– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Her Honourable Mercenary’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
An innocent maiden
And a legendary warrior
When captured and held prisoner in an enemy castle, Margery of Lyon is guarded by brooding mercenary Evrart, who’s been commanded to watch her – day and night. Margery’s determination to escape brings her closer to Evrart, and the kind heart hidden beneath his granite-hard body. Now Margery is torn, fleeing under the portcullis will mean leaving behind the man she’s falling for…
Margery of Lyon is held captive by Ian of Warstone who has appointed a guard to watch her. The guard (the hero Evrart) is a quiet giant of man, and Margery is very short (think The Mountain from GOT and his wife). This is the moment when he’s first assigned to watch her, and they’re climbing the stairs to enter the room she’ll be imprisoned in. Though she is terrified for herself, Margery is very friendly, Evrart is as silent as a mountain and is used to be being terrified of him, not trying to chat him up.
She swallowed hard. ‘You’re very quiet.’
He said nothing.
She looked up…then up again. His arms were at his sides, his eyes steady, and all that stillness caused something to seethe within her. He was large, but then everyone was larger than her. It was how it had always been.
But being in this fortress, trapped and threatened by Ian of Warstone, wasn’t how it had always been. If only she could wave a sword or conduct her own threats.
The seething turned to roiling. If only she had some way to protect herself! Not just standing here staring out of a window, feeling waves of helplessness, as this man—this warrior, her guard—watched her tremble, heard her teeth chatter whilst he was constant stillness, relentless silence.
‘How will you guard me if you don’t speak?’ she asked.
His brow rose, and she swore she saw the corner of his lip twitch.
Maybe it was the terror, maybe it was because her reason had finally fled, but Margery laughed. It was a choked laugh. More strident than joyful. More sobbing than anything humorous.
And when his brows rose more and his eyes widened…when wariness that couldn’t just be wariness entered his eyes again…the noises she emitted came out harder, until tears sprang from her eyes and she had to brush them away.
She noticed the poor man hadn’t moved, but he seemed to be leaning back. Not with displeasure or cruelty. Not to smirk or laugh—though he should be because of her ridiculous question. But simply to stand there, a bit away from her. And whereas before she’d equated his silence with displeasure, his restraint with formidable trapping walls, now she saw it wasn’t. It truly wasn’t.
It was the way he blinked, and his careful movements as he straightened himself. He was disconcerting because for days she’d been plagued with violence and threats. For months…years…before that, she’d had Josse, Roul, the mercenaries who’d leered and calculated.
When her hood had fallen, he hadn’t elbowed the man next to him. He’d simply looked at her as he looked at her now. Like…a person. And maybe it wasn’t wise, maybe she was wrong, maybe she truly had lost her reason, but she didn’t care that he was quiet. It didn’t mean she had to be.
Resting her hand on his forearm, she said, ‘Don’t mind me—truly. I am harmless. Well, maybe not completely, but I’m not likely to cause any permanent wounding.’
Patting his arm before releasing her touch, she brushed her hands down her skirts, gathered herself, and gave him as reassuring a smile as she could. He wasn’t like Ian or those other guards. Maybe he was like that man with the bloodied apron—the butcher who’d had a happy smile. Maybe they could start again.
Maybe they couldn’t.
His eyes were the size of the moon and his hand gripped his forearm where… She was right. His hand was gripping his arm, right where she’d touched him. His knuckles were white.
Was he injured and she’d inadvertently harmed him?
‘Oh!’ she said. ‘Did I hurt you?’
He said nothing, but his eyes grew intent. She felt terrible.
She grabbed his fingers to pull his hand away. ‘Here, let me see it.’
She didn’t know what she’d do, but there she’d been, laughing because she couldn’t harm him, and then she had. She was worried, terrified, but this man hadn’t done anything to her and here she was—
‘No,’ he said, and pulled his hand away from her.
All the while he kept his gaze on her. His hands were rough, his fingers felt thick, but his touch was inordinately gentle.
It was his voice, though, that made her shiver. Deep, gruff. Exactly the voice she’d expected from a man with shoulders that could protect her from a storm.
She held still. ‘Say something else.’
He stared at her so hard she thought he would see to the other side of her before that corner of his mouth quirked again. Was he trying to smile but couldn’t?
‘No,’ he repeated.
Something came over her. Something that wanted him to smile. What was wrong with her? She didn’t need to laugh with this man or ask if he was hurt. His hair might be wet as if was like everyone else who bathed, and he might look vaguely annoyed rather than cruel, but she needed to escape!
As if he’d guessed her thoughts, he abruptly let her hand free and pointed again.
Resolved to do what she must, she continued down the corridor. Before she closed the garderobe door, though, she said, ‘And you’ll stand out here? Then take me to that room and lock me in?’
When he crossed his arms, she answered herself.
‘Of course you will.’
The Magic of Wor(l)ds