TITLE: The Saint and the Smith
GENRE: Historical Fiction
Now twenty and one, Merewyn has spent her whole life hiding her unpredictable powers to heal and hurt. But when she falls for a nobleman’s bastard son whose presence pulls the magic from within her, she must risk the noose and master her abilities to keep him safe from both herself and mercurial King Henry III who wants his head.
Most claimed that I was a fair shadow of my willowy mother. So alike, apart from our eyes. Perhaps if Mother’s doe eyes were like mine, a frightening silver that hinted at strange abilities, the men would not bully her.
Men like Harold the baker.
In the rutted road stretching between my uncle’s farm and the village, Harold, cheeks ale-reddened and fists in knots, shouted into Mother’s upturned face. His voice was lightning in my ears. Could I frighten this man? Maybe if I was older, stronger...
Kneeling in the cracked earth, I concealed myself behind our cart, peeking between the stalks of wheat which we had bundled like sickly babes.
“I won’t pay it, woman!” Harold lurched closer to Mother, his spittle wetting the smooth skin of her forehead. “Your brother asks too much for his meager harvest! Do you want me to starve?” He bent to level his head to hers. “I know you call me ‘beast’ behind my back.” The hulking man swayed, bumped into the object of his discontent, and straightened himself, swearing like a horned devil. His ale breath rode the late summer air to my hiding place.
“No, I would never…” Mother held her hands, palms up, to him.
He blinked hard and focused his stare on her, his barrel chest rising and falling, faster and faster, just as it did when he beat his wife bloody before the entire village not two days past. “Give me my wheat.”