It seemed very real. Must have been the gin, or maybe the brandy, but I could swear I went home the long way round last night.
Via another century.
You might laugh, but it was 1822 when I left the workroom, and it wasn’t 1822 any more when I turned onto Gillinghall Street.
That isn’t the point. What I remember most is the argument I overheard in Tazzi’s restaurant. You’ve never heard of it? It won’t open for nigh two hundred years, I tell you. I ducked in there to get away from the horseless carriages—great metal boxes that hurtled along with a great blast of noise.
It was a pleasant enough place. Service wasn’t that good mind you, and the décor was a rather peculiar mix of industrial and elegant. But my lucky silver crown got me anything on the menu, yes and a glass of that brandy I mentioned.
They serve Venetian tapas. Now I know what you’re going to say. You’ve heard of Spanish tapas, but never Italian. Neither had I until I went there.
Anyway, this couple, probably in their late twenties—or maybe he was a bit older—sat at the next table. He was out of breath when he arrived, as if he’d walked a fair distance. She’d been fidgeting before he got there, studying the menu as if she was going to be quizzed on it! She eventually ordered the asparagus salad with quail eggs and black truffles, and he had some sort of mini-pizza.
I don’t think they knew each other well. Both nervous. Maybe a first date. Attractive though, especially him with his thick, black hair. Spiffy-looking in a grey summer blazer and white slacks. No cravat; just a thin striped strip of fabric down the front of his crisp linen shirt. It should have looked absurd, but he carried off the combination of casual and formal. He was easily the most handsome man in the busy restaurant. I wasn’t the only woman who noticed him, I can tell you.
Funny thing. He was the spit and image of the Earl of Warenton. Marcus De Wolfe, one of those aristocratic types who can trace his line back to the Dark Ages! Not dressed the part, of course, but certainly as handsome as the earl. We used to dress his wife—what they can spend on a gown, the aristocracy!
How the other half lives, eh?
Come to think of it, this man and the young woman seemed to be discussing family trees. I got the feeling he’d hired her to do some research, and the pleasant conversation turned heated when he obviously didn’t agree with something she’d said.
It was too bad because they looked well suited to me, but she got up, threw down her napkin and left in a huff. He paid the bill and went after her, but she had a good head start, and she was mad!
Me? I finished my brandy, and then it was morning and I was here. It must have been the brandy. My lucky silver crown is gone, though.
Hungry Like De Wolfe
Blaise de Wolfe risks losing De Wolfe Hall unless he can prove his pure Norman ancestry and be eligible for a substantial renovation grant from the “Sons of the Conquest”, an exclusive club. He turns to family tree researcher Anne Smith, unaware of her Norman roots and consequent disdain for the male-only policies of the club. Sparks fly between them when she digs up some unexpected information about Blaise’s medieval ancestor, Gaetan de Wolfe.
Anne harbors other resentments. Widowed when her husband volunteers for a second tour with the British Army in Iraq, she is reluctant to embark on another relationship, though she is drawn to Blaise. He too is afraid to risk his heart after his fiancée dumps him upon learning his ancestral home is draining his bank account.
Two great medieval dynasties come together in this novella set in London in 2006— Le Veque’s De Wolfe Pack and Markland’s Montbryce~FitzRam family. The world will never be the same.
Blaise gritted his teeth, cursing himself for a fool when Anne glared back angrily and thrust her fork into the remaining quail’s egg like Saint George slaying the proverbial dragon.
A man in his profession never blurted out a judgmental statement of that sort. His emotions had got the better of him. The last thing he wanted to do was alienate the first woman he’d been attracted to in years. Plus, he was financially dependent on her goodwill. “I apologise,” he muttered lamely.
She put down her knife and fork and stared at him. “Not that I have to justify my credentials to you, Mr. de Wolfe, but it happens that the Norman Conquest is my area of expertise. I too am a descendant of a knight who fought at Hastings, the first Earl of Ellesmere, and what’s more I can prove it.”
Once again his better judgement failed him. “With a name like Smith?” he scoffed.
She crumpled her napkin and threw it onto the table. “I’ve changed my mind about the tiramisu,” she said, pushing back her wheeled chair. “I trust you’ll get this?”
She was gone before he could retract his accusation.
Meet Anna Markland
Passion conquers whatever obstacles a hostile medieval world can throw in its path. My page-turning adventures have earned me a place on Amazon’s All-Star list.
Besides writing, I have two addictions-crosswords and genealogy, probably the reason I love research. I am a fool for cats. My husband is an entrepreneur who is fond of boasting he’s never had a job.
I live on Canada’s scenic west coast now, but I was born and raised in the UK and I love breathing life into the history of my homeland.
Escape with me to where romance began.
You can find me at my website and my Facebook page, Anna Markland Novels.
Tweet me @annamarkland, join me on Pinterest, or sign up for my newsletter.
Hungry Like De Wolfe is a Kindle Worlds novella based on Kathryn Le Veque’s Warwolfe (coming soon). It represents my first foray into contemporary romance, though as you have probably gathered it has heavy medieval overtones. I hope you enjoy meeting Anne and Blaise.
Intriguing, Anna. Thanks for visiting today.
Thanks for featuring my book Bluestocking Belles.
Our pleasure, Lady Anna!
What a fun post, Anna! I can’t wait to read your latest De Wolfe book. I loved the last one!
Thanks for stopping by, Lana. There’s never enough time to read everything, is there! I had a lot of fun writing this book. It was a pleasant diversion from my usual medieval.