Lauren Linwood here, excited to share with you that today is the release day for Word of Honor—Book 1 in The Knights of Valor series.
This medieval historical romance begins my first series after nine standalone romances. I am enjoying writing the love stories of many of the de Montforts of England, plus it allows me to sink my teeth into a bit of research. Just enough to give my readers the flavor of the era (and allow this former history teacher to have a little fun digging into this time period).
In Word of Honor, Geoffrey de Montfort sees and hears something suspicious. He’s part of the English army fighting against France in the Hundred Years’ War. Geoffrey accuses his neighbor Barrett of Winterbourne of passing information along to a French spy. Barrett denies the charge and demands a trial by battle.
Also called trial by combat and wager of battle, this was a medieval manner of settling an accusation in a sanctioned duel (until the 16th century when it fell out of favor). Both Geoffrey and Barrett must swear an oath against witchcraft and demons before their fight commences at noon. If the accuser (Geoffrey) downs the accused (Barrett) before the stars come out, then Barrett will be found guilty of treason and hanged. If Barrett bests Geoffrey, then Geoffrey is accused of perjury while Barrett goes free. Knights were provided weapons, and in my romance, the Black Prince only allows them to fight with wooden staves that had steel tips.
Geoffrey is a man of his word—and quite the soldier—so he does defeat Barrett in this medieval duel. Yet his victory will come at a high cost once he returns to England.
Rather than have you read about their contest, I’ve chosen a sweeter excerpt—for Geoffrey returns from France and marries Merryn Mantel, his betrothed.
As Merryn started to nudge Destiny on, she heard hoof beats approaching in the distance. A rider topped the hill and stopped. She watched as his head turned to drink in the view.
Her heart sang as she kicked her heels. Destiny took off like the wind, bringing her closer to her beloved.
She heard his call and watched him gallop toward her. Her heart beat fast. Would he be the same? Would he still care for her? She’d loved him since she was a child. She knew that love had been returned before he left for the wars in France. The one, chaste kiss they’d shared had been her sweetest memory these past five years.
They reached one another. He leapt from his saddle as she dropped her reins. Before she could dismount, he grabbed her waist and pulled her from her horse.
His mouth crashed down on hers. In hunger. In longing. In need. Merryn gave up to his kisses willingly. She wrapped her arms about his neck. He parted her lips and plunged in, his tongue mating with hers, his mouth dominating her, his arms tightening about her.
She felt her knees weakening as he left her breathless. Suddenly, he swept her off her feet. His mouth never left hers as he twirled round and round. She grew dizzy.
So must he, for he slowed and set her back on her feet. He broke the kiss and gazed at her so lovingly, she knew nothing had changed.
Except it had.
Her entire body now vibrated, humming with tension. His kisses had awakened a sleeping giant within her. She’d watched animals mating in the woods. She was ready to do the same. Desire for him flooded her.
“I thought you’d never come home,” she said breathlessly.
“I thought I’d never be home.” He laughed. “But here I am.” He pulled her close. Her breasts pressed against his broad chest. They seemed so sensitive beneath her smock and kirtle.
They stayed in an embrace some minutes, happy in their very nearness. Finally, Geoffrey pulled away.
“I am home for good, my love.”
You can purchase Word of Honor at:
*One lucky commenter will receive a MOBI of Word of Honor for your Kindle!