72 — Lessons in Love

For two days John enjoyed continuing hospitality from Joan of Kent. At first John was concerned that, despite what she had said, Joan might be trying to seduce him. She quickly put his mind at rest, insisting that she was a reformed character totally committed to becoming the next Queen of England. She then demanded that John told her every detail of the time he had spent with Ximene. She listened carefully and then gave her point of view of the relationship.
‘Let me see now, She saved you life, she started sleeping with her, she joined in your exercise programme she fought with you, she teased you, she used the oil, she allowed you to fit her chains. I think we can assume that this lady is really in love with you. And now what did you initiate John?”
‘The training?
“No! that was for you not for her’
‘I massaged myself with oil’
“At her suggestion?’
“ I taught her to cook’
‘ Wonderful!’
‘I threatened to tie her to the bed’
‘Ah! Before or after you tore her clothes off and whipped her’
‘And did she let you do it?’
‘ Well she didn’t say no but it suddenly seemed unnecessary’
Joan shook her head.
‘Before or after she allowed you to fit the chains’
‘I compose poems in praise of Ximene.’
Joan’s head jerked back. Her eyes wide open.
“Do you indeed! And where did you learn to do that?’
John told her about the first night with Lady Eleanor and the tuition at Foix.
Joan’s face was totally non committal.

‘Right!” Joan had obviously heard enough. She led him to the small lounge with the large fire.
‘Let’s start at the beginning. Being in love with someone is supposed to be fun!
Flirtation is a big part of that. Women like to be seduced, particularly when they are with a man they trust, so that if they say no…’ she hesitated ‘Say no firmly enough, they know they will be obeyed’
She eyed John, her eyes shining with mischief. “ From what I gather you fulfil the latter requirement.’ Her eylashes fluttered.
‘But when you meet again you must seduce her. Incidentally I don’t personally subscribe to too much troubadour activity, unless you are really, really good at it. Hire a troubadour occasionally if you must!’
She held her hands out towards him.
‘We really cannot do this with you sat at the other side of the room! Come and join me on this couch.’
John walked across the room and sat on the couch but as far away from Joan as he possibly could. She eyed him with disapproval.
‘You must take the initiative John. You must be inventive’
John smiled. ‘How? In what?
“All women are different and one of the skills you have to develop is how to discover those preferences, but you must make it fun!”
‘Lady Eleanor seemed to believe that it was the responsibility of both partners to simply tell their partner what the want or like’
Joan looked impatient.
‘I have spoken to Lady Eleanor myself. She is ready to become a perfect! She treats lovemaking as though it is an academic exercise. It is supposed to be fun!
‘So what must I do’
‘Games are good. Dice, where the penalty for winning or loosing is to give away a kiss or a caress; do you know Perudo? The possibilities are endless! Cards, where the looser must remove a piece of clothing. The penalties can be changed; can progress as your partner gives tacit approval. Make the progression slow, so that your partner has time to imagine in advance what the penalties at the next level might be! ’
John looked thoughtful ‘Oh!’
‘Role playing is also good.’ She groaned
“We can’t do this in words! I am just going to have to show you.’
Her eylashes fluttered.
“Now this will be fun’
Joan tried to impart everything she knew about how to please women.
She was a skilled teacher. She gave frequent summaries and set John tests of inventiveness. She lived up to her promise! It really was fun! John laughed more in those two days than he had in the rest of his life!

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.