Who loves a good knight in shining armor tale? Or maybe an overlord who’s domineering, who has a friend who’s a bit of a smartass? What sort of woman would attract them both? I “heart” Gisele big-time! She’s tart, smart and lusty.
Well, this is my latest “new-old” story—one I recently got back the rights for. I gave it a polish and my sister made a pretty cover for me, and here it is. I hope you enjoy this peak inside…
Are you a fan of medieval tales? Are they something
you’d like to see more of from me?
Gisele, “The Witch of Grimoult”, has ended a long vow of celibacy, taken to ensure her independence from any man. Her new lover, Tibor the sheriff, isn’t any real threat because his reputation assures her he won’t be a possessive man. He’s lusty and charming, but the last thing he wants is to saddle himself with one woman.
When a wolf threatens her livelihood, she seeks aid from the new “Lord Grim”, never anticipating his price will be a night in his bed. What’s a woman to do? Lord Grim’s possessive stare and fierce loving make her crave his mastery of her body. But then, the wolf injures the sheriff, Gisele and Lord Grim pull together to save him from becoming a monster.
Excerpt from Lord Grim’s Witch:
Gisele had heard the new Lord Grimoult was a mountain of a man, strong and courageous in battle and wise as Solomon in his judgments. Which was exactly why she’d come—for protection and justice.
What she hadn’t heard was that he could leave a woman trembling and damp with one searing glance.
The moment his gaze lifted from the scroll spread over the table in front of him, she forgot how to breathe. When the room began to teeter, she drew a deep breath to steady herself and stepped over the threshold into his chamber, all the while scolding herself sternly for the lapse.
What was one devilishly handsome man?
He was flanked at the oak table by another sinfully attractive specimen—one she’d easily resisted a second time after their late-night tryst. She’d sent the sheriff on his way after the wolf had already done its damage.
Just as dark, just as well made, the sheriff had never sent her belly into quivers or caused her nipples to sprout against her gown just from a look.
Perhaps it was the power Lord “Grim” embodied—his will ruled everyone within this demesne, including her. Certainly, her arousal had nothing to do with the thick, black hair that fell in heavy coils to his muscled shoulders. Her interest couldn’t be piqued by the moustache and beard framing a lush mouth any woman would envy. The dark brows casting deep shadows over eyes as black as a moonless sky at midnight weren’t the cause of her fluttering heartbeat or the sinking feeling that quickly swamped her with unwanted reminders she’d remained celibate for far too long. One night with the handsome sheriff hadn’t quenched her need.
She was nervous—that was all. And perhaps primed for arousal by her wicked romp the previous night.
Hopefully, it was just the lure of the unknown. When she learned the new master’s true nature, he would be as easily dismissed from her thoughts as every man she’d ever encountered, including the sheriff.
But she must find his faults and quickly. If she could happen upon the one that would render his appeal null, she’d fare better in the long run. The sheriff had drawn her eye when he’d first taken up his duty—he was handsome and dark like she preferred. Yet she’d catalogued his physical and character flaws to firm her resistance against his beauty. His hair wasn’t a deep, dark chestnut—it was closer to the color of the mud beneath her sheep trough. His eyes weren’t as green as spring grass—they were more like the sludgy moss that grew at the bottom of her well bucket. And she’d cleaned it thoroughly to remove the ugly sludge—just as she had her attraction to the sheriff—after she’d satisfied her carnal curiosity.
Ballocks! The sheriff had caught her staring and no doubt noted her scowl. His sly smile deepened, and he sat back in his chair as though waiting for the entertainment to begin.
Did he think he knew her well enough to surmise her attraction to their overlord?
Gisele stepped deeper into the lord’s chamber just as his steward bent to whisper in his ear.
Again, Lord Grim’s glance sliced through her, and the room began to spin—or were her knees wobbling? Whichever was true, she drew another deep breath and cursed the fact this was the man she’d come to beg a boon. He was too large, too imposing—and far too handsome for her not to stare and stutter in his presence. Even seated, with only his upper body visible, she knew his height and breadth would dwarf her slender frame. And she preferred large men.
