Hello, my lovelies. Today is Medieval Monday and I’d like to go back to the beginning with an excerpt from my medieval novel, If My Heart Could See You. It’s hard to believe that this month will mark the fourth year that I’ve been a published author. I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve done and I think you’ve been enjoying my books, too. I hope you enjoy this look back to the chapter when Dristan is riding out along the strand and he espies a lady waking up from her slumbers. Happy reading and enjoy!
Dristan was about to let Thor have his way and let the beast fly his way back to the security of the castle, when a slight movement by the edge of the forest caught his eye. He blinked once and tried to refocus his vision ’til he noticed a person lying wrapped securely in a MacLaren clan’s tartan. He watched in fascination as the person stretched and unfolded and the unmistakable form of a woman became abundantly clear.
Apparently, the woman had not realized she was no longer alone. She rose from her bed on the sand and began to shake the tiny granules from her clothing and hair. Finally, in frustration, she grabbed both ends of her tartan, which she had used as a cape of sorts, and raised it above her head, shaking out the contents that had found every fold to hide in. ’Twas only as she settled the garment around her head and fastened a broach to keep everything in place that she chose to at last look up, and a startled expression crossed her face.
Dristan gave a brief smile as he took off his gloves, dismounted, and made his way towards the woman, knowing Thor would remain where he was left. The closer he came, the more pleasantly he was surprised, ’til she pulled the tartan close about her features. Although only allowed the slightest glimpse of her face, this woman appeared as an angel with porcelain skin, a neck as graceful as a swan’s, and high cheekbones. A small pert nose and lips begging to be kissed were now hidden by the plaid she used to conceal her appearance.
His hands would no doubt be able to span her small waistline; her breasts were not overly large but he knew they, too, would fit well within the palm of his hands and then some. Her hair was the color of flames or the sky just as the sun was about to set as a few loose tendrils blew in the ocean’s breeze.
She shifted her feet in the sand in indecision, and he noticed no shoes covered her feet, which even appeared perfect to his eyes. Surely there must be some flaw with the girl, Dristan thought to himself but he could find none. First the lady in the mist had consumed his thoughts, and now this woodland nymph had come to confuse him even more. Mayhap he could hope the damsel was not wed or spoken for.
“A good morn to you, mademoiselle,” Dristan said, with a slight bow. “You are far from the village so early. Mayhap I can offer my assistance and see you back to your dwelling?”
A negative shake of her head was all Dristan was awarded, and he watched as she took several steps backwards towards the haven of the trees behind her.
“Come now… I mean you no harm, mistress, as I am lord of yon keep,” he declared with a wave of his hand towards the castle. “As a knight of King Henry’s realm, I fear you must humor me as ’twould be most unchivalrous to leave one so lovely unprotected to the elements of both man and beast alike. May I escort you to the village perchance?”
Once again, her hooded head gave no answer whilst she clutched the tartan closer to her, as if it offered the security she stood in need of.
“No? Well, I cannot in all good conscience leave you here to fend for yourself. A name then,” he encouraged, “tell me your name?”
Dristan heard her whispered words softly teasing his senses. “Aye, mistress, your name. Surely you have one?”
He stood fascinated as the head of the woman swiveled quickly in his direction. For one brief moment he beheld eyes of violet, reminding him of the heather on the Scottish moors. Still he waited patiently for her answer and yet she provided nothing to give her identity away.
Merciful heavens, what was she to do? His words hung in the air between them, and her consciousness frantically screamed to find an answer to give him and quickly! Yet, no rebuttal came to her frozen mind as Amiria stood there in total indecisiveness. She knew she could not allow him to get too close on the off chance he might recognize her, even though her face was clean from the grime and mud usually gracing it these days. ’Twas the words he uttered, haunting her as he had spoken them to her once afore, although she was now in a different guise.
“Somehow, I do not think giving you my name would be in my best interest, my lord,” she said quietly and took but an instant more to gaze at him afore her eyes became downcast. Her mind was racing, thinking of only how to escape the predicament she now found herself in with no horse to hasten her journey.
Dristan gave a soft chuckle at her words. “Mayhap not, but ’twould please me to know it just the same.”
“It matters not to me if you are pleased, so I will keep it unto myself I think,” she retorted sharply.
“I see a task afore me that I might coax it from your lips,” he prompted, taking a step in her direction. For each footstep he advanced, Amiria took one in the opposite direction towards the forest ’til he halted.
“Call it as you see fit, but ’twill still not gain you what you seek.” Amiria watched as he laughed out loud, but she could not find the humor of the situation from her words she had spoken.
“I do so love a challenge,” he argued humorously.
“Do you?” she asked sarcastically. “And what, pray tell, do you achieve if you should know my name, my lord?”
Dristan looked on her with a slight smile set upon his handsome face. “Why I achieve the name of a beautiful woman I would like to know better.”
She contemplated him again, wondering at his ploy. “And how know you I am beautiful with just one glimpse of my face?”
“Anyone with eyes in his head could tell, fair damsel, you are indeed a fine looking woman.”
“They say beauty is not everything, my lord Dristan. Perchance I have a shrewish nature, as I have been told such afore.”
“Somehow, I think not.”
“Do you?” she repeated the same words of but seconds ago.
He interrupted her. “Besides, ’tis not fair you should know who I am, but I am not granted the same.”
“Any and all would be a fool not to know the Devil’s Dragon of Blackmore now claims his lair in Berwyck Castle.”
“Then you have heard of me and my reputation has proceeded me,” he cajoled.
“Aye, my lord, I have indeed knowledge of you.”
“I see you do not fear me, as some do upon first encountering me. Why is that, I wonder, when you in truth do not know my nature?” he questioned honestly.
“I fear no man,” she answered, as she raised her head defiantly with a flip of her head, “or beast for that matter!”
Dristan threw his head back and laughed. It sounded pleasant to her ears. “Well said, damsel. Mayhap in you I have finally met my match!”
If My Heart Could See You ~ The MacLarens, A Medieval Romance
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.
If My Heart Could See You is also available as an Audiobook. Come listen to how Marian Hussey has made my novel come to life!
Narrated by Marian Hussey
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