It was kind of choppy and lacked flowing details. Dancing On the Deeraux. Jude Deveraux Yes in this place I ate my nail for stress book caused me. He is dark, powerful, wealthy and, of course, incredibly handsome. Through a whirlwind romance andstormy marriage, she endured every perilto be by his side, until vicious lies andjealousy drove her into danger. View all 4 comments.
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Part 1 of Montgomery - Taggert series by Jude Deveraux 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Abruptly, Ranulf dropped his hand from her chin and relinquished the hand he held. If my lands are not forfeit in two weeks, I will not know why. Come, Lyonene, there are duties to see to. But it was true that she could not have felt more strongly if the slate roof of the donjon had rolled back and lightning had struck her. Lyonene dreaded being alone with her mother for she knew there would be questions that she could not answer.
There were six chambers, one for her parents, one of her own and four for guests. She was alone on the floor, the servants busy below in the kitchens. She could take her time in choosing a chamber for Lord Ranulf. It was an hour later when she felt that the room was ready and went to her own chamber.
Lucy had left some bread and cheese and a mug of milk on the mantelpiece. As Lyonene sipped the warm liquid, she adjusted the louvered slats in the wooden shutters so she could look across the bailey.
As she watched, one man left the group of the Black Guard and made his way to the gate of the bailey wall; he carried a long stick at his side and a bag strapped to his waist and pushed to his back.
Without thinking what she was doing, Lyonene threw off her green mantle and surcoat and pulled on another surcoat—a woolen one—over the gold tunic. Clutching the cloak tightly, she made her way down the stairs to the Great Hall, telling herself that she only wished for some fresher air. She took with her a large flagon of wine that had been set to warm on the mantel.
She was amazed at how easy it was to pass unobserved across the open bailey yard and out the gate. The watch guards cared not who left the castle, only who entered.
Ranulf sat on the cold, hard ground, his back against a tree, heedless of the piercing wind. His thoughts were absorbed with a lovely, green-eyed girl. Ah, Warbrooke, he chided himself, she is not for your dalliance. She is a girl, an innocent intended for marriage, marriage to a young man near her own age, her own rank. But still he could not relinquish the vision of her. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the rough bark, the remembrance overwhelming him, a tangible thing: emerald eyes under high, arched brows, a small nose, and her mouth—lips full and soft, tempting.
Her hair intrigued him as he thought of it spread about her, covering her shoulders and lying across her breasts, the color unusual, a tawny gold. Mon Dieu! What ailed him so that he sat here dreaming of a bit of a girl when there was work to be done? He had seen pretty girls afore now—aye, many girls—but there was a difference, somehow, with this one. When he had touched her chin, he had thought he might disgrace himself by kissing her before her parents and his men. He stared at her, unsmiling, studying her, not aware of the offered refreshment.
He took the warm mug and sipped the delicious sweet wine, the smooth liquid trickling down his throat, his eyes never leaving hers. A drop of wine rested on the rim and she touched the spot with her lips, amazed at her boldness.
She returned the mug and took a linen packet from under her mantle, unwrapping it to show bread and cheese. Her smile at him was brilliant, and he found he could only watch her, her eyes sparkling like the finest jewels, her cheeks pinked by the cold air.
The hood hid most of her lovely hair, but the white fur framed her face and contrasted beautifully with the thick, long lashes. Neither of them seemed to need words, and both sat quietly enjoying the wine and food. A sudden gust of wind blew the dead leaves of the forest about them. Lyonene covered one eye with her hand as a sudden sharp object struck it. Look up at me and I will find it.
Open your eye, slowly. See, it was but a speck of dirt, truly smaller than a boulder. From the moment he had touched her she had known that he would take away the pain. She was now very aware of his hands on the side of her face, the dark eyes that stared into hers, eyes bordered by short, thick lashes. The irises were truly black—yet, at this close distance, she could see that they had tiny gold flecks in them.
