Jenna Jaxon follows up sexy medieval romance Betrothal with white hot Betrayal in her Time Enough To Love series.
Jenna Jaxon researches well and turns up the heat amidst the archaic marriage rituals of Medieval England.
After a night of passion with her betrothed, Sir Geoffrey Longford, Lady Alyse de Courcy is eagerly looking forward to her wedding. But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.
A reputed connoisseur of women, Thomas, Lord Braeton, has dallied with many ladies of King Edward’s court, although he has favored none. However, as Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, and Thomas discovers Alyse’s sweet but spirited nature, he comes to desire a marriage in truth. Can he overcome her memory of Geoffrey or is Thomas doomed to burn with passion for a woman he can never possess?
With the sigh of a martyr at the stake, Alyse nodded and Anne leaped forth and stripped the linen shift from her. She fought the impulse to shield her breasts and womanhood; apparently brides were expected to be appraised as if a horse at market. The only stare that sent a shiver up her back, however, was Lady Carlyle’s. The woman’s lips twisted into a sneer as her gaze swept Alyse from head to toe. A look of triumph she did not understand lit the lady’s face and Alyse turned her back, quite willing to allow Anne to drop the silk chemise over her head.
When she turned back to the company, loud “ahs’ and whispers of “indecent” ran through the women. Alyse looked down at herself. As she feared, the sheer material revealed every swell of her breasts. As the fabric moved across them, her nipples hardened, poking the garment out to sharp points.
Maurya stepped behind her and began to brush her hair again. “Pay them no mind, Alyse,” she whispered. “You are more beautiful than any of them. And I warrant Lord Braeton will have no qualms about you whatsoever in that shift.”
Before Alyse could reply, the door burst open and the laughing, swearing, drinking chorus of male courtiers who attended Thomas strode in. And stopped. The sudden silence intensified the tension in the small room. Their eyes rested on Alyse, who stared back at them and prayed she would not faint again.
As suddenly as the silence descended it broke, and a babble of laughter, praise and ribald jests issued forth from the appreciative gentlemen. To her utter humiliation, Alyse recognized Patrick Sullivan, Roger Delaney, and Robert Spencer among the courtiers. All stared at her still, Patrick leaning over to comment to Sir Roger, who laughed and nodded in agreement.
She blinked back tears of rage, but stood quietly lest they make even more sport of her.
From the corner of her eye, she caught movement in the doorway, and several men and ladies moved to make way for the final actor in this terrible play. Thomas strode grandly into the chamber, smiling as though he walked in a decorous procession. Attired in a splendid robe of green wool, adorned with velvet down the center edges and fur at collar and cuffs, he swept her a low bow. He laughed as he arose, but the sound died on his lips when at last he registered her figure in the blue chemise. The stunned look in his eyes was swiftly replaced by a hot hunger that made her gasp. Any hope she had of him honoring his promise died with that look.
“Lady Braeton.” He held out his hand, and Alyse had no choice but to take it. He raised it to his lips, searing her flesh with their warm touch. “You are a vision I scarce would credit this side of heaven.” She peered into his darkened eyes, seeking mercy. At the almost imperceptible nod of his head, she could breathe again.
He released her and stepped back. “The wedding is done.” Thomas nodded to his attendants, who stepped forward. “Let the bedding be done as well.” Stretching forth his arms, he waited as the men stripped the robe from him, revealing his perfectly nude body beneath.
Shifters & Spice (e-book 99 cents!)
Romance writer. Paranormal and contemporary. Mother of two and wife of perfect husband. Love the environment, travel and reading.
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