Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee Genre: Medieval Paranormal Romance
From the award-winning pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the exciting, poignant love story of a distressed damsel who wields a fierce fireplace poker and the smoking hot knight she must save from himself.
"Captivating!" ~ Kemberlee Lugo-Shortland, Heart of Fiction
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.
Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman… unless it snows in July.
Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.
As she reached for the packet again, fear froze her hand.
The Glastonbury thorn’s Cristes-mæsse flowers were reputed to work miracles for the pure of heart. Yet how could she be “pure of heart” when she harbored venomous hatred for the man who had murdered her brother? How could she look her Norman bridegroom in the eye and proclaim her fidelity to him while she felt herself succumbing to this squire’s forbidden allure? How could she reconcile the months of despising England’s new king for what he had done to her people, her family, and her very existence?
“I can’t!” Sobbing, she buried her face in her hands. “I just can’t. The thorn won’t work for me. I am not worthy.”
Power does not come without sacrifice. But for Alain’s sake, and yours, you must endure the thorn.
For Alain’s sake.
Raising her head and drying her face on the sleeve of her gown, she gazed at the man—the Norman—who’d already sacrificed God alone knew how much for her sake. His chilled, waxy face convinced her that whether she was betrothed to another man or not, and whether Alain was kin to Del’s murderer or not, she didn’t want him to pay the ultimate price.
She had no right to permit him to make such a sacrifice.
The very least she could do for him was sacrifice a small piece of herself.
She drew a deep, shuddering breath, released her hatred as best she could, and pressed the packet between her palms.
(Note: Cristes-mæsse is the ancient Saxon word for Christmas)
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins--the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century--seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim has been a published novelist since 1999 with the first edition of Dawnflight (Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian legends for nigh on half a century.
I am Lady Kendra of Edgarburh, and I bid you warm greetings on this fine day in the year of Our Lord 1067. You bestow upon me great honor with your thoughtful questions, and it is my humble pleasure to answer them for you.
Your brother taught you how to use a blade. Do you feel confident you would be able to defend yourself? Has the need to use it ever come up?
We live in a dangerous world, and my dear brother, Del—may God rest his soul—knew this as well as any man does. Three years ago, at Cristes mæsse, the season that you are pleased to call Christmas, Del presented me with the dagger I now carry upon my person, and he did teach me the basic wielding of it. But what he taught me above all was to guard myself from becoming ensnared in a situation wherein I would need the weapon to survive. Thus far I have heeded his advice, and I pray that the dagger’s need shall not arise in the future.
We know that you are dead set against marrying that foreigner. I also hear you had one proposal from a countryman a few years your senior. You've vowed only to marry for love. As you were growing up, were there young men your age that caught your eye? Someone you could daydream about marrying?
What a fair question! And I fear I must disappoint you with the answering of it, but I was always ever so busy seeing to the needs of my family and our people. No man ever turned my head…until he rode to Edgarburh: he of the enchanting smile and captivating voice, he of the courtly manners and kindly spirit, he whose rank as a squire stood well beneath mine…he whom I must despise because his king slaughtered my countrymen to win the throne. He who, I confess, haunts my dreams by night and by day.
Your mother had a gift for healing but did not bequeath that to you before she died. Your family believes your healing powers are quite strong. Are they the result of studying natural means of healing? Do you believe you have some magical abilities?
Kind soul, prithee do not speak to me of the magical arts, for talk such as this could cause both of us to be excommunicated…or worse. Nay, my healing skills, as poor as they are, come only from study, practice, and prayer.
What are the disadvantages to being a female in your society? Are you able to express your opinions on political matters?
It is my lot as a daughter of Eve to suffer her eternal curse—not only in the travails and dangers of childbed, but to be subject to the will of my lord father and, one day, the will of my lord husband. I am ever thankful my father, Thane Waldron, has demonstrated gracious forbearance with me, for my tongue is ever quick to let slip things of a nature that a lady of my rank and breeding ought not utter, even privily. Father does have the right of it, for England’s new king shall stop at nothing to see his crown secure, even executing a person for treasonous speech. If it does transpire that I must marry one of King William’s retainers, I pray with all my heart that he is not like his sovereign in this regard. I thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts, and I wish many blessings upon you.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!