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Royal herald Sir Talon Quereste plans to someday settle on a quiet little estate, marry well, and raise a family. The wife of his daydreams will enhance his standing with his peers - she's certainly not an overly adventurous, impulsive, argumentative woman of dubious background who threatens everything he values, until he meets his father's wife.
Lady Larkin Rosham lost more than everyone she loved when her family was murdered - she lost her identity. Now no one believes she's Lady Larkin, least of all Sir Talon, whose dreams of owning Hawksedge go up in smoke if she is, indeed, his father's lost bride.
But when the murderer strikes again, danger and betrayal lurk around every corner. Can Larkin and Talon discover how to save their lives without risking their hearts?
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Talon dismounted and moved to his steed’s head. The animal needed a stern lecture on obeying its rider. The fog became darker just ahead of him. “I’ve had enough nonsense for one day,” he said, whether to the horse or the fog was hard to tell. “There are no such things as ghosts or disembodied heads that blink and blush in the fog.” He lengthened his stride, hoping to pull his mount forward, and ran smack into black stone. He’d found Hawksedge Keep.
“Nay.” He reached the door first and blocked her way. “We will discuss my vile behavior now.”
“Not in front of her.” Larkin tossed her head in the direction of the bed.
“Not in front of whom?”
“That woman, the one you called Cat,” Larkin whispered. Of course, he could be so casual about taking a whore in his bed. “What you do is your affair, but I need not remain here to witness it nor offer my own actions for a whore’s amusement.” She tried to push past him.
“Wait a moment. You think I whore here in my ... the earl’s bed?” His eyes lit with humor as he asked the question.
“Yes,” she hissed. “In the hallway, I heard you laugh with her about your bath.”
“I think you must meet Cat.”
Larkin sucked in a breath. “I will not. ’Tis bad enough you flaunt her.”
Talon chuckled and grasped her arm. “I flaunt no one, and I insist that you give a greeting to Cat.”
Larkin tried to shake him off, but his grip, though gentle, was iron, and she could not break free. “Nay, please you. I do not want ...”
Over her protests, he dragged her to the bed and pulled the curtain aside.
“Oh ’tis you.” She let loose a relieved breath, then watched in fascinated horror as Talon took flight.
He uttered a yelp of surprise. His hands scrabbled to find purchase on the damp stone wall. His feet flew up. His back hit the floor with such force that he bounced. He twisted sideways. So fast did he fall, he only succeeded in rolling straight toward her.
The bucket sailed upward. The soapy contents dumped across her bodice while the pail flew on behind her. She sputtered and caught a breath. Talon’s impact knocked it from her, and she went crashing backward. His hands grabbed her shoulders. She fought him. Her head would smash to pieces on the stones behind her. She did not deserve to die.
In the next instant, he had twisted again. She landed with a thump on his hard body. She tried to inhale but found the effort severely restricted. Talon’s arms banded around her ribs and back in a crushing embrace.
“Let me loose, oaf. I cannot breathe.” She used precious air to protest, hoping to gain her release faster.
Meet The Author...
Rue Allyn, the imaginary love child of an immortal Scottish knight and Margaret Mitchell, was
abducted adopted at birth by a pair of professor experts in Child Development and Education. She loved the parents who raised her and tried very hard to please them by starting school at the age of two and receiving more than 30 years of formal education, culminating in a Ph. D. that led to a number of teaching positions at various universities.