Welcome, welcome! This is where I give you the first 500 words of a book, and you get to decide would you read further or is the journey over for you. Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you would do - read on or stop.
Let me start with 500 of my words. These are the first 500 words of my medieval romance, The Bride Gift.
Spring, 1193, North of England
Guy of Helston hated heights.
Dangling sixty feet from the ground and hanging on by his fingernails was not what he’d had in mind when he declared at the tender age of eight summers that come what may, he would one day win a title. Mayhap it was his just deserts for foolishly declaring to his brother, Crispin, he would stop at nothing to achieve his ambition.
Guy grabbed the next handhold. It had seemed such a good idea from the ground. Roger had made it sound like the logical course. For certes easier than lengthy explanations yelled at the gatehouse for all within earshot to hear. The earl had led him to the hidden postern gate and they’d slipped undetected through the curtain wall into the inner bailey.
The castle bristled with men at arms. A witch’s cauldron of trouble brewed around their lady. Change crackled in the wind with new rumours circulating faster than flies on a midden heap. The war between King Stephen and Empress Maude ripped through the land and threatened all.
An owl hooted. Roger’s warning. Guy froze. A soft tramp of feet signalled the guard. Beneath him, two men at arms passed into view. All it would take was for one of them to glance up. The sentries stopped and changed direction. He counted a heartbeat more and continued his ascent.
Closer he climbed to the open casement. He forced himself to go slowly. One hand at a time, find the foothold before moving on. A slip now would mean certain death.
The casement inched nearer. He got his fingers over the edge and hauled his aching muscles onto the window embrasure. He rested with half his body hanging off the edge and his boots still wedged against the rough rock. The rope around his waist jerked.
"Jesu." He glared into the shadows below him. Could he not just have a moment to catch his breath?
He slithered into the dark beyond the embrasure. Then stopped, his senses alert to discovery.
He jerked the line. The rope grew taut, and Guy braced his feet against the wall. Roger was many summers past the wall scaling age, but needs must. The rope strained across Guy’s back as Roger climbed.
Roger was a smaller man, but compact and muscular. Guy gritted his teeth, his muscles protesting the extra effort. He didn’t make a sound as he hauled, hand over hand, the rope hissing softly over the edge of the casement. He prayed Roger was right and the lady was not a light sleeper.
A fine tremor shook Guy’s arms.
Roger’s head finally popped over the lip of the embrasure. The earl was breathing hard, perspiration streaming in rivulets down his cheeks. He slipped over the edge and landed beside Guy.
“What did I tell you?” Roger whispered. “She has the place sewn up tighter than a duck’s arse.” He beamed with pride. “That is my Nell.”
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