Authors: Alexandra O'Hurley
Copyright© 2012 Alexandra
Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
To Foxy…thanks for the research help.
And once again to my family…for putting up
with my reluctance to leave the computer.
Copyright © 2012
He walked along the stone passageway behind the
dark beauty, rushing down the narrow corridor seeking refuge outside the city
The Inquisition was in full steam
Just yesterday, four men had
been burned at the stake, charged with heresy, sodomy, and witchcraft, while five
others had been hung the day before.
knew it was just a matter of time before the church found him and began its
Muslims and Jews were being forced to convert to
Catholicism en masse.
Had the Crusades
not been bad enough?
Tens of thousands
had been killed over the years in the name of Christendom.
Some had even died at his hand.
That was something he was forever regretful
His religion was based on love,
peace, and openness…forgiveness.
power the Catholic Church had over the people was nothing like what the
Christian religion professed.
There was nothing about this Pope and his
treated people with the compassion of true Christianity.
People burned at the stake for speaking their
minds, for having original thoughts?
That was the real heresy, not the feigned ones the church forced the
masses to admit to through the use of torture.
He had given his oath to uphold the Christian
tenants many years ago.
He’d given his
sword and his life over to protecting the weak and the persecuted.
There was no way he could ignore the
suffering and plight of those being incarcerated and tortured by the
At once, he’d gone to
as he could from the shackles of the Pope and the Spanish king.
One man was not enough.
His friends had told him not to go.
That the trip was suicide.
Mayhap they were right.
Especially as he and his woman now raced
through the tunnels to reach freedom.
Torches were sparsely lit down the winding tunnel,
barely casting enough of a glow to reach the next.
As they entered another darkened area, fear
gripped him again.
His senses told him
that he could trust the lovely woman before him.
They’d spent wonderful nights together,
entwined in her bed, claiming love and discussing their future after the
Inquisition was over.
He would take this woman as his wife.
He could even envision a future where her
belly grew ripe with his child.
Immortality through family.
His heart was full for the first time in his very long life.
There was something to make him rise each
morning, someone to hold him when the sun went down.
The light of the next torch glowed before them,
and his love turned to look at him once they passed the blaze.
He saw her regal nose, slender and pert, and
her shapely lips, full from his kisses.
She turned back, the glow of the flames casting glints of gold in her
mahogany curls that dipped to her curvy
He had no doubt there laid gypsy in her
If the Inquisitors found her, she
would surely be tortured.
They had to persist, had to escape.
This woman was a fire in his blood, and he
needed her passion to keep him sane.
Give him a reason to live.
long, lonely years had been harsh, but now she would ease the raging in his
“Not much further, my love.
It’s only but a few hundred feet
Her rapid Spanish was breathy
from their escape.
He felt her hand shaking
closer they grew to the end of the
She had nothing to fear.
He would do everything in his power to save
her, give his life if needed.
A light beckoned as they turned a corner in the
corridor, and daylight splashed into the dank underground labyrinth they’d used
The smell here was improving as
clean air fought to flow in and mixed with the earthy odor below.
The closer they got, the more the sun blinded
He put his hand before him to cut
They burst through the opening and into the
verdant green of the hillside.
Weeping Willows waved their long arms in the sultry breeze that came off the
curves of the land.
He took a deep
breath, clearing the malodorous scents from his lungs.
The sun shone down on them.
He stretched in the light, letting the strong
coat his skin, and felt the vibrancy swell over
Looking over his shoulder,
speck on the landscape.
They’d done it.
Safety and their shared future were within their grasp.
A smile formed on his lips as he recaptured
hand in his and pulled her into his embrace.
Stealing a kiss, he tasted her warm heat and
let it wash over him.
“We have a little longer to go before we are
We must go.”
He felt her stiffen and pull away from
Apparently, she still feared
, my love, we
There is nothing to worry
We’ve made it outside the city
“The church’s reach is wide.
We must continue on.
He sighed, releasing her.
She whipped around and started for the
Following behind her,
he watched her curvy form before him and smiled at the thought of what he would
do to her once they reached her uncle’s homestead.
Her body was tense, her shoulders clenched as
if she awaited attack at any moment.
A gnawing sensation swirled in his belly.
Once they crested the hill, he realized she had
City guards outnumbered the
two of them fifty to one.
immediately pointed their blades at them both.
Before he could unsheathe his sword, the captain grabbed
and pointed a fine silver blade at her jugular.
She struggled a bit and a tiny tear of
crimson ran down her neck.
“Lay down your weapon, or I will flay her open
and leave her for the vultures,” the captain spat at him in rapid Spanish.
He gauged the men around him, knowing the odds
to be too overwhelming to fight and have
His only chance would be to
sacrifice himself to free her in hopes he could escape later.
“Will you release
allow her to go without harm, if I do not fight?”
He dropped his sword, raising his hands in
The captain continued to
as his men swarmed in and cuffed him in
“But not too bright.”
The man wrenched
head around and his grotesque mouth descended on his woman’s.
He felt as though he would retch at the
sight, surging forward to stop the captain from harming
The guards surrounding him brought him to his
knees as he was forced to watch the man fondle and kiss his Spanish beauty.