Your eye no longer pains you? Thank you. She felt as if a stranger were gradually overtaking her body, for she could not believe her forwardness of this morn. She tried to make conversation. She did not want to leave his company any more than he hers. She watched as Ranulf pulled the six-foot longbow string to his ear, an arrow with black and green feathers held lightly between his fingers. The muscles on his arms stood out. The arrow was released with a sharp twang of silk.
Lyonene gasped as she saw it land more than twice the distance of the tree she had chosen. Ranulf merely looked at her, one quick glance that made her reme mber her boast of crossbows.
Then, before she could recover from her surprise, he began to insert arrows, drawn from the leather bag at his waist, and fire them with a dazzling rapidity.
In less than a minute, he had fired ten arrows, never once missing the tree. She stared up at him. She struggled to pull an arrow from the tree and was startled when Ranulf appeared beside her and easily removed the arrow she could not.
She had not heard him approach. She turned to him, laughing. He will train his men to use it. Even my own men refuse to use it. They think it an unchivalrous weapon and have a fear that it will somehow reduce them to foot soldiers.
Lyonene took it in all confidence but found she could not bend the bow more than an inch or two. She looked in exasperation to Ranulf.
Quickly, he stood behind her, his great arms about her, and pulled the strong bow back. As Ranulf bent to sight the arrow, he was aware of the fragrance of her—roses and smoke—and of her cool cheek so near his.
He could feel every luscious curve of her against him, her buttocks pressed against his groin. He ached to turn her to him, longed to feel her softness near him, to kiss her moist lips, parted slightly now in concentration. He tried to give directions to her concerning the bow but found that his voice betrayed his desire since her ear was so close to his lips; he could almost taste the flesh of her earlobe between his teeth.
She released the arrow. Lyonene felt her heart would burst, it was beating so hard. His arms were about her, his hands on her back, and she could feel the warmth of him through her heavy woolen surcoat. She looked from his eyes to his lips, and she hoped he would kiss her, yes, she wanted him to kiss her, and her heart beat faster as unconsciously she swayed toward him, her soft breasts touching his chest.
She felt his sharp intake of breath. His face was so close that she could feel his breath, so warm and soft. How would it feel to kiss a man? His arms dropped away. She smiled up at him. My father vows that on the day of my birth I gave him such a look of contempt that he named me for a lioness, but my mother says he thought of the name Lyonene because of the color of my hair.
At least you are not cursed with an ugly blackness such as mine. It is only the jongleurs who demand all men be fair with eyes of blue. You would make other men seem colorless. I will race you. When she was halfway to the tree, he caught up with her in a few easy strides. Lyonene looked over her shoulder to see him easily gaining on her. She remembered a trick she had used as a child to win races against the boys of Lorancourt.
Then the breath was near taken from her as he threw a strong arm around her waist, lifting her from the ground, still running, not even hesitating when he took on the added burden of her weight. When Lyonene recovered from her surprise, she began laughing, and by the time they reached the tree she was near helpless. He sat her down and she leaned against the tree, tears rolling down her cheeks, blurring her vision.
You did not even race with honor. You cheated. He looked like a boy. Ranulf pulled one of the curls that lay wildly about her cheeks, her hood having fallen away. Your lies would dishonor your liege lord. Looking down at him as he smiled up at her, she smiled back. He, too, was serious now, and his desire for her returned. He could not touch her without the blood in his veins fair boiling. You mother will not like her lioness spending the morning alone with a man.
Only then did she stop, flinging herself on the feather mattress of her bed.
Montgomery/Taggert (Publication order) Series
The January winds whistled outside the old donjon, threads of cold air cutting under the wooden shutters, but her bed was warm and she planned to put off leaving it as long as possible. She was an old woman now and far too fat. The shutters were closed tightly against the cold winter, and the only light came from the small fireplace and the tallow candle on the tall iron stand by the bed. The soft glow highlighted the full curves of her slim young body. Lucy helped her mistress into the thin linen shift and then the woolen tunic, the tightness of which emphasized her womanly body.
The Black Lyon
Order of Jude Deveraux Books