The Winter Princess
by Miriam Newman
GENRE: Historical Fantasy Romance
Stunned, she was conscious of little else at first but the sight of dark legs—Arturus’s horse—and then her guard’s descent beside her.
“Easy,” he said, going down on one knee, hands on her, without apology. “Are you hurt?”
She shook her head, trying to get her breath. “I don’t think so.”
“Just winded, then,” he judged. “Hold onto me, I will get you inside.”
It was a relief to feel his arms around her, pulling her against his chest, lifting her carefully as she held his shoulders.
“No tears,” he said softly. “Don’t give them that.”
She just shook her head again, face against his cloak, legs hanging as he carried her to the door of the Keep. They were bloody and skinned, but as her head cleared she doubted she was hurt otherwise. She had taken many a fall as hard in the hunt field, if on softer ground. It was simply that she didn’t want to see anything.
“Is she all right?” It was a familiar voice, Lord Alfryar’s. “I think so,” Arturus replied. At that, she glanced up at the bearded face of the Lord Protector, wincing as he gently cleared blood from the corner of her mouth. She had bitten herself from the force of her fall.
“Take her in,” he instructed. “Someone bring me a horse.”
He grinned at Arturus. “Time to put the fear of the Gods into them.”
Dimly, she was aware of a horse arriving as the large and furious man who had ruled Havacia for many years vaulted into its saddle, with a troop assembling quickly behind him. This was no guard patrol, but a serious force intent on serious correction.
There was a clatter of hooves and she buried her face again. Alfryar was still greatly respected by the people, certainly more than a guard accompanying the Queen. Short of the King’s presence, this was the one that would control them, but she was heartsick that her appearance had aroused them in the first place.
Vanus had warned her. He knew his people, and that they would never accept her. Now, she knew it, too.
“Sereen!” Lady Caeli’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Oh, the Gods. Bring her in.”
Arturus bore her quickly across the Great Room to the bench before the fireplace, now flameless in good weather, where she had first entered the Keep of Karlisfyrrd.
“Can you sit?” he asked and, when she nodded, seated her carefully on the bench, holding her for a moment to be sure she had her balance. As he went to draw back, though, she held onto him tightly.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at www.miriamnewman.com.
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