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Lord of the Manor

Trysts and Treachery

Book Five

By Elizabeth Keysian

© Copyright 2021 by Elizabeth Keysian

Text by Elizabeth Keysian

Cover by Wicked Smart Designs

Dragonblade Publishing, Inc. is an imprint of Kathryn Le Veque Novels, Inc.

P.O. Box 7968

La Verne CA 91750

ceo@dragonbladepublishing.com

Produced in the United States of America

First Edition April 2021

Kindle Edition

Reproduction of any kind except where it pertains to short quotes in relation to advertising or promotion is strictly prohibited.

All Rights Reserved.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

License Notes:

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook, once purchased, may not be re-sold. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it or borrow it, or it was not purchased for you and given as a gift for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. If this book was purchased on an unauthorized platform, then it is a pirated and/or unauthorized copy and violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Do not purchase or accept pirated copies. Thank you for respecting the author’s hard work. For subsidiary rights, contact Dragonblade Publishing, Inc.

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Additional Dragonblade books by Author Elizabeth Keysian

Trysts and Treachery Series

Lord of Deception (Book 1)

Lord of Loyalty (Book 2)

Lord of the Forest (Book 3)

Lord of Mistrust (Book 4)

Lord of the Manor (Book 5)

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Publisher’s Note

Additional Dragonblade books by Author Elizabeth Keysian

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

About the Author

Chapter One

Essex, England, 1552

“Charlemagne, come!”

Cecily Neville glanced around to ensure no one was looking, then let out a shrill whistle and swung the lure around her head. Her pet peregrine had settled in the walnut tree tucked into a corner of the walled garden and sat there looking smug.

“Curse you, you feathered fiend!”

A man’s voice uttered the very same words Cecily had been thinking.

“Come, Charlemagne!” Her voice sounded more desperate now—both she and the bird were trespassing. From the sound of heavy footsteps racing toward the gate leading from the walled garden, they were about to be caught by whoever had let out the curse.

Panic surged through her. If she ran, would the bird follow? What if he did not, and the angry-sounding man took a shot at him? No, wait, foolish girl. Men didn’t stroll around their gardens armed with bows. Did they?

She couldn’t risk the creature she loved most in the world—next to her “uncles”, of course—being harmed. Tugging off her gauntlet and hiding the lure behind her back, she edged away from the brick wall surrounding the garden.

Not fast enough—a man erupted through the gate. He was walking backward, staring at the peregrine, still perched rebelliously in its tree. He had not yet become aware of her presence.

She allowed herself a moment to take the man’s measure. From the quality of his doublet and hose, he was a gentleman, so presumably one of the pair who had bought the buildings and land belonging to Temple Roding Commandery. The fellow was bareheaded, with untidy blond hair, cut short. His physique was broad and muscular, and he appeared tall, though she would only know if she went closer.

If she went closer? Nay! She must hide before he saw her. It would never do for one of the new owners of her former home to catch her straying onto his land. Charlemagne would have to fend for himself. She must make for the trees and hide before she was seen. If she let the lure trail after her, it might excite the peregrine enough to make him follow. But before she could execute her plan, the stranger stooped for a stone.

“Nay!” Flinging caution to the winds, Cecily hared across the grass and flung herself at the man, clinging on to the hand holding the pebble. As she had hoped, he released the missile, but the next instant, he had both her arms in an immovable grip.

He stared at her in astonishment. “Odd’s blood! Who the devil are you, Wench?”

“Nobody. I am nobody.” My, but he had powerful hands—she’d be bruised if she struggled.

He gave her a little shake. “Why do you accost me thus?”

His voice was deep, with a foreign edge. He was not from Essex. The Fen Country, mayhap? But that wasn’t important. Where was Charlemagne? She flicked a glance sideways. Still in his tree, the little villain—he looked as if he were enjoying the spectacle of his mistress hanging helpless in the stranger’s grasp.

“Name?” the man barked out.

“Lettice, sir,” she lied. “I’m just a poor girl from the village.”

She lowered her gaze submissively—it was unnerving how the man’s blue eyes bored into her. She didn’t like the way his dark brows had drawn together in a scowl or the fact that he hadn’t released her. Still, what could one expect of a man who had bought a manor stolen from the Knights Hospitaller to feather his own nest? He must be despicable. As were all such ambitious, greedy men—especially King Edward’s late father, Henry—the greatest thief and heretic of all.

“You can stop pouting at me. I assume that must be your

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