Thursday, August 27, 2015

For Love of the Rose by Mairi Norris Excerpt



He killed her beloved husband.

Or did he?

When former Saxon rebel Cynric of Wulfsinraed meets Ysabeau Maci, he knows he has found the woman of his dreams. But even as he begins his determined pursuit of the lovely Norman widow, his past abruptly returns to haunt him.

Two years earlier, in a raid by Saxon rebels, Ysabeau’s husband was killed by a warrior with hate-filled emerald eyes. Cynric’s moss-green gaze reminds her of that awful day. As she comes to know him, she cannot resist his gentle smile or the thrill of his touch, but the feelings he arouses are increasingly tinged with fear he may be the green-eyed warrior who destroyed her life.

Their uneasy relationship is further tested when Cynric’s best friend, Brunwulf of Blackbridge, who shares Cynric’s rebel past, flees to him for sanctuary with his betrothed, Heagyth of Jorvick. Hard on their heels is a troop of Norman warriors intent on capturing them to face the judgment of King William.

Ysabeau’s suspicions, Heagyth’s flight from Norman justice and Brunwulf’s involvement in the assassination of a powerful Norman bishop force Cynric’s hidden past into the open. The resulting conflict threatens to rip their world apart before they can build the new lives they covet.


“You say your daughter needs new work for her hands. Has she a special skill?”
“She was housekeeper for seven years in the home of her lord. Arnulf says the man was loath to give her up, for she was adept in her management of his household. She is welcome to stay with us for as long as needful, but still I regret I know of no holding in need of one so competent as our Ysabeau.”
Cynric stopped and stared at the reeve, then remembered to close his mouth. No coincidence was this, but mayhap, the intervention of the Fates! By the time Bernard turned back to see why he was no longer at his side, his smile was wide. “I believe I may have the answer to part of your daughter’s need, Sir Bernard. ‘Tis a happy chance that Romleygh is currently in need of a housekeeper. Rather desperately so, I fear. Aye, ‘tis truth,” he said at the hopeful look on the reeve’s face. ”Romleygh’s housekeeper served the manor for nigh to thirty years, but she grew too old to continue. She went to live with her children some months past. The women brought in to replace her have been let go.” He grinned. “The lack of someone competent to run the household has become no small problem for us all. My lord Vesli did task me with the search for a woman to fill the role once I came here. Methinks he would be most unhappy did I return without fulfilling his charge.”
“By the saints!” Bernard pounded his back. “I find this state of affairs most satisfactory. We will speak of this soon to Ysabeau. If she agrees, you have your new housekeeper, though her mother and I desire a short stay with us, first.”
“We have survived for some months without one. Methinks we can manage another few weeks, though you may hear the groans of my lord from here when he learns I brought her not with me on the moment.”
Bernard’s burst of laughter brought them nigh the cottage, where they halted. “Look there, ‘tis Ysabeau now. See, she speaks with the children.” His smile faded as his grandson fled toward the stables. “Alard runs away, anger in his stance.” He sighed. “Despair haunts my daughter’s heart. I love her, Cynric. I want to see her whole again, and content. If you but be kind to her, ‘twill be enough.”
Cynric barely registered the older man’s words. The previous eve, when he met Ysabeau in the shadows of falling night, he thought her lovely. The woman now standing in full sunlight, watching her son stalk across the yard, took his breath away. She was the most enchanting female he had ever seen, despite that unhappiness etched the flawless skin of her face. Beneath her veil, strands of reddish brown hair of a shade similar to the fur of the forest squirrels glinted with highlights of gold. Like one of Gemma’s pink roses in full blossom she was, but more alluring than they. No child was she, but a mature woman with a soft, full mouth and comfortable, motherly curves that prompted feelings both carnal and compelling, among them a startling need to ease her pain. From within the depths of his soul surged awareness she might be the one for whom he had waited all his life.
So taken aback was he—no other woman had ever made such an instant impact upon his senses—at first he thought ‘twould be a struggle to answer his companion, only to find the words came easily.
He spoke without taking his eyes off of her. “I doubt not, Sir Bernard, your request will be the easiest task given to me since my birth.”

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting my new romance, Amy! It's lovely to be here.


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