Hello, dear readers. I've finally gotten my writing groove back on track, and here is the newest Gisborne story. This is the introduction, so it will be a little longer than the posts that follow. I will try to post at least once a week, if time permits. Also, this isn't the absolute final edition of the story. It will have some tweaks made before it's published, but as Wattpad readers, you're getting a first look. I hope you enjoy it!
Owen raised himself up in his boots, trying to look a little taller. He was not a short young man…not by any means. At roughly six feet tall, his height was considerable, compared to some. He only wished he could match his father’s impressive stance. Guy of Gisborne was a man of great height and breadth, and his presence was always felt when he entered a room. Owen was hopeful that one day, he would achieve such greatness. He had always favored his father in looks, sharing his dark hair and grey eyes. And he was, after all, a Gisborne. He was a baron, and the heir to a handsome estate. What woman would not want his favor?
Owen looked around at the many guests in attendance, all of whom were there to celebrate his sister’s wedding. That morning, Theodora had married Sir Lucien Caier de Neuville, and the celebration was continuing long into the night. The entire manor was alive with merriment, and Owen stood among a small group of fellows, admiring the many young ladies that were present.
He had not decided on a bride. His sisters had been matched with their husbands since childhood, but he had the luxury of selecting his wife. It was a decision he intended to consider carefully, but he knew there were several years yet before he had to make a definite choice. He was nearly seventeen, but still a squire. Marriage would not be a requirement until he achieved knighthood, and that would not be until his twenty-first year. There was plenty of time to choose…and plenty of time to appreciate all of the feminine beauty that surrounded him.
He felt a light jab in his ribs. Looking at the man next to him, he saw his brother-in-law smirking. Lucien stood head and shoulders above most men, but his striking physicality stood in contrast to a friendly and jovial soul. Owen was his squire, but it was a position he took pleasure in. They were very close, sharing many a confidence and frequently jesting with one another.
“I see your eyes are wandering,” said Lucien. “Do you spot a lady fair among the crowd?”
Owen shrugged. “I am in no rush to choose. And besides, I am yet young. When it comes to female pursuits, I am in no rush to form a permanent attachment.”
Lucien’s amber eyes shined with masculine playfulness. “You wish only to dip your wick, eh?”
Owen grinned. “Something to that effect.”
Lucien might have spoken with a lewd tongue, but it was common knowledge that he was deeply in love with his new bride, and when he spoke in such a bawdy manner, it was only to keep a manly presence among other men. He was smitten with the woman he had married. No one dared tease him about it, of course, out of respect for his pride. But Owen was quite certain that when it came to men who fell in love, he and most of his comrades shared the same thought.
Not all men were doomed to fall in love with their wives. But it seemed that the ones who did were bound to lose their sense of self. Oh, they would keep up appearances, of course. They would manage their estates and serve their sovereign when called upon. Such men would still act as men when it came to hunting, hawking, and other sports. But behind closed doors, they would become helpless creatures indeed. Lucien was one of those unfortunate souls. How else to explain his total devotion to someone like Thea? He shuddered at the thought of it. And Lucien noticed.
“Something troubles your mind?”
Owen shook himself from his thoughts. “Nothing of consequence,” he replied. “Besides, I have no wish to offend.”
In response, he was given a hard slap to his back. Lucien smiled. “You are among family here. Speak!”
With a shrug, Owen expressed his thoughts. “Can you really love a woman like my sister? She’s a shrew.”
Lucien chuckled. “To you, perhaps. But to me, she is a gift. And besides. What is life without an occasional challenge?”