Author: Anna Markland
Genre: Historical romance
Vengeance is an intense and gripping tale of love and revenge.
Ronan MacLachlainn is an Irishman of great strength and determination, despite being tortured, maimed and dispossessed. He burns for vengeance and the restoration of his hereditary Irish lands. Yet he must come to terms with the irrevocable physical losses he has suffered.
Rhoni de Montbryce appears to be a spoiled, rich Anglo-Norman noblewoman; however, she gradually cloaks herself in the strength, honor, and integrity that is her birthright. But will she prove equal to the daunting challenges Ronan faces?
A fast-paced adventure filled with intrigue as a poignant romance blossoms between this unlikely pair.
And there’s a touch of the paranormal. After all, it’s an Irish tale.
Myfanwy organized the women into groups, admonishing them not to venture into the water, and not to stray from their escorts.
Rhodri assigned a contingent of bowmen to each group. He and Rhun accompanied Rhoni, Carys and Myfanwy. Rhoni felt content, as though she was with family. The brisk wind whipped Myfanwy’s veil around her face, and Rhoni’s wimple was soon lost to the breeze.
The women scoured the beach for pretty shells, poked at strange creatures in tide pools, and sidestepped encroaching waves. Squeals of girlish laughter filled the air.
Rhoni looked out to sea and closed her eyes, raising her face to the sun. She let the warm wind lift her arms and suddenly she was a soaring bird. The breeze tickled her palms.
“The tide is coming in, Myfanwy,” Rhodri warned. “We’ll have to keep an eye on it.”
Rhoni reluctantly opened one eye. Rhodri’s voice had broken the spell. For a brief moment, she’d been one with the sea, the sun, and the warm zephyr.
Suddenly, a young nun came scurrying around a rocky outcropping, red-faced and breathless. “Mother, Mother, come quickly. Sister Aiweeda has fainted.”
Rhoni came back to reality abruptly.
Rhodri and Rhun strode over the rocks.
The women hastened after them.
“What happened?” Myfanwy asked breathlessly.
“She was attacked.”
Rhun nocked an arrow to his bow in the blink of an eye.
Aiweeda lay on the sand like one of the jellyfish they’d grimaced at earlier, quivering before a barking seal. The wet skin of the first seal Rhoni had ever seen gleamed like polished silver mottled with brown spots. Though it seemed distraught, the comical the way it barked and slid rapidly back and forth on the sand was enthralling.
Rhun took aim.
Rhoni shoved him. “Non! Don’t kill her.”
The arrow skimmed harmlessly into the water.
Rhun shoved back. “Stupid Norman,” he yelled.
Rhoni landed on her derrière in the sand.
Rhun reached into his quiver for another arrow, but his father waved him off. “Put it away. The seal isn’t attacking.”
Rhoni struggled to her feet and ran to join the group approaching the seal, frustrated by her shoes bogging down in the sand, impeding her progress.
The animal seemed to sense it had an audience. It lumbered into the water, then out again, in then out, barking furiously. Rhoni had seen their dogs do the same thing when they wanted—
“She wants us to follow her.”
Several faces turned her way, derision writ plain, but only the sneering Rhun voiced the opinion. “And how are we supposed to do that?”
Rhoni frowned, sure in her heart the seal was trying to convey a message. She shaded her eyes with her hand and looked out to sea. “There!” She pointed, shouting over the roar of the surf. “What’s that?”
Everyone strained to see what she’d seen. Out on the water bobbed a strange object, round, adrift.
“Looks like a boat,” Myfanwy observed.
“There’s someone in it,” Rhoni yelled, not understanding how she knew, but certain of it.
Rhun bristled beside her. “It’s too small to be a boat.”
Rhodri suddenly unbuckled his scabbard, tore off his doublet and shucked off his boots. “Rhun, get more bowmen. Rhoni might be right. It’s a coracle.”
He strode into the water and swam towards the craft. The seal followed like a sleek shadow. Men came pouring from all directions to join Rhodri in the water.
The women huddled together on the sand, watching Rhodri and the others haul the boat to shore. As the men dragged the coracle out of the water, Rhoni broke away from the nuns and ran to the swirling foam at the water’s edge, deafened by the thudding of her heart in her ears.
Dripping water and winded, Rhodri stopped her. “Don’t look, child.”
She grasped the side and pulled against him, compelled to look inside. Curled up in the waterlogged craft were the bodies