By Arrangement (Medievals)

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9780553582222: By Arrangement (Medievals)

The lady and the commoner...

Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn was not opposed to marriage.  But she demanded to be married on her own terms, not as punishment for a romantic indiscretion, and especially not to a common merchant.  Yet she was in for a shock when she met David de Abyndon.  For she was confronted by no ordinary merchant but a man of extraordinary poise and virility.  He was unaffected by their difference in social status.  And even less affected by her well-thought-out arguments against their upcoming betrothal.  Instead, it was Christiana who felt uneasy in the presence of this naturally lordly man behind whose cool blue eyes she sensed the most uncompromising of passions.

David de Abyndon understood Christiana's dilemma, for he too harbored a secret pain.  How could he tell her that there was more to this arrangement than met the eye?  How could he tell her about his deal with the king--a deal that meant he had all but bought Christiana sight unseen?

What's more, now that he had seen this beautiful, spirited woman, how could he convince her that the love she sought was not in the callow knight she had romanticized but in the flesh-and-blood arms of the man who may have bought her body--but in the bargain lost both his heart and soul?

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About the Author:

Madeline Hunter is a nationally bestselling author of historical romances who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. In a parallel existence to the one she enjoys as a novelist, she has a Ph.D. in art history and teaches at an East Coast university.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1


If your brother finds out about this, I'll be lucky to walk away with my manhood, let alone my head," Thomas said.

The moon's pale light threw shadows on the walls of the shops that lined the street. Ominous movements to the right and left occasionally caught Christiana's attention, but she didn't fear footpads or nightwalkers tonight. Thomas Holland, one of the Queen's knights, rode alongside her, and the glow from his torch displayed his long sword. Christiana expected no challenges from anyone who might see them in the city out after the curfew.

"He will never know, I promise you. No one will," she reassured him.

Thomas worried with good reason. If her brother Morvan found out that Thomas had helped her sneak out of Westminster after dark, there would be hell to pay. She would take all of the blame on herself if they were discovered, though. After all, she could hardly get into any more trouble than she was in right now.

"This merchant you need to see must be rich, if he doesn't live above his shop," Thomas mused. "Not my business to pry, my lady, but this be a peculiar time to be visiting, and on the sly at that. I trust that it is not a lover I bring you to. The King himself will gut me if it is."

She would have laughed at his suggestion, except that her frantic emotions had left her too sick to enjoy the dreadful joke. "Not a lover, and I come now because it is the only time I can be sure of finding him at home," she said, hoping that he would not ask for more explanation. It had taken all of her guile to slip away for this clandestine visit, and she had none to spare for inventing another lie.

The last day had been one of the worst in her life, and one of the longest. Had it only been last evening that she had met with Queen Philippa and been told of the King's decision to accept a marriage offer for her? Every moment since had been an eternity of hellish panic and outrage.

She was not opposed to marriage. In fact, at eighteen she was past the age when most girls wed. But this offer had not come from Stephen Percy, the knight to whom she had given her heart. Nor had it been made by some other knight or lord, as befitted the daughter of Hugh Fitzwaryn and a girl from a family of ancient nobility.

Nay, King Edward had decided to marry her to David de Abyndon, whom she had never met.

A common merchant.

A common, old merchant, according to her guardian, Lady Idonia, who remembered buying silks from Master David the mercer in her youth.

It was the King's way of punishing her. Since her parents' deaths she had been his ward and lived at court with his eldest daughter, Isabele, and his young cousin Joan of Kent. When he had learned about Stephen, he must have flown into a rage to have taken such drastic revenge on her.

Stephen. Handsome, blond Stephen. Her heart ached for him. His secret attentions had brought the sun into her sheltered, lonely life. He was the first man to dare to pay court to her. Morvan had threatened to kill any man who wooed her before a betrothal. Her brother's size and skill at arms had proven a depressingly effective deterrent to a love match, just as her lack of a dowry had precluded one secured by property. Other girls at court had admirers, but not her. Until Stephen.

