Mad Knight's Bride, The
A man with no memory and no name … but with a brutal past that could destroy the woman who gave him a new life, passion … love. His face might have inspired the name Elaine bestowed upon him—Gabriel—but he’s anything but angelic.
Length: Mid Novel
Word Count: 77,131
Genre: Historical/Fantasy Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Eliza Black, December 2005
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Off the Coast of Northumbria
Elaine of Rockland stood at the bow of her ship, squinting bleary eyes against the icy winter wind. She and her crew had spent a frightening night fighting to keep their course through an ice storm. Had Rockland not been so desperate for money and goods, they never would have ventured out until spring. Their people were hungry, many were sick, and the raids earlier that year had left them with little resources and in dire need of repairs. Elaine and her crew were forced to sail up the coast of Essex all the way to Northumbria and possibly to Scotland, if necessary, to gather supplies for their survival.
Thus far most villages had been unwilling or unable to trade in the midst of winter. They needed their supplies for themselves, since Rockland was not the only village which had been sacked from summer to autumn. Though Viking raids were far less common than in earlier years, bands of outlaws throughout the land destroyed many of the smaller villages. William Blackridge, a man who had once been one of the finest knights in the land but had turned to looting, led a particularly fierce band of raiders. Only through a recent failed attack on a village called Ravenhill, under the protection of a Viking who had converted to serve the king, had Blackridge’s dishonorable actions been revealed to the king and his raiders disbanded. The knight was now an outlaw with an enormous price on his head.
And I hope someone finds him and cuts his head off, Elaine thought. Actually, beheading is too good for him. He deserves to suffer as he made others suffer, as he’s made every man, woman, and child in Rockland suffer.
“It’s cold, but if the weather stays clear, we should reach Ravenhill soon,” Ezekiel, Elaine’s brother, said as he came to stand beside her.
Elaine nodded. Since hearing of Ravenhill’s success against Sir William Blackridge’s raiders, they had decided to approach them for trade. If Ravenhill possessed such a fine army, perhaps they retained the resources to assist Rockland.
“I hope this won’t be another futile attempt,” Elaine said, folding her arms across her chest to keep some warmth beneath her worn, frost-covered cloak. She lifted her chin and shook a tendril of thick black hair from her face. Always rebellious, Elaine defied fashion and refused to bind her hair; however, loose hair was the least of her feminine sins. Most of the time she dressed as a man with breeches, boots, and loose shirts. She even owned chain mail and a fine sword, which she treasured above all else. The weapon had saved her life many times in the past and she was sure it would continue to do so in the future.
Though a woman living in an age ruled by men, Elaine had endured physical and emotional hardships to earn her people’s respect. They considered both her and Ezekiel the leaders of Rockland.
“We haven’t got the best supplies to barter with,” Ezekiel said. “People don’t want embroidery in the middle of winter.”
“We also have the dried herbs,” Elaine added. Such herbs were extremely valuable for healing. The people of Rockland had gathered an overabundance that summer. “Someone is bound to want... What is that?”
Elaine placed her hands on the ship’s wooden rail and stared closer at the water.
“What?” Ezekiel joined her. “I don’t see any-- God, it looks like a man!”