Betrayal! There's nothing worse whether it's by a loved one or a friend. The new theme for Medieval Monday looks at that very issue. My first guest is the talented Jenna Jaxon, who features an especially poignant example from Time Enough to Love.
Abruptly, he gripped her face, pulling it up until she peered into the dangerous dark eyes of her husband. Terror surged through her at the sight of his snarling countenance.
“Why so amorous this morning, my sweet?” he growled, his eyes snapping with anger. “Were Geoffrey’s kisses not as satisfying as you remembered?”
Oh, God. Oh, God. He saw—
Thomas flung her toward the bed. She huddled at its foot in a heap, shivering, while he strode to where she lay, towering over her. Alyse cringed before him, head bowed, too frightened and ashamed for tears.
“I believe I may have misspoken earlier, madam.” His voice dripped sarcasm. “I had, in fact, gone in search of you, to invite you to an intimate breakfast with your husband. Imagine my dismay to find you engaged in one already, albeit with someone else’s husband. From the exchange I saw, I can scarce credit that you hunger still. Yet you enter our chamber apparently unsatisfied. Pray tell me, how many more husbands would you devour ere the day begins?”
His voice rose to an excruciating volume, and Alyse clamped her hands to her ears lest she be deafened.
“I have played the tender lover these past weeks. Petted and cajoled you, like some simpering green boy in an effort to remain true to the vow I made you, despite my right as your husband to demand your obedience in bed. I have been patient, kind, and true, madam, and I am repaid in treachery!”
“Nay, Thomas!” Quite suddenly, she found her tongue and raised a resolute face to her livid husband. She rose from the floor and stood facing him, breasts heaving in indignation. “Whatever you saw, whatever you think, I did not betray you with Geoffrey.”
“You were in his arms, your mouths locked together as though nothing could pull them asunder. Do you deny that?” He spat the words at her.
“Nay.” She pitched her voice low, her resentment of his accusation ebbing. “God forgive me, I kissed him and held him, and he held me. And the world ceased to exist for a little while.”
When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?