Read Through The Leaded Glass Online

Authors: Judi Fennell

Tags: #romance, #england, #historical, #contemporary, #fairy tale, #time travel, #medieval, #renaissance faire, #once upon a time, #pa renfaire

Through The Leaded Glass

Through The Leaded Glass

Copyright 2013 Judi Fennell

Published by Mergenie Books

Cover design by Kim Van Meter

Interior layout:
www.formatting
4
U.com

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes:

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
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Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means,
including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or
reviews—without permission in writing from the author at
[email protected] This book is a work of fiction. The
characters, events, and places portrayed in this book are products
of the author’s imagination and are either fictitious or are used
fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is
purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

For more information on the author and her
works, please see
www.JudiFennell.com

 

This book is also available in print from
online retailers.

 

 

Praise for Judi Fennell’s
stories:

 

“Fennell’s light and lively writing is full
of humor and cleverness, and the occasional tributes to fantasy
classics add extra fun to the spicy story.”
~ Publishers
Weekly

 

“Sizzling sexual tension, plenty of humor,
and a soupçon of suspense…in Fennell’s fanciful romantic comedy
series.”
~ Booklist

 

“Cute as a pink Persian kitten, this scamper
of a romance… will keep the reader enraptured.”
~ Publishers
Weekly

 

“Fennell’s sexy contemporary romp…takes its
cue from Barbara Eden’s indelible television role, but with enough
original touches, careful research, and world-building to make this
tale…pure fun.”
~ Booklist

 

“Filled with laughs, action, and an
absolutely magical romance, this is one for the keeper
shelf.”

~ Kate Douglas, bestselling author of Wolf
Tales

 

“You will want to believe in
magic!”

~
NYT
bestselling author Kerrelyn
Sparks

 

“Fennell’s got detailed
world-building, creative secondary characters, and an
impressive

use of mythology in this great read.”
~
RT Book Reviews 4 Stars

 

“Judi is a master of romance and
fantasy.”
~ ReadAHolic

 

“It’s a hit. This was one awesome
series and this book was

a wonderful conclusion.”
~ Night Owl
Romance, TOP PICK

 

“Another thrilling addition to the
Mer series. Judi Fennell packs a literary punch.”

~ Once Upon A Romance

 

“Fennell (is) proving herself to be
a solid storyteller.”

~ RT Book Reviews

 

“Judi Fennell’s books: Romance that’s funny,
engaging, definitely hot, and makes you feel good when you’ve
finished the book!”
~ Sia McKye, Over Coffee

 

“Nora Roberts? Danielle Steel? Much
acclaimed romance writers should step aside. There is a new romance
writer in town.”

~ ABibliophile.com

 

“Simply hilariously good fun. A guilt-free
bit of enjoyment (and) a delightful read.”
~ Romance Reader at
Heart

 

“Waves of sensuality, ripples of
emotion, and depths of fun. Not to be missed!”

~ LA Banks, The Vampire Huntress Legends
Series

 

“Fennell’s flair for injecting humor in both
her plot and dialogue marks this story as her own.”
~
BookLoons.com

 

“The opening to (In Over Her Head) is one of
the best hooks I’ve read. (Fennell’s) undersea world building is
incomparable... if you enjoy humorous, extremely well-written
paranormal mermaid romance, this is an excellent choice.”
~
Joey W. Hill, National best-selling author

 

 

To my kids for putting up with visits to the
faire,

And to the folks at the Pennsylvania
Renaissance Faire for such a great show. Your imaginations have
sparked mine.

 

Prologue

 

English Countryside,
1487

 

The earl of Shelton’s day was well on its way
to hell.


God’s blood!” Alexander Traverse
stormed into his tent and slammed his gauntlets onto the
table.

Nicholas, Baron Crawford of Caversham, amiable
friend, but more often of late, miserable sot, raised his mug with
an “I’ll toast to that,” before slumping back into his
chair.

Alex slammed the gauntlets again. “My pardon
for interrupting your rest, Nick.”

Nick peeled one eye open. “I’m not resting.
I’m toasting your upcoming betrothal.” He sloshed some ale over the
rim.

