Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Lady Valentine, Part 5

Good day! Christine Johnson here today to continue the adventures of Lady Elizabeth.

~ ~ ~


Elizabeth's puzzlement over Baron Drake's short visit evaporated. She ran toward her sister, her heart thundering in her ears. "What happened?"


"Hurry," Patrica gasped. "Aunt Jane was sewing and then—" A sob cut short her sentence.


Though Patrica was known for exaggerating the import of any situation, Elizabeth feared this time something truly dreadful had happened.


"Take deep breaths until you can speak calmly," urged Baron Drake, who must have followed Elizabeth.


Patrica looked up at him with the sort of adulation reserved for the champion of a tournament. Elizabeth felt a flash of competitive jealousy and then caught herself. What right had she to claim the baron's attention? At least he shared her disdain of the traditional St. Valentine's pairing. Patrica could not claim him for her partner.


Yet his rich voice made her far too aware of him. Had Patrica seen the way he'd gazed into her eyes, not to mention how close he had come to touching her? Elizabeth had to breathe deeply herself.


"We were sewing," Patrica said, her gaze never wavering from the baron, "and then we heard the gate lift and the clatter of hooves. I assumed twas yet another guest, but Aunt Jane rose to look out the window. That's when she—" Patrica's countenance crumpled. "She collapsed."


"Collapsed?" Elizabeth shoved aside all thoughts of Baron Drake. Her aunt was ill, or worse.




She raced for the keep, but the baron beat her there with his long strides. Together, they climbed to the solar, where the servants directed them to Aunt Jane's bed. The curtains were pulled back, and she looked terribly pale.


Aunt noted the baron and accepted his presence without so much as a nod before reaching for Elizabeth. "Come here, child."


Elizabeth felt but six years of age, when she had faced punishment for one of the many tricks she and Thomas had played on the servants. She came forward as directed and knelt by her aunt's bedside. "I am here."


Aunt Jane grasped her hands with surprising strength. "You must take charge now, until your parents' return. I will be here to guide you, but the preparations for the Feast of St. Valentine now fall on your shoulders."


Elizabeth swallowed hard.


"I will assist, Duchess." That offer rumbled from none other than Baron Drake.


"But—" Elizabeth began, intending to point out that he was to leave on the morrow.


"Good," Aunt interrupted. "A strong hand—and a sharp sword—may be required before the feast is nigh."


Elizabeth shot to her feet. A sword? From whom did she need the protection of Baron Drake Godrich? It must be the new arrival that had sent Aunt Jane to her bed. But whose presence could bring such consternation? Their family had but one sworn enemy. Surely he would not dare to attend the feast. Or would he?







Continued tomorrow...


Christine Johnson
Love by Design (LIH, May 2015)
Love's Rescue (Revell, June 2015)



6 comments:

  1. Oh my! I can hardly wait for tomorrow to find out who the enemy is.

    And, I am so glad I wrote an earlier segment. I dare say I would not be creative enough with my knowledge of 1100 AD swordsplay to do justice.

    Loving it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pam, I know! What a wonderful twist this is! I have to say, I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought about was getting to this story! It's marvelous!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pamela, you'd do great!

    I agree, Barb, this is a lot of fun to read and to write!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ooh! Great job ramping things up, Christine. I can't wait to see what comes next.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Eeek!!! I love where this is going!!! Love, love!! Great job, ladies. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ooohhhh....I am LOVING this story! Thank you Christine and ALL the other Craftie Ladies who are writing these installments.

    Now I'm anxious to see if the enemy has arrived and what will happen next!

    ReplyDelete