Excerpt from Mistletoe and Chain Mail
“Guard, throw these men out of here at once,” Eva commanded.
“Nay,” pleaded Adam, holding his palms forward as the guard stomped up the stairs to get them. “I’m sorry, my lady, for my loose tongue and repeating lies that I’ve heard. I can see now that none of them are true. I have brought you a gift and hope you’ll accept my apologies. Please, allow me to join in your Christmastide celebration.” He turned to his squire. “Bryce, show the fair lady what I’ve brought her.”
“Come on,” growled the guard, taking Bryce by the arm. “You, too,” he said to Adam.
“What a shame,” said Adam with a forced sigh. “Bryce, I hope you’re hungry since you and I will have to eat that entire goose by ourselves.”
He took a step down one stair, hoping he had stirred the lady’s interest. He had done his research before coming here. The word whispered through the rushes was that Lady Eva Cavendish liked to eat. Hopefully, her hunger at the moment was stronger than her anger directed toward him.
“Wait!” she called out, causing Adam to stop in his tracks.
“Aye, my lady?” he asked, turning his head with a raised brow, sure his ploy had worked. “Was there something more?” He saw her eyes fastened to the covered platter in Bryce’s hands. Then, when the tip of her pink tongue shot out to quickly lick her lips, he knew he’d be inside the castle within minutes.
“Let me see what you brought. Uncover the dish,” she ordered, urgency sounding in her voice.
“Of course, my lady,” Adam replied with a satisfied smile. “Bryce, remove the lid.”
Carefully balancing the platter on one arm, Bryce reached out and picked up the lid with the other. The aroma of the garlic and rosemary roasted goose filled the air. Mingling together with that was the tantalizing scent of the quince, apple, and sage stuffing.
“My lady, I have bought and cooked the prized goose from the butcher’s shop at the edge of town. I slowly turned and seared and the fine meat on a spit over an outdoor fire for hours to give it a woodsy flavor. Then I gently stroked it with a golden liquid of exotic herbs infused with its own rich juices until the skin turned crispy. Afterwards, I gently laid it in a covered pot, coating it with a drizzling of sweet cider and red, robust wine, so it would stay succulent, juicy, and tender and not dry out.”
Adam noticed her eyes grow wide as they fixated on the bird. As if in a trance, she blindly took a step closer. He had her right where he wanted her and so he continued.
“Just look at those plump quinces and golden apples that make up the stuffing.” He reached out and moved Bryce’s hand so the platter was closer to Eva. Then he held his fingers together and used them as a fan as he wafted at the air around the goose. “Can you smell the leeks and sage?” He made a big show of sniffing the air and releasing it with a sigh of satisfaction. “It smells so rich and nutty. And the velvety sauce made with the drippings has been topped off with just a sprinkle of cinnamon and mace. Did you want to sample it?”
“Aye,” she said so eagerly that he half-expected to see saliva dribbling down her chin in anticipation. With one shaking hand, she greedily reached out for the goose.
“Allow me, my lady.” Adam raised his hand to stop her. “The goose is hot and I wouldn’t want you to burn your precious mouth.” He used two fingers, grabbing a piece of meat folded over with a little stuffing in between. Holding it up, he blew on it to cool it off for her. Her mouth hung open as she watched his every move. Then he smiled and carefully held it up to her mouth.
Like a baby bird wanting to be fed, her jaw dropped open. Adam gently placed the meat in her mouth.
With an intake of breath and her eyes narrowing slightly, she chewed the goose slowly, savoring the flavor. “It’s delicious,” she said, her voice sounding almost orgasmic. “It’s the best goose I’ve ever tasted in my life. I’d like more.”
“Really?” Adam asked, brushing his hands together. “Well, I’m sorry, but my squire and I are going to eat the rest of the goose by ourselves as we celebrate Christmas in the cold out in our tent. Bryce, cover up the goose,” he commanded with a flick of his wrist. “We want to save the heat that holds in all those tantalizing flavors.” He nonchalantly looked over to the guard next. The man was also staring at the goose with want in his eyes. “All right, we are ready to go.”
“Nay! Stay,” Eva begged him as she hurriedly followed him down the stairs.