A Candlelight Courting: A Short Christmas Romance
by Joyce DiPastena
When Burthred comes courting on Christmas Eve, Meg rejects his advances. She has her heart set on becoming a nun and insists that he call her Christina, the spiritual name she has chosen for herself. She tries to make him swear on her box of holy relics that he will not pursue her, but he carefully words his oath to allow him to stay in her candlelit chamber and try to change her mind.
What Meg does not confess is that her reliquary box holds a secret.
Burthred needs a wife, and no one will satisfy him except Meg. He swore on his father’s deathbed that he would marry her. But Burthred has a secret, too. When they come together before the Yule fire, their shared revelations will either join their hearts together or tear them apart.
Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).
When she’s not writing, Joyce loves to read, play the piano, and spend time with her sister and friends. A highlight of her year is attending the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival . Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.
Q & A With The Author:
3. What do you fear most?
Bugs, broken plumbing, bugs, broken plumbing, bugs, broken plumbing…I guess it’s pretty much a toss-up between bugs and broken plumbing!
4. What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?
Hmmm. I don’t think I sit around contemplating unfulfilled dreams. I just kind of live each day the best I can. And spend entirely too much time worrying about things that might happen that fortunately seldom do. Maybe my unfulfilled dream is to be less of a worrier? I’m trying to exercise more faith in the Lord, but I confess I backslide entirely too often. I keep trying though. I hope we get points for that.
She reached out one hand to the reliquary box, a ten-by-ten inch square container made of polished oak with intricate carvings that seemed in the dark as though they danced beneath her fingertips. To her dismay, when she sought to lift the box, she found it too heavy to balance in one hand while maintaining her grip on the stool leg with the other. She would have to set the leg down.
“You remember what my father said,” she warned. “If you try to harm me while these relics are in my hand, you will very likely drop down dead.”
“Your father was quite explicit about the power of your relics. ’Tis not a fate I want to risk on Christmas Eve.”
She wished she could see Burthred’s face. Then she could judge his honesty or whether he merely humored her.
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