Blood pounded in her throat. Being bound was agony.

She screamed and screamed and screamed until her voice grew hoarse and rough. Surely someone from the tribe heard.

She caught her breath. Listened. No one. Closing her eyes for an instant, she cried out, louder. But their aged friends would never assist. They were too bewildered and terrified. Luca must be badly hurt. He would never let them go so easily.

So mighty, the horse’s thunderous hooves rumbled beneath her. Its body rose and fell as the knight propelled it into a lathered gallop, quickly reaching Sir Geoffrey and Yolanda.

“Dirty worthless gypsies.” Sir Roland’s raspy voice carried, along with their breakneck speed. These men would kill them. England was not safe, and looters ran rampant. Dear spirits, if she were raped, she would never survive. The sensation of a cold hand reaching, reaching into her chest and squeezing made the skin on the back of her neck crawl.

Her mind blocked out the image.

Wind whipped through Valentina’s thin gown, her bare legs raw. The horse jolted them ever forward, and she bit her lips to stop her shouts of terror.
“We have finally found her!” Sir Geoffrey shouted. “Lord Colchester can ask the questions he needs. I am sure he will be well pleased.”

Questions? Reeling with alarm, Valentina tried to make sense of it. She forced her mind to think of something . . . anything . . . she might have done to incite a noble’s interest . . . with little success.


  1. Beth Trissel // November 5, 2007 at 9:35 AM  

    Very exciting story, Joanne! And well written. I'm enjoying this tale.

  2. Joanne // November 6, 2007 at 8:56 AM  

    Thank you, Beth. It all leads up to one lie, and a very tangled web.