Last week I shared with you an excerpt from my short Christmas story, A Candlelight Courting: A Short Christmas Romance. (Click here if you haven't read it and would like to.) This week I'd like to share an excerpt from a second short Christmas story of mine, called "Caroles on the Green." This story is one of six sweet short romances included in A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection.
Here is an excerpt from my contribution to the collection, where the characters are preparing to dance a medieval Christmas carole. (Yes, that was the spelling when it was a dance.)
Caroles on the Green
December 24, 1151
“We are to dance sinister, eh?”
Isabel stiffened. Amidst all the shuffling, she had not seen Lucian maneuver into position on her right. Or perhaps it was mere coincidence. He would have been on the opposite side of Ronwen had they been dancing the other direction. Ronwen certainly looked unhappy to see him take Isabel’s free hand in his. Lucian lifted her fingers lightly and gazed for a moment at the pale yellow stone. Did he remember that she preferred the deeper hues of emeralds and rubies to set off her dark coloring?
“They begin the circle to the right in the East,” he said, as he slipped her fingers into the strong grip that she remembered so well.
She felt herself recoiling ever so slightly from Sir Theo’s weak clasp on her other side and silently chastised herself. She would teach him that he need not be so diffident, once he knew that she wished to marry him.
“I do not see that it matters which direction we circle, so long as we all move in unison,” she said.
She tossed Lucian one of her haughty looks and felt a little hitch in her breath. He had recovered quite splendidly from their last encounter, when he had sported two black eyes and a swollen nose. The latter cast slightly sideways, a departure from the arrogantly straight nose she remembered in his youth and in the proud young crusader who had returned from the East. Judging from the dagger looks Ronwen threw at her, the flaw in his otherwise absurdly handsome face had not dampened her cousin’s welcome of Lucian’s courtship one whit. Then why did he not gaze at Ronwen, instead of holding Isabel’s eyes with a weighing look that she refused to break first?
The hollow thump thump thump of a drum finally broke the spell for them both. Isabel saw the confusion that flooded the circle as the music started. They surely wondered which way Sir Theo would decide to step first. She would have leaned over to him, but felt the subtle pressure of Lucian’s hand guiding her into a gentle bounce on the balls of her feet in rhythm to the beat of the drums. She fought back waves of memories at his touch, even as she watched Sir Theo’s face flame when he realized himself the center of attention. All the watching eyes seemed to freeze him into place.
Isabel’s bounce grew more impatient until at last she tugged on Sir Theo’s hand, trying to signal him to begin. Sir Theo gave a visible start and apparently thinking she wished him to move her direction, lurched so suddenly to his right that he crashed into Isabel’s shoulder and sent her stumbling into Lucian.
Lucian’s fingers fluttered around hers, as though instinct commanded he release her hand and steady her with his strong arm around her waist. Or so rose the unbidden vision to her mind. A vision which the crack of his chin against the top of her head obliterated. She heard the clack of his teeth before his chin snapped up. The blow reverberated through her skull and left her leaning against his chest, momentarily stunned. The decorative band of embroidery that ran around the breast of his deep blue tunic swam before her watering eyes.
His hand tightened on hers and he nudged her upright with his shoulder—but not before he lowered his head and murmured into her ear on a soft note of mockery, “The same old Isabel.”
A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection contains six short, clean winter romances by Sarah M. Eden, Heidi Ashworth, Annette Lyon, Joyce DiPastena, Donna Hatch, and Heather B. Moore. This ebook is available for only $3.99 on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. To learn more about A Timeless Romance Anthology, visit our blog and like our Facebook page.
Now click here to read more Sweet Saturday Samples by more great authors!