Night of the Owl by Judith Sterling is a Snuggle Up pick #timetravel #romance #giveaway
Title: Night of the Owl
Author: Judith Sterling
Genre: time travel romance
PhD student Ardyth Nightshade has renounced men and pursues her twentieth-century career with single-minded focus. When fate whisks her to medieval England, she meets her match in a man whose passions mirror her own. Can she sacrifice ambition for a love she never sought?
Hugh, Lord Seacrest confounds all who know him. He refuses to marry without a meeting of minds and hearts, and no lady has even approached his ideal…until Ardyth. But she's an odd one, with unique skills, shocking habits, and total conviction she needs no man. She also harbors secrets, and in the midst of rumors, plots, and murder, trust is fragile.
A woman outside of her time. A man ahead of his. They must take a leap of faith to forge a bond that will shape history.
Hugh reined in his black stallion next to the burbling river. Ardyth, riding astride her brown palfrey, did the same. The hem of her violet gown rode too, all the way up to her knees, giving him a good view of a beautifully shaped, stockinged calf. The wooded valley was almost entirely surrounded by steep banks which formed a natural barrier to the world outside, and that was fine with him. He craved time alone with her. She filled so completely the lonely void created by his brothers’ leaving, and he wanted to learn everything he could about her.
He dismounted and turned to help her down, but she’d already alighted on her own. Breathing deeply of the fresh, saltless air, he tied the horses to a low-hanging branch and grabbed the wineskin and bag of food Aubert had packed for them. “Hungry?”
She lifted a hand to her belly. “I’m starved! What did you bring?”
“In honor of the first time we ate in private, I had Aubert make something like your sand-wich.”
“You remembered the word!”
“I did, but how do you refer to more than one of them?”
“Sand-wich-es. He made two. Duck and cheese this time, with the uncooked lettuce again.”
“So you did like the lettuce! It adds a nice crunch.”
“That it does. Shall we sit?” He motioned to a soft patch of grass near the river’s edge, and they sat down.
“What did you bring to drink?”
“Spiced wine.” He handed her a sandwich, then took a bite of his own.
“M-m,” she hummed, her mouth full of the same goodness that filled his own. “Heaven. Particularly the cheese.”
“You share my passion for food.”
“I never met a cheese I didn’t like.”
He burst out laughing.
Her brow crinkled. “What?”
“ʼTwas your choice of words. I’ve never heard anyone speak of food as though ʼtwere a person.”
“Oh, I have a deep admiration and affection for cheese.”
He grinned. It seems I have a rival for your affections. “As have I.”
They shared drink from the wineskin. Every time he took a draught, he reveled in the fact his mouth touched the same spout as hers. Oh, to kiss those lips again! He would do it, when the time was right.
The sparkling water accompanied their meal with soothing gurgles and murmurs. Birdsong added harmony, and Hugh basked in a warm and radiant peace he hadn’t felt for quite some time. All his cares were back at Seacrest. Here and now, in this place, he was free.
When food and drink were gone, he lay on his side facing her, propped up on one elbow. Lovelier than ever, Ardyth stared at the river with a faraway look in her eyes. She appeared content, but he couldn’t be sure.
Suddenly, her brow puckered. “Hugh…”
“Why are you convinced there’s no treasure?”
“Because I know the truth of how the rumor started.”
He plucked a blade of grass from the ground and rubbed it between his fingers. “I trust my mother told you what happened with the shipwreck…that my father saved her life.”
“Afterward, when he spoke of his ‘treasure beyond compare,’ he meant her.”
Ardyth’s brown eyes widened. “Lady Seacrest was the treasure?”
“She was. Others simply mistook his words.”
“That’s some mistake! And now it has brought danger to your door.”
“Indeed.” He smiled. “You do have a unique way of putting things.”
“Thank you…I think.”
He dropped the blade of grass and sat up. “Now you must tell me…how did you know to look for me in the cave last night?”
She bit her luscious lower lip, then gave him a curt nod, as if she’d reached a decision. “Very well, I’ll tell you. Bertram told us you mentioned the granary after reading the note, so we went thither. The owl you and I saw earlier was still there. I don’t know what made me do it, but I asked him for help. And then, as I stared into his eyes, I got an answer. ʼTwas as if he planted the words in my mind: ‘the sea cave…go by way of the secret passage.’”
“You actually heard a voice?”
“ʼTis woodness, I know, but I swear to you, I heard a male voice. Now that I think of it, it almost sounded like…no. That’s impossible.”
Hugh frowned. “What is it?”
“Naught. I’m sure I’m wrong. Anyway, we found you, and the rest you know.”
“Not in full. You said you kicked and punched the man called Degarre. I would I’d seen you.”
Ardyth jumped to her feet. “I’ll show you now, if you’d like. I promise to be gentle.”
A wicked grin spread across her face. God’s teeth, but she was alluring!
He stood, all too aware of his stiff manhood. “Show me.”
She stepped closer. “I kicked here…” Swiftly, she lifted her leg between his, thankfully stopping short of the obvious goal. “…and he bent forward.” Grasping his shoulders, she made him fold over at the waist. “Then I punched him right here.” Her fist tapped his temple. “He fell to the ground, and your mother hit him over the head with a rock. Then I tied his hands and feet with my stockings.”
He whistled as he straightened. “Pray, remind me not to anger you in future.”
Again, she grinned. “Fear not. You’re safe with me.”
“Am I?” He inched closer, and an invisible cloak of intimacy wrapped around them.
Her smile disappeared, and her eyes darkened in a subtle yet soulful invitation. “Always.”
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November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?
The love and support of my family and friends.
Why is your featured book worth snuggling up to?
It’s romantic and fun, with a dash of mystery thrown in. If you’ve ever fantasized about visiting medieval England, you can travel right along with my heroine, Ardyth Nightshade.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Canada account to win.
Runs November 1 – 30
Drawing will be held on December 1.
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
Social Media Links:
Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/
The Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/bookauthor/judith-sterling