Seizing Heaven by Nicole Hurley-Moore
the follow up to Catching Bliss
Release Date: 07/3/2014
length: 25000 words/novella
Lord Savaric Reynard is intent on marrying the widow of Blackstone Manor, that is, until fate and the Reynard betrothal ring get in the way. On his way to meet the widow, Savaric is waylaid by Rosamund, an artist and a traveler. He doesn’t believe in magic or the old family legend that the Reynard betrothal ring has the power to choose the right and true bride. Savaric soon discovers he can try and run from Fate, but one way or another it just might catch up with him.
“’Tis wrong and well you know it, Savaric!”
Lord Savaric Reynard leant against the cold stone casement. He held a heavy amethyst ring in the shaft of light. The sunlight made the stone burn with vivid colours; flashes of purple, blue, and pink erupted as light caught each facet.
“Nay, ’tis the right decision – I must have an heir,” he said as he glanced at his Aunt. “I made a sworn oath to my father that Foxwoods will carry on. It must be passed through the family.”
“Aye, but your parents would have wanted you to choose love. The Reynards always marry for love, not convenience.”
“There is no room for love; ’tis nothing but an illusion – I will see that Foxwoods continues,” Savaric said as the ornately carved golden ring warmed between his fingers.
“Ah, Savaric, you hold the ring – and it is said that it will always bring true love to our family.”
“That, Aunt Amice, is merely a myth. No more than a pretty legend to entertain the young. I will ask Marsilia to be my wife. And when she agrees, I shall place Mother’s ring on her finger.” Savaric turned away from the casement. As he faced his aunt, his green eyes warmed with affection. “Everything will be well; do not fret.”
“I will fret, as I want you to be happy – just like your parents, your grandparents, and each Reynard who has lived under Foxwoods’ roof.”
“My parents are dead.”
“Aye, and I miss them every day – but it was an accident, my love. You know they loved each other, they doted upon each other, and as in life, they are bound together in death.”
“I know, but that was luck and not by any magical power of the betrothal ring.”
“Hmmm, think what you will – but I believe in the power of the ring.” Amice walked towards Savaric and grasped his hands. “Do you find Lord Nerril’s widow fair, Savaric?”
“I find her adequate. She is newly widowed, young enough to bear children, and has coin. She will do well enough.”
“Foxwoods Hall does not need her coin.”
“Aye, there is truth in that – but I am not a fool to throw it away. Besides, it is beneficial for Marsilia; she wants protection. We have spoken at length on this matter; marriage is advantageous to both parties.”
“So the deal is struck?”
“Not quite, but it is close. I hope to have everything settled by nightfall. Then all I will have to do is present Marsilia with my mother’s ring.”
“What of your heart, Savaric?”
“Fear not, Aunt – my heart will survive…as will Foxwoods.” Savaric gave her a smile before releasing her hands. Then, with a quick bow, he walked out of the great hall.
Savaric rode his black stallion down the forest path. Ahead, the trees thinned as the path curved towards the stone bridge. In the distance, he could hear the faint rumbles of thunder. Looking up through the green leaf canopy of the forest, he saw a pale grey sky.
“Come, Nicodemus, we must arrive at Blackstone Manor before the weather breaks,” he said as he urged his horse into a canter.
The large horse galloped on, and Savaric could feel the cool wind in his face; it smelt of the distant rain and the dark pines of the forest. He took a deep breath and braced himself for what would come. He had made a decision, the right decision – he would marry Marsilia. They would produce an heir to carry on the Reynard name. Foxwoods would be protected…and his oath to his father would be fulfilled. It was the sensible solution; he needed a wife, and Marsilia needed a husband. He would put the family legends of rings and magic aside. For an instant, he closed his eyes as he heard his mother’s voice echo in his mind – but what of love, my son? He thought, love was bestowed on the lucky few; the rest of us have to make do with what life throws at us. His hand went to the soft leather pouch that hung from his side. The betrothal ring, nestled inside, would soon grace the slim finger of the widow. Shortly his future would be set, and he would allow nothing to get in its way.