I’m pleased to be able to share an extract from A Stolen Knight’s Kiss for my slot on the blog tour, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.
In this scene, Nicholas d’Amberly reprimands a thief who stole an important coded missive that would help protect the Crown of England, but finds that the thief is a maid. Nevertheless, he must get the missive back and by any means…
The young thief was spirited if a little foolhardy, which Nicholas could not help but admire. He wondered for a moment about this maid’s past and what had led her to thievery.
Desperation, no doubt, something which Nicholas knew all too well. Such were the lengths people would go to when hungry and destitute. And all manner of ill-advised deeds and crimes they would commit when they were desperate.
He blinked, pushing away any twinges of regret he might have for this young woman. This whole situation could quite easily be remedied if the thief handed back his pouch and answered a few pertinent questions.
‘You believe that I cannot?’
‘I… I believe that you are being deliberately vexatious, Sir Nicholas.’ ‘My apology.’ He tilted his head to one side. ‘I was not informed of the courtesy I should afford thieves such as yourself. I suppose you also believe that I should let you go and wish you merry on your way?’
She lifted her head higher. ‘Have I not already expressed it so?’
‘In truth you have, and I have denied it.’
‘Well, then, we must be at an impasse.’
‘I think not, my young thief. Since I am in good spirits, despite all that you have put me through this night, I shall endeavour to give you what you want and let you go. But only in exchange. I want you to return what you took from me and to answer a few questions.’
‘Ah, I would like to be obliging, especially since I realise that I should take advantage of your good spirits, but I cannot in good faith promise you that.’
‘And do you have good faith attached to your name? In fact, what is your given name? You seem to have full knowledge of mine.’
She frowned. ‘Why should that signify in any way?’
‘You know, my little thief, you have answered nary a question that I have put to you and I begin to grow weary. Answer me. Your name, if you please.’
‘I applaud your manners, sir. It makes me inclined to say that my given name can be whatever you wish it to be.’
The maid was beginning to be tiresome. ‘Coyness does not suit you. Your name.’
‘Eva.’ She exhaled. ‘Eva Siward.’
‘Well, Mistress Eva, that was not so difficult, was it? Shall we try another?’
‘On the condition you let go of me.’
‘You do not set the conditions, mistress.’ He shook his head, knowing that he could not afford to let go of her wrists. ‘I am afraid I cannot do that. Not until I have some satisfaction.’
‘But must you restrain me?’
‘Oh, I must, just in case you attempt to bolt out of this chamber or draw out another dagger, which I have little time for. And if you wish to avoid being handled in such a manner then I would advise you to think twice about stealing.’ He leaned in. ‘As I have been told it is a terrible sin.’
She looked away, so he used the crook of his finger under her chin to bring her gaze back to him.
‘Now, listen carefully, Mistress Thief. I want you to hand me the pouch you stole. And I want it now.’
‘I am afraid I cannot do that.’
‘I have humoured this nonsense long enough. Now, I will you ask once again—where is it?’
His jaw hardened as he pierced her with a penetrating gaze and continued to hold her in place with one hand, while using the other to skim her waist, looking for a belt, wondering whether she might have tied the pouch to one since it did not seem to be on her person. Frowning, Nicholas knew that she could not have had time to hide it somewhere at the inn before she’d burst into this chamber, otherwise Savaric would have come up to inform him.
‘It is not here,’ she murmured, holding his gaze.
‘Then where?’ The woman remained silent. ‘Hell’s teeth, I asked: where?’
‘I had the foresight to…to hide it first before I ventured back. Far away from here.’
He exhaled through his teeth. ‘You did what?’
‘I believe you heard.’
Captured by a knight…
Rescued by his kiss!
When orphan Eva loses the father-figure who’d protected her on the streets of London, she suspects the Knights of Fortitude. But when she steals information from them, she’s caught by brooding knight Nicholas. Learning he might not be the villain after all, she puts her distrust aside to work with him, yet Eva must stay focussed – and not get distracted when they share a stolen kiss!
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Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes sweeping historical romance and is the winner of The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.
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