Lord of Illusion – Book 3, Legacy of the Blade Series
(Click on covers to buy Ebook, Audio or Print)
Lady Abigail of Blackmore is on the run. She’s been betrothed to the evil lord of Shrewsbury and decides to follow the thief who just robbed them on the road.
Madoc ap Powell has been raised as a thief and uses disguises to create illusions in his profession. He uses the money gained to support his ailing mother and half-brother as well as the homing pigeons he raises. He has no idea of family or past, but feels he belongs in a castle – and not the dungeon.
When Lady Abigail asks him to take her with him, he knows she is in for a surprise. Especially since where he is taking her is the last place she wants to go – Shrewsbury. A thief and a lady both trying to escape the lives they live, find life on the other side is not always what is expected.
Excerpt from Lord of Illusion:
Abigail rode her steed hard through the woods, branches scratching her skin and tearing at her traveling clothes. Still, she did not care. One glance over her shoulder told her she was yet to be followed. But when she looked a second time, a rider on horseback approached her, gaining on her quickly. In her carelessness, she misdirected her horse and it reared up, causing her to fall from her sidesaddle to the hard ground far below.
The rider came up behind her and two strong arms pulled her to her feet.
“Nay!” she shouted, pushing him away, “I won’t go with you to marry that ogre.”
That’s when she realized he wasn’t a guard at all, but rather the old man in the road who’d robbed them.
“Let go of me,” she cried, and in her struggles the man’s hood slipped from his head. Though he had a beard and eyebrows of nearly white, the hair on his head was dark as a starless night.
“Hold still,” the man ground out – a young man’s voice slipping from his lips instead of the old crackly voice she’d heard on the road.
“You are not an old man,” she accused him. “You are an imposter. Who are you?”
Madoc ap Powell looked at the beautiful woman before him, demanding his name as if he would really tell her.
“Who are you?” he asked in return.
“I am Lady Abigail of Blackmore,” she retorted. “And I demand you release me.”
“You, my lady, are the one who alerted the guards to my actions and almost got me killed.” She was a feisty wench, he’d give her that. And twice as observant as any of the guards.
“They will kill you,” she said. “Just as soon as they follow – which will be at any moment now.”
“Nay, my lady. That is where you are wrong. For at this moment they are fighting off a band of marauders who are headed in the opposite direction. I sincerely doubt they’ve even noticed you are missing.”
“So you set up an attack and now you come for me?”
“I had naught to do with the attack. I work on my own. I just happened upon the opportunity before they did, that’s all.”
“Work?” she mimicked the word he’d used. “Hah. I sincerely doubt you have ever worked an honest day in your life. And I do not like to be referred to as an opportunity.”
Once again she was very observant, although he had worked at an honest job for a few years of his life. But he’d seen where honest work had gotten him when he’d ended up in the dungeon. Nay, what he did now was the better of the choices, and also what his mother had taught him to do from childhood.
He took a sheep bladder filled with water from his side, and splashed it upon his face to rid himself of his disguise. The white powder in his beard and mustache washed out, leaving it as dark as the hair on his head. The powder in his eyebrows followed. He gave a sharp intake of breath at the coldness on his skin, then took a swig of the water and offered her some.
“Nay,” she said, turning her head, and when she tried to walk away, he realized her gown had caught on a branch.
“Well, Lady Abigail, I see your escape is foiled. You are caught not only by me but also by the guardians of nature.”
“I wasn’t trying to escape!” she exclaimed.
When she looked back up to him, he couldn’t help but notice her beauty. A few years younger than he, she seemed to be mayhap one and twenty summers. Her hair was golden silk, spun from the faeries of the forest themselves. Her eyes blue – deep blue – and clear like that of a midsummer’s night sky. And her skin was alabaster and looked soft and supple.
“Well I am glad to hear you were not trying to escape,” he told her. “Because then you’ll be willing to come with me when I return you for a reward.”