Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Will has made a wager. But will he win?
Take a peek at Elisabeth Hobbes' book, A Wager for the Widow.
Nothing more needed to be done. The beeswax candles glowed on each table, chandelier and wall sconce, their scent mingling with bundles of dried lavender. The tables were laid with Sir Edgar’s finest plate, enamelled silver glinting in the firelight. Fresh rushes had been laid on the floor and the soft music of lute and harp drifted from the gallery above.
Will looked round with satisfaction and smiled to himself. He pictured Eleanor’s expression when she saw the Great Hall and raised his cup to his lips in silent tribute to her. By his side Edmund continued to talk though Will had stopped listening. He could have done without Edmund bragging about his latest bedroom conquest in his ear.
Love or wealth.
Will had been thinking all day about Eleanor and Lady Fitzallan’s argument when he had interrupted them and had a dreadful suspicion they were discussing Allencote. The knight had been seeking Eleanor out the previous evening and Will had rarely seen them apart over the last two days. Had he told her of his debts and did she want to marry him despite her parent’s wishes? He found it hard to believe she had fallen for Allencote so quickly, but could think of no other explanation for her words.
‘You’re playing a risky game, Will,’ Edmund said.
Will’s started at hearing his name.
‘It’s a lot of money to lose and she won’t unbend by midnight. Admit defeat and I’ll cut the stake by three groats,’ Edmund said magnanimously.
The wager. Will ran a hand through his hair as, not for the first time, his conscience stabbed. If Eleanor was reckless in choosing love over wealth, he was guilty of doing the opposite, continuing to chase his stake when Eleanor had long since filled his heart more than the thought of riches filled his mind. He had seen enough to know he had awakened the feelings Edmund believed Eleanor had buried, but if she was planning to bestow them on Allencote, money was all Will could hope to gain from the wager. That and a memory to console himself with.
He frowned at Edmund’s words. ‘It isn’t midnight yet. I’ll still win,’ he said confidently.
‘Win what? What stake?’ Anne Fitzallan’s head appeared over her brother’s shoulder. She peered at the men curiously. Edmund pulled her around into a hug and she laughed with delight.
‘William is about to make me a richer man.’ Edmund grinned.
Anne narrowed her eyes suspiciously. Will glared at Edmund. ‘It’s nothing of note,’ he cut in quickly, ‘simply a silly game.’ Changing the subject, he asked, ‘Are you looking forward to the feast?’
Anne twirled around, displaying her flowing skirt. ‘Yes, I am. The Earl of Etherington’s squire has asked me for the first dance. I think he likes me.’
Will smiled. ‘I’m happy for you. The lad’s of good family and the earl is a fair master.’
Anne danced away. It was fortunate her attachment had not been long lasting, Will mused. He doubted his own heart would mend as quickly.
A fanfare sounded and the Master of the Chamber swung the great double doors open. Guests began to file into the room and take their allotted places, colourful and extravagantly clothed. Allencote appeared, looking handsome and confident in a burgundy surcoat with broadly slashed sleeves and cuffs. Will glanced down at his own attire: a plain black surcoat and breeches, the discreet orange-and-green collar and cuffs the only outward indication of his position. Let others dress themselves like peacocks to display their greatness. Will had no need.
Eleanor walked through the doorway and Will forgot everything.
She wore green. Pale silk under a mantle of heavy, emerald velvet laced with gold braid from beneath her high breasts to her slender waist. Her hair had been twisted atop her head and encased in a net of gold so that her braids flamed between the metal. The gown left her shoulders bare and the elegant expanse of creamy flesh sent Will’s heart thudding into his stomach.
Half-a-dozen men leapt to their feet as they saw Eleanor, but Will was quicker. He tore his gaze from the curve of her throat and collarbone and strode to her. He bowed before her, then lifted his head. His eyes travelled slowly up her body until he met her gaze, determined to leave her in no doubt of the effect she was having upon him. She looked uncertain until Will gave her a discreet wink. She smiled back and the world brightened, as though a hundred more candles had begun to burn.
‘Let me escort you to your seat, Lady Peyton,’ Will said formally. As she took his outstretched arm he whispered in an undertone, ‘You’re the most beautiful woman in the room. It was worth the hailstorm to see you in that dress.’
Eleanor said nothing, but a blush crept across her cheeks and her fingers tightened on his arm. Will led her to her seat, reluctantly relinquishing her to the company of the Sheriff of Tawstott. He could barely keep his eyes from her for the rest of the feast.
When the final dishes had been removed the tables were cleared for the dancing to begin. The musicians tuned their instruments and an expectant hush fell over the hall.
Allencote began to thread his way through the crowd towards her and Will crossed the room to her side. The two men reached her at the same time. Eleanor looked from one to the other apprehensively.
‘Will you dance the first measure with me, Lady Peyton?’ Allencote asked, a shade before Will could ask the same question.
Eleanor’s eyes flickered briefly to Will’s. He held her gaze boldly though his stomach curled with anxiety. It was out of his hands now. If she chose Allencote, he had lost everything.
Blurb: ‘I SUPPOSE A KISS OF GRATITUDE IS OUT OF THE QUESTION?’
Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!
As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?