This marriage would be a harsh retribution for what had occurred on that bed before Idonia had found them together. And not one that she planned to accept. Nor would this old merchant want it when he learned how the King was using him.

She and Thomas followed the blond head of the apprentice whom they had woken from his bed in the mercer's shop. The young man had agreed to guide them to his master's house. He led them up the lane away from the Cheap and then over toward the Guildhall before stopping at a gate and rapping lightly. The heavy door swung back and a huge body filled it.

The gate guard held a torch in one massive hand. He was the tallest person Christiana had ever seen, and thick as a tree. Whitish blond hair flowed down his shoulders.

He spoke in a voice accented with the lilting tones of Sweden. "Andrew, is that you? What the hell are you doing here? The constables catch you out after curfew again . . ."

"These two came to the shop, Sieg. I had to show them the way, didn't I?"

The torch pointed out so that Sieg could scrutinize them. "He be expecting you, but I was told it was two men," he said warily. "Ja, well, follow me. I'll put you in the solar and tell him you are here."

Thomas turned to her. "I will go up with you," he whispered. "If anything happens . . ."

"I must do this alone. There is no danger for me here."

Thomas did not like it. "I see a courtyard beyond this gate. I will wait there. Be quick, and yell if you need me."

She followed the mountain called Sieg. Doors gave out on either side of a short passage, and she realized that this was a building with a gate cut into its bottom level. They crossed the courtyard and entered a hall set at right angles to the first. She caught the impression of benches and tables as they filed through, turning finally into yet another wing that faced the first across the courtyard. Here a narrow staircase led to a second level.

Sieg opened a door off the top landing and gestured. "You can wait here. Master David be abed, so it might take a while."

She raised a hand to halt him. "I didn't expect to disturb him. I can come another time."

"I was told to wake him when you came."

That was the second time that this man had suggested that they expected her. "I think that you've made a mistake . . ." she began, but Sieg was already out the door.

The solar was quite large, and a low fire burned in the hearth at one end. The furniture appeared as little more than heavy shadows in the moonlight filtering through a bank of pointed arched windows along the far wall. She strolled over to those windows and fingered the rippled glazing and lead tracery. Glass. Lots of it, and very expensive. This Master David had done well over the years selling his cloths and vanities.

It didn't surprise her. She knew that some of the London merchants were as rich as landed lords and that a few had even become lords through their wealth. The mayor of London was always treated like a peer of the realm at important court functions, and the families that supplied the aldermen had a very high status too. London's merchants, with their royal charter of freedoms, were a proud and influential group of men, jealous of their prerogatives and rights. Edward negotiated and consulted with London much as he did with his barons.

Sieg returned and built up the fire. He took a rush and lit several candles on a table nearby before he left. Christiana stayed near the windows, away from the light in her shadowed corner.

A door set in the wall beside the hearth opened, and a man walked through. He paused, looking around the chamber. His eyes found her shadow near the windows, and he walked forward a few steps.

The light from the hearth illuminated him. She took in the tall, lean frame, the golden brown hair, the planes of a handsome face.

Humiliation swept her. They had come to the wrong place!

"My lady?" The voice was a quiet baritone. A beautiful voice. Its very timbre pulled you in and made you want to listen to what it said even if it spoke nonsense.

She searched for the words to form an apology.

"You have something for me?" he encouraged.

Perhaps she could leave without this man knowing just who had made a fool of herself tonight.

"I am sorry. There has been a mistake," she said. "We seem to have come to the wrong house."

"Whom do you seek?"

"Master David the mercer."

"I am he."

"I think it is a different David. I was told that he is . . . older."

"I am David the mercer, and there is no other. If you have brought something for me . . ."
Christiana wanted to disappear. She would kill Idonia! Her kindly old merchant was a man of no more than thirty years.

He had stopped in mid-sentence, and she saw him realize that she was not whom he expected either. He took another few steps toward her. "Perhaps if you would tell me why you seek me . . ."

Young or old, it made no difference. She was here now and she would tell her story. This man would not like playing the fool for the King no matter what his age.

"My name is Christiana Fitzwaryn."

They stood in a long silence broken only by  crackle of the new logs on the fire.

