Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples

This week I'm sharing a sweet sample from the first novel in my medieval romance series, Loyalty's Web (rating PG). (Alas, the series itself does not yet have a name. Maybe it will someday.) The Earl of Gunthar has been sent by the King of England to marry the sister of my heroine, Heléne. In this scene, Heléne is standing in her father's hall, watching him converse with the earl, when she suddenly sees in the crowd the son of one of the earl's enemies.

She thought Etienne looked pale, uncertain as he stood for a moment, watching the earl. Abruptly, he edged his way past a ruddy-faced knight, then stopped again. His green eyes narrowed on the earl, still conversing with her father, both of them oblivious to the youth's appearance.

She wondered if she should call out a warning. Etienne's hand disappeared inside his cloak, but came out again a moment later, empty. She told herself not to be ridiculous. Etienne could not possibly intend any mischief in the midst of this crowd of armed knights, all of whom owed their allegiance to either her father or the earl. Surely simple curiosity had brought him here, for he had not been present at the battle that left his father crippled. Etienne had been sent away with his stepmother before the earl's siege of their castle began.

Etienne stood quietly now, gazing at the earl through thoughtful, narrowed eyes. If resentment burned in their normally teasing depths, surely that was understandable? His soft dark curls, tousled by the wind, formed a wild halo about his handsome countenance. He was but a year older than Heléne. They had played together as children. She still counted him a friend, but she sensed with some disquiet that it was not mere curiosity she read in his face. He kept reaching beneath his cloak in an odd way. But if she cried out and it was nothing—

Then he moved. His expression changed in an instant from quiet resentment to desperate resolve. His hand flashed out and this time, Heléne saw a glint of steel.

She screamed, but it was too late. The earl turned as Etienne closed the distance between them and flashed his dagger in a deadly arc towards the earl's chest.

Thank you for stopping by. Now click here to read some more Sweet Saturday Samples!


Anonymous said...

Ooh, intriguing sample! Must read more to find out what happens next.

Mary Kirkland said...

I'm so excited about this book, it sounds so good. Can't wait to read it. :)

Sherry Gloag said...

Great way t finish, I hope you give us more next week. I'm intrigued.

Sandy Nachlinger said...

Great building of tension in this scene. I can feel Helene's ambivalence and can understand her reasons for hesitating.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great tension! Will there be more next week?

Joyce DiPastena said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! Yes, there will be more next week. :-)

Anonymous said...

Good cliffhanger.

Elaine Cantrell

Jessica Knauss said...

Eeek! What a place to leave off! Wonderful tension building here.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful job setting up the scene, and then finally the flash of the knife. Very well done! :)

Here's my sample: