The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena
A lowborn minstrel with a dangerous past. A highborn lady with a scandalous inheritance. Their forbidden love may cost them everything. In 13th century England, Robert Marcel makes a daring escape from his life as a serf and takes up the trade of a minstrel. If he can evade capture for a year and a day, his freedom becomes legal. The last thing he needs is the complication of falling in love. But his caution crumbles when he lays eyes on Lady Marguerite of Winbourne. Lady Marguerite is heiress to a controversial inheritance. The only man willing to overlook the dangerous precedent it sets is the arrogant and cruel Earl of Saxton. Marguerite finds solace in the company of the handsome minstrel who sings at her betrothal dinner. Despite his humble birth, Robert’s gentle courting quickly wins her heart. Robert and Marguerite pledge their lives to one another. But before they can act on their vows Robert is swept up in a war with France. Serving as a footsoldier in King John’s camp, he stumbles upon a secret that could destroy Saxton’s nefarious influence over the king and end his betrothal to Marguerite. But Saxton has an ally—Robert’s former lord, who is determined to drag Robert back to the fields. If Robert returns to England, he may lose his dream of freedom. If he remains in France, he will lose Marguerite. Can the fearless minstrel outwit his enemies to win both freedom and love?