- Author: Elizabeth Keysian
Book online «Lord of the Manor (Trysts and Treachery Book 5) Elizabeth Keysian (pocket ebook reader txt) 📖». Author Elizabeth Keysian
Lord of the Manor
Trysts and Treachery
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
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Produced in the United States of America
First Edition April 2021
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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.
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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
Additional Dragonblade books by Author Elizabeth Keysian
About the Author
Essex, England, 1552
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