You still have until midnight tomorrow (November 15th) to leave a comment on the Princes in the Tower for a chance to win a free copy of The Disappearing Rose. Here’s an excerpt:

Any thoughts they might have had of keeping the passage a secret vanished with the realization that their exit from it had been observed. Turning, they saw two boys standing under a nearby tree looking at them in astonishment. The boys were clad in doublets and hose similar to their own and wore thick cloaks. In addition to being much fresher, the air was now much colder than it had been in their own time. A little unnerved to find they had attracted attention so soon, Dane put his flashlight behind his back while he took stock of the two strangers.

The oldest boy looked close to his own age. He was almost as tall, and his dark blond hair fell in waves to his shoulders. He, too, was taking stock, his eyes studying them with as much caution as interest. After a moment, he beckoned them forward.

“How came you to appear so suddenly?” he asked, somewhat imperiously. “There was not a soul in these woods a moment ago.”

The other boy hurried forward to greet them. “Oh, Ned, were you not watching? There be some sort of cave beneath those bushes— a cave we might find worthy of exploring.”

His eyes danced with the thought of adventure. Though he stood about the same height as Jack, he looked slightly younger. His light blond hair was shorter than that of his companion and had a touch of ginger in it.

“All in good time, Dickon,” said the boy called Ned. “I would learn more of this cave first. Be it a large one?” He looked at Dane.

“It’s not a cave. It’s a tunnel. A passage going back to our great aunt’s…uh, to a house.”

“A secret passage,” Dickon said excitedly. “Only a secret passage would be covered so. Does it lead back to Rose Blanche? Aye, it must. Master Wolverton’s house is the only one nearby. But I did not know his new home had a secret passage. He did not show it to us.”

“’Twould be imprudent of him to show it to anyone if he meant to keep it secret,” said Ned. He looked keenly at Dane and Jack. “Are you of Master Wolverton’s household?”

“Yes. I mean, no.” Dane stumbled over the words. “We’re visiting here, too. We’re distant relatives.” Over five hundred years distant, he thought.

“Come you from England?” Dickon inquired. “Your speech is most curious. As are your eyeglasses,” he added, peering at Dane. “I have never seen a pair fashioned in such a way.”

“Nor I, but ’tis impolite to make such comments, Richard.” Ned gave the others an apologetic look. “Pray pardon my brother of York. He is still young and appears to have learned few manners at our royal father’s court.”

Their royal father’s court? Dane shivered. He knew Ned was the most common nickname for Edward in medieval times, and Dickon was obviously a form of the name Richard. Was it possible that he and Jack were standing before the very princes they had been impersonating in his father’s documentary? They were certainly dressed richly enough. The jewels on their hats were not fakes. And they both wore rings that appeared to be made of pure gold. One of Ned’s even had a rose on it, a rose similar to the one on the medallion.

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