Happy Hump Day! We’re halfway through the week already, I can’t believe it!
I have a ton of things writerly, motherly and wifely to do today, including cleaning, two different children’s activities, writing, researching, etc… I got a ton of research books from the library last night that I can’t wait to dig into.
For today’s post, I thought I’d give you a glimpse–a sneak preview–of the book I’m working on. It is not edited, so be warned 🙂
From A Knight’s Victory ©2011, Eliza Knight
Mist curled around her ankles as Elena picked her way through the woods in search of Michael. Dawn had barely broken, and pink and orange hues reached their way through the lustrous trees to dance in magical light upon the dew covered ground.
She lifted her skirts to keep them from dragging and snagging on fallen branches, the hem was already damp, and her slippers not fairing much better.
She couldn’t help a deep breath or the smile of excitement that was etched permanently on her face.
Today was going to change everything. And not just because it was her day of birth.
“My love…” Michael’s soft, husky voice came from behind.
She stopped walking, turned to see him leaning against a tree. Soft brown leather boots encased his lower legs to just below his knees. Light colored hose showed off the strength of his legs to mid-thigh. His tunic of dark green brightened the indigo in his blue-green eyes. His arms were crossed over the expanse of his broad chest, reminding her of how he trained as a knight throughout the day and evening. A shiver rushed through her, just as it did each time she saw him.
He pushed off the tree, his hands outstretched toward hers. “You came.”
She nodded, loving the sound of his English accent against that of her Irish brogue.
“Indeed I did.” She placed her hands in his, feeling small and delicate.
“I confess I had my doubts.” He winked to cover up the true fear flashing in his eyes.
“Why would you doubt me?” She stepped closer, feeling the heat of his body reaching out toward hers.
“’Tis not every day that a lowly knight as myself would be handfasted to a lady as beautiful as you.” He brought one of her hands up to his lips and kissed her knuckles.
Warm tendrils rippled through her arm. She loved his touch. Loved him!
“’Tis my dream, Michael. For us to be together, to love one another freely.” She bowed her head. “Alas, your words ring true… My father swears he will never agree. So we must do so in secrecy.” She was ashamed that they had to hide their feelings, but she knew, after having loved Michael since the moment she’d met him some seven years ago at the tender age of thirteen, that she could never be with another. “Know that as long as I live, I will never give myself to another.”
A sad smile crossed over Michael’s lips. “I know, and I too vow to be yours forever in this life and eternity.”
Elena reached up and threaded her fingers through his soft, dark hair. “I wish it did not have to be this way,” she whispered.
Michael had broached the topic of marriage with her father, but he’d shot him down. No knight training in his guard would ever be allowed to touch his daughter—despite whom Michael’s own father was—a titled lord in service of their king.
“Me too…” Michael’s hand came up to cover hers, and he turned his face into her palm, lightly kissing her tingling flesh.
She sighed as fear and desire warred within her. “At least we shall know we are together. Our souls one, and soon we shall break through my father’s disavowal of our commitment to one another and be married in truth.”
“Until my last breath I will not stop until you are mine, princess.”
Her heart soared at his vow. “How many times should I have to tell you, I am not princess.”
“You will always be my princess, and today you are a birthday princess.” With that said, his hands slipped around her waist and he pulled her close.
The length of his body molded against hers, and she felt herself sinking into him, just as his mouth closed over hers. He brushed his lips gently. A whisper-soft caress that left her trembling. She pressed closer, wanting more. Her fingers tangled in his hair, her nails gently scraping his scalp. She felt him shudder against her.
“Not yet…” he murmured against her lips, before sliding his kiss to her cheek and then her forehead. “First we plight our troth.”
She sucked in a deep breath of excitement, her gaze catching his. From inside the V opening of his tunic, he pulled out a long length of embroidered linen. Recognition hit.
“Aye, the token you made me for my very first tournament.”
She beamed. “You kept it all these years?” The strip of linen had to be at least five years old. She remember how giddy she’d been, staying up until the candle burned through the wick, just so she could give it to him on the following morning as he made his way to the lists.
“As I have each token you’ve given me since.”
He took her hand in his, and with his free hand wrapped the strip of fabric around their hands three times. With their hands clasped tightly together, they gazed into one another’s eyes. Elation and fear of the unknown bubbled up in her throat, made her breath come quick and shallow.
****Unfortunately, things won’t be so easy for these too… I am a glutton for torturing my characters. Wish me luck in finishing and subbing it!****