Dreams to Keep
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by Veronica Towers
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: In the time of King John... A jilted groom... Sir William of Somerset A substitute bride... Lady Amanda, sister to his former betrothed Will the blight of broken promises and avarice herald a bleak new year... Or can the magic of Christmas bring warmth and love and give them? Dreams to Keep
eBook Publisher: DCL Publications LLC, 2009 USA
eBookwise Release Date: January 2010
30 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [37 KB]
Reading time: 20-28 min.
Her strength was waning when she saw the lights up ahead; she dug deep inside herself for a reserve of strength. The snow swirled around her and the cold nipped at her nose and cheeks. A gust of wind parted her cape and stole the last of her warmth. She approached the lights and she saw it was the place she sought. It appeared somehow sinister; she felt a shiver go down her spine not entirely having to do with the cold. This was the castle of Sir William, her sister's former betrothed only he did not know it yet.
Her sister, cute and dark of hair and eyes, was smitten with a courtier at King John's court. The elegant and dashing Sir Jack swept her off her feet and away from a less elegant match. Her sister Alyce did not appreciate the strong handsome knight that was Sir William. He was not the darling of all the ladies in waiting having arrogance to spare and very little time for the social niceties.
Her sister had prevailed upon the mercurial good will of the King to break her betrothal from Sir William and agree to the marriage between her and Sir Jack.
They had plighted their troth one week ago and were probably snug in bed at this moment. The bitterly cold wind emphasized the perceived differences of her circumstances. She laughed shortly. Her father, upset that he would have to return the bridal settlement and lose acquisition of such a rich knight, had prevailed to substitute his other daughter, herself, the Lady Amanda Grace Ellington.
She had little value to him except as a housekeeper and chatelaine to his household. Now that he had married again, he thought to rid his household of an excess female as well as gain the rich son-in-law he craved. Her father, with an eye to the expenses, sent her north to the Welsh border to the castle of Sir William in a wagon pulled by a couple of pathetic nags. Her escort, such as it was, was two elderly servants and a soldier past his prime. She sighed; she knew when the coach had lost its wheel and the soldier fell off and hit his head that she would be the one to go for help. She looked back at the long expanse of white at her own tracks. At the rate the snow was falling, her tracks would soon disappear. She shook her head and trudged on...she had to be close to Napier Keep, the ale tavern where they took their nooning meal was said to have been only a few hours away.
She resolutely trudged on to the keep, she was strong and resilient but her strength was faltering. She could no longer feel her feet and her hands were numb with cold. She dreaded what she had to do; she had no idea what Sir William would do when he found out everything. She felt her eyes warm briefly with the sting of tears and then chill as one spilled down her cheek and froze. She scrubbed impotently at her cheek with her mittened hand. She was lucky she was able to find her way here. The stupid horses galloped away when she released them, before she could even attempt to ride one. She was so lost in her lachrymose thoughts she made a misstep from the road and tumbled into a snowdrift. She tried impotently to drag herself out of the drift but her exhaustion and the weight of her snow caked clothing held her down. She knew it was dangerous to give in to the beckoning sleep but finally she did. Her last conscious thought was at least she did not have to tell Sir William her sister jilted him...