Message From The Author

Author's Message

First you start with Nicholas Strangefellow,
a court jester with a medieval resemblance
to Brad Pitt, pretending to be half mad,
pretending not to be falling desperately in love with Julianna of Moncrieff. And you have the widowed Julianna herself, a young woman who finds Master Nicholas vastly irritating and completely irresistible, and whose sexual experience is not quite what she thought it was. Then you add a legendary relic, the Blessed Chalice of the Martyred Saint Hugelina the Dragonsomething everyone wants and no one seems able to hold on to for very long. Throw in a wicked priest, an adolescent assassin, a tongue-tied warrior and his adored new bride, and what do you get?

LADY FORTUNE, a medieval romance full of sly humor, grand adventure, saucy characters and sizzling sex.

The Kings Fool and the Lady are a mismatched pair of lovers who manage to find each other amidst the chaos of trickery, masquerades, misunderstandings and wickedness.

Susan Wiggs, author of The Charm School and The Horsemasters Daughter, calls LADY FORTUNE funny, charming and wildly romantic. Anne Stuart proves once again she is a master of her craft, and she is at her
scintillating best in this one.

A Doubleday Book Club selection, LADY FORTUNE goes on sale January 2000 from Zebra Books.

Write to Anne at P.O. Box 89, Greensboro, VT 05851 or check her website: www.anne-stuart.com

Excerpt from LADY FORTUNE

Im not going to gamble on my mothers virtue! Julianna said in scandalized tones.

Nicholas took a step back, eyeing her with a contemplative air. Then well wager on yours. How long before youre happily bedded?

A lifetime! she snapped, then could have bit her tongue. The oh-so-clever fool was not the man to have such information.

But he didnt blink, unsurprised at her outburst. Sooner than that, my lady, he murmured, his voice low. I promise you.

For a moment she was caught, staring up at him, the soft caress in his voice strangely beguiling. The noise and crowd around them seemed to fade into the background, and his strange eyes drew her with promises of delight that she knew had to be false, but she believed anyway. She felt her face flush, her skin tingle and tighten, and she swayed toward him, just slightly.

And then he laughed. Not now, my precious. Father Paulus is watching.

It was as effective as a slap in the face. She blinked, stepping back from him, and her gown caught beneath her feet, tripping her.

He caught her before she fell, his arm strong and hard around her waist, his body far too close. Not the body of a fool, but the body of a man, strong and well-muscled, like no other man who had ever touched her.

I could kiss you, my lady, he said in a voice so low no one else could hear him. In full view of your mother and good Father Paulus and the entire household. Have you ever been kissed by a fool? Have you ever been well and truly kissed by any one at all?

The noise around them was a buzz of conversation and laughter, and yet no one seemed to notice she was trapped, pressed up tight against Nicholass body. No one would rescue her. I dont like kissing, she said in a strangled voice.

His smile was a slow one, both bewitching and utterly annoying. That answers my question. If youd been well and truly kissed youd like it very much indeed. Shall I demonstrate?

She would have said yes. For a brief, mad moment she believed that all kisses were not alike, and Master Nicholas knew the secret of strange, sweet kisses that enticed the body and enchanted the heart.

But someone bumped into them, breaking his hold and the moment, as the strange wild temptation passed.


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