The Mistress of Normandy - Сьюзен Виггс - Читать онлайн любовный роман

В женской библиотеке Мир Женщины кроме возможности читать онлайн также можно скачать любовный роман - The Mistress of Normandy - Сьюзен Виггс бесплатно.

Правообладателям | Топ-100 любовных романов

The Mistress of Normandy - Сьюзен Виггс - Читать любовный роман онлайн в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net
The Mistress of Normandy - Сьюзен Виггс - Скачать любовный роман в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net

Виггс Сьюзен

The Mistress of Normandy

Читать онлайн

Аннотация к роману
«The Mistress of Normandy» - Сьюзен Виггс

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs transports readers to the lush French countryside of Normandy in a tale of love, family honor and true knights in shining armor[unknown-8230]
Следующая страница

1 Страница

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs transports readers to the lush French countryside of Normandy in a tale of love, family honor and true knights in shining armor…

“Wiggs adds humor, brains and a certain cultivation

that will leave readers anticipating her next romance.”

—Publishers Weekly on The Drifter

“Susan Wiggs delves deeply into her characters’ hearts

and motivations to touch our own.”

—RT Book Reviews on The Mistress

“[Wiggs] has created a quiet page-turner

that will hold readers spellbound as the relationships,

characters and story unfold. Fans of historical romances

will naturally flock to this skillfully executed

[Chicago Fire] trilogy.”

—Publishers Weekly on The Firebrand

“Susan Wiggs masterfully combines real historical events

with a powerful captive/captor romance and…

draws readers in with her strong writing style….”

—RT Book Reviews on The Hostage


Contemporary Romances

Home Before Dark

The Ocean Between Us

Summer by the Sea

Table for Five

Lakeside Cottage

Just Breathe

The Goodbye Quilt

The Lakeshore Chronicles

Summer at Willow Lake

The Winter Lodge


Snowfall at Willow Lake


Lakeshore Christmas

The Summer Hideaway

Marrying Daisy Bellamy

Return to Willow Lake

Candlelight Christmas

The Bella Vista Chronicles

The Apple Orchard

The Beekeeper’s Ball

Historical Romances

The Lightkeeper

The Drifter

The Tudor Rose Trilogy

At the King’s Command

The Maiden’s Hand

At the Queen’s Summons

Chicago Fire Trilogy

The Hostage

The Mistress

The Firebrand

Calhoun Chronicles

The Charm School

The Horsemaster’s Daughter

Halfway to Heaven

Enchanted Afternoon

A Summer Affair

Look for Susan Wiggs’s next novel


available soon from Harlequin MIRA

The Mistress of Normandy

Susan Wiggs

Refreshed version of THE LILY AND THE LEOPARD,

newly revised by author



Back Cover Text


Title Page






























January 1414

He sat naked in a wooden tub; the King of England loomed at his back. He shivered, tensed, and awaited a sluice of cold water from Henry V’s own hand.

The wind whistled, harmonizing with the voices in the shadows of the stone chamber.

“Always thought he’d earn his spurs on the battlefield,” remarked Thomas, Duke of Clarence. “Enguerrand Fitzmarc is the king’s own avenger. He served us right well at Anjou.”

“It was a different dragon Rand slew for the House of Lancaster,” said Richard Courtenay. The Bishop of Norwich leaned forward, the rushlight giving his face a ghostly aspect. “A far more deadly dragon,” he added. “God in heaven, Tom, if not for Rand, you and your brother the king would be but carcasses carved up and served by the Lollards to the Thames.”

Listening, Rand felt pride in Courtenay’s tribute. Then he felt shame in that pride. What had he done, after all, save overhear a plot of ill-guided religious fanatics? A peasant could have done as much. But it hadn’t been a peasant; it had been Rand, gone a-harping at twilight, stumbling into intrigue, barely escaping with his hide intact to alert the king at Eltham.

“Are you ready,” King Henry said with quiet solemnity, “to wash away your former life?”

Rand paused before delivering the expected response. Unlike many aspirants who yearned for the glory of knighthood, he did not want to shed his former life: the quiet sunsets over Arundel keep, the baying of the alaunts on a hunt, the silvery tones of his harp across the heaths of Sussex, the warmth of Justine’s hand in his.... Jesu, could he wash her away?

The men in the chamber fell silent. The king waited.

“Aye, Your Grace,” said Rand.

