He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.
Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape
Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate. But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them. For he’s everything a proper lady should never want, and she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
The Lady’s Garden. Such a grand name for the stick and weed enclosure beside the keep. Giles eased open the weathered door, the faded wood rough against his fingers. He tipped his shoulder to slip through the narrow opening. The musty smell of plants gone to seed hung in the air, and he inhaled the odor. Strange, the comfort he felt, like a flash of memory.
He glanced around. Where was his quarry? Moonlight
flooded the enclosure, and several bonfires in the bailey sent wavering light bobbing over the fence top. She knelt at a patch of what looked like dead grass, undoubtedly remnants of flowers. Perhaps they’d resembled the colorful blossoms that once dotted his mother’s palm-sized yard. How she’d loved the sparse but fragrant blooms that escaped their one hen’s search for food. His head jerked. God’s blood! Why had those thoughts surfaced just now, of a nearly forgotten long ago? This was neither time nor place for childish reminiscence.
Intent once more on the graceful figure before him, he picked his way through the tangle of growth. She wore the same green gown as when he arrived, some kind of embroidered figures at the neck and wrist. The color suited her vibrant auburn hair, draped now with a flimsy square of fine white linen. He should have known the color would be fiery to match her spirit.
As he advanced, the bright moonlight cast his shoulders as a darker shadow on the ground ahead. By the rigid set of her back, he knew she heard him. He couldn’t explain what prompted him to veer off course, to seek her out.
Lord Osbert had been the object when he started across the crowded, dusty bailey. Yet the moment he saw her disappear behind the weathered door, a voice in his mind whispered, “Follow.” It didn’t tell him why.
Now he stood in the midst of a dead garden, unsure of his intent. Emelin sat back on her heels with an exaggerated sigh. “Would you move your shoulders, Sir Knight? They block what meager light I’ve found.”
If a tone could cross its arms and tap its toe, hers did. A lightness inside him felt shockingly like a smile. That’s why he was here. She amused him.
“Where would you like me to move them, my lady?”
“London, I should think.”
Award winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.
She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.