Here's another sweet sample from my newly released medieval romance, Dangerous Favor (rated PG). If you visited last week, you'll remember that my hero, Etienne de Brielle, tricked my heroine, Mathilde, into giving him the white ribbon in her hair as a favor for him to wear in a tournament. The ribbon belonged to Mathilde's brother, a token from her brother's lover. In this scene, Etienne is indeed wearing the ribbon tied around his arm as he fights in the tournament, despite Mathilde's attempt to make him give it back. :-) According to the tournament rules, the combatants are supposed to be fighting with blunted weapons, but Etienne unexpectedly finds himself confronted by three knights wearing unmarked armor and wielding dangerously sharpened weapons:
“We’ve no wish to harm you, de Brielle. The ribbon is all we want.”
Etienne whirled at the growling voice and found the glistening point of a third lance aimed at the base of his throat. Fury hardened his voice. “Does your sister know what a coward you are, de Riavelle? Exchanging sharpened weapons for blunted ones to gain an unfair advantage over your rivals?”
A pair of gold-flecked eyes weighed him through the slits of the knight’s unmarked helmet. “We merely wish to demonstrate the sincerity of our request.” The knight’s voice rasped as though spoken through a throat filled with gravel. “Is some wench’s trivial favor worth spilling your blood over?”
“You tell me? You are the one so driven with misguided lust that you would risk what shreds of reputation you have left with this foul attack on me.”
“Drop your lance and surrender the ribbon.”
Etienne’s hand tightened on his shaft, but defiance was futile with that lance-blade at his throat. Reluctantly he let his own lance fall into the dust.
“And your sword.”
Etienne hesitated, then drew his sword and tossed it down after his lance. “I don’t need them to thrash you, de Riavelle,” he said. “That I will gladly do with my bare hands. If you intend to turn a sportly match into a game of blood, then do it now. Otherwise I guarantee you will have to crawl back to your tent where I will hear you beg your sister’s forgiveness on your knees.”
The blade nudged up beneath Etienne’s chin. The gold flecks in de Riavelle’s hazel eyes glittered eerily. Saints! The man was serious! To turn a friendly competition lethal over a woman’s favor—! Either the ribbon on Etienne’s arm held greater significance than de Riavelle had thus far admitted, or the man must be slightly unhinged.
“Now, de Brielle.”
Again Etienne hesitated. De Riavelle’s companion drew his sword and Etienne saw the sun’s bright rays bounce off its well-honed edge. He looked one last time into de Riavelle’s menacingly glistering eyes. Then slowly, he reached around to untie the ribbon.
Dangerous Favor is available on Amazon. There's also a copy up for grabs in a giveaway over on Clean Romance Reviews, if you'd like to check it out. :-)
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