Thursday, 4 January 2018

Medieval Romance -THE SNOW BRIDE by Lindsay Townsend. New Excerpt

The Snow Bride
She is Beauty, but is he the Beast?
Elfrida, spirited, caring, and beautiful, is also alone. She is the "witch of the woods," and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?
In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth "bride," the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.
Genre: Historical
Length: 92,037 words

Chapter 5

As they rode within sight of the thatched roofs of Lower Yarr, Magnus squeezed Elfrida’s waist. “You know what to do?” he whispered against her ear.
“We have been over this plan a score of times,” Elfrida replied, quelling the waspish tone in her voice so that Mark, riding alongside, could not accuse her of scolding. “You are right, it should work.”
She and Magnus had talked at length at first light, over a breakfast of thick porridge that even now sat in her stomach like a stone. Magnus had seemed shy then, looking at the monster’s blue cup instead of her, but during the long ride over, he had put her before him on his horse and then clamped his body behind her like moss on a boulder.
Riding for her was strange and new, but she sensed that even with a missing hand and foot Magnus was an excellent horseman. Once she had asked if they need sit so closely, but he had merely grunted and said the saddle made it so. After that he had urged the bay to a burst of speed, plowing through the fresh snow and scattering great clouds of white chill flakes everywhere so that speech became impossible.
Now they were here, at a village she knew but had rarely visited. Those seeking her cures or help came to her, instead. Elfrida pulled the hood of her cloak over her hair so she could stare unchallenged, and she looked about.
It was not as pretty as Top Yarr, she decided, satisfied that the village’s great house, wells, homes and snow-covered gardens were no better than those of her village. As they galloped down the track, a few faces she knew peered out from window shutters, and several old men hobbled on sticks out of doors.
She and Magnus and a troop of other horsemen swept on to the village’s meeting house, home of the headman Adam de Shaghe, whose wife she had once helped in a matter of love magic.
And I have other spells and charms to set, other villagers to help, if not here, then at Selton and Great Yarr. But they must wait. Christina comes first.
“You understand their speech?” Magnus asked for the sixth time.
“Very well. And you know to back me, whatever I demand?”
His long thighs stroked briefly against hers as he hugged her. “To the hilts.”
Warmed by his vow, she touched his hand in return, then gave her full attention to Adam de Shaghe and his council, who were gathering by the village cross to meet them.
As they had agreed, Magnus and his men dismounted, but Elfrida remained on horseback. Sitting straight and proudly in the saddle, she tossed back the hood of her cloak. Her red hair was the brightest thing in the village clearing, and her itching spots had faded to red blemishes so that she seemed a thing of fury. She sounded it, too, her clear voice ringing to the treetops.

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