Valentina’s heart twisted, knowing she did not have the slightest idea how they might escape, worrying that she might fail.

Two large tears rolled down Yolanda’s cheeks as the knights rebound her wrists, then Valentina’s. Valentina kept a strong expression on her face. For her sister.
By late evening they reached a towering castle. Valentina stayed awake by avoiding Sir Roland’s hands. The thought of provoking the knight’s madness, or worse, inciting his lust, sent a spasm of panic through her gut. A short distance away, Yolanda slumped against Sir Geoffrey’s bent shoulders. Devil curse the men for keeping them separated. Yolanda would never be able to endure this, her character much too fragile.

Square, high castle walls rose bleak and solemn against the moonlit sky as they approached. Valentina’s aching legs hammered into the horse’s sides, her strained nerves amplified her stinging wrists and disheartening exhaustion. The formidable castle soared out of the black ground. Rounded turrets and solid buttresses towered above the stone castle on all four corners, enclosed by an impressive curtain wall. Pointed flags bearing a bold coat of arms resembled a large falcon and flapped in the blustering autumn wind.


  1. Mona Risk // January 14, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

    I always enjoy reading and re-reading this story. One of the best historicals. I can't wait to see it in a bookstore. Keep entering and winning contests, Joanne.

  2. Joanne // January 15, 2008 at 9:06 AM  

    Thank you, Mona. You are a wonderful critique partner. Best wishes on your first published book. Very well-deserved.

  3. Beth Trissel // January 15, 2008 at 12:39 PM  

    You're hard work on this tale is well worth it, Joan.

  4. Beth Trissel // January 15, 2008 at 12:41 PM  

    I have a knack for botching names. I meant to say, great tale, Joanne!