Water, blessed by the bishop and chilled by the January air, drenched Rand from head to toe, crawling like rivers of ice over his naked flesh. He sat unflinching, although inside he clenched every nerve against the cold.

Jack Cade, Rand’s scutifer, stepped forward. Awkwardly Jack held a pair of barber’s shears in his maimed hand. He flashed an irreverent grin as he bent to his task, the crude scissors biting into Rand’s golden locks. “Enough baths like this,” Jack muttered, taking up a razor, “and you’ll be well able to hold to your vow of chastity.” The razor nicked Rand’s chin.

Hearing King Henry clear his throat, Rand swallowed his laughter. “Hush, Jack, and mind that blade. The shearing’s supposed to show my submission to God, not to your clumsiness.”

Washed clean of his former life and shorn of his former identity, Rand was dressed in shirt, hose, and shoes—black, the color of death, that he might never forget his own mortality. Over this he wore a white tunic for purity, then a red cloak of surpassing richness to show his nobility and willingness to shed blood for God and his king.

Jack secured a white belt around Rand’s waist. “Another symbol of chastity,” he whispered, disgusted. “Would you like me to loosen it, Enguerrand Sans Tache?”

Edward, the portly Duke of York, sniffed. “Mind your manners, varlet.”

King Henry’s dark eyes glinted beneath a shock of straight brown hair. “Leave off your scolding, cousin. Tom did contrive the title Sans Tache—the Spotless—in jest. And yet...” Henry’s sharp gaze assessed the aspirant. “I do find it fitting. By my troth, Rand, were you born with that damned saintly countenance, or is it merely an affectation? Never mind, we’ve a long night ahead of us. We can talk then.” He grinned at Rand’s thunderstruck look. “Aye,” said the king, “I do mean to sit vigil with you.”

Rand sank to one knee. “Your Grace, you do me too much honor to stand as my sponsor.

“We shall see, Enguerrand Fitzmarc, if you think that is so on the morrow.” King Henry turned and led the way through the winding passageways of Westminster, up two newel staircases from the confessor’s chapel, to the chantry Henry had built to honor Bolingbroke, his father. Rand’s new weapons and armor lay on the altar steps, his sword on the altar itself.

Courtenay said mass, then intoned, “Hearken, O Lord, to our prayers, and bless with the right hand of Thy majesty this sword with which Thy servant desires to be girded.”

Rand stared at the sword, a gift from King Henry. Girded...nay, more likely shackled, he thought. Yet the bright blade, wrought of Poitiers steel, inlaid with gold, its cruciform hilt glinting with the single green eye of an emerald, beckoned to something deep inside him.

Following mass, the celebrants filed slowly out of the chapel. Rand remained kneeling before the altar, pondering the sword and all it meant to him.

Henry sat down on a prie-dieu. “I’ll stay hard by, to give you encouragement, to prod you if the temptation to sleep becomes too great.” Grinning, he added, “Though you’re unlikely to fall asleep on your knees.”

Rand resisted the urge to shift restlessly. The cold stone flags pressed into his bones.

The king leaned back and crossed his ankles. “You’re well formed, Rand Fitzmarc. My brother of Clarence says you once vaulted a battlement at Anjou without a ladder. How tall be you?”

Remembering that an aspirant should pass the night in tacit meditation, Rand lowered his eyes and kept silent.

“Come, you may speak,” said the king. “There are things I would know about the man who saved my neck. Did you indeed vault the battlement?”

Rand flushed. “It was a common wall, not a battlement. I heard a woman crying on the other side, saw flames rising. There was no time to call for a ladder.”

“I see. So, how tall be you?”

“A hand...nay, two, perhaps, past six feet, Your Grace.”

“And did you deliver the woman from the flames?”

Rand glanced at his hands, folded in prayer. The knuckles of the left one were sleek with scars. “Aye.”

“How came you to learn your battle skills?”

“From my father, Marc de Beaumanoir. He was captured by the Earl of Arundel’s men at St.Malo, and held prisoner at Arundel. He was never able to raise his ransom.”

“So he stayed in England, got a son, and raised him up to be a knight,” Henry finished, satisfied.

Rand looked up. The king had spoken in French. Politeness dictated that he answer in kind. “He did, mon sire, but never found the means for my initiation into knighthood.”

“You’ve earned it by denouncing the Lollard plot. Damned religious zealots.”