Alex grabbed the drink. “You’ve had more than
enough.”


No.” Nick made an ineffectual grab
for the mug which almost sent him tumbling to the ground. “I
haven’t had enough.”


What’s gotten into you,
Nick?”

“‘
Bout half a cask of ale, I’m
guessing.”

Alex spilled the remains into a ewer and
tossed the mug onto a bench. “I need you sober.”


But
I
need me drunk.” Nick
looked around. “What’d you do with m’drink?”


Your drink is the least of my
worries when the Shelton betrothal ring has gone
missing.”

Surprisingly, it only took two bleary-eyed
blinks for Nick to understand the implications. “The ring’s
gone
? But… but that means…”


That there is a thief in my
home.”

Nick managed to sit up. “More than that, it
means your luck is gone. You shouldn’t joust. And Isobel—oh, no.”
He crossed himself—surprising because religion was usually the
first thing Nick tossed when he tossed back his drink. “You can’t
ask for her hand now.”


Of course I can. I just can’t use
that ring to do so.”


Isobel will never agree, Alex. No
woman will. The legend says—”


I’m more concerned with a thief in
my home than an ancient legend, Nick. And, as a God-fearing man,
I’d think you’d place no faith in the legend of the ring. You can’t
possibly believe in it.”


How can you not? Your family’s
good fortune is said to be tied to the ring.”

If it were anyone but his friend questioning
him, Alex would thrash him for his insolence. “No more ale, Nick.
You sound as mad as that gypsy woman this morn. Though she did say
it with sweeter breath.”


The gypsy wasn’t
Telesa?”


No. Another. A stranger.” Which
was the damnable thing. He would not have expected Telesa to allow
a stranger into her territory.


What did she say?” Nick asked,
looking more sober by the minute.


Don’t tell me you believe in
fortune-telling as well as legends.”


Gypsy women’s tales—especially
strange
gypsy women’s tales—are not to be dismissed. You of
all people should know. What’d she say?”

Alex knew
all
about gypsy
fortune-telling thanks to Telesa and her band. They’d camped on his
family lands in his youth and he’d seen how they used their
so-called fortunes as mere ploys for trinkets and gold from the
gadje
.

He pulled on his gambeson. With his squire off
to replace the bridle Alex now believed had been destroyed on
purpose, Nick was the only aid he’d have to arm himself for today’s
joust—hence the reason he was doing it himself.


The gypsy was spouting dire
warnings of death and destruction unless I aid the woman who finds
what I’ve lost.” He picked up his cuirass. “Help me with
this.”


No.” Nick back in his chair. “Dire
warnings, Alex. This could be the day you finally lose. You
shouldn’t joust.”


Dear God, Nick, what’s wrong with
you? It’s a story. A legend. And I didn’t
lose
it; it was
stolen.” Of that he was certain; he’d hidden the ring with the rest
of the keep’s valuables after his wife’s death.

He sucked in the pain that still had the power
to steal his breath a year later.
Jeanne
. And the baby she’d
died birthing. Only young William was left.

Alex closed his eyes. Damn fate for taking
them from him. And damn the king for requiring him to marry
again.

But such was his duty. His dammed
duty.

He shoved the gauntlets aside as he set the
cuirass on the table. “There’s no truth to the legend, Nick. I’ll
beat Farley, ring or no. I haven’t lost to him yet.”


Yet
. The ring’s never been
gone before.”


You want me to forfeit over a
legend?”


It’s not as if you need the
gold.”


True. But what of honor? How well
do you think Isobel would regard my suit if I bow out of the joust
like a coward?” Nick knew nothing of honor anymore. He was drunk
more often than not. But then, he could be for he didn’t stand to
lose what Alex would if he didn’t follow the king’s edict. “No,
Nick, I must meet Farley. As I need Isobel’s birthing ability to
ensure the Traverse lineage, she needs my reputation to save her
family land.”


Her
birthing ability
?” Nick
picked up a gauntlet and flung it at him, his aim on point,
surprisingly. “God’s teeth, Alex, you reduce her to a brood mare?
What about her status as your
wife
?”

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