? Would she be the one who would have to tell him that the enemy forces ranged outside the main gate were poised to attack? That his father, the noble and intimidatingly austere Lord Robert, had been dead for ten days? That for the last month she had been living in Hardspen as Lord Robert’s intended betrothed?
Chilled and appalled by these thoughts, Alyson halted in the shadows on the final step, raising a finger to her lips as Sericus came out of the hall in search of her. Sericus, understanding her wish without the need of speech, passed by her and limped out of sight of the travel-stained men standing by the log-strewn fireplace in the great hall beyond them.
‘Lady, where are your serving women?’ he asked in an urgent whisper.
‘Gila and Osmoda remain in my chamber: they are still sick, as are many within this castle.’ Alyson had left them sleeping, no longer feverish but weak.
‘Let me summon attendants to go in with you, a maid at the very least.’
‘You will be with me, Master Sericus, and that is enough,’ Alyson replied, with a smile of gratitude. ‘You have seen to our guests’ comfort?’ She blushed at calling the new lord of Hardspen her guest, but Sericus merely nodded his head.
‘Yes, my lady. They have ale and bread. Not fresh or fine bread, I fear. The baker’s boy has been busy with the repairs and the baker has been sick.’
‘Then pray allow me an instant to compose myself. And sit a moment, I beg you.’ Sericus had been without sleep for the last three nights, as she had, helping her with the sick and with the ordering of Hardspen’s human and physical defences—the re-mortaring of sections of walls, the gathering of stores, the checking of weapons, as their enemy outside the gate waited in arrogant strength.
‘My lady, you are ever gracious.’ Lowering himself onto the stone treads, the wiry, grey-bearded, grey-haired man sat with a tiny grimace of relief.
Standing in the gloomy stairwell, Alyson took in the scene in the great hall, the large, high-ceilinged chamber that was the heart of the keep, where in happier times Lord Robert had dined with his men on the tables and stools that were now ranged to one side. Today, long after sunset, those warriors and men still loyal to Hardspen bedded down there in their clothes on the rush-covered floor to snatch a few hours’ sleep. She recognized their plain honest faces and saw that they remained exhausted, as she was herself, but that new hope gleamed in their eyes. Because of the arrival of one man—
Sir Guillelm de La Rochelle. She picked him out easily from the small group of soldiers who drank and warmed themselves—for although it was summer the nights were cold—by the crackling flames of the sweet-smelling apple wood. Tall as a spear, he towered over everyone there, long-backed and long-legged, with broad shoulders and lean hips. He was speaking quietly to one of his men, his back to her and with the dark hood of his cloak still pulled over his head as his powerful body steamed and dripped water from the relentless summer rain outside.
‘My Lord Dragon,’ Alyson breathed a second time, using the nickname she had given him and which he had made his own. She missed the sight of that mane of bright golden hair and even more his grimly handsome face but it was enough to know he was alive and safe. Giddy with relief, she now heard him speak for the first time in seven years as a castle defender asked how he and his few retainers had passed through the enemy lines.

Fancy a different Medieval Maiden? Why not try my "Dark Maiden"?

Dark MaidenGhosts, revenants, incubi , vampires and demons haunt medieval England, as Yolande and Geraint must use their love to survive.

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Or a maiden who is a witch, who joins forces with a wounded knight?

The Snow Bride - She is Beauty but is he the Beast?


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Happy Valentines!

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