Over two years ago when I was going wild with writing twisted fairy-tale romances, I had my cover artist put together this cover. Unfortunately, I only had two chapters written before I was pulled to another project. But this cover is PERFECT! Thanks, Sheri McGathy!
This is my submission. I hope you like it!!
A modern-day man's world is disrupted when a woman claiming to be from the medieval era travels through time to take him back to Camelot. It's too bad he doesn't believe.
Camelot is in trouble. The king is dead and the rightful heir was magically transported into the future years ago. Now, the granddaughter of the great sorcerer, Merlin, must travel forward in time to retrieve the true king. The problem... she knows very little magic and isn't prepared for the modern world. Worse, King Arthur has no idea where he came from, and she's misplaced her only means to return them to Camelot.
Queen Arrosa clutched her five-year-old son against her bosom as her gaze darted around the room. With armloads of clothes, servants rushed from the armories to the several opened trunks where they hastily deposited the garments. Written on each person’s face was an expression of pure white terror. Out in the corridor, the cries of other servants echoed the halls.
Another cannon blast shook the castle walls. Shielding her son, Queen Arrosa turned them away from the falling rubble. Screams out in the corridor as well as inside the chamber, heightened in volume. Although she wanted to scream, she didn’t want to frighten her son any more than he already was.
Tears stung her eyes as the frantic rhythm in her heart accelerated. For several years now, those residing in the castle were forewarned about an attack. Men in the kingdom angry about being sent off to fight other kingdoms. Their funds were now exhausted from the high taxes. They blamed the king of taking all the money for himself and his family.
Arrosa’s stomach clenched. The people were correct. King Marten had been greedy during his six-year reign. He thought of only his power. Not even his wife and son were as important as the king’s lands and treasures. Because of that, the people were rebelling. Arrosa and her son were in danger.
The booming of another cannon blast nearly deafened her. This one was too close. Her son, Arthur, whimpered and buried his face deeper against her. She couldn’t allow this to happen.
“Keep packing,” she instructed the servants before taking her son’s hand and leading him out of her bedchamber. There was only one thing that could be done – only one person who could help.
They hurried down the grand stairs to the lower level. Another blast hit somewhere in the castle. This time, a piece of the ceiling fell and shattered to the ground very close by them. Determination pushed her to get Arthur and herself to safety.
She dodged the servants hastening through the halls. She headed in only one direction. When she arrived at the side doors, she opened the hard wood and peeked outside. Smoke filled the air from the cannons. Terror-filled voices rose all around.
Where was her so-called brave husband… the king? She assumed he’d be with one of his many mistresses. But obviously, they wouldn’t be in the castle. Not today. Especially not if he could get hurt.
Arrosa picked up her son and carried him through the haze of smoke that nearly burned her nose and stung her eyes. She pressed Arthur’s head into her chest, hoping he wouldn’t breathe this vile scent.
She ran until the air cleared and the booming echoes were farther away. Merlin’s cabin stood nearby. Her husband made certain the wizard was close at hand in case he needed protection. Would the kingdom’s fearless leader be with Merlin right now? She highly doubted it.
Reaching his door, she then knocked hard and fast. “Merlin,” she cried out. “I need your help.”
Immediately, the door was opened, and the thin, middle-aged man with long, white hair and beard, motioned her inside. She stepped inside the small cottage and her gaze swept the walls filled with shelves that had different sized bottles on them. Two chairs stood by a table with a plate of bread, meats, and cheeses on top. A little girl, perhaps around the same age as Arthur, sat in one of the chairs, nibbling on a piece of cheese. Her wide, frightened gaze stayed on the queen for a few seconds before moving to Arthur. The girl’s hair was a pretty brownish-red, separated down the middle and woven together in pigtails.
The queen nodded to the little girl. “Good day.”
“Your Majesty,” Merlin said, closing the door and securing it tightly with a rope. “This is my granddaughter, Felicity.”
Arrosa’s heart ached for the little girl, and all the children in Camelot. Would any of these children be alive on the morrow?
“Merlin,” Arrosa said, urgently, “my child and I need protection. Living in the castle, I fear for our lives.”
He nodded and scratched his scruffy chin. “And rightly so. The uprising of the king’s enemies has been foretold to me. We cannot stop it now.”
“But what about his son? Did you not promise me that one day Arthur would inherit Camelot when he was a man? How can that happen if my son is dead?”
“No, Prince Arthur will live.” Merlin shuffled his feet toward a large pot hanging over the fire pit. “I shall send you and the prince to a place that will keep you safe.”
Tears built in her eyes as relief poured over her. “Yes. That is where we need to be. Safe.”
“However…” He paused, lifting a spoonful from the pot. Steam swirled around the grayish-yellow concoction. “You must not let anyone know he is Prince Arthur. The only way he will survive is to have his memory erased of this horrid place.”
Arrosa sucked in a quick breath as her gaze jumped back and forth between the spoon and Merlin. “His memory will be gone?”
