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Her Norman Conquest

Her Norman Conquest

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Her Norman Conquest

Lunghezza:
119 pagine
2 ore
Pubblicato:
Jul 25, 2014
ISBN:
9781784301002
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

At the mercy of William the Conqueror, Lady Ann faces an uncertain future as Norman knights fight for her hand.

Left alone after the death of all the male members of her household at the Battle of Hastings, Lady Ann finds herself at the mercy of William the Conqueror. The King intends to marry his knights to Saxon gentry. Ann becomes a useful if not uncooperative ally by using her ability to speak French to liaise with the terrified Saxon women and their potential husbands. She falls in love with a devastatingly handsome Norman blacksmith only to discover King William has plans for her to marry one of his knights.

Pubblicato:
Jul 25, 2014
ISBN:
9781784301002
Formato:
Libro

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Her Norman Conquest - Elizabeth Darcy

Page

A Totally Bound Publication

Her Norman Conquest

ISBN # 978-1-78430-100-2

©Copyright Elizabeth M Darcy 2014

Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright June 2014

Edited by Sue Meadows

Totally Bound Publishing

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorized or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

Published in 2014 by Totally Bound Publishing, Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN

Warning:

This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a heat rating of Totally Sizzling and a Sexometer of 2.

HER NORMAN CONQUEST

Elizabeth M Darcy

At the mercy of William the Conqueror, Lady Ann faces an uncertain future as Norman knights fight for her hand.

Left alone after the death of all the male members of her household at the Battle of Hastings, Lady Ann finds herself at the mercy of William the Conqueror. The King intends to marry his knights to Saxon gentry. Ann becomes a useful if not uncooperative ally by using her ability to speak French to liaise with the terrified Saxon women and their potential husbands. She falls in love with a devastatingly handsome Norman blacksmith only to discover King William has plans for her to marry one of his knights.

Dedication

For my Knight in Shining Armor—Gary

Chapter One

London, 1070

All unwed landed ladies, widows or maidens of childbearing age are hereby summoned to Hertfordshire without delay.

Lady Ann of Parr balled her fists and glared up at the Norman knight, so mighty, reading his declaration from the back of a horse. Mayhap he believed she would plunge a dagger in his heart. But, my lord, I have tenants to oversee, an estate to manage. Your king has slaughtered the men of my family and all of my father’s loyal men. She lifted her chin. I am the only one left to guide my people.

The knight stared down at her without compassion. Gather your belongings. My patience grows thin.

She pressed her lips together. Bad enough the new king’s army had brutally slain the proud Saxon men and had left them to rot on the battlefield, but since the invasion, their mourning wives and daughters had lived in constant terror of these foreign-speaking brutes. Indeed, few women had knowledge of the French language as she did. She had heard tales about Norman knights ransacking estates in search of documents or details regarding their wealth or lands. She closed her eyes and drew a deep breath. Dear God! Her turn had come to join the stream of highborn womenfolk the beasts had bundled into carts bound for London to meet their death, or worse, forced to marry a murdering Norman knight.

Conceding defeat, she met his gaze. Very well, when do we leave?

Sir Paul de Groote will be accompanying you. He will arrive at daybreak. His lip curled with contempt. Make sure you are ready to depart. Two of my men will remain here to ensure you comply with the king’s orders. The stern knight swung his horse around and returned to his troops.

* * * *

The sun had hardly peeked over the horizon to herald the arrival of Sir Paul de Groote and his troops at her country estate. He had impressed her with his courtesy, so unlike the brutish ways she had encountered from the Norman knights so far. The man was impressively tall and spoke in a gentle tone. He had appeared genuinely remorseful in his delivery of the missive from the newly crowned king. Mayhap not all the Normans had such bad manners.

You may take your maid and one trunk. We have little room to spare. Sir Paul led her toward the cart. You will be taken to Berkhamsted Castle and King William will decide your future. He gave her a tight smile. I’m sure you will be impressed at what changes our king has made to England. He plans to build great castles. Have no fear, all the estates will be properly managed under Norman rule.

She bit back a retort—no need to make an enemy of a man who had at least offered her a modicum of civility. She climbed into the cart with Meg at her side and watched her beloved home vanish into the morning mist. Aye, she had heard tell of Berkhamsted Castle created by Robert of Mortain to protect the king and built with no less than two moats to ensure against any further Saxon uprising. It would seem the Normans had need for such things. Hours passed with no respite and the heavens had opened up, drenching her by the time the wooden structure came into view. Cold, hungry and with a failing spirit, she followed the guards through the courtyard.

Inside the great hall, she gaped in wonder at the impressive opulence around her. The walls rose high on each side, one covered in magnificent tapestries. The other displayed a large variety of weaponry, and centered hung the battered shield depicting King Harold’s coat of arms. A shiver raced down her spine at the memory of the tales spoken in hushed voices about the gruesome death of King Harold. The great king had suffered an arrow to the eye and the Norman butchers had hacked him to pieces. He would turn in his grave if he could hear French spoken as the tongue of his beloved England.

She smothered a sob. Her sharp intake of breath brought Meg to her side. She brushed aside the bunched cotton cloth offered by her maidservant, lifted her chin then stepped into the Great Hall. Put it away, Meg, for I fear I have no more tears to shed.

She pushed down the fear, determined not to cower before the Normans. All about her, guards stood oppressively close. Musky male scent rose from their warm bodies, enhanced by the dampness from the incessant, freezing rain. She glanced at her ashen-faced maidservant and straightened her soaked head rail. Anger shivered down her spine. How dare they treat her in such a manner?

Allowing her attention to wander over the crowd, she suppressed a gasp. An impressive row of knights stood to one side, straight and proud, each observing her entrance with interest. She avoided their gazes, feeling somewhat like a prize horse offered up for sale. She kept her eyes toward the front, where the Norman King William and Queen Matilda reclined, surrounded by a swarm of buzzing advisors. On one side of the royal pair, a number of priests in long red robes observed her with blank, disinterested expressions.

Ann tried in vain to control her trembling knees. The king’s man announced her name. She straightened, determined to appear dignified. Sir Paul beckoned her forwards with an encouraging smile and her stomach twisted. This king was a tyrant and he cared nothing for the Saxons. Her stomach cramped at her fear of standing alone before such a butcher. I will do this for my father. She set her jaw. She would not tremble before this false king in his Norman stronghold. With her heart pounding against her ribs, she stepped forwards and crossed the rush-covered floor to Sir Paul. He turned toward her, genuflected in the exaggerated way usual for Normans, and offered his arm. She accepted his escort and they strolled toward the king.

They stopped before the thrones, and Sir Paul bowed dramatically low. Ann curtsied, keeping her gaze on the rush-covered boards. Indignation reared within her and she pressed her lips together lest an untimely comment spill from her lips.

May I present Lady Ann of Parr. Her estate is in Cornwall. She is fluent in French, Your Majesty. Sir Paul’s meticulous French echoed around the Great Hall.

King William’s lip curled into a small smile. He leaned back in his throne before passing an inaudible comment to Queen Matilda. He then returned his dark gaze and full attention toward Ann.

"I am pleased you converse in my language. It will enable you to convey my wishes to the other landed ladies of this England. I will arrange betrothals for them with my barons. I will give no quarter. The ladies will obey my orders. Indeed, such marriages will do much for the stability of England."

Ann released a deep breath and in an effort to quell her rising fear, pressed one trembling hand firmly to her stomach. What would he do if good Saxon ladies refused? "Will you exact a penalty for those

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