Word of Honor(8)

By: Alexa Aston


She heard her name and watched him gallop toward her. Her heart beat fast. Would he be the same? Would he still care for her? She’d adored him since she was a child. The sweet memory of their kiss had sustained her these past five years.

They reached one another. He leapt from his saddle as she dropped her reins. Before she could dismount, he grabbed her waist and pulled her from her horse.

His mouth crashed down on hers, with hunger and longing. In desperate need. Merryn wrapped her arms about his neck. He parted her lips with his tongue and plunged in, his mouth dominating hers, his arms tightening about her.

Her knees weakened as he left her breathless. Suddenly, he swept her off her feet. His mouth never left hers as he twirled round and round, joy evident on his face.

Merryn grew dizzy.

Geoffrey finally slowed and broke the kiss. He set her back on her feet. He gazed at her so lovingly, she knew nothing had changed.

Except it had.

Her entire body vibrated with need. His kisses had awakened something within her.

“I thought you’d never come home,” she said breathlessly.

“I thought I’d never be here.” He laughed. “But I am.” He pulled her close.

Her breasts pressed against his broad chest. They seemed so sensitive beneath her smock and kirtle.

Warmth flooded her as she rested her cheek against his chest. Finally, Geoffrey pulled away.

“I am home for good, my love. And I have so much to tell you.”

“What? Tales of war?” Killing did not interest Merryn, but she sensed his need to speak of it. “Tell me,” she urged, wanting to be supportive.

“You should have seen the action at Poitiers. Our archers fired arrows in a dizzying shower at our enemy.” His hazel eyes lit with excitement. “They couldn’t penetrate the invincible French armor, so they went for the flanks of the horses.”

She stiffened. “They shot the horses?”

“Aye, in their flanks. We stopped their cavalry charge that way. As their horses fell, so did their battle lines. It devastated their troops. The French bastards never penetrated the protective hedge we used to our advantage.”

It saddened her to think of so many slaughtered animals, as well as the men.

“Our infantry decimated them after that in fierce combat. Our infantry moved in. Combat proved fierce. The Black Prince’s strategy counted on a large reserve of soldiers concealed deep within a nearby wood. While Englishmen attacked from the front, these hidden soldiers circled around and attacked the French from the sides and their rear. The Dauphin and two of the king’s other sons fled, while King Jean and his son, Philip, remained and fought.”

“We have heard that King Jean was captured. That he will be held for ransom in London.”

“Aye, indeed.” He kissed her hard. “’Tis why I’m here. The war is over.”

Joy filled her. “And we can marry now?”

He grinned. Though he was a battle-hardened man full of experiences she might never understand, he had come home, to her.

“As soon as possible, my love.”

Geoffrey captured her mouth with his again. Merryn returned the kiss with enthusiasm. She never realized when the rain came.

Chapter 4

Merryn danced around her bedchamber with joy, wearing her new silver smock. ’Twas her wedding day. It marked a new life, being joined with the man her father had chosen as her husband. She tamped down the grief that passed through her suddenly, knowing her father would not be present to witness the happy occasion. Instead, she thanked Christ Almighty that Geoffrey’s parents, Lord Ferand and Lady Elia, were still alive to celebrate with them.

Geoffrey’s father frightened her at times with his gruff manner, but Lady Elia had mothered her from the time she was small. She looked forward to living in their household and being a daughter to them.

Geoffrey had arrived home taller and more handsome than she remembered. His dark hair, still thick, curled at the nape of his neck. She would play with it tonight. Run her fingers through it. Touch his hard, muscled body. Join with him so that they became one.

She understood love play. The old healer had taught her not only about using herbs to heal but also what passed between a man and a woman. Merryn knew her heart would show her the way so that she would please her new husband. Already, his kisses filled her with need.

Tonight that need would be satisfied.

A knock sounded at her chamber door. Tilda entered carrying the midnight blue cotehardie Merryn would don for the nuptial mass. It was the first time she had seen it.

“Oh, it’s lovely, Tilda. I thank you for every stitch you made.”

The servant nodded curtly, but Merryn saw the tears glistening in the older woman’s eyes. “Let’s get you dressed, my lady.”

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