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Saturday, April 9, 2011
Renaissance Romeo by Kelli A. Wilkins
“Welcome to our festival.”
Kathleen gazed up at the handsome man standing near the wooden gate. He was elegantly dressed in the style of the day-- that is Renaissance Day. He wore tight-fitting beige breeches and a royal-blue satin tunic. A broadsword hung at his side.
“Wouldst thou desire a programme, m’lady?”
She took the program from his warm hand and smiled guiltily; he had caught her staring. To be fair, she desired more than a program from him. He had a dark beard, and his wavy hair hung to his shoulders. This sexy hunk was a role-playing fantasy come to life.
Kathleen felt her mood brighten as she entered the grounds. Who wouldn’t want to be a damsel in distress rescued by this noble knight?
Costumed people milled about the festival. Women wore long gowns with wide sleeves and elaborate headcovers, some men were draped in robes, and others were attired in tunics and breeches. Everyone was in the spirit of the day, whether courtiers, nobles, or peasants locked in the pillory. Light flute music filled the air, and a jester juggling apples danced past. Kathleen let out a sigh of contentment. It would be wonderful to live in the fantasy of castles and knights for a day.
Her arrival at the festival had been another of her “wild impulses.” Now that she was free of stick-in-the-mud Peter, she was acting on her whims and enjoying life for a change. She had been driving home when she spotted the sign announcing a “Renaissance Faire” three miles ahead. Why not give it a try? She had nothing else to do on this gorgeous Saturday.
A breeze ruffled her chestnut hair as she walked through the fairgrounds, reading the program. The human chess game had already started, but at three o’clock Sir Tristan of Crosleigh was dueling with Duke Avery of Kester in the King’s Pavilion. Kathleen looked around at the many craft booths. There was so much to do and see where should she start?
“Pardon m’lady, but dost thou have a magical timepiece which relates the position of the sun?”
The deep, familiar voice made her turn. “What?” She stood facing the gorgeous man from the gate. His light brown eyes met hers, and her pulse raced. His high cheekbones and well-sculpted features made him look utterly dashing.
What was he talking about? After a second, she understood. “Oh, the time.” She flustered under his gaze. It amazed her that the actors could keep in character all day. “Uh, twelve-thirty, I mean, half past noon.”
“Thank ye.” He bowed deeply. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Sir Tristan of Crosleigh. May I be so bold as to ask to escort you around our fine festival?” he asked, offering his arm.
“I’d be delighted.” Her body tingled with excitement as she gripped his solid bicep. “My name’s Kathleen,” she said as they strolled toward a series of booths.
“Ah, the beautiful Lady Kathleen. Indeed tis my pleasure to enjoy your company. Perhaps you’d care for a midday meal?”
She breathed in deep, Sir Tristan smelled like woodsy incense. His scent aroused her.
“Thank you, I would.” She hoped the gentlemanly manner wasn’t part of his act.
They approached the food booth and Kathleen stared at the choices: smoked turkey legs, meat pies, and steak on a stake. Everything smelled delicious. Did people actually eat like this in the 1400s?
Kathleen studied Sir Tristan as they shared a meat pie and Friar’s Fritters. “Aren’t you scheduled to duel with Duke Avery at three?”
“Aye,” Tristan nodded, sipping his ale. “And I’d be honored if you attended the duel. My victory would be ensured if I had a lovely lady cheering for me. Perhaps after the festival you’d care to sup with me in a formal establishment?” He raised an eyebrow.
Kathleen felt her heart pound faster. Was he asking her out on a real date? “I’d love to.”
They strolled around the fairgrounds and visited the booths filled with handmade crafts.
“I want to buy a memento, but I’m not sure what to get,” she said. “There are so many things to choose from, jewelry, blown glass, leather goods, tapestries, and even woodcarvings.”
“Mayhap this would be suitable?” Sir Tristan held up a silver necklace decorated with small blue stones. “I believe this befits a lady such as you.”
“I couldn’t…really, I...” Kathleen blushed and gazed into Tristan’s kind eyes. This was no act, he was for real.
“I insist, m’lady.”
Kathleen closed her eyes and felt his fingers delicately fasten the necklace. She let out a small gasp as Tristan’s warm hands caressed the back of her neck. Heart thundering in her chest, Kathleen opened her eyes and stared up at her gallant knight. His face was only an inch away, so close, and so kissable. Would he give in to his feelings and kiss her now, or would that be considered breaking his character? His gaze focused on the necklace resting near the opening of her low-cut sundress.
“If I perish in the duel, you’ll know my intentions were most noble.” He kissed her hand. “And now I must bid thee farewell and prepare for my task.”
Thirty minutes later, Kathleen took a seat under a leafy elm tree and waited for the duel to begin. Even though she’d just met him today, the thought of seeing Sir Tristan in action excited her.
The two men took their positions on the field and taunted each other. Kathleen watched as they battled, swords glimmering in the sunlight. She was drawn into the contest with the crowd, gasping when Sir Tristan nearly was speared by the cruel Duke, and clapping when he scored points, backing the Duke against a tree.
Kathleen watched Sir Tristan’s muscular legs flexing as he turned and ducked to avoid the flashing blade of his enemy. Swords clashing, crowd cheering, Sir Tristan made his final move and disarmed his opponent. Duke Avery dropped his blade and begged for mercy. Tristan spared him.
Kathleen rose to her feet, applauding. After taking a bow and waving to the crowd, Sir Tristan rushed to the sidelines and pulled her close. Before she could speak, his hot mouth pressed against hers. Her pulse skyrocketed, and she melted into Tristan’s powerful arms. This was a dream come true! She wrapped her arms around his thick chest, stroking the rippling muscles in his back as she deepened the kiss.
After a few moments, Tristan broke the embrace. “M’lady seems to be quite impassioned by the duel,” he joked. “Or is it the gallant knight who has captured her heart?”
Kathleen rested her head against his chest, vaguely aware that the crowd was cheering and clapping. “Both,” she whispered, tightening her grip on his waist.
Kathleen stood near the front gate, trying to contain her excitement. Her heart pounded in anticipation of her intimate dinner with Tristan. “Ready to go, Kathleen?”
She glanced up and did a double take. “Tristan?” She studied him from head to foot. His long hair was tied back in a ponytail, and his period costume had been replaced with jeans and a polo shirt. She took a second to admire how his tight jeans molded to his trim body. Believe it or not, he was even more handsome and appealing out of costume. Tristan chuckled. “I hope you’re not disappointed. Some people find it unsettling to see us as regular people. It kinda ruins the fantasy.”
“Not at all,” she replied, taking his arm. “You’re going to be one of my fantasies for a long time to come.”
About the Author: Kelli A. Wilkins has published several erotic romances with Amber Quill Press. She writes in a variety of genres including contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal. Her romances range from tender and teasing to sizzling hot and spicy! To learn more about Kelli and her writings, visit her website at: www.KelliWilkins.com You can also follow her blog at: http://KelliWilkinsAuthor.blogspot.com