All 4th Of July 99 Cents Abbotsford Adam Adam-a-highlander-romance Aidi Breed American-civil-war Andrea-r-cooper Angela-scavone Anne-b-cole Anthology April-holthaus Ashley York Australia Author Interview Bambi Lynn Barbara Bettis Barnes & Noble Berengaria-brown Best-seller Betrayal Black Watch Museum Blair-castle Blog Hop Book Deal Book Dogs Book Giveaway Book Release Day Book Release Party Book Sale Book Series Books To Read After Outlander Booksweeps Border-collies Boxed-set Braemar-highland-games Brenda-stinnett Burke-and-hare Capercallie Carly-jordynn Carmen-stefanescu Carol-ann-moleti Carole-ann-moleti Caroline-warfield Castle-menzies Catherine-castle Cathy & DD MacRae Cathy Dd Macrae Cathy-macrae Cd-hersh Ceci-giltenan Celebrations Celeste Barclay Celtic Cerian-herbert Character-interview Char-chaffin Chocolate Christmas Christmas-box-set Claire-gem Clava-cairns Collette-cameron Colley Collie Compuiter-woes Contemporary-mystery Contemporary-paranormal Contemporary-romance Contest Cover-reveal Creme-de-la-cover-contest Ct-green Culloden-battlefield Cynthia-owens Dawn-ireland Dawn-marie-hamilton Dd-macrae Debut Debut-author Dewars-distillery Direct-deposit Edinburgh Eilean-donan-castle Elisabeth-hobbes Elizabeth-preston Elizabeth-rose Eliza Knight Elle-hill Evil-villain Excerpts Fantasy-historical Farleyer-lodge First First-kiss Flowers Food Forth-bridges France Free-book Free-books Freki Georgian-romance German-shepherd Get-lost-in-a-story-blog-interview Ghost-tour Gilda Gildas-story Giveaway Glen-ord-whisky Graveyards Guest-author Guest-blogger Halloween Hardy-heroines Highland-chocolatier Highlander-romance Highland-escape Highland-romance Historical-irish Historical-post Historical Romance Hm-queen-elizabeth-ii Holiday Holiday-read Hot-historicals Hurricane-harvey Iain-burnett Indtale Jenna Jaxon Jenni-fletcher Jessica-jefferson Jill-hughey Judith Sterling Karen-lopp Kate-hill Katherine-bone Kathryn-le-veque Kelley Heckart Kindle-world Kobo Lane Mcfarland Larynn-ford Laura-strickland Laurel Odonnell Lauren-linwood Leault-farm Legends-of-scotland Life-with-freki Limited-time-offer Linda-bennett-pennell Lochleven-castle Loch-ness Luxury-cruises Macleod Madeline-martin Madelyn-hill Maggie-mundy Mairi-norris Marilyn-baxter Mary-gillgannon Mary Morgan Meda-white Medieval-blog-hop Medieval-hop Medieval-monday-2015 Medieval-monday-2016 Medieval-monday-2017 Medievalmonday2018 Medieval-monday-2018 Medieval Monday 2019 Medieval Monday 2020 Medieval Monday 2021 Medieval Monday Fall 2020 Medieval Mondays Medieval Monday Spring 2020 Medieval-mystery Medieval Romance Meet-the-characters Meggan-connor Meggan-connors Mhairis-yuletide-wish Military-romance Miriam-newman Neva-brown New Book Nicole-locke Night-owl-reviews Norman-conquest Nostalgia-romance Novella Paranormal Paranormal-romance Patricia-hudson Patrick Paty-jager Pirate-romance Pirates Post-civil-war Postcivil-war-western-romance Preorder Pre-order Prizes Puppy Rachel-sharpe R-b-austin Rb-austin Recipe Recipes Red-l-jameson Regency-romance Release-date Research Review Rl-syme Romance Romance-novels Romance-on-the-high-seas Romantic-mystery Romantic-suspense Rone-award Rue-allyn Ruth A Casie Ruth-a-casie Ruth-kaufman Sale Samantha-wyatt Samhain Sandra-harris Sandra-jones Sarah-hegger Sarah-hoss Sarah-woodbury Saranna-dewylde Scavenger-hunt Sci-fi-romance Scifi-romance Sc-mitchell Scotland Scotland-with-grace-2016 Scottish-crannog-centre Scottish-historical Scottish-regency Scottish Romance Sheep Sherrie-hansen Sherry Ewing Sherry-ewing Short-dog-press Sir-walter-scott Soul-mate-publishing Southern-romance Special-price Spermbanks Spring Steamships Stella-marie-alden St-patricks-day Sweet-romance Tam Tea-party-and-books Teaser-tuesday Thankful The-ghosts-of-culloden-moor-series The-hardy-heroines-series The-hghlanders-accidental-bride The-highlanders-accidental-bride The-highlanders-bride-series The Highlander's Crusader Bride The-highlanders-french-bride The-highlanders-norse-bride The-highlanders-outlaw-bride The Highlander's Pirate Bride The-highlanders-reluctant-bride The-highlanders-tempestuous-bride The-highlanders-viking-bride The-highlanders-welsh-bride The Prince's Highland Bride The-reading-cafe The-saint The-seventh-son The-twalve-days-o-yuletide Thursdays-teaser Thursdays-threads Time-travel Tina-susedik Top-ten-list Travel Twelve-days-of-christmas Uisge-beatha Urban-fantasy Urquart-castle Valentine Valentines Day Victorian-romance Victoria-zak Vijaya-schartz Viking-romance Vikings Villains Viola-russell Wales Wareeze-woodson Water-kelpie Weeping-window-of-poppies Western-romance Whisky Winner Winners Womens-fiction World-of-de-wolfe Ya-fantasy