Title: For This Knight Only
Author: Barbara Bettis
Genre: Historical Romance
He’ll do anything for land, even marry her; she’ll do anything for her people, except marry him. If only either had a choice. It’s a marriage only love can save.
Sir Roark will do anything to gain land, even beguile an unwilling lady into marriage. He knows she’s much better off with a man to take control of her besieged castle, to say nothing of her desirable person. But it isn’t long before he discovers that, although her eyes sparkle like sunlight on sea waves, her stubbornness alone could have defeated Saladin.
Lady Alyss is determined to hold her family’s castle, protect her people, and preserve her freedom— until her brother’s dying wish binds her to a stranger. Still, she’ll allow no rugged, over-confident, appealing knight to usurp her authority, even if she must wed him. Especially since he thinks a lady’s duties begin and end with directing servants. Alyss has a few surprises for her new all-too-tempting lord.
But when a common enemy threatens everything, Roark and Alyss face a startling revelation. Without love, neither land nor freedom matters.
The servants’ talk quieted as he walked to the center of the room and looked around. Roark spied the female who had attended Lady Alyss earlier.
He motioned to her. “What are you called, girl?”
“Rose,” she answered, eyes lowered.
“Well, Rose, go and tell your lady that I await her.” He turned to Father Eudo. “Are you ready?”
The priest looked at Roark for a long moment before he nodded once.
They did not talk while they waited. Muffled sounds drifted down from the solar, then a heavy door slammed. The maid reappeared, a sly look on her face.
“Milady said you could wait until doomsday. Sir Roark.” The courtesy title was added begrudgingly. From somewhere among the servants came muffled laughter. Roark set his jaw and headed for the stairway. When he reached the solar, he lifted a foot and kicked open the door.
Alyss stood by the window, mouth tight, face flushed, eyes wide. “There was no need to bully your way in. The door wasn’t barred.”
Roark clenched his teeth, and the cords in his neck tightened. He deserved the reprimand, but he couldn’t allow the lady to keep the upper hand. He took one step, then another, toward her. “I sent word for you to join me in the hall. You ignored me. Never again ignore my summons.”
He almost winced. He never spoke so harshly to any woman. His mother would have boxed his ears.
And he didn’t want to be angry. He wanted to scoop her into his arms, to promise he meant no harm. Only good. Only protection.
Only she refused to cooperate. How did a man handle a woman so independent? If only he’d been more observant when his father spoke to his mother. If only he hadn’t been so young. Before the tragedy.
Alyss stood her ground and lifted her chin. “You didn’t summon me, you said you awaited me. Perhaps your knightly training did not include language. ‘I await you,’ is a statement. ‘Come to the hall,’ is a summons.”
Again, the lady had found a weakness in his armor. He had no language training at all, no reading, no writing but for his name. Most knights did not, but his inability rankled him.
“If my speech doesn’t move you, then I won’t bother with it.” He leaned down, grabbed her around the knees, and upended her onto his shoulder. A thought raced through his mind: This wasn’t, perhaps, the ideal way to scoop her into his arms.
The unexpectedness of the action brought a squeal from Alyss, and the sound of running feet from hall below.
“Put me down.” She smacked him on the back and squirmed, kicking out at any part of his body she could connect with. He clenched her legs with his right arm before she managed to unman him with a lucky blow.
“Hold still.” A smack to her bottom punctuated his words. “And that was a command.” God’s elbow. Another act guaranteed to increase her ire. Would he ever learn.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Xlzynj
If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
The U.K. starting in England. And since I’m retired it can be a very long Spring Break. My books are set (so far) in medieval Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. I want to explore there and the rest of the Midlands first, then just take my time visiting other locations, winding up in London, who know for how long (money no object, right?) So many places to visit in the city. Really, so many wonderful historical sites to visit throughout the country. Of course, I’d probably have to dash back up to Scotland for another look around--everywhere. Then to Ireland, which I’ve never visited, but friends who have just rave about it. Oh, my. Just thinking about such a visit makes me long to book a flight—right now! First, though, I think I’ll have to take lessons on driving on the wrong side of the road.
What’s your favorite thing about Spring and why?
I love the mild breezes, the budding of trees, the oncoming of flowers—the perfume of Spring is wonderful. I grew up in rural mid-America and nothing beats long strolls along country lanes, picking wild flowers and stopping for a picnic beneath a huge tree. There’s just a feeling of renewal, of regeneration, of energy. (And to be pragmatic, there’s no longer the worry about sliding along on ice and snow. )
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Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. Through careers as a newspaper reporter and editor, then a college journalism and English professor, she’s retained her fascination with history. Give her a research book and a pot of tea, and she’s happy for hours. But what really makes her smile is working on a new story. Now retired, she lives in Missouri where she spins tales of heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.
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