Tamara Leigh Novels
The Yielding Excerpt
Tamara Leigh Novels
About The Author
Book One in the Age of Faith series
TAMARA LEIGH, USA Today Best-Selling Author
12th Century England. Two men vie for the throne: King Stephen, the usurper, and young Duke Henry, the rightful heir. Amid civil and private wars, alliances are forged, loyalties are betrayed, families are divided, and marriages are made.
For four years, Lady Annyn Bretanne has trained at arms with one end in mind—to avenge her brother’s murder as God has not deemed it worthy to do. Disguised as a squire, she sets off to exact revenge on a man known only by his surname, Wulfrith. But when she holds his fate in her hands, her will wavers and her heart whispers that her enemy may not be an enemy after all.
Baron Wulfrith, renowned trainer of knights, allows no women within his walls for the distraction they breed. What he never expects is that the impetuous young man sent to train under him is a woman who seeks his death—nor that her unveiling will test his faith and distract the warrior from his purpose.
TAMARA LEIGH NOVELS
INSPIRATIONAL HISTORICAL TITLES
The Feud: A Medieval Romance Series
Baron of Godsmere: Book One, 01/15: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
Age of Faith: A Medieval Romance Series
The Unveiling: Book One, 08/12: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
The Yielding: Book Two, 12/12: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
The Redeeming: Book Three, 05/13: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
The Kindling: Book Four, 11/13: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
The Longing: Book Five, 05/14: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
CLEAN READ HISTORICAL TITLES
Dreamspell: a medieval time travel romance, 03/12 Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
Lady At Arms: a “clean read” rewrite of the 1994 Bantam Books bestseller Warrior Bride, 01/14: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
Lady Of Eve: a “clean read” rewrite of the 1994 Bantam Books bestseller Virgin Bride, 06/14: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
Lady Of Fire: a “clean read” rewrite of the 1995 Bantam Books bestseller Pagan Bride, 11/14: Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
INSPIRATIONAL CONTEMPORARY TITLES
Southern Discomfort Series
Leaving Carolina, RandomHouse/Multnomah, 2009
Nowhere, Carolina, RandomHouse/Multnomah, 2010
Restless in Carolina, RandomHouse/Multnomah, 2011
Stealing Adda, 05/12 (ebook edition) Amazon, B&N, iBooks Store, Kobo Books
Stealing Adda, NavPress, 2006 (print edition)
Perfecting Kate, Multnomah, 2007
Splitting Harriet, RandomHouse/Multnomah, 2007
Faking Grace, RandomHouse/Multnomah, 2008
OUT-OF-PRINT GENERAL MARKET TITLES
Warrior Bride, Bantam Books, 1994
*Virgin Bride, Bantam Books, 1994
Pagan Bride, Bantam Books, 1995
Saxon Bride, Bantam Books, 1995
Misbegotten, HarperCollins, 1996
Unforgotten, HarperCollins, 1997
Blackheart, Dorchester Leisure, 2001
*Virgin Bride is the sequel to Warrior Bride
Pagan Pride and Saxon Bride are stand-alone novels
THE UNVEILING Copyright © 2012 by Tammy Schmanski, P.O. Box 1298, Goodlettsville, TN 37070, firstname.lastname@example.org
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, incidents, and dialogues are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.
All rights reserved. This book is a copyrighted work and no part of it may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photographic, audio recording, or any information storage and retrieval system) without permission in writing from the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the author’s permission is illegal and punishable by law. Thank you for supporting authors’ rights by purchasing only authorized editions.
Editor: S. Hunt Schmanski
Cover Design: Ravven
Lincolnshire, England, October 1149
A nightmare seized him from sleep, turned around his throat, and filled his mouth so full he could not cry out. Desperate for air, he opened his eyes onto a moonless night that denied him the face of his attacker.
By all the saints! Who dares?
He struck out, but a second attacker appeared and pitched him onto his belly. Though a foul cloth had been shoved in his mouth, the loosening of hands around his throat permitted him to wheeze breath through his nose. Then he was yanked up from the blanket on which he had made his bed distant from his lord’s tent.
Too late realizing the error of allowing dishonor to incite him to isolation, he thrust backward and nearly found his release.
Hands gripped him harder and dragged him toward the wood.
Who were these miscreants who spoke not a word? What did they intend? Would they beat him for a traitor? Worse?
