It's Christmas at Summerfield Castle and the deVere twins, Gavin and William, have always shared everything. Their women are no exception.
Now the younger twin, Gavin, is pledged to marry Lady Evelyn fitzSimmons to provide him with estates. He fears the wealthy widow may dampen his lusty pleasures...but she has other plans.
Publisher's Note: This story was previously available in the anthology Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
November 13, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from A Gift of Gold by Ann Jacobs
A love match. Lady Evelyn fitzSimmons paced her tower room at Summerfield, coveting the painfully obvious mutual emotions she'd seen passing between her betrothed husband's handsome parents.
Not that she'd seen them from any less distance than she'd glimpsed Sir Gavin, soon to become her bridegroom. Upon her arrival at Summerfield yesterday, she'd begged Lady Jasmine not to reveal her presence, to allow her to remain in the guest tower alone to contemplate her upcoming wedding. Evelyn glanced down at her ample curves and tried not to envy her future mother-in-law's lithe, slender body.
No way could she, with her love for good food and fine wine, starve off enough flesh in five short days to compare with Lady Jasmine...not that she'd do it if she could. Not even for Sir Gavin, with his great height, powerful body, and a face that would do justice to a dark angel. Evelyn reminded herself her betrothed was wedding with her for her estates, not because he loved her or even desired her person.
She shouldn't mind that. After all, she'd wed with the elderly and bellicose Baron fitzSimmons four years earlier for the wealth and position he'd offered. As she'd done then, her betrothed could always visualize the land and castles that came with her if looking at her made him regret his decision.
But what if Gavin couldn't stomach the thought of bedding her? Unlike women, men had to summon a measure of passion ere they could perform in the marriage bed. While she'd found some, like her late husband, who'd appreciated her ample curves, she'd come across a good many potential suitors who'd run at the thought of bedding a woman whose waist they couldn't span with their two hands. Handsome, virile men like the one she was about to wed.
You're naught but the veriest coward, Evelyn. Otherwise you'd not be cowering in the shadows, keeping your presence secret from Sir Gavin and the castle folk. Though she chided herself for a fool, Evelyn had stayed glued to the peephole in the tower's thick stone wall, afraid to face her betrothed and mayhaps see revulsion spreading across his angel face.
"My lady?" The maid set a brimming tray of food on the table by the single window.
Obviously Cook had gotten word from someone--probably the serving girls who'd been setting the high table when Evelyn had arrived--of her generous proportions, and assumed she possessed a healthy appetite. By Evelyn's quick calculation, the wench had brought enough meat, cheese, bread and wine to serve the entire high table. She fought down feelings of resentment that had naught to do with the slender maid who'd inadvertently caused those sour emotions to surface.
Evelyn made herself smile at the housemaid who apparently intended to stay and help her ready herself for bed. "What's your name, girl?"
"Mavis, m'lady. I'd help you with yer clothes if I may, so's I can answer m'lord Gavin's summons. He doesn't like having to wait." The wench's knowing grin hinted her purpose with Evelyn's intended would be more pleasurable than merely assisting him at his bath.
An idea began to form. What if... "Mavis, do you think I might take your place? My lord Gavin knows me not. I'd--"
"Fuck 'im, m'lady? For that's what he's summoned me to do. He's asked for two, though. I suppose ye could disguise yerself and take Henny's place."
"Two?" She'd heard of the debauchery that went on with the young lords and knights at Summerfield, but she'd not believed until now that it went so far. Still...the idea of deceiving Gavin intrigued her. 'Twas a way, though a dangerous one, to learn whether he found her curves appealing--or appalling. "I'll do it, but I want him to believe I'm a servant girl."
It would serve her satyr of a future husband right to fuck her, not knowing he'd be doing it nightly soon enough. And he wouldn't be able to help feeling at least a bit abashed once he learned the real identity of the strange woman he'd plowed just days before taking marriage vows with her.
Mavis gave her a critical once-over. "Ye'll need clothes. And ye'd better not talk like the fine lady you are. Wait. I'll borrow a gown from Cook. She be about yer size."
Her ego stung a bit by Mavis's last remark, Evelyn stripped down to her plain white linen shift. Excitement won out over the sense of uneasiness that lingered in the back of her mind. "By God, I'll test out the bonny lad I'm weddin' and he'll be none the wiser."
While Evelyn twirled about, getting into the role of a wanton serving girl and testing the manner of speaking she'd use, Mavis returned with a drab blue garment.
It smelled like grease from the cooking fire and felt like grit against skin used to velvets and satin. Evelyn wrinkled her nose in disgust. Her disguise had better work to make wearing this rag worthwhile.
As they went downstairs, crossed the great hall, and ascended a steep curving stairway to another of Summerville's crenellated towers, Evelyn silently laughed at the prospect of putting one over on her lascivious future husband.
"Let's tell him yer name's Evie, m'lady. Yer name be pretty, but it'd never belong to a serving wench."
Evelyn laughed out loud. "Fine. Evie it is, but ye'd best not be callin' me m'lady unless ye want to spoil his surprise."