In this excerpt, Yolande, my medieval exorcist, and her companion Geraint the juggler both strive against a dangerous, seductive demon.
recalled the impossible charisma the incubus had cast over Geraint. He had been
perfect. Not daring to close her eyes in case she fell asleep and dreamed what
the incubus wanted her to dream, she concentrated on the rank, real scent of
the winter cabbages and the hard, dry soil beneath her bottom and legs. The
earth God made for us, real and imperfect because we are real and imperfect.
Our free choices make us so.
escaped you,” she said through tight lips.
me, yes, but he was not so much of a challenge, not in his appearance, at
and appearance mattered to demons. Yolande’s left leg twitched as her booted
foot went numb. She clung to the discomfort to keep her fixed, to remember she
did not float on a great, cushion-strewn bed, surrounded by sweet wax candles
and caressed by a loving Geraint. She was sitting in Halme village in a garden
plot, beside frost-withered cabbage.
females are earthier than their menfolk, much easier to seduce in the ways of
the flesh, but harder to win in the realms of ideas.”
like flesh too,” Yolande pointed out.
much, sweet one. Those fresh, pretty things and their randy dreams, and ripe,
well-used wives fancying other carnal delights…quite delicious. I want to lose
myself in them every night until the day
Geraint’s face drifted before her as her mind annoyingly dredged up the mud of
their last quarrel. She chewed her lip, fighting the urge to argue with both
Geraint and the demon. The demon incubus for sure, since he has admitted how
much he enjoys women’s flesh and dreams.
liked ideas,” the incubus droned on. “Our dear Father William loved the idea of
secret knowledge and for a time he loved the idea of sex. He wanted to know
what it was like. I helped him find out. He liked it very much for a time and
then he got bored with the same female.”
had been seduced and discarded by her own priest to satisfy his fleeting
curiosity. The pain of such casual cruelty twisted in Yolande’s chest and a
raging anger launched her to her feet. She leapt out of the garden patch,
screaming at the heavens, “He murdered her! By what he did, he murdered her!”
babe within her, sweet one. Two for one, just for good measure.”
time, grief almost knocked her off her feet but anger kept her up and moving.
where you left your bow?” the incubus tongued in her ear, sticky as rancid
honey. “Why not pick it up and seek out the priest?”
will,” she vowed, running. “I will.”
* * * *
followed Father William to the priest’s cottage. The man entered and crashed
about inside, smashing pots and overturning the trestle, spoiling all that he
and Yolande had done.
passed, he grew colder waiting and watching, and still Father William lumbered
about indoors. How many places has the fellow left to search? What is he
the priest yelled suddenly and the rooks in the stand of rowans took flight in
a burst of flapping wings. “Bertha, you slattern, where are you hiding?”
away from you, I should think.” Yolande strode to the cottage and hammered on
ignore me.” Geraint wondered if she had even noticed him, but then she turned
and he saw the bow in her clenched fist.
out, you!” she shouted, jerking round again to kick the door with her boot.
“Destroyer!” One kick and the door shook. “Rapist!” And again, a hefty kick.
of wood flew out from the groaning timbers, but Yolande merely swatted it
aside. More than that, she had not seen him. In her fury she could see nothing
but the closed door, and with that knowledge a worm of fear slithered along
Geraint’s spine. In all their time together he had never seen her in such a
out, coward. I am a woman like Hilda, a woman like the blessed Virgin. Open the
an arrow in your groin.” Stealing closer, Geraint picked his way carefully
through the stand of rowans. He did not want to be shot by mistake.
he called, before she kicked and hammered afresh. “Yolande, is he worth this?”
about, her mouth agape, her eyes glittering. Rage and more was in her.
he killed her just as if he had dashed her brains out with a stone.”
cariad, but if he dies by your arrow now, cui bono?” His question, the Latin,
was a tug to her learning and training, a reminder of who and what she was and
one, he prayed, that would give her pause. “What will it do to your soul?” he
went on softly.
snorted. “Who benefits? The folk here would get a better priest, at least.”
would they?” Geraint stepped out completely from the final, closest rowan, and
stood utterly still for a moment, letting Yolande see him. “So many priests
have died in the pestilence. Father William in there, with his single error—”
arm tightened. “One mistake? One?”
not flinch as Yolande brought her arm up and her bow quivered at him, its
string humming as if alive. He knew she was not quite herself. Somehow that
incubus has sneaked through her defenses.
throat was as dry as a desert, but the performer in him was excited, his mind
quick and clear. One wrong step, one poor answer and we all go down, but I have
not fallen yet.
error of fatal curiosity, leading to sin,” he replied quietly. “But can we
judge him? Are we the Almighty, to judge?”
so glib.” Yolande frowned and he crossed his fingers tightly behind his back,
sweating a little in case she guessed his lie. The priest could go to the devil
for him, but if she killed Father William now, the act would haunt her forever.
false step… The back of his neck prickled, but he was sure, very sure—almost
sure—of what he was doing. Here goes.
challenge you to show otherwise,” he answered.
high and blood-buzzing in her anger, answered without thinking, “Yes, yes, I
take your challenge.”
lass.”. Swaying his hips like a streetwalker, he strolled up to her.
#DiverseRomance #Romance DARK MAIDEN http://amzn.to/2qEuKcL
revenants, incubi, vampires and demons haunt medieval England, as Yolande
and Geraint must use their love to survive.