Title: Beltane Lion
Author: Cindy Spencer Pape
POST: Second Chances
As humans, we don’t always get a second chance when things go wrong. My story in ENTICE ME, however, is getting one.
I wrote a short little story in 2008 called Beltaine Bargain, as a test to see if I felt comfortable writing historical romance. This was a paranormal as well, which you’ll see from the blurb. I sent it to The Wild Rose Press, a wonderful publisher, but one where my reputation was for writing contemporary cowboys—not enchanted medieval knights. Despite great reviews, it never sold so much as a hundred copies.
Fast forward seven years. I’m a better writer now than I was then, and I definitely have a larger audience. I’ve reworked some and left some the same, but the biggest change is in the ending, which I’d always had a few problems with, since the day I hit send on my initial edits. Now, for this anthology, Beltane Lion gets a new life, and Rhodri gets the closure he always deserved. I hope you enjoy dipping into my world of medieval and magic.
Blurb Rhodri of Llyan has returned from the Crusades a cursed man. On the way home to Wales, a young friend is sorely injured. Rhodri seeks the aid of village healer, Selene, whose gift for healing is as uncanny as her beauty. Selene’s magic can cure wounds, but she isn’t sure she can break the curse or heal the wounds on Rhodri’s heart?
Heat Level: 3
“Where are you bound, my lord? I can send word when your friend is ready to be moved.” She sipped the soup, understanding now why it had resisted spicing. In the back of her mind, she must have sensed an impending patient.
“Home to Wales.” He didn’t even pause between mouthfuls to answer. “But you won’t need to send for me. I’m staying.”
Staying? That was never going to work!
“But my lord, there is only the one bed.” True there was also the loft, where her father stayed on his visits, but Selene had planned on sleeping there herself.
He cocked one golden-brown eyebrow and tilted his head toward the ladder to the loft. So he’d seen it. Fie! Then he swallowed and nodded.
“I’ll pitch my campaign tent in the field beyond the cottage. I’ve spent more nights in that than in a bed these last many years.”
Oh. How utterly reasonable. Selene sagged into her chair and nodded.
“That will be fine, my lord.” She studied her soup, unwilling to gaze on him openly.
“Rhodri.” His voice was gruff, but gentle, and so soft she could not make out his words.
“Beg pardon, my lord?”
He cleared his throat then spoke again, marginally louder this time.
“Since I’ll be your guest, you may as well use my name. It’s Rhodri. Rhodri ap Madoc, Earl of Llyan.” There was but a trace of a Welsh lilt to his English, just enough to lend a musical softness to his rough tone.
An earl? Oh my! She struggled not to let her discomfort show. Here and now, he was only a man, like any other, she reminded herself.
“Well that explains the lion on your shield, I suppose.” She sent him a smile. “I am called Selene. Welcome, Rhodri.”
He tipped his head in a bow.
“Well met, Mistress Selene. I am eternally in your debt. What boon can I offer in return for you care of my young charge? Name it and it is yours.”
“Let us wait until he recovers to talk of payment, my lord.”
He gave her an unexpectedly engaging grin and tsked.
“I mean Rhodri. But you could begin by explaining to me how it is that there are gashes and blood on your clothing, yet none on your skin.”
Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. EPIC and PRISM winning author of over 60 published works, Cindy lives in Michigan with her family and a houseful of pets.
(Photo by Russ Turner Photography)