Monday, September 9, 2019

And the winner is....

I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Wilck (who is also a romance author)  is one of winners of the Summer 2019 Bad Guys and Villains edition of Medieval Monday. She wins an e-copy of Lady of Steel.

And for those who missed it, here is the full excerpt where my hero, Fawkes de Cressy wreaks vengeance on sick, creepy villain, Mortimer:

“God’s teeth! Look at that!” Reynard called.
Alarm prickled along Fawkes’s spine as he saw knights pouring out through the castle’s portcullis. He slowed his mount and motioned for the men behind him to do the same.
“Jesu,” he breathed. “Have they been warned? Did they know we were coming?”
“It would seem so,” Reynard responded. “The information we had when we were in London was that Mortimer never leaves Valmar. And yet, that is surely him.”
The knight leading the force wore a green surcote emblazoned with a gold lion rampant. The familiar device aroused Fawkes’s fury and hatred. This was his enemy. The man had who tried to kill him. The man who had humiliated and abused Nicola. Mixed with the fury was a grim satisfaction. How shocked Mortimer would be when he discovered King Richard had given Mordeaux Castle to Fawkes.
“What should we do?” Reynard sounded panicky. “Do we charge? Or wait for them to come to us?”
“We wait,” Fawkes said. “Mortimer hasn’t fought a battle in years, perhaps never. He’ll want to negotiate.”
Fawkes’s prediction was confirmed when the troop of knights halted a few paces away and their leader raised his helm. Although he immediately recognized the hated face, Fawkes knew a moment of shock. Mortimer’s face was puffy and red, and his eyes appeared as mere slits in the bloated flesh. He looked little like the youthful and vigorous man Fawkes recalled.
“It’s you!” Mortimer bellowed. His eyes were wide with shock.
“Yea, it is I, Fawkes de Cressy. Your assassin failed. I left his body to rot beneath the walls of Acre.” He took a step forward and drew his sword. “Now I have returned to repay you for your treachery.”
Mortimer made a hoarse, derisive sound. “You’re naught but a puling squire, a stable boy. You’re not worth the effort of killing.”
Fawkes fought the urge to forget the rules of combat and rush forward for the kill. He forced himself to speak with calm. “I’m a knight now, exalted by the King of England himself. Richard also gave me the writ to Mordeaux. I challenge you to a fight to the death. For Mordeaux and Valmar, and for the lady who rightfully possesses the two castles.”
“You’re still mooning over my bitch of a wife?” Mor­timer’s smile widened, giving his face a grotesque, toad-like appearance. “The slut hardly recalls you with fondness. She’s the one who warned me of your arrival.”
For a moment, Fawkes stood stunned, disbelieving the words he’d heard. Then reason returned. He smiled back. “Nay. She wouldn’t. Even if she cares naught for me, she hates you enough that she would never try to save you.”
“You think not? Do these words sound familiar?” Mortimer clasped his hands and quoted in a gleeful falsetto, “My dearest lady. At last I’ve come to save you. My forces will reach Mordeaux Castle in a fortnight... ”
Fawkes’s gut wrenched as his own words rang out mockingly. No. She wouldn’t. It was a trick. Somehow Mortimer had found the missive. He might have inter­cepted it before it even reached Nicola.
“Ah, it’s gratifying to see the poisonous viper strike an­other victim.” Mortimer’s voice rang out, rich and mocking. “For too long she has reserved her torments solely for me. I vow, my wife is the devil’s handmaiden, an evil, cunning Eve, a witch from hell. I would give her to you gladly, with my blessing, but unfortunately, the lands are hers. To main­tain my claim, I must endure her foul presence in my house­hold.” Mortimer straightened. “I accept your challenge. I will kill you and carry your heart back to my wife. Perhaps the sight of it will please her, hea­then sorceress that she is.”
Fawkes sought to recover himself. It was a trick. The bastard meant to demoralize him. He would not succumb.
They both dismounted and handed off their horses, and then drew their swords. Mortimer moved toward Fawkes with a stealth and ease that belied his corpulent form. They circled and parried, assessing. Fawkes felt the battle fever surge through him. He’d waited nearly four years for this moment. Every man he’d killed, every opponent he’d struck down, had worn Mor­timer’s ugly visage.
Now, at last, he faced his true enemy. Mortimer had tried to murder him. He’d humiliated him and mocked him. Even worse, this man had hurt and debased Nicola.
He lunged. His blade caught Mortimer’s arm. Mortimer retreated and parried the next blow. Again and again, cold steel grated against cold steel. Fawkes felt no fatigue, no fear, nothing but exhilaration. His body, honed in a dozen battles, sang with speed and strength. His legs easily carried him out of reach of Mor­timer’s blade, and his sword arm struck out with deadly precision.
His opponent was weakening, the movements of his bulky body growing sluggish. Mortimer’s breath came in harsh rasps. As if watching it from far away, Fawkes observed his blade striking nearer and nearer to Mortimer’s mail-clad body. Blood dripped from a wound on Mortimer’s left arm and another at his hip. Any moment he would falter and Fawkes would land the killing blow. Victory was so near he could almost taste it.
“Is she worth it, you fool?” Mortimer panted. “If you kill me, you’ll have to face Richard someday and tell him why. Do you think he’ll be pleased you took my life over a woman, and a perfidious, scheming slut at that?”
“She was never a slut, you bastard!” Fawkes pressed his advantage, feeling his hatred grow fiercer and more consuming. "You sent me to her! You used her like a piece of livestock!”
Mortimer lost his balance and fell. Fawkes loomed over him, panting in rage. “Whatever she’s done, you’ll never defame or degrade her again.” With a savage thrust he drove his sword into Mortimer’s neck.
Mortimer’s blue eyes bore a look of surprise as the wound spouted blood. Watching the red liquid flow out, Fawkes was reminded of other deaths, so many deaths. He felt vaguely queasy. He leaned over and cleaned the blade of his sword on the grass. Behind him he could hear his soldiers cheering. He had waited for this moment for so long, but now that it was here, it didn’t seem real.
Someone clapped him on back. Reynard spoke, “It’s over, Fawkes. You’ve done it. Now all that is left is to claim everything that was Mortimer’s. First, Mordeaux, then Valmar and your new wife. How does it feel, my friend? You’re a wealthy man now. A real lord. Mordeaux appears prosper­ous, and Valmar was always a rich demesne. You’ll have to pay some sort of fine to the king, I’m guessing. That is, if Richard ever makes it back to England.”
Fawkes pulled off his helm and looked down at his blood-spattered hands. “I need to wash. There must be a well in the castle.” He started off.

Buy links:

B & N

Join us for the next edition of Medieval Monday coming soon. In the meantime, here's a video recap of the great books featured in this summer's edition: 


  1. Oh I'm so excited! Thank you and I can't wait to read the book!

  2. Congratulations, Jennifer! And from the excerpt, Lady of Steel sounds like a fabulous read, Mary!