For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my own work for Medieval Monday until the group of authors I’m with start its new theme in August. That being said, I’m celebrating this month and with good reason. Three years ago this month, I published my very first book, If My Heart Could See You, and it hit Amazon’s bestseller list three days after the paperback release. Can you say happy author?
So come celebrate with me and let’s go back to the beginning of my medieval/time travel series with If My Heart Could See You. I decided to spice things up several levels so reader beware. In this scene, Amiria is still masquerading as her twin brother, Aiden. Since you’ve given so much to me with your incredible reviews, I’m sharing the love with a giveaway. I’ll give one random comment the gift of an audiobook of If My Heart Could See You so get busy leaving me a comment! I hope you enjoy this excerpt.
Amiria made her way into the keep, pushing and shoving her way through the throng of men and serfs alike, who still gathered in the hall. The tables were in the process of being removed ’til needed for the next meal. Some of Dristan’s men grabbed blankets and took themselves off to find places to sleep upon the floor since the garrison hall was near to overflowing with his army. Her family, it seemed, had already retired for the evening and was no longer present in the Great Hall. She saw her men near the hearth and they rose as if to follow her upstairs. With a slight shake of her head, they ceased their movement and returned to their conversation, with the exception of one.
Killian made his way to her side and halted her progress up the stairs. His kindly eyes looked upon her like a daughter and all Amiria wanted to do was rest her weary head upon the shoulders of a man who was considered part of her family.
“I dinnae like this, lassie,” he whispered, for her ears alone. “Ye shouldna’ be serving him alone in his chambers.”
She only shrugged. “’Tis not such an unusual request to ask of one’s squire. Aiden must needs obey the dragon’s bidding.”
“Aye, Aiden mayhap, if ye were in truth a younger version of yer brother. Ye must put an end to yer deception afore it blows up in yer face, lassie!” Killian hissed.
Amiria patted his arm, not that it provided the man any comfort. “I know not how,” she whispered softly and watched him take his leave to return to the men.
Climbing the winding stone steps to the upper floors, Amiria passed numerous torches giving off a slightly smoky haze in the stairwell and corridors. Upon reaching the third floor landing, the passageway veered both to the left and right, leading to the family’s private chambers. Her normal path would have taken her along the stone flooring leading to the left towards her own chamber, but this night was different. She took a brief breath and turned right instead to obey the summons she had been given. Her feet, trudging along the passageway, felt heavier than ever afore from the weight of the lie she continued to take part in.
It took her what seemed only a moment ’til she came afore the chamber door that once housed her father for as long as she could remember. Without further delay, she knocked on the solid portal then opened the door when she heard the command to enter.
As the door swung inwards, Amiria felt as if the world as she knew it now traveled in slow motion. Her eyes beheld a sight she had never seen afore and caused her mouth to hang open in a silent O of startled surprise. There afore her, the Devil’s Dragon rose in all his naked splendor from the wooden tub. The water ran from his glorious body, causing it to glisten from the candlelight with a sleekness that left her breathless and reminded her in truth of an all-powerful dragon ready to take flight. Her heartbeat quickened and she at last remembered to draw breath since it had been taken from her at the sight of such magnificence. Yea, he was indeed most handsome, especially since his face was now completely shaven and she had a full view of his visage. If a man could be described as beautiful, ’twould certainly suit the man standing afore her now.
Dristan turned in her direction, and surely her expression could only be called stunned. “Hurry and come in, boy. And close the door. You are letting in a draft.” Amiria did as he directed but took her time whilst she tried to collect her thoughts. “Come, Aiden, and help your brother raise the pail to rinse me. He is having trouble lifting it.”
She turned her gaze back into the room and saw Patrick was indeed trying to haul the bucket, containing the rinse water, to their lord. He raised his eyes and Amiria knew he was not pleased his sister was in her current predicament. Even at only eight summers in age, Patrick knew ’twas not seemly that she was in the presence of a naked man. Their father would have never approved. Although assisting in the bathing of a guest was a regular routine and usually performed or directed by the lady of the castle, this ritual was always forbidden for Amiria to take part in by her sire. ’Til this moment, she thought never to see a man in such a state ’til her wedding night.
“Aiden! I grow cold,” Dristan bellowed and she could only imagine his thoughts as to what had befallen her to act so sheepish around him. After all, as far as he was concerned, they had the same parts.
Amiria came farther into the chamber and took hold of the pail in Patrick’s hands. Apparently, her brother had other ideas in mind and a pulling war commenced between them whilst he refused to give up the handle. Amiria gave one final tug, and her sibling at last released his grip with a decisive plea in his eyes, which she ignored whilst water sloshed from the pail. Her gaze averted from the man, who was patiently waiting, she slowly made her way to the side of the tub.
Standing upon a stool, she raised the bucket and dumped the contents of warm water over her lord. Stepping off the stool, she watched through lowered lashes whilst Dristan shook the water from his hair. He came out of the tub, took a drying cloth that Patrick now handed him, and began to rid himself of the water that dripped from his hard muscular body.
’Twas only when Dristan turned, dropping the now wet cloth to the floor, that Amiria’s situation finally penetrated her slow working brain. He was glorious to the eye with a body sculpted as if from stone. Her gaze raked in his body, noticing the broadness of his shoulders and the strength bulging in his arms. Moving her view lower she looked upon the ripples of rigid muscles stretched firmly across his stomach. She could not take her eyes from him, and blushed crimson when she glanced even lower to his manhood.
Amiria made as if to speak, but found herself unable to do so as her mouth became suddenly dry. After several attempts, she took one last look into her lord’s grey eyes and bolted for the door. Her cheeks, she knew, must be flaming red in embarrassment. Slamming the portal closed as she fled, she began running as fast as her feet would carry her.
As she dashed down the corridor, she could hear Lord Dristan’s voice roaring Aiden’s name. She halted briefly at her chamber door, but knew no solace would be found there since ’twas the first place he would search. Her mind quickly made up as she sprinted to the end of the hallway, Amiria gave only one brief hesitation afore she fitted her fingers between the rough worn stones and felt the catch to open the hidden doorway. Closing it softly behind her, she slipped into the darkened stairwell leading to the strand below. She did so cautiously, since she brought no torch with her to light her way in her haste to leave the castle. She changed her clothing for one’s she kept hidden in a chest far below afore she ventured out into the ocean air to clear her head.
If My Heart Could See You – a Free eBook
When you’re enemies, does love have a fighting chance?
For Amiria of Berwyck, defeat does not come easily as she watches her home and clan being ripped asunder. When the very enemy who has laid siege to her home demands her fealty, she will do whatever it takes to protect her people including a hastily concocted ruse that quickly begins to unravel. All too soon, she starts to question whether she can forgive herself for betraying those she has sworn to protect.
Dristan of Blackmore, champion knight of King Henry II, has a reputation to uphold as the Devil’s Dragon. After his invading army conquers Berwyck castle, he sets out to manage the newly claimed estate by training its knight in the art of proper defense. At first, everything appears as it should be, or is it? Betrayed by those he believed he could trust, he must first set aside his anger before he can make room in his heart for love.
Together they are tied by an unspoken bond. As they begin to rebuild the land and unite their people, forces beyond their control attempt to tear apart their fragile truce and only time will tell if love will forever bring them together.
Learn more about my books on the tabs above and thanks for stopping by for another Medieval Monday!