"You had only to send word and I would have come to you. In fact, I was told that the Queen would introduce us at the castle tomorrow," he finally said.

She knew then for sure that there had been no mistake.

"I wanted to speak with you privately."

His head tilted back a bit. "Then come and sit yourself, Lady Christiana, and say what you need to say."

Three good-sized chairs stood near the fire, all with backs and arms. Suppressing an instinct to bolt from the room, she took the middle one. It was too big for her, and even when she perched on the edge, her feet dangled. She felt the same way that she had last night with the Queen, like a child waiting to be chastised. She reached up and pushed down the hood of her cloak.

A movement beside her brought David de Abyndon into the chair on her left. He angled it away so that he faced her. Close here, in the glow of the fire, she could see him clearly.

Her eyes fell on expertly crafted brown high boots, and long, well-shaped legs in brown hose. Her gaze drifted up to a beautiful masculine hand, long-fingered and traced with elegant veins, resting on the front edge of the chair's arm. The red wool po...

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Descrizione libro Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. The lady and the commoner. Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn was not opposed to marriage. But she demanded to be married on her own terms, not as punishment for a romantic indiscretion, and especially not to a common merchant. Yet she was in for a shock when she met David de Abyndon. For she was confronted by no ordinary merchant but a man of extraordinary poise and virility. He was unaffected by their difference in social status. And even less affected by her well-thought-out arguments against their upcoming betrothal. Instead, it was Christiana who felt uneasy in the presence of this naturally lordly man behind whose cool blue eyes she sensed the most uncompromising of passions. David de Abyndon understood Christiana s dilemma, for he too harbored a secret pain. How could he tell her that there was more to this arrangement than met the eye? How could he tell her about his deal with the king--a deal that meant he had all but bought Christiana sight unseen? What s more, now that he had seen this beautiful, spirited woman, how could he convince her that the love she sought was not in the callow knight she had romanticized but in the flesh-and-blood arms of the man who may have bought her body--but in the bargain lost both his heart and soul?. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780553582222

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Descrizione libro Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. The lady and the commoner. Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn was not opposed to marriage. But she demanded to be married on her own terms, not as punishment for a romantic indiscretion, and especially not to a common merchant. Yet she was in for a shock when she met David de Abyndon. For she was confronted by no ordinary merchant but a man of extraordinary poise and virility. He was unaffected by their difference in social status. And even less affected by her well-thought-out arguments against their upcoming betrothal. Instead, it was Christiana who felt uneasy in the presence of this naturally lordly man behind whose cool blue eyes she sensed the most uncompromising of passions. David de Abyndon understood Christiana s dilemma, for he too harbored a secret pain. How could he tell her that there was more to this arrangement than met the eye? How could he tell her about his deal with the king--a deal that meant he had all but bought Christiana sight unseen? What s more, now that he had seen this beautiful, spirited woman, how could he convince her that the love she sought was not in the callow knight she had romanticized but in the flesh-and-blood arms of the man who may have bought her body--but in the bargain lost both his heart and soul?. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780553582222

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Descrizione libro Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reissue. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The lady and the commoner. Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn was not opposed to marriage. But she demanded to be married on her own terms, not as punishment for a romantic indiscretion, and especially not to a common merchant. Yet she was in for a shock when she met David de Abyndon. For she was confronted by no ordinary merchant but a man of extraordinary poise and virility. He was unaffected by their difference in social status. And even less affected by her well-thought-out arguments against their upcoming betrothal. Instead, it was Christiana who felt uneasy in the presence of this naturally lordly man behind whose cool blue eyes she sensed the most uncompromising of passions. David de Abyndon understood Christiana s dilemma, for he too harbored a secret pain. How could he tell her that there was more to this arrangement than met the eye? How could he tell her about his deal with the king--a deal that meant he had all but bought Christiana sight unseen? What s more, now that he had seen this beautiful, spirited woman, how could he convince her that the love she sought was not in the callow knight she had romanticized but in the flesh-and-blood arms of the man who may have bought her body--but in the bargain lost both his heart and soul?. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780553582222

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