Hearing the quiver of pain in the king’s voice, Rand said, “Mon sire, I do not believe your friend John Oldcastle was among the conspirators at Eltham.” One corner of his mouth rose in a crooked grin. “Oldcastle would never have let me escape.”

Henry nodded. “You’re right. You’re...” His voice trailed off, and his eyes danced with a keen light. “You’re speaking in French, by God!” He threw his head back, and his laughter ricocheted through the chantry. “Your French is as flawless as your reputation. Faith, but I see the hand of God in this.”

Rand felt a prickle of apprehension in his fast-numbing limbs. God’s hand lent convenience to many of the young king’s schemes.

Henry’s laughter stopped abruptly. He leaned toward Rand, eyes ablaze with an inner fire, brighter than the light from the tapers on the altar. “Have you lands?”

“No, Your Grace. I am bastard born, and Beaumanoir was seized by the French Crown.”

“Are you betrothed?”

Rand hesitated. The banns had not been posted; Jussie had insisted on waiting until his campaigning with Clarence was over. Still, their vows had been spoken to the stars above the Sussex heaths, long ago....

“Well?” King Henry prodded.

“Not yet, Your Grace, but there is a girl—”

“A commoner?”

“She is not of noble blood, sire, but there is nothing common about her.”

Henry smiled. “Spoken as a true knight. But I’ve your future in hand now.” Rising, he melted back into the shadows at the rear of the chantry. Rand heard him summon his advisers from their beds, heard the whispers of a conference, and felt a thin, cold knife blade of foreboding slice into his heart.

* * *

At sunrise Rand preceded the king and his nobles and ministers into the yard where the arming would take place. His mind nearly as numb as his limbs, he was clad in hauberk, cuirass, and gauntlets. A white linen cotte d’armes, emblazoned with the gold Plantagenet leopard, was drawn over his head. Around Rand’s neck hung an amulet, another of King Henry’s gifts. The talisman, too, bore the leopard rampant and the motto A vaillans coeurs riens impossible. To valiant hearts nothing is impossible.

Symbols and ceremonies, thought Rand. They seemed so strange to a bastard-born horse soldier.

The Earl of Arundel bent and affixed the golden spurs to Rand’s heels. “Your father would be right proud, lad, to see you thus,” he said.

“Aye,” said Rand, “he would.” But not Justine. Jussie would know the cost of his new status.

Spurs whirring, Rand approached the king and held out his hand. Henry laid the gleaming naked sword over his palm.

“On this blade,” Henry said, “depends not only your life, but the destiny of a kingdom.” He girded the sword to Rand’s right side, and Rand knelt before him.

“I do mean that, my friend,” Henry said. “I intend to grant you lands and a wife, and style you a baron.”

Rand’s heart raced. Jesu, a title and lands. And a wife. His heart stilled.

“The barony is Bois-Long—Longwood—on the river Somme in Picardy,” Henry said. “The lady is the Demoiselle Belliane, niece of the Duke of Burgundy. Her lands rightfully belong to England. I claim her as my subject, and have the right to order her marriage. Burgundy and I have an agreement.”

Belliane. She was yet faceless, soulless. But her name skewered Rand’s hopes like a flaming arrow.

Eagerly Henry leaned forward. “Bois-Long guards a causeway where an army can cross the Somme. I need a loyal noble stationed there if my campaign to win back my French lands is to succeed.”

Dashed dreams and disillusionment raked at Rand’s heart.

Henry said, “With your new rank come privileges, my lord, but also responsibilities.” His gaze held the fierce power of royal determination. “This alliance is my will.”

The king’s will. Nothing was more sacred, more compelling. Not even the promise Rand had made to Jussie. The ground beneath his knees felt as if it were falling away. His will rebelled at the idea of going to a hostile land, of marrying a stranger. As Rand Fitzmarc, he might have ducked the obligation. Yet as Baron of Longwood, he had no choice.

Staring hard at the king, he said heavily, “Your will be done, sire.”

The king smiled, bent low to give Rand the kiss of peace, and drew his own blade. Bringing the broad side down onto Rand’s shoulders, he said, “Rise, Enguerrand Fitzmarc, first Baron of Longwood. Be thou a knight.”


Получить полную версию книги можно по ссылке - Здесь

Следующая страница

Ваши комментарии
к роману The Mistress of Normandy - Сьюзен Виггс

Комментарии к роману "The Mistress of Normandy - Сьюзен Виггс" отсутствуют

Ваше имя


Введите сумму чисел с картинки