By Dana Taylor
Amazon, NOOK, Smashwords
Description: Courageous, captivating, cunning—the Royal Rebel leads her band of freedom fighters against the tyranny of Prince John. Inspired by the legend of Robin Hood, “Royal Rebel” twists a familiar tale into a fresh, romantic adventure. Robin, the secret daughter of King Richard, fights injustice as she awaits her father’s return from the Crusades. Joining forces with arrogant knight extraordinaire, Sir Simon of Loxley, the two undertake a mission to save the kingdom.
Setup: The Jousting Tournament—Sir Simon fights for his life while his arch-enemy Sir Basil looks on.
Simon sat astride his trusted destrier, Valiant, lance in hand, covered in armor and a fancy tabard. His horse was likewise barded in a protective caparison of Loxley purple, a picture of equine nobility. Simon stared the long distance down the list to the opposing knight and knew this was no game. He was fighting for his life.
Basil had cajoled, wheedled, demanded, and offered bribes to obtain Simon’s duplicity.
“I know you have some plan up your sleeve to thwart John’s marriage to Marion,” he’d said. “Surely men of intelligence and cunning can come to an agreement.”
“The only thing we agree upon is you’re a toady scoundrel and I look forward to the moment you get caught in the tangle of your own scheming webs,” Simon had responded as he dressed.
Basil continued his efforts at persuasion until it became clear he had nothing to offer that could change Simon’s allegiance, no power to hold over his head.
“Very well, you’ve had your chance. Good luck in the games,” he’d said with a sneer.
The black knight steadying the midnight steed at the long end of the list sent Simon a murderous glare before pulling down his facemask. This would be Simon’s eighth and final opponent of the day, taking on the winners of other matches. He’d faced the best of the best and it had soon become obvious that all of them were out for blood.
Basil had obviously offered a reward to any knight who could not only unseat Simon, but permanently maim or kill him. It had taken all his skill not to be skewered by one opponent after another. The crowd had booed at the unsportsmanlike behavior of his competitors.
At one point his helmet had been severely knocked, causing him to see stars, but somehow he had managed to stay atop his horse and send his opponent flying.
Now Simon watched the most formidable foe yet bearing down upon him. Taking his fighting position, he kneed Valiant and leaned forward. Living up to his name, Valiant ran straight and true, not trotting but taking long steady strides, barely bouncing the master in his saddle.
The black knight rode with equal skill, aiming his long deadly weapon at Simon’s chest. It all came down to a few seconds. The horses’ hoofs pounded the green turf, sending it flying. The smell of fresh dirt rankled the air as Simon took great gulps of it through his mask. He barely noticed the forty pounds of metal and leather strapped to his chest and arms.
He calculated the lean of his body, lifted his lance, stared at the silver breastplate dashing toward him. A crunch of metal and wood. A jolt of pain in his shoulder. He gripped his horse with his knees and held the lance steady that crashed into the opposing chest. A clatter of shields and the black knight’s legs flailed in the air before he hit the ground.
The crowd rose to their feet in a cheer. “Hooray! Hooray, for Sir Simon! Simon! Simon! Simon!” they chanted.
Ignoring the bolts of pain shooting through his body, Simon circled toward the royal stand, accepting the accolades of the crowd. Women threw flowers and sent him inviting looks.
Marion glowed with delight, but standing just behind her Simon glimpsed his nemesis, Lord Basil, still as stone. The deadly look in his eye told Simon the game wasn’t over yet.
About the author: Dana Taylor writes uplifting stories filled with inspiration and humor. Born and raised in California, she graduated from the University of Redlands. She has been published in various magazines, including the Ladies Home Journal. She hosted the Internet radio program Definitely Dana! at HealthyLife.net. and won various contests with the Romance Writers of America, including Best First Book from the Desert Quill Awards. Her published works include ROYAL REBEL, AIN’T LOVE GRAND?, SHINY GREEN SHOES, and DEVIL MOON: A MYSTIC ROMANCE. Her latest release is a spiritual memoir entitled EVER-FLOWING STREAMS. Her blog site is DefinitelyDana.wordpress.com. She is a founding member of the on-line community SupernalFriends.com and can be reached at supernalfriends.yahoo.com.