A Year & a Day

A Year & a Day by Virginia Henley Read Free Book Online

Book: A Year & a Day by Virginia Henley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Virginia Henley
She was so relieved that the creature who watched her was not a man, she sank to the forest floor to catch her breath and still her pulses. Then a terrifying thing happened. Just when she thought she was safe,the lynx began to stalk her!
    Slowly, it placed one great padded foot before the other, its green
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    eyes fixed upon her intently. Then it crouched back on its haunches, ready to spring. Again, she opened her mouth to scream as the lynx launched itself at her. When he fell upon her she expected to be torn limb from limb, but what happened was just as horrific to Jane: The lynx transformed himself into a man! Her fear was mingled with awe; never had she seen a man of such size and beauty. Atop powerful shoulders was a mane of tawny hair and brilliant green eyes that could see into her very soul.
    He held her fast in powerful hands. She sensed for the first time that he would be gentle with her.With tremendous relief, Jane somehow knew he would not harm her. He inhaled the fragrance of her hair, then incredibly his lips touched her cheek. She watched mesmerized as his tongue came out to lick up and down her throat and over her collarbone.
    Jane became acutely aware of her nakedness as he began to slowly lick her breasts. As his tongue curled about a nipple, its rough texture sent delicious sensations running through her body. Fear melted as it was replaced by intense pleasure and a strange excitement began to build deep inside her.
    The man’s beautiful mouth moved down over her rib cage until she felt wet, warm swirls upon her bare belly. The pleasurable feeling this aroused was so intense, it made Jane close her eyes and low moans escaped her lips. He was in total command of her and that was the way she wanted it!
    Jane awoke with a start and blushed at the wanton behavior she had enjoyed in her dream. She pushed all thoughts of the man out of her mind, but the image of the lynx was so powerful it remained with her. She felt compelled to paint herself a new touchstone talisman to protect her and keep her safe.
    Her imagination conjured the different goddesses and symbols she might use such as fish, serpents, dragons, and stags, but she rejected all of them, settling instead on the image of the lynx. It was certainly the most powerful creature she had ever encountered. It was also majestic, its beauty proud and awesome. The
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    lynx would be a source of power and energy for her as well as a sacred guardian.
    ******************
Lynx de Warenne and the other commanders rode north and joined the army the Bishop of
    Durham had gathered at Norham. From their camp Lynx rode out with the king, John de Warenne, and the other leaders to view the fortified city of Berwick. It was well protected by the sea and also by a deep channel cut by the river Tweed. Berwick Castle was perched on the north bank behind a stockade that was surrounded by a ditch.
    "Who commands the garrison?" Edward Plantagenet demanded.
    "William Douglas, Your Majesty, reputed to be a stout fighting man," John de Warenne supplied.
    "Demand the surrender of the castle," Edward ordered.
    John de Warenne chose Lynx to parley with the garrison's commander, while the king and the other leaders retired back to camp. Lynx de Warenne was a fierce warrior who had cut his teeth on subduing Wales. Nevertheless, he abhorred unnecessary bloodshed.
    With his squires flanking him, carrying white flags of truce, Lynx de Warenne rode into Berwick Castle and spent a full twenty hours at the negotiating table with William Douglas. Finally, in the small hours of the morning, he saw defeat writ on William Douglas's face. Then and only then did de Warenne allow him a sop to his pride. "I will permit you to ride out with all honor and your men may march out flying your banner and the flag of Scotland."
    ******************
Edward Plantagenet, along with all of his commanders, rode up to Berwick's gates to accept the
    surrender. Hundreds of men lined the top of the stockade to witness

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