My husband and I often
traveled with National Holidays. On a weekend in Scotland, we visited
Edinburgh and in Holyrood Palace I saw the
bed where Mary Queen of Scots had slept. It was rather nondescript, unlike
another bed we saw encased in glass because of its fine bedcovering. This
contrast stayed in my mind and made me think of how Queen Mary had been
relegated to unimportance.
The Queen of Scots has an important
role in this book.
I'm celebrating the release
of Maid of the Midlands with four free digital copies given to readers who
leave comments today.
True to his word, the guard
led Matilda to a bed of such abundance that she gasped with pleasure. For a time, they gathered the mushrooms in
silence. Finally, the maid had filled
her basket to overflowing, and she stood to take her leave.
“I must be about my duties,”
she said reluctantly.
Jondalar stayed her with a
longing look. “Not yet, me
dearest.” He stepped closer and took her
basket and set it on the ground, then caught her in a fierce embrace. “It is this I have been pining for.”
Matilda nestled against his
massive chest and wrapped her arms around him.
He pulled her even closer until she could scarcely breathe.
“I long to lay with ye,
Matilda,” he whispered, “and make ye truly me own. If ye but say the word?”
Matilda felt the earth
spinning around her at his words. Was
not this what she had also longed for?
For one impetuous moment she was tempted to give herself to him here in
the shadows of the cool, dark woods.
Then Lady Hafton's repeated admonitions prevailed and she shook her
“Nay. I cannot...much as I wish.” Her cheeks flamed with the admission, but her
honest nature would not allow her to deceive the man she loved.
“Aye, sweet Matilda. Yer innocence is the part of ye I love the
best. And it would be wrong to besmirch
He held her away from him and
gazed at her lovingly, and she thought her thundering heart would surely burst
with happiness. The guard had said he
“We have no means for
marrying,” Jondalar told her sadly. “But
if ye bind yerself to me in secret, I doubt not the time will soon come that I
can take ye for me wife.”
Matilda's brilliant smile
told Jondalar her answer before she spoke.
And her words were lost in a long kiss that sealed the promise.