Thrilled that Written in Their Stars received this prestigious readers appreciation award. All three of my novels in The Lydiard Chronicles are now BRAG Award Winners. That makes me very happy! Check out more information about BRAG on its website, and browse through the great collection of books that have received awards over the years.
Here’s a snippet where Henry Wilmot reveals his wife, Nan Wilmot, is setting up a spy ring for Charles II, exiled King of England.
Each time Henry returned home, Nan noticed a small change in him: a new crease on his forehead, silver at his temples. Yet still his rugged demeanour captivated her, and the scar puckering the corner of his sensual mouth charmed her. Nan touched the tender place on her smooth neck, the love blemish left by a man’s rough beard and sweet lips. How delicious to have her husband in her bed again after so long apart. And yet she could not keep him, for he would arise one morning and leave, the call of his king and his troops transcending her love.
“You realise we fight on multiple fronts.” Henry turned to Allen and Frances, motioning with the wine flagon he’d clasped since they’d first strolled into Ditchley’s pleasure garden. Frances gestured her refusal; Allen waved his glass for more.
Nan’s favourite arbour beckoned, and they sat close in the June dusk, the rosy light turning the garden a radiant pink and the plaster of the house a mellow gold. The sudden shrill piping of a blackbird stirred the peacefulness. Nan wanted to hold this moment forever.
“What mean you?” asked Allen. “Surely those who declare for the king have all made their way to the Continent by now. You must have formed a sizable army.”
Henry nodded. “True. And we have men, supplies, arms, ships at our call. But there is still much to be done to coordinate our efforts on both sides of the Narrow Sea. King Charles now seeks the queen’s official support to invade. We are readying ourselves.” He stood suddenly and paced in front of them. Nan recognised his restlessness; her man despised sitting still.
“You are well-organised. What more do you need? We have no money.” As was her way, Allen’s wife came directly to the point.
“Henry, my love, tell them the truth.” Nan caught her husband’s hand, caressed the familiar calluses on his palm. “Allen and Frances can be trusted.”
Allen turned to Nan. “Trusted with what?”
Henry poured another glass of wine for himself, frowning slightly as he realised he’d drained the flagon.
“Our fight does not begin with swords,” he replied. “The great need is for information. Intelligence. Numbers, locations, attitudes. Security and defence. Where we might be exposed. Where Cromwell is vulnerable. And, God help us, where England’s safe houses are hidden in the midst of our enemies. When we return with our army, we can afford no mistakes.”