ONCE UPON A KISS
Gladiators, cowboys, knights, dukes, princes and rogues. A hero for everyone in one great set!
This week's featured book is
SWEET TASTE OF LOVE
By Anna Markland
Riddled with guilt after the drowning deaths of his parents, Aidan FitzRam takes himself off to Lindisfarne in Northumbria, determined to atone. He immerses himself in caring for the bees essential to the production of mead the abbey is known for.
Nolana Kyncade is a Scot fleeing the tyranny of a cruel stepfather when she bumps into Aidan at the market.
Smitten with her, Aidan quickly realizes that he is not cut out to be a monk. But her stepfather intends to marry her to an older man who will pay handsomely for the privilege.
Aidan was ready to collapse with fatigue. He had never been a lethargic man. His mother had often complained he had too much energy. He and Blythe had on occasion led their parents a merry dance when they were growing up. What he wouldn’t give now for a scolding glance from his mother.
He raked his fingers through his hair and leaned back against the wooden frame of the stall, brushing away the horseflies drawn by the honey. What would it be like once he was tonsured? His hair had always been long, dark like his father’s.
Memories of his parents filled his head. A lifetime would not be enough to atone for the manner of their deaths. Their bodies had never been recovered. His father’s long-held desire to be interred alongside his father in the crypt at Montbryce would not be fulfilled.
A shuddering breath caught in his throat. He eyed the containers of mead, estimating how much longer they would remain in the crowded marketplace. His sandaled feet were caked with dust, his throat bone dry. Idly wondering how he might filch a sip of the precious mead without the Abbot noticing, he closed his eyes, absorbing the sounds of commerce around him.
A fly buzzed in his face. He swatted at it and forced one eye open. A young woman was walking to the haberdashery stall across the way. At least, he thought she was a young woman. How odd to be shrouded by a playd on such a warm day. But her bearing and figure bespoke a young person. He stood up straight to get a better view. Her garb indicated she was a Scot, but not a lowlander, and not a person of low birth. Her léine had been dyed saffron. She reached out to finger the colored ribbons hanging from the crossbeam, glancing around furtively, drawing the brown playd further over her head.
His gut clenched. When she turned to look directly at him, her obvious nervousness did nothing to detract from her loveliness. His mouth fell open. She turned back to the stall, reaching up to point to a particular ribbon. The merchant handed it to her. She raised her arms. The playd fell to her shoulders, revealing the flame red bounty of her hair. Aidan’s breath caught in his throat. For once he was glad of the shapeless robe. His erection was a rod of iron.
She replaced the shawl quickly and paid for the ribbon. Four or five armed men came into view, sauntering through the market. He did not recognize the devise they bore on their tunics. The woman lowered her head, turned away and hastened in the direction of the stall selling mead.
Jesu! She’s coming this way!