Sir Conrad and the Christmas Treasure - Medieval Romance by Lindsay Townsend

June's #blogabookscene at Prairie Rose Publications is on the road again. With this in mind I've selected an excerpt of medieval travel and danger from my medieval historical romance, Sir Conrad and the Christmas Treasure."


After a few days spent indoors, cold dug into Conrad’s head and neck like a hawk’s talons. Wrapping the second of two cloaks more snugly around his wife, he steered his big bay, Gog, along the sunken road and wished again that Richard was not leading their party.
“Are the woods here always so dark, even at midday?” Maggie asked, without turning. They had ridden out from the early morning, but not a word of complaint had escaped her lips. He was proud of her, but too tired to praise.
So much for Richard’s short-cut! Conrad was also too saddle sore and chilled for anything more than resigned irritation. Swallowing to relieve his dry mouth, he said, “These sunken tracks fall quickly into shadow, but they are a good way of shifting through the greater forest unseen.”
“Is that necessary with a troop of our size?”
“Your father thought it wise.” Secrecy came naturally to Earl John and that peacock cousin of his, Lord Gerald, but Conrad did not have to like it.
“When did Richard come here?”
Maggie must be exhausted if she uses questions as a distraction. Yet it was a handy inquiry and one he himself had wondered at. “Years ago, with our father.” The gilded pair had made a progress of the family’s lands, son and heir together. Feeling the old bitterness rise up, Conrad said a prayer against his envy of Richard and concentrated instead on the delicious sensation of his wife’s rump pressed against his groin. “In the summer,” he added, clicking his tongue to ease Gog past a patch of black ice.
Maggie briefly clasped his arm and he knew she understood. What was an easy path in summer was not the same in winter.
“Did your brother not remember how deep the snow can lie?”
“Richard as a chevalier does not care.” He rides well and he has no pillion to consider. Or did Richard plan to travel this way because I ride with Maggie?
Even as Conrad told himself not to be stupid—his brother was neither so devious nor so malicious—a whoop rang out from the head of their column.
“Woo! Better than a bishop skating! Excellent fun!”
Conrad stood on his stirrups to see Richard waving and smirking at the bottom of the long, descending slope, now narrowed down as slim as a sword and with frosted snow funnelled high on either side. Richard spotted him and hollered again.
“The Roman road is here, brother, am I not right? I knew I was right!”
“That path will be glass smooth soon,” murmured Maggie, anticipating the same danger as her husband. Her fingers were hidden by her mittens, but Conrad knew it was no bet that her hands would be fisted into Gog’s thick mane.
“We shall dismount,” he began, through clenched teeth, before Richard brayed again.
“Come on, no cowardice! Ride it!”
There again, why should we? The snow slope had become a challenge, one Conrad was determined to win. He coaxed the big bay into an ambling canter, aware that Gog’s longer gait would mean that the stallion stepped onto pristine snows. He felt Maggie shudder but she only hissed in a breath as they began the descent.
Why are men such idiots? The question drummed in Maggie’s head. Caged by her husband’s iron arms, she closed her eyes, then snapped them open, aware of the bitter air slicing through her lungs. Perched on this huge barrel of a horse, guided by a brute of a warrior, she lurched helplessly in the saddle and saw the icicles, hanging from the branches, then the looming, skidding ground. Desperate not to be sick, she endured the steepling dive, the nightmare sense of uncontrolled falling, the roar of blood and racing hooves in her ears, and then it was over.
“You fool!” she almost snarled. Part of her wanted to say that, and more. Are you so careless of me? Is your rivalry with your brother more important than my safety? Must everything be a challenge?  
She patted the steaming Gog, instead. She had seen, as Conrad must surely have seen, the fleeting, satisfied expression on Richard’s handsome face towards her when she seemed about to scold her husband—which would make me a nag and Conrad hen-pecked, at least in the eyes of all these men, never mind that none of them are riding pillion, so none of them have the same danger.
Just in time, she reined her anger back. Richard wants to divide us. He will not find it so easy.
“Odd ride.” Nothing would compel her to say it was good, but she ignored her queasy stomach, sore from the horse pommel, twisted about in the saddle and smiled at her man. She offered her lips to be kissed and Conrad obliged, a sweet moment which helped to stifle her fears.

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Tory Richards' latest release is available in ebook and paperback. Amazon and Universal buy links.

He can't resist her.
She can't refuse him.
Lies will rip them apart.

As enforcer of the Desert Rebels Cole's job is to protect his MC. As a favor to a friend they take in a young woman who they think is trying to escape a crazy ex. But she's lying. When the truth comes out, so does trouble to the club. Cole wants Raven, but will their explosive attraction to one another be enough to overcome the deception, and give them both a chance at happiness?


Heart pounding, I panted breathlessly, "Cole! I'm-I'm not who you th-think I am!" I scraped his scalp with my nails, bowing sharply beneath his mouth. Oh, sweet Jesus, he was going to kill me with pleasure!

Breathing hard, he pulled his mouth off my nipple and looked up at me with surprising clarity in his eyes, his dark expression stamped with raw arousal. "I know exactly who you are," he grated hoarsely. "I've known since I pulled you beneath me."

What? I took a second to process what he'd said, or to at least try. I was so turned on that it felt as if I were on some life-altering drug, and I was, in a way--I was high on Cole. "We-We can't do this," I whispered, while at the same time asking myself why it was that we couldn't.

His grin was pure sex. "Looks like we are."

"But . . . you thought I was someone else," I reminded him. "What about her?"

He released a frustrated breath. "Can we talk about this later? I'm right in the middle of something."

I was not going to be a convenient fill-in for another woman, no matter how turned on I was. No matter how hot Cole was. "Listen, jerk, when a man makes love to me, I'd at least like to know that he knows it's me he’s making love to."

His body vibrated with laughter against me. "I don't make love, baby. I fuck."

I felt a surge of anger in response to his flippant attitude. "Well, then find someone else to fuck," I hissed, trying to wiggle out from beneath him. Cole was a big man, and he was heavy. Bumping my hips to try to force him to move proved to be a dumb move, because all it managed to do was reveal how fucking huge and hard his cock was.

Cole grunted in response and dropped his head back onto my breasts. I began to wiggle wildly, afraid of where this was going.

Afraid of myself.

"Get off!"

"Jesus, wait a fucking minute, will you?" he growled as if he were in pain, pressing my body down to hold me still.

I stilled. "I'll give you ten seconds."

His mouth was against my breast, and the feel of his smile on my flesh caused a shiver to ripple through my body.

*This MC romance contains explicit language, violence and sexual content not suitable for minors.

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