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A Knight's Wish
by Linda Andrews

Category: Romance/Fantasy EPIC eBook Award Finalist, Dream Realm Award Finalist
Description: One wish. Kaylee was on her own long before the magical nonsense of the Knights of the Living Five deprived her of a family. Careworn and alone, she survives on the skill of her hands and the grace of her rundown farm until a greedy developer, a string of bad luck and an overly bright star seduce her into wishing for something more. One unforgettable knight. Malcolm finds justice, peace and acceptance as a Knight of the Living Five. As the only Knight from the twelfth century, he will claim the deposed tyrant's empire as his own. On the eve of the final battle, Malcolm and his children are hurtled into a world embodying his every nightmare. As he looks for a way to return to the past, though Malcolm begins to wonder if Kaylee holds instead the key to his future.
eBook Publisher: Zumaya Publications/Zymaya Embraces, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: February 2007

eBookeBook

15 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [443 KB]
Words: 93374
Reading time: 266-373 min.


Chapter One

Scotland, 1129 AD

"Gentlemen."

Gerand's soft voice overruled the cacophony swelling from the great hall below. Arguments halted in mid-debate. The rattle of sword and armor ceased. The grunting and lip-smacking of men eating slowed to an end. All attention was on the man paused at the top of the stairs.

Flanked by his guards, Gerand restrained two small captives.

"The Knights have provided us with entertainment. An early celebration of our imminent victory. Shall they perform now or later?"

Concealed in the secret passageway, Malcolm peered through the squint. The peephole provided a view of almost the entire floor. While the invaders had glutted themselves on the larder and sacked the chapel's gold, so far none had discovered the hidden treasury or the maze of corridors hidden inside the walls.

He had hoped to find his children before anyone else did. Luck had not been with him. The shout of their capture had spread even as he gained the entrance to the sanctuary's secret passageway. He pounded his fists against his legs.

Needing to be helpful, Ainslee and Collin had slipped away from camp; they planned to shimmy up the castle's waste system and open the gates for the Knights when they attacked in the morning. Gerand had entered the garderobe just as they reached the top.

"What say you?"

He stopped now on the bottom step. His captives didn't. Ainslee tripped on the last riser and sprawled in the refuse littering the floor. Collin skidded to a stop beside her and, much to the amusement of the assembled crowd, bent to help her.

Malcolm focused on his daughter. Filth caked her hair; the usual curls were flattened against her head. Black streaks of excrement from the sewage system marred her complexion and her once-cream-and-scarlet tunic.

Malcolm's lips twitched as she rubbed her cheeks and glared at the audience. Ainslee hated to be dirty. And the smell--he could smell them from behind the wall. Perhaps their stink was what had alerted Gerand to their presence.

His humor faded as he continued his perusal.

Her right eye was almost swollen shut. Red blotches circled her bony wrists. Her arms were rigid by her side. She made no effort to still her trembling or check the tears streaming silently down her face. Yet, despite her fear, she did not plead for mercy.

Collin fingered his empty scabbard and straightened his shoulders. His lips quivered for only a few seconds every so often. As he eased in front of her, Ainslee dried her tears, thrust out her chin and glared at their captor.

Several voices shouted for their immediate deaths. A hundred fists pounded the table in agreement. Someone shouted for confinement before the end.

Gerand surveyed the assembled crowd, smiling as their bloodlust filled the room.

"Tomorrow."

Two men rushed forward. Each grabbed a captive and paraded them out of the room. The mercenaries returned to their meal and their petty squabbles.

Malcolm released his breath then gingerly picked his way back down the stairs. At the bend in the passage, he ran his hand up the wall, put his finger in the hole and pulled the secret door open. He shook off the rats climbing his leg, stepped into the darkness of the cellar and waited.


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