“Aye, but only as a cloud will cover it, making it unable for him to remember about his life in Camelot. If he has any recollection of his life here, it will be in dream-form.”
“Then how will he know to return to take over as king?”
“Not to worry, My Queen. I shall come for you when the time is right. I will give him another elixir that will make him remember.” He hesitated as he watched the swirling steam of liquid. “Are you ready?”
“Now?” Her voice rose. “But I do not have our clothes.”
He reached to the nearest shelf and took down a hefty leather bag. Coins clinked together inside as he handed it to her.
“This will help you in the new land, I assure you. You will want for nothing.”
A tear slid down her cheek as she nodded. “Then we are ready, Merlin.”
“May God be with you,” he said before blowing the liquid toward them.
Arrosa squeezed her eyes closed and held her breath. Wherever they were going, she prayed she would be strong enough to raise her son on her own. She couldn’t fail Merlin. Arthur will become king one day, and it was her responsibility to see it through.
Shifting his position on the steed, Arthur Gavin Beaumont clamped his right hand over the steel sword hooked to his belt and leaned forward. A bead of sweat dripped from his forehead, sliding down his cheek. The medieval knight costume he wore nearly suffocated him, and once he was in full action, it would become even hotter. He waited for the signal so he could ride out in the center of the ring to battle against Lance, the Blue Knight. Gavin’s title was the Red Knight—the Lion’s Heart.
Strange that he’d assume that particular title. In his childhood, his delusional mother used to refer to him as Prince of Camelot. She would always pretend she was the queen and he was the prince. He never knew her to be serious, and yet, every game she played with him, every sport she urged him to take had something to do with the medieval era.
Chuckling, he scanned the many people who’d come to this afternoon’s event at the Medieval Restaurant. Wouldn’t his mother be proud of him now? He loved his job, and his skill exceeded the requirements for the games performed at the restaurant. The crowd was privileged to see their favorite knights battle against each other, either in jousting, weaponry, or horsemanship. One segment of the evening was showing off the eagle which Gavin had personally trained.
All of the attention he received, especially from the pretty ladies, gave him an over-sized ego. But he didn’t mind. At least he knew he excelled at something since he wasn’t doing very well in college. Sadly enough, he doubted he’d ever become the lawyer he’d set out to be when he entered college five years ago.
The music changed to a marching beat. That was his cue to ride into the arena. He urged his horse into a trot and entered the dirt-filled stadium. The crowd in the stands cheered, and he breathed in the great attention.
The Blue Knight rode atop his horse, slowly coming toward Gavin. He couldn’t see the other knight’s face, but immediately Gavin suspected something was vastly different. The armor didn’t fit Lance as it had before. Even the way the knight rode his horse was odd. Either that, or Lance had finally figured out how to ride without bouncing all over the animal.
Both Gavin and Lance maneuvered their steeds in fancy steps as they circled each other. After a few minutes of doing this, they dismounted and withdrew their swords. Cheers in the crowd increased. Some guests even chanted his name.
The clang of the swords meeting each other echoed through the arena. Gavin shifted in the fancy footwork he’d been taught, and the Blue Knight followed his lead. Another thing different about Lance was that his blows were stronger this time. The men who played the knights were just acting and so they didn’t need to overpower the other unless it was planned in the script. However, tonight Lance was stronger. Faster. More determined.
This knight couldn’t be Lance. The man behind the armor seemed shorter and thinner, especially by the way the armor practically hung on the man’s frame. Had they replaced Lance with someone new at the last minute?
More sweat ran down his face as the heat grew inside his helmet. He diligently used his sword to block his opponent, but after exchanging blows for ten whole minutes, his muscles began to ache. Irritation swept over him, so he pushed his opponent harder. Gavin couldn’t lose. He worked out every day for an hour, sometimes more, so why were his muscles screaming for rest now?
Grumbling, he yanked off his helmet and tossed it to the ground in order to get more air to his face. The volume of the crowd lifted. His opponent didn’t remove his helmet. Instead, the Blue Knight paused in his fighting and stared at him.
Gavin arched an eyebrow. What was wrong with the man? Perhaps this was the moment Gavin needed to take control. He raised his sword to finish the game, but in a quick instant, the other man ducked and swept his sword lower, knocking Gavin to the ground.
He swore under his breath. That wasn’t the way this program had been planned.
Gavin jumped to his feet – even with the cumbersome armor limiting his movements – and raised his sword again, but his opponent counter-attacked. Unfortunately, this new person was skilled, almost as good as Gavin.
Anger guided Gavin’s movements. He didn’t care that his muscles were weakening, he continued to meet his opponent’s sword. Completely focused, all he heard was his own heavy breaths and the loud clang of the swords when they blocked the other.
In one quick swipe, his challenger knocked Gavin to the ground again. Out of breath, he lay still and looked up at the roof of the arena. What is going on? The Blue Knight was not supposed to win.
He shifted his gaze toward his rival just as the man started to remove his helmet. Once the object was off, long, auburn hair fanned out around the person’s shoulders, and showed everyone a very delicate and pretty face. A woman?