Beware the Lizard Lurking by @VivienneBreret1 is an Indie Authors pick #historicalfiction #giveaway
Title: Beware the Lizard Lurking: The House of the Red Duke, Book Two
Author: Vivienne Brereton
Genre: Historical Fiction
1513. England and France are on the brink of war. The powerful Howard family is still very much in the centre of everything, with Thomas determined to hold onto his power, no matter what the cost. A fast-paced story with plenty of action and a healthy dose of romance.
January 7th, 1513.
The great hall, Ardres Castle.
As the only occupant at the high table so far, Nicolas was relishing the opportunity to break his fast in pleasant solitude. As he reached over for some more anchovies, he felt a pang of disappointment when the brass handle of the heavy oak door, at the far end of the hall, slowly started to turn. Disappointment swiftly gave way to disgust when he saw who it was bursting through the doorway jostling and jesting as usual, like a pair of eight-year-olds: Tristan and that earth-vexing friend of his, Jean de Lorraine. Still licking his wounds from last night’s humiliating débâcle of his planned wooing of Ysabeau de Sapincourt, not to mention his very public defeat to Tristan, Nicolas glared at them as they approached with all the swagger of a couple of street ruffians seeking out a brawl. Thinly disguised hostility towards himself was evident in every insufferably nonchalant step. His only consolation was that they weren’t accompanied by Guillaume Gouffier; that one had left the great hall last night with a pert young woman hanging onto his arm who definitely wasn’t his wife, Bonaventure. With his expression of a cat that’s got the cream, Gascon (as he knew him better) had put Nicolas in an even worse mood than before.
The pain of losing Ysabeau to Tristan hurt as much as salt being rubbed into an open wound. The realization that the scurvy-valiant, younger son of Monsieur Guy might prove a very real threat to him in the joust of love, had hit Nicolas with all the force of a thunderbolt from the heavens. Gone was his erstwhile notion of Tristan as a mewling jolthead, snivelling in protest all the way to the door of Anderne Abbey.
Destined for a wretched existence…devoid of the pleasures of the flesh.
* * *
Nicolas couldn’t even bring himself to entertain the thought that the future devil-monk might well succeed in luring Nicolas’s precious prize to his bedchamber.
As the two of them reached Nicolas, the cullionly Jean put one hand to his mouth in mock horror, his eyes - a pair of radiant forget-me-nots - wide with faux concern. ‘What ails you this morning, Nicolas? I think the frozen plains of Siberia would offer us a warmer welcome.’
‘Perhaps he had unpleasant dreams,’ smirked Tristan. ‘The kind where you’re pursued by a bear, or find yourself in the Castle courtyard as naked as the day you were born. Without even a horse in the stables upon which you’re able to flee. Or a fair maid nearby to kiss your cares away. Just a pot of linseed oil to keep you company while you polish the mud-crusted saddles.’
Although Nicolas wanted nothing more than to put out a boot to send his toad-spotted rival flying back from whence he’d come, he knew he couldn’t simply ignore this insult. ‘I can see you’re trying to make hay while the sun shines, Tristan. After all, the Church will soon be your only mistress.’
There was a momentary flash of anger on his adversary’s face that disappeared as quickly as it had come, in the manner of a cloud passing in front of the sun. Even so, Nicolas was gratified to see it. Served Tristan right for daring to steal Ysabeau right from under his nose.
‘Don’t be so sure of that!’ was the only weak parry of the sword Tristan managed.
Unable to resist going in for the kill, Nicolas shrugged, feigning indifference. ‘Wars and women. Who in their right mind would desire either? But if we’re forced to become involved, we should take heed of the old saying: “All’s fair in love and war”.’
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“I have to admit that Beware the Lizard Lurking is one of the best depictions that I have ever read of the Tudor era and its principal players.”
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I have always loved the Tudors and am thrilled to finally be able to spend all my time in such an exciting era. I have lived and worked in six countries but this is by far the best one!
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