Today's sample is from a short story. Word and Deed a historical romance is available now for 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords. It will be available later this year in print as part of my upcoming release of Duty.
Morning brought the faded light of a cloudy sky. I stood at the lattice watching the wind blow the clouds across the expanse. Ealdine, coming early to prepare me, fluttered about brushing my hair a seventh time, fixing the fall of my clothing, or chiding me to behave properly toward my husband to be. All of her ministrations faded like distant noise. Numb with exhaustion from a sleepless night, my head resembled the gray skies above.
Lord Silvaticus arrived promptly. Wearing his mail beneath his scarlet tunic and the figure of a gray wolf’s head blazoned across his chest, he filled my small chamber with the masculine scents of fresh air and leather.
“We have no need of you,” he informed Ealdine.
His voice, deep and modulated for the open air of the practice yard, assaulted my ears and drove me back a step. I attempted to hide the movement by turning toward the window again, but he tensed nonetheless.
Ealdine retreated with fluttering hands and a wobbly curtsey, leaving us very alone.
He cleared his throat. “Might I have the benefit of seeing your face?” Tone and volume more acclimated for the small confines of the room; he made an obvious effort to speak courteously.
I complied, stepping back from the window to allow the light to fall on my face.
“You are comely.”
I didn’t blush at the words.
“Thank you, my lord.” I lifted my gaze to his face, but encountered only eyes. Chain mail obscured all else.
“Why do you hide your features, my lord?”
His regard intensified. “You are the first to ask.”
“A test in bravery then? Only the bravest ask?”
“Nay, but it is telling just the same. You may consider it an affectation with a purpose.”
“You wish to hide in plain view. Maintain respect and fear with mystery.”
“Ah, you have discovered my purpose. And you? Why do you retreat behind these stone walls? Do you conceal some defect? I discern nothing wrong with your face beyond lack of sleep.”
My cheeks warmed, but it was not fueled by modesty. Anger kindled with my belly.
“My lord, I am not here of my own choice. I angered my brother with my words and he wished to silence me. I disturb his delusions.”
“What delusion do you threaten?”
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