Whiskey Creek Publishing
Jeannine Van Eperen, writer
A love that surpasses time, set in Cornwall, England in the present but also in the late 1400s.
Can star-crossed lovers from another time, undo the heartbreak and tagedy of their past? Does a love so true never die? Or is it just a fantasy played out between two people whose genes were passed down with infinitesimal remembrances of their ancestors' lives? It is as if lightning stirkes when Elizabeth sees Joanthan and a blazing flame arises, though the fire keeps blood simmering, do timelines and loves blur into another realm and can a love denied be allowed to come to fruition? Grays believed in love for eternity, but was denied the woman he he chose.
“It’s you,” Lisbeth said.
“What are you doing here? Following me?” He frowned looking down at her, as she lay sprawled in a bed of rust leaves. She was the last person he wanted to see. After he learned the news, he had to be alone. Emotions in a turmoil seeing her did no good, no good at all. His feigned gruffness left him as he asked, “Did you hurt yourself?”
Shaking her head, she answered, “No, Grays. Just bumped my knee a bit.” She brushed her dainty hands against her skirt, and no doubt would have raised the dress to examine the bruise if he had not been there.
“You shouldn’t follow me,” he said gently, his lips curving in a smile. “You’re fifteen now, no longer a child.”
“I know.” She looked down at her hands demurely.
“You’re pledged to Leslie.” He put out a hand and helped her up. It was a mistake. He should not have touched her. Controlling himself took all of his strength, but he must. He continued in what he hoped was a formal tone, “You— We— It isn’t proper for us to be together anymore.”
“But I don’t love Leslie. I love you.”
“Don’t say that. You’re still but a child, you don’t know…”
“You just said I was no longer a child,” she pointed out logically, looking at him in a self-possessed manner. Then blurted out in a tone that betrayed her anger. “And I’m not. I’m betrothed to your brother!”
Grays took a deep breath. He needed to steady himself. All she said was true. Yes, she was indeed betrothed to his older brother. Even if he did care for her, it was of no importance. In the eyes of the church and the law, Lisbeth was as good as married to Leslie. He turned away from her so she could not see his distress, his true feelings. He thought he did love her, but no good could ever come of it.
For a while, his family had considered Matilda Harwick for Leslie and Grays had hoped he might express to his father his own feelings for Lisbeth. Then they learned Matilda had been promised to another, and his father and Lord Wrentham arranged the betrothal of their children, no doubt made with the best of intentions. It had been done months ago, but today was the first Grays heard of it. It wasn’t fair. Leslie had no real feelings for Lisbeth, not like he had, but as the third son, Lord Wrentham might never consider him worthy of Lisbeth.
When he spoke his voice sounded calm, and cold, he hoped. “Lisbeth, I could never be considered for your husband. I’m a third son with no prospects except the church or military. Your father would never consent, and Les is a good fellow. He’ll treat you well and he’ll inherit Wydecombe Manor. You’ll be mistress here.”
“But it is you I love,” she persisted. “Tell me you don’t care for me.”
“Don’t ask me to do that.”
She walked up to him and put her arm around his waist. It was a most intimate and wanton thing for her to do. “Tell me,” she whispered softly, seductively.
He felt aflame from her touch. As children they had tussled and touched, but they were no longer children. At eighteen, he felt the very powerful feelings of desire. He ached for her. It was agony to know she belonged to another, even his well-loved brother. His breathing grew shallow though his heart slammed against his ribs.
“Tell me.” Her breath tingled against his neck.
He turned to her. “I can’t.” His lips took hers almost without his permission, but once nestled against her soft mouth, he took the sweetness offered. Leslie may have her, but her had her love. “I do love you,” he murmured as he crushed her in an embrace.