Knights of de Ware 01 - My Champion

Knights of de Ware 01 - My Champion by Glynnis Campbell Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Knights of de Ware 01 - My Champion by Glynnis Campbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glynnis Campbell
Tags: Romance
“Help! Guards!”
    The beggar flinched, and his right hand went reflexively to his belt. It came up empty. He had one brief moment to glare at her in baffled accusation. Then the solar door burst open beneath the shoulders of two de Ware knights.

    Robert and Garth leaped into the room. Their bright new swords, already drawn, flashed in the sunlight as the oak door banged against the outer wall, sending a puff of dust into the pregnant air. They glanced in confusion back and forth from Duncan to the wool merchant, awaiting an explanation.
    “Well?” Linet asked, eyeing Duncan expectantly.
    So this was her game, he thought, narrowing his eyes. She wanted him to prove his skill. Very well, he decided, dropping the length of woaded wool and tossing off the cloak—he would oblige her. Weaponless, he slowly turned to his brother and his best friend. He crouched like a wolf about to spring. Then he winked at them.
    Garth was accustomed to maintaining a sober expression in the face of his brother’s wiles. Robert was not. He smothered a laugh, clearing his throat importantly.
    “Do you require assistance?” Robert asked Linet.
    “Yes. This man has gained entry here without the consent of Lady Alyce.”
    “I see,” Robert nodded, tapping his thumb on the hilt of his sword.
    “Come on!” Duncan goaded them with a snarl, a feral gleam in his eyes. “Come on and fight!”
    “It would hardly be a fair fight,” Garth remarked. “You’re unarmed.”
    “No matter!” Duncan recklessly declared. “I can best you both!”
    Robert and Garth exchanged quick looks that indicated otherwise. It was clear that even the best swordsman alive, without a weapon of any sort, against two armed guards who were also his bosom companions, didn’t have a prayer.
    “Don’t…hurt him,” Linet requested, studiously avoiding his eyes. She collected up her basket and made her way to the door. “He’s fairly harmless. Just make certain he doesn’t follow me, please.”
    Robert, the traitor, decided in a moment of mischief to side with his antagonist. “As you desire, my lady,” he bobbed, flicking the point of his sword up to touch the tip of Duncan’s chin.
    Duncan shot Robert a clandestine look that would’ve singed his friend’s brows had Robert not been so highly amused by the whole affair.
    Damn their betraying hides, there was nothing he could do. He was trapped in his own disguise, and it was apparent that his companions weren’t about to rescue him. Robert was deriving far too much enjoyment from having his blade poised at Duncan’s throat.
    Curse the wench! She’d bested him again, coolly and completely humiliated him without a hint of remorse. Where was her gratitude? Where was the appropriate awe he always inspired in the gentler sex? He’d nobly offered her his sword arm, and she’d hurled his own gauntlet back in his face. Fairly harmless she’d called him. She hadn’t wanted to test his mettle at all. She’d simply wanted to be rid of him. And the little princess hadn’t given him a second thought as she smugly made her way out of the room.
    The instant the door closed behind her, Duncan hissed out an expletive that startled Garth. “Put up your swords, both of you!” he snarled.
    They sheathed their blades, but Robert remained undaunted, his eyes dancing merrily. “Well, we have fodder for the jongleurs now, don’t we, Garth?” he teased. “A woman has fled Duncan’s side. Perhaps she’s daft, touched by the moon, eh?”
    “Cease!” Duncan thundered.
    He paced across the floor, clenching and unclenching his fists, drawn to the window every few moments as he checked for the girl’s departure. A glint of metal from the sward below caught his eye. Before he could blink, a scrawny peasant lad scooped up Duncan’s discarded dagger, furtively tucking it into his jerkin. Duncan opened his mouth to protest, then merely kicked the wall in frustration instead and resumed his pacing.

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