Message from Elizabeth Moss
In Tudor times, women did not have the same social status that men enjoyed but were treated more like children. They were often seen as weak and passive creatures with restricted roles in society, and although most men treated them with respect as wives and mothers, they were also dominated by their fathers and husbands, treated as dependents, and not ordinarily permitted even to own property. Only widows enjoyed limited freedom, depending on her circumstances.
My heroine in Rebel Bride is Susannah, a young unmarried gentlewoman and therefore in one of the weakest social positions possible. Her stern father has demanded that she must marry a wealthy old landowner in Yorkshire, and forget her dreams of a glamorous life at court. But when she discovers that her father has been having an affair with her nurse for years, a servant who cannot refuse him, Susannah is horrified and resolves that she will never marry, if that is what men are like. She decides instead to seek her freedom, even though it means social ruin, and runs away from home.
My courtly hero, Hugh Beaufort, at first sees nothing wrong with a woman’s place in Tudor society. He has been raised to see women a certain way, and changing his mind is not easy. He even advises his friend, Lord Wolf, whose arranged marriage to Susannah’s older sister Eloise is described in Wolf Bride (Book I in this linked series), to curb his bride’s rebellious spirit. But when Hugh and Susannah are forced to spend the night together in a wild forest, he admires her passionate, headstrong nature and comes to appreciate the frustrations of a woman’s life. That change of heart surprised me when writing their story, as I thought an experienced courtier like Hugh would try to dominate and control her.
But Hugh is deeply concerned, as the reader must be too, that Susannah’s flouting of social rules will make her life dangerous and unpleasant. And he is right! As members of any society, we ignore its rules and laws at our peril, and while Susannah’s stance to gain the same freedoms as a man are courageous, they are also naïve and foolhardy. So it is no surprise, perhaps, that our heroine finds herself in serious danger almost as soon as she has left the protection of her father’s house!
Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the second installment in a deliciously erotic trilogy begun in Wolf Bride, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court by Elizabeth Moss.
HE IS UNDER HER SPELL...
Hugh Beaufort, favored courtier of King Henry VIII, likes his women quiet and biddable. But Susannah Tyrell is neither of these things. She is feisty, beautiful, opinionated and brave. And Hugh is fascinated by her—despite himself.
When Susannah pulls an outrageous stunt and finds herself lost in the wilds of England, Hugh must go to her rescue. Neither of them is prepared for the dangers that lie in wait. But most deadly of all is their forbidden desire for one another. Hugh has long held himself in check, but even his iron will has its limits as they remain alone together in the forest, far from the restraints of court...
‘Let me go!’ she exclaimed.
‘Not yet,’ Hugh told her huskily, and jerked her forward over his knee like a prize of war. ‘There is a time for all things, even for a woman to be chastised. Tonight I have been granted an opportunity to teach you how a man responds to being teased, and to having a woman risk his life with her reckless behaviour. I do not wish to hurt you, far from it. But I cannot allow this opportunity to pass me by.’
She lay stunned, face-down across his lap. What in God’s name could he mean?
Then his hand came down hard on her bottom and she gasped, realising too late what he intended.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Forgive me, Susannah,’ he said grimly, one arm hooked round her waist, holding her in place across his knee, ‘but in truth, you have brought this chastisement on yourself.’
His hand fell again a second later, flat-palmed and stinging, hard enough to leave her bottom smarting even through her rough clothing. She had thought he spoke in jest, or to frighten her with words. But it seemed Hugh Beaufort was in earnest; the king’s clerk intended to spank her, and soundly too.
And why? To punish her for teasing him with smiles? For running away from an arranged marriage? Fury flooded through her at this injustice. How dared he treat her like this? Only her father had ever chastised her before, with his hand or his riding crop, when she had disobeyed him as a girl.
What gave Hugh Beaufort the right to stand in for her father?
Struggling and kicking her heels, Susannah cried out, ‘No, stop!’ but her tormenter neither stopped nor let her up from his knee.
‘This is for making eyes and flirting at your sister’s wedding feast, even though you knew yourself promised to another man. This is for attempting to seduce me when we rode back together from Lord Wolf’s hunting lodge. This is for risking good men’s lives by fleeing your father’s house and riding alone through such dangerous country. And this … this is for being damn impossible to resist.’
His voice grew more charged as he spanked her, again and again, until at last Hugh tumbled her over on his lap, staring down into her flushed face, framed with wild wet hair.
‘Dear God, what am I doing?’
His spanking ought to have hurt her. Instead it had driven her higher and higher into a state of physical excitement. Now it felt as though she were floating above his lap, no longer connected to the earth, or to anything. Her thighs trembled, and between them, a moist pleasure bloomed. Suddenly she longed for something she had never experienced before: penetration.
Abruptly, Hugh Beaufort bent his head, lifting her towards him at the same time.
‘So beautiful,’ he said thickly.
Their mouths met, and she forgot everything. Everything except how desperately she wanted him.
About Elizabeth Moss
Born into a literary family, Elizabeth Moss lives with her husband and five children in South West England, and is a keen countryside walker. She writes fun, sexy historical romances and also writes award-winning fiction as Victoria Lamb. For more information, please visit her website: www.elizabethmossfiction.com.