A noose fell past his ears. Feeling death settle on his shoulders, he knew fear that surpassed any he had known. He shouted against the cloth, struggled to shrug out from beneath the rope, splayed and hooked his useless hands.
Lord, help me!
The cruel hands fell from him, but as he reached for the rope, it tightened and snapped his chin to his chest. An instant later, he was hoisted off his feet. He flailed and clawed at his trussed neck but was denied even the smallest breath of air.
Realizing that this night he would die for what he had intended to do...for what he had not done...for Henry, he would have sobbed like the boy he ever denied being had he the breath to do so.
Unworthy! The familiar rebuke sounded through him, though it was many months since he had been called such.
Aye, unworthy, for I cannot even die like a man.
He turned his trembling hands into fists and stilled as the lessons taught him by Lord Wulfrith numbered through his mind, the greatest being that refuge was found in God.
Feeling his life flicker like a flame taking its last sip of the wick, he embraced the calm that settled over him and set his darkening gaze on one of his attackers who stood to the right. Though he could not be certain, he thought the man’s back was turned to him. Then he heard the wheezing of one who also suffered a lack of breath.
A mute cry of disbelief parted his lips. Of all those who might have done this, never would he have believed—
Darkness stole his sight, swelled his heart, and brought to mind a beloved image. He had vowed he would not leave her, but now Annyn would be alone.
Forgive me, he pleaded across the leagues that separated them. Pray, forgive me.
As death tightened its hold, he could not help but weep inside himself for the foolishness that had sent him to the noose.
His body convulsed and, with his last presence of mind, he once more turned heavenward. Do not let her be too long alone, God. Pray, do not.
Annyn Bretanne lowered her gaze from the moonless mantle of stars. “Jonas...” She pressed a hand over her heart. Whence came this foreboding? And why this feeling it had something to do with her brother?
Because you were thinking of him. Because you wish him here not there.
She pushed back from the battlements and swung around. It was William, though she knew it only by the man-at-arm’s gruff voice. The night fell too black for the torches at the end of the wall-walk to light his features.
He halted. “You ought to be abed, my lady.”
As always, there was a smile in the title he bestowed. Like the others, he knew she was a lady by noble birth only. That she had stolen from bed in the middle of night further confirmed what all thought of one who, at four and ten, ought to be betrothed—perhaps even wed.
Though in such circumstances Annyn was inclined to banter with William, worry continued to weight her.
“Good eve,” she said and hastened past. Continuing to hold a hand to her heart, she descended the steps and ran to the donjon. Not until she closed the door on her chamber did she drop her hand from her chest, and only then to drag off her man’s tunic.
Falling onto her bed, she called on the one her brother assured her was always near. “Dear Lord, do not let Jonas be ill. Or hurt. Or...”
She turned aside the thought that was too terrible to think. Jonas was hale and would return from Wulfen Castle. He had promised.
She clasped her hands before her face. “Almighty God, I beseech Thee, deliver my brother home from Wulfen. Soon.”
There was but one way to enter Wulfen Castle. She must make herself into a man.
Annyn looked down her figure where she stood among the leaves of the wood. And scowled. Rather, she must make herself into a boy, for it was boys in which the Baron Wulfrith dealt—pages who aspired to squires, squires who aspired to knights. As she was too slight to disguise herself as a squire, a page would be her lot, but only long enough to assure Jonas was well.
Still haunted by foreboding, though it was now four days since it had burrowed a dark place within her, she dropped her head back against the tree beneath which she had taken cover and squinted at the sunlight that found little resistance in autumn's last leaves. If only her mother were alive to offer comfort, but it was eight years since Lady Elena had passed on. Eight years since Annyn had known her touch.
A thumping sound evidencing the wily hare had come out of the thicket, Annyn gripped her bow tighter and edged slowly around the tree as her brother had taught her.
Though the scruffy little fellow had not fully emerged, he would soon. She tossed her head to clear the hair from her brow, raised her bow, and drew the nocked arrow to her cheek.
The hare lifted its twitchy nose.
Patience. Annyn heard Jonas from two summers past. Would she hear his voice again?
Aye, she would see him when she journeyed to Wulfen Castle where he completed his squire's training with the mighty Baron Wulfrith, a man said to exercise considerable sway over the earl from whom he held his lands.
Annyn frowned as she pondered the Wulfrith name that brought to mind a snarling wolf, her imagining made more vivid by the terrible anger the man was said to possess. Since before William of Normandy had conquered England, the Wulfrith family had been known England to France for training boys into