“The witch, sire,” the steward said, his lip curling in distaste. “She insisted on speaking with you. Egbert was afraid to deny her entrance lest she curse him with pox. I tried to dissuade her, but she was quite insistent.”
She chafed at the idiot’s derision. Like so many in the demesne, she was welcomed only when her cures were needed. At all other times, she was reviled—even feared. Yet the new lord’s expression held only curiosity as his gaze slipped from her face to her breasts and lower.
Gisele unclenched her hands, which were buried in the folds of her gown and forced them to relax at her sides. She did her best to ignore the heat that singed every place his gaze touched and tried to remember the chill autumn wind that had cut through her gown on the trek here.
Growing more nervous by the moment, she wanted to say her piece and be gone. His lordship would grant her request—or not. The sooner she quit this place the better. She’d never felt so unlike herself as she did standing there, waiting on this man’s indulgence.
“Come forward, mistress,” Lord Grim said, with an impatient wave.
His voice was a smooth, deep rumble that seduced the hairs on her arms and neck to lift, as easily as he must seduce the servant girls to raise their skirts.
She approached him, pride keeping her steps purposeful and her back straight as a post. Thank goodness the state of her stomach wasn’t as visible. The closer she drew to his dark, intense stare, the deeper the shivers that crept down her spine. She tightened her thighs to stem the moisture gathering between her legs.
She curled her hands tighter to prevent reaching up to smooth back her wild hair. So he’d see what a mess it always was—it was but one flaw among many. The preeminent one being her station in this small keep. She was already deemed a hag due to her talent with herbs and the gift that flowed from her hands.
His gaze rose to her face, unwavering, discomposing. Her steps faltered as she drew to a halt, but luckily her long skirts hid the misstep. At the last moment, she curtsied, bowing her head in deference.
“You’ve come with a petition?”
“I have, milord,” she said, cursing the breathless quality of her voice, but she really couldn’t help it. He must be accustomed to women swooning so her slight betrayal of composure should be unnoticeable.
Except the corners of his perfect mouth crimped upward. “Would you like to take a seat?”
Her eyes widened. Sit in his presence? At his table? Even the steward looked askance at his overlord. Did he think her clumsy due to infirmity? She drew a deep breath pulling her affront around her like a cloak. Damnation, but he wasn’t going to make a fool of her. “Thank you, no, sire. I prefer to stand.”
“Your petition,” he reminded her.
Caught for a moment staring into his black eyes, she blurted, “Yes. Um, I’ve come on a grave matter, milord.” Then she frantically searched her mind for her purpose. Good lord, he’d addled her brain.
He sighed. “Take your time.”
“Wolves,” she sputtered, blushing. “A wolf damaged my sheep pen and frightened them into injuring themselves in their enclosure. One is dead. No doubt the sheriff has already told you about the attack.”
The sheriff and his lordship shared a glance then turned back to her, no hint of their thoughts in their shuttered expressions.
“You said wolves?” Lord Grim asked, his voice so calm it piqued her interest.
“I saw only one wolf, sire.” Never would she admit she’d misspoken due to her unease.
His head canted as though the answer to her question held his entire focus. “And you’re certain there’s only one?”
“I saw only one. I don’t know whether there are others.”
“A lone rogue,” the sheriff murmured.
Lord Grim shrugged, giving away nothing of his thoughts. “Perhaps.”
Gisele grew impatient with the questioning. They didn’t appear ready to act quickly. “I demand you do something about it,” she said, more forcefully than she’d intended. “And I would like recompense for my loss.”
Her chin rose, and despite the fact she knew she must seem anything but deferent to his rank, she stared him straight in the eye. “As you serve your overlord and expect his protection and support in return, so do I serve you and expect the same. Your man,” she said, nodding toward the sheriff, “was keeping watch last night when the sheep was killed.”
“Yes, Tibor was keeping watch, wasn’t he?” the lord said, giving the sheriff a narrowed glance while his fingers drummed the table.
“She refuses to move inside the bailey until we’ve taken care of the problem, milord,” the steward said, sniffing. “I say, she takes her own chances.”
“I’d like to get back to the matter of service,” came the sheriff’s sly murmur.