Hello and welcome back. This is the third blog post about Author Mary Ann Bernal and her latest release, The Briton and the Dane: Timeline. If you missed the first two segments click here to read the first and click here to read the prologue of The Briton and the Dane: Timeline.
With no further delay:
Gwyneth stared out the window while the passengers found their seats aboard the aircraft. She was not surprised to find herself alone in First Class, the cost being ridiculously high for such a short flight. She did not care about the price, preferring the solitude since she needed to think.
It was not even twenty-four hours since Malcolm had kissed her, yet she could still feel his lips pressing hers as they had done so many times before, but in another lifetime. It was alarming, this feeling of déjà vu. Her body tingled when remembering the intimacy, an intimacy not yet shared in this century, and she began to question her sanity.
An obsessive love for a man who died almost a thousand years ago was delusional. Gwyneth knew it, yet she could not deny her feelings. Something, or someone, was driving her, calling her to determine the truth. But a riddle that had been lost through the ages, a meager reference in a history book would be difficult to solve, yet she was determined to try.
Gwyneth rubbed her fingers over her lips, her mind’s eye seeing the shadow of the man who had kissed her, a kiss that had awakened the fire burning within her soul. Was it Lord Erik or Malcolm that had held her in his arms? She could still feel his touch, his breath on her neck while he proclaimed his love in whispers beneath the moonlight. But she and Malcolm had been in her office, and there had been a storm.
“Please fasten your seatbelts,” came over the intercom, interrupting Gwyneth’s thoughts.
The aircraft was in the air moments later, but Gwyneth kept looking at the window, seeing her reflection in the glass, a silhouette shrouded in the past. Had Lord Erik been with his king when he died on that fateful October day or had he been murdered before he and his army could join the battle, a battle that might have thwarted the Norman invasion?
In addition to the Norman bastard, there had been another contender for the throne, the Norwegian king. Harald and William, enemies of the Anglo-Saxon king, were unscrupulous and cunning. Either one of them could have ordered Lord Erik’s death, which would have had dire consequences for the king since there was no heir. Without a smooth transition of hereditary title, it would take too long to amass the numbers needed to swell the king’s army.
“We are making our final descent and will be on the ground shortly. Kindly return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts,” came over the intercom.
Gwyneth peered through the glass as she looked for the familiar fortress ruins as the plane approached the runway. She had booked lodgings in the village rather than in the city, which would give her more time to visit the excavation. She always hated the end of the season when the site would be shut down for the winter months. There was so much to be learned, but resources were limited. Fortunately, Malcolm was charismatic and persuasive and would without a doubt, convince Viscount Beaumont to fund her expedition for another year or two.
First Class passengers were the first to disembark, which meant that Gwyneth would be halfway through the terminal before her fellow travelers left their seats. She collected her luggage and proceeded to the exit, hailing a taxi as she stepped out the door.
The driver remembered Gwyneth, having driven her on many occasions over the summer months. After engaging in small talk, he left her to her own thoughts. She appreciated being left to herself as she closed her eyes and envisioned Lord Erik’s portrait. She could feel him watching her, following her every move, and she knew something extraordinary was about to happen.
The lobby was empty when she walked into the quaint building, a replica of an Anglo-Saxon lodging, which also happened to be her favorite inn.
“Dr. Franger, it is so good to have you back,” Edna Harris said. “Will you be having dinner with us this evening?”
“I would prefer to eat in my room if I may. I seem to be unusually tired.”
“That is understandable, the tiredness,” Edna replied as she beckoned the night porter to escort Gwyneth to her quarters.
As soon as Gwyneth was alone, she pulled the drapes back and stepped onto the patio, her eyes transfixed upon the solitary Keep that had been miraculously preserved. The radiant red and orange hues of twilight, coupled with the distant sound of waves breaking against the rocky shore, added to the mystique of the crumbling walls. She suppressed the urge to climb the tower before darkness set in. She wanted to glance upon the beach, just as Lord Erik would have done in another lifetime.
Fortunately, a gentle tapping on the door kept her from acting impulsively. She smiled at the night porter as he pushed the cart inside the room.
“Ham, peas, pudding, honeyed cakes, and a cup of mead, Dr. Franger.”
“Tell Mrs. Harris I am delighted with her choice,” Gwyneth replied as he left.
Gwyneth sipped the intoxicating brew, sitting on the settee as a soft sea breeze caressed her face. She closed her eyes, dreaming of a past she had never shared with the one man who held her heart.
“I will discover the truth,” she thought.
“I know you will,” whispered the wind.