arranged marriage, excerpt, Flight of the Raven, Judith Sterling, medieval England, Medieval Monday, medieval romance, The Novels of Ravenwood
Just in case you’re suffering withdrawal symptoms while Medieval Monday is on hiatus, here’s an excerpt from the book that started it all…Flight of the Raven, the first of The Novels of Ravenwood:
For a long moment, Emma stared into William’s eyes. Then she cleared her throat and whirled around to face her worktable. His gaze burned a trail of desire down her back, following her two long braids to the provocative curves where they stopped.
God’s teeth, he cursed inwardly. How shall I wait until tomorrow night?
Battling his instincts, he claimed a space beside her at the table’s edge. He watched intently as she placed a handful of leaves in a mortar.
“So this is your work,” he said.
“Aye.” Her gaze was fixed on the task. “The people depend on me, and I’m happy to serve.”
She wrapped her delicate fingers around a thick, stone pestle. The action did nothing to ease his condition. He had to make conversation, or he’d have his bride on the table faster than a Turk wielded a scimitar.
He pointed to the small pile of red berries beside a cluster of twigs. “What are those?”
“Hawthorn branches and their fruit. You’ve probably tasted the berries in jellies and sauces, but a powder made from the seeds is good for the heart. Don’t expect to see the blossoms in any of the local cottages, though. ‘Tis bad luck, I’m told.” Her wide grin proved she didn’t share the belief.
He couldn’t help grinning back. “I didn’t recognize the plant, but I’ve heard the legends. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought it protected them from evil spirits.”
“Ah, so you listen to legends too. I thought you only made them.”
He didn’t know whether to laugh or take offense, but at least his blood had cooled. His gaze dropped to the leaves she bruised in the mortar. “What’s that there?”
“Mandrake. It can be deadly, but in moderation, it makes a soothing ointment. ‘Tis likewise a stimulant.”
“How so?” He pretended ignorance. This plant had inspired its own tales.
“It encourages the act of—“ she broke off and looked at him. Her amethyst eyes were large, hypnotic.
A new shaft of desire sliced through him. “What does it encourage?”
She opened her mouth, but no sound escaped.
He lowered his gaze to her full, sensual lips. Their natural shade was a deep pink. Almost purple. The upper lip was unusually plump, as ripe and tempting as its counterpart.
In a hushed voice, he continued, “You were saying…”
“You were. Mandrake encourages…”
He inched toward her. He would kiss her, teach her the meaning of the word.
Hope you enjoyed the excerpt! Here’s a little more about the book:
How eager would the bridegroom be if he knew he could never bed the bride?
Lady Emma of Ravenwood Keep is prepared to give Sir William l’Orage land, wealth, and her hand in marriage. But her virginity? Not unless he loves her. The curse that claimed her mother is clear: unless a Ravenwood heir is conceived in love, the mother will die in childbirth. Emma is determined to dodge the curse. Then William arrives, brandishing raw sensuality which dares her to explore her own.
William the Storm isn’t a man to be gainsaid. He’ll give her protection, loyalty, and as much tenderness as he can muster. But malignant memories quell the mere thought of love. To him, the curse is codswallop. He plans a seduction to breach Emma’s fears and raze her objections. What follows is a test of wills and an affirmation of the power of love.
If you feel the urge to buy, here are the links:
Barnes and Noble http://buff.ly/2eWWIx3
The Wild Rose Press http://buff.ly/2eRuYXX
Happy Monday, everyone!
Lori Dykes said:
Happy Monday to you!! Love this blurb!
Judith Sterling said:
Thanks so much, Lori! Happy Monday to you, too! 🙂