A Splendid Defiance: Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour

For two years England has been in the grip of Civil War.  In Banbury, Oxfordshire, the Cavaliers hold the Castle, the Roundheads want it back and the town is full of zealous Puritans.

Consequently, the gulf between Captain Justin Ambrose and Abigail Radford, the sister of a fanatically religious shopkeeper, ought to be unbridgeable.

The key to both the fate of the Castle and that of Justin and Abigail lies in defiance.  But will it be enough?

A Splendid Defiance is a dramatic and enchanting story of forbidden love, set against the turmoil and anguish of the English Civil War.

At Barnes’ forge

The yard was empty but the sound of hammering came from the forge.  Inside, the boy, Endurance, worked the bellows while his father’s massive arm rose and fell.  Then the smith laid down the hammer and advanced on Abigail, rubbing his palms on the stained, leather apron.

‘I’ve come for the spindle,’ she said.

The pale, lifeless eyes fastened on hers. ‘Endurance will fetch it for you.’ He moved to stand between Abigail and the yard. ‘We haven’t seen you in a fair while, Mistress.’

‘No.’ She fumbled in the pocket of her cloak.  ‘Here are the samples your mother wanted.  I can’t stay because …’

He ignored the package and moved closer.  She backed away from him.

‘You’re a shy little thing.  Modest, too. I like that.  A girl should be modest and humble.  I don’t know if you’re humble enough … still, I reckon you could be taught.’

The expression on his face made her skin crawl.  She was at the wall and shelves bit into her back.  He took another step and leaned his great hands against the wood on either side of her shoulders.  The odour of stale sweat engulfed her.

‘Smith!’ A diamond-hard voice cut the air and Barnes wheeled to face its owner.  Holding his horse with one hand, Captain Ambrose rested the other negligently against the doorpost.  ‘Are you open for business?  Because, if so, I suggest that you reserve your dalliance for another time.’

‘God-cursed Malignant!’ rumbled the smith.  ‘Mind your own business.’

‘And you mind your tongue!’ snapped Justin.  His hand dropped from the door-jamb and both voice and posture suddenly acquired generations of aristocratic ice. ‘Finish your transaction with this lady and be quick about it.’

The pale blue eyes came abruptly to life.  Silence – raw and unpleasant – stretched between the two men.

‘Your spindle, Mistress Abigail,’ whispered Endurance.

‘What?  Oh.  Thank you.’  She took the metal rod and pressed the package and some coins on the boy. Then she was off across the floor.  ‘Thank you, Mr. Barnes.  Good day.’  And, without glancing at the Captain, she fled.

She was a quarter of a mile down the road when Justin overtook her and stopped, holding down his hand.  She took it without thinking and let him pull her up before him.  She was still shaking.

He said, ‘You’re safe now.  I gather what I saw was typical?’

She nodded.  ‘Only today I thought he was going to – to touch me.’

Justin didn’t doubt it.  ‘Have you told anyone?  Jonas?’


‘Then tell Samuel. Tell him that Barnes is a little … unbalanced.’

Abigail turned to stare at him. ‘What do you mean?’

‘Just that.’

She continued to gaze into his face.  Snowflakes clung to the tiny curls escaping from her hood and melted against the pale skin of her cheek.  

Justin smiled ruefully.  ‘Don’t do that.  It’s temptation and opportunity all in one.’

His meaning escaped her but suddenly she realised something quite astonishing. 

This man she barely knew …this impatient and often irascible man, who cursed and blasphemed with alarming frequency, who said things he shouldn’t, saw more than he should and laughed when she least expected it … this man who embodied everything she had been reared to abhor … was completely trustworthy.  More … he made her feel safe.  

Universal Buy Link:  https://books2read.com/u/bPzVNd

Winner of four gold medals for historical romance and sixteen Book Readers’ Appreciation Medallions, Stella Riley lives in the beautiful medieval town of Sandwich in Kent.

 She is fascinated by the English Civil Wars and has written six books set in that period. These, like the 7 book Rockliffe series, the Brandon Brothers trilogy and, most recently The Shadow Earl, are all available in audio, performed by Alex Wyndham. Stella enjoys travel, reading, theatre, Baroque music and playing the harpsichord.  She also has a fondness for men with long hair – hence her 17th and 18th century heroes. Author Links: Website: https://stellarileybooks.co.ukTwitter: https://twitter.com/RileyStellaFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/stellariley.booksInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/stellarileybooks/Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/riley9631/stella-riley-books/Book Bub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stella-rileyAmazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stella-Riley/e/B0034PB7UU/Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40487661-a-splendid-defiance

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