Monday, November 9, 2015

Kendra is intrigued by a Norman "squire" in SNOW IN JULY #medieval #PNR #MFRWOrg

One of his countrymen
had murdered her brother.
She must despise this man. 
Though I use sometimes more than a dozen viewpoint characters in one novel, I am a stickler for maintaining POV purity—in other words, the scene describes only what the viewpoint character can see, hear, touch, smell, taste… or feel.

In today's excerpt, which is running on other blogs this month as part of the Medieval Monday exchange, we're treated to a feast of feelings as Kendra encounters the disguised hero of Snow in July for the first time.

Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.




As Sir Ruaud babbled in his semicoherent English about Sir Robert, Kendra fought a jumble of emotions regarding Ruaud’s squire. Not only was his station beneath her rank, his being Norman placed him beneath her contempt. And yet she couldn’t tear her gaze from him.

Several inches taller than Sir Ruaud, the squire was trim where Ruaud sported a paunch, and he radiated quiet dignity to counter Ruaud’s comic disposition. Both men wore their blond hair cropped close, but Ruaud’s darker locks didn’t curl about his ears and forehead in whimsical wisps begging to be touched. Ruaud’s nose bore the lumpish evidence of having been broken at least once, but no scars marred the squire’s face. And those eyes—merciful heaven, if the squire regarded her once more with those probing, sea-green eyes, she would faint from the delectable agony.

Relief washed over her when he broke eye contact and strode to the packhorse. Broad shoulders and sinewy arms rippled as he wrestled something from a saddle pack. For one wanton moment, she imagined being encircled by those arms, protected, cherished. Loved… happy…

She shook her head. One of his countrymen had murdered her brother. She must despise this man.

And yet that task was proving to be a major chore.

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