A woman imprisoned...
A love redeemed...
Revenge, rich and rewarding...
WITH HER KISS
South Wales, The Marches
Shuddering, bone cold, Kat huddled down into her cloak. She rocked, her teeth chattering, her jaw aching. Her fine wool cape caught on the jagged points of the dungeon’s walls as she slid to the damp earthen floor. The chill shot up her spine. Her toes curled and she clamped a hand over her mouth to fight back a cry. Her guards must not hear her despair. Cringing, she turned her face to the rough stones to stifle her outrage.
She understood why she sat here in this miserable hole. Of course she did. She had refused her king. A noblewoman close to his own blood, she had denied his requests to give him land and pay higher taxes for more than a decade. Then, when he had returned to demand more, she had rebelled with disdain for the vain tyrant he had always been. She recalled him on his last visit to her in the autumn, standing in her own solar, shaking with indignation, self-righteous—the cur—to his bones.
“You will not yield?” John had bellowed at her, then backhanded her to the wall. “How dare you!”
“It is my right to deny you,” she had managed, her hand to her bleeding lips as she struggled to her feet.
“Mine to take from you what I want!” he had sneered at her.
“You may try.” She had cast her eyes towards her two guards, who had been subdued by two of his. She needed to preserve the lives of her men. They would spread word of what had happened here and the audacious orders of her king. Her men’s loyalty was her last bulwark against John’s outrageous demands that she go to his bed. “What comfort will it gain you?”
“I could have you persuaded by each and every one of Ferrer’s men, followed by my own,” he threatened with a grin.
Her head had spun at the threat of being raped by so many. Ferrer was but John’s toady, attempting to bully her, take her land for John and take her body for the notoriety. As for the submission John required of her, she knew how to best him by brandishing against him his droit de seigneur. “Women should love you, should they not?”
“By all means,” he had agreed.
“A noble lord is our king,” she had said, purring as if she were truly complimenting him. “Worthy to climb between any woman’s legs.”
He had nodded.
“Ah. Of course. A lady should welcome the royal cock inside her.”
“’Tis an honour to be well fucked by such a man,” he had preened.
“I see here no such creature.”
One of his men had gasped at her insult.
John had glared at her, his black eyes demonic. “Your blindness may kill you.”
A smirk had thinned her lips. “Better to live in the dark than have my eyes assaulted by a monster.”
“You prefer the dark? Do you? We shall order it,” he had bellowed, his nostrils flaring. He flicked her away with his hands as if she were no more than a fly.And here she was, thrown into this dank and miserable dungeon by his royal machinations.