Alexa Aston here. Every now and then, people like to reinvent themselves. You might try a new hair color (Victoria Vane!) or go for a different signature fragrance. You may have never worn stilettos and decide they are the new you or chose to wear bold colors for the first time in your life instead of your typical neutrals that you’re known for.
My first reinvention occurred when I shed my glasses for contacts when I was fourteen. I’d worn glasses for five years and was used to hiding behind them. That Monday in April I dressed carefully for school in a new black & white polka dot dress (which was already out of my wheelhouse since I tended to always wear solid colors) and managed to get the pesky contacts in after a few frustrating tries. I got a lot of attention that day—compliments on the lovely spring dress and people remarking how very blue my eyes were now that they could actually see them.
I tried again to make a major change when I moved to a new town during my sophomore year of high school. What better time to imagine myself as a new person? No one knew me there or had a clue that I was an introvert, and so at my new school I determined to be a different person and became more outgoing, no matter how hard or painful it proved to be.
That brings me to the present. I’ve signed with Dragonblade Publishing for a new medieval historical romance series. As Lauren Linwood, I’ve written nothing but standalone romances, from medievals to westerns to romantic suspense. My new publisher asked if I would be willing for Lauren to stick with the contemporary romances and have a new persona author my historical ones.
Hence, Alexa Aston was born. She will write The Knights of Honor, set in 14th century England during the time of King Edward III. Right now, six books are contracted in the series and all I’d planned to produce—but my critique partner has fallen in love with a six-year-old named Nan who appeared in Books 5 & 6. She believes Nan deserves her own story. I’ll have to see about that!
In the meantime (while I’m at jury duty today and away from all social media), I’d love to share an excerpt from today’s release, Word of Honor, Book 1 in the series. It’s available exclusively at Amazon, and we’re kicking the series off with a 99 cent sale!
AMerryn smiled at him. “You are already as tall as any of Father’s knights, Geoffrey. You are broad of shoulder and think quickly on your feet. Sir Lovel would be a fool if he doesn’t allow you on the battlefield.” A frown crossed her face.
“What ails you?”
She lowered her gaze to the ground. “’Tis nothing.”
Geoffrey tipped her chin till their eyes met. “We have no secrets, Merryn. We never did. Tell me.”
She placed her palm on his chest. His pulse jumped at her touch.
“I fear you may not come home to me,” she whispered.
“You’ve seen me spar. I’m quick with a sword or mace.” He cupped her cheek. “I will return to you, Merryn. Nothing could keep me from your arms.”
Geoffrey slipped his hand to the nape of her neck and held her steady. He touched his lips to hers in a gentle, lingering kiss.
Breaking the kiss, he told her, “We’ll have plenty of time for love play in the future. But for now, I hope that you’ll ride Destiny each day. He is my gift to you beyond what the betrothal contracts call for.”
“Thank you, Geoffrey.” Merryn stroked the horse. “You are generous to me.”
He placed his hands on her shoulders. “There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for you, Merryn. Nothing.”
Geoffrey longed to shower her with passionate kisses that would show her how much he desired her. Yet Merryn was only three and ten. He didn’t want to frighten her. He would complete his service to Sir Lovel and return to wed her. She would be a woman then and more ready to understand the ways of love between a man and a woman.
He led her from the stables. They walked hand in hand, no words necessary between them. They strolled through the gates of Kinwick and over to the meadow. Merryn loved being out in nature. He wanted to remember her this way—standing in a field of flowers, the sun setting her hair afire.
Geoffrey knelt and gathered a few wildflowers from the grass. Lifting her hand, he placed them in her palm.
“I know how much you enjoy picking flowers and herbs. Think of me when you do so. Until I return to you.”
Merryn stared at the flowers a long time and then placed them on the ground. She unclasped the delicate gold necklace she always wore. Standing on her toes so she could reach him, she fastened the chain around his neck.
“I know ‘tis suited for a woman, but I hope you will wear this cross. Wherever you go, I shall be close to your heart.”
Her gesture touched him. He brought the cross to his lips and kissed it before tucking it under his gypon.
Geoffrey captured her hand and kissed her knuckles before lacing their fingers together.
“I promise I shall come home to be your husband, Merryn.”
“I’ll wait for you,” she promised. “As long as it takes.”
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