All of England rejoiced on her wedding day. But Judith vowed that her husband would get only what he took from her!
At the flower-bedecked altar, the first touch of their hands ignited an all-consuming passion. Gavin Montgomery looked deep into her golden eyes and burned with desire for her...but his heart had been pledged to another.
Humiliated and alone in a strange castle, Judith resolved to hate this husband who took her body, but rejected her love...never admitting her fear of losing him.
But destiny held another fate for Judith...a fate that would keep at last...The Velvet Promise.
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September 03, 2003
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Excerpt from The Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux
The moon cast long shadows over the old stone tower which rose three stories high and seemed to scowl down, in a tired way, at the broken and crumbling wall that surrounded it. The tower had been built two hundred years before this wet April night in 1501. Now was a time of peace, a time when stone fortresses were no longer needed; but this was not the home of an industrious man. His great-grandfather had lived in the tower when such fortifications were needed, and Nicolas Valence thought, if he sobered long enough to think, that the tower was good enough for him and future generations.
A massive gatehouse looked over the disintegrating walls and the old tower. Here one lone guard slept, his arm curled around a half-empty skin of wine. Inside the tower, the ground floor was littered with sleeping dogs and knights. Their armor was piled against the walls in a jumbled, rusty heap, tangled with the dirty rushes that covered the oak plank floor.
This was the Valence estate; a poor, disreputable, old-fashioned castle that was the butt of jokes throughout England. It was said that if the fortifications were as strong as the wine, Nicolas Valence could hold off all of England. But no one attacked. There was no reason to attack. Many years ago, most of Nicolas's land had been taken from him by young, eager, penniless knights who had just earned their spurs. All that remained was the ancient tower, which everyone agreed should have been torn down, and a few outlying farms that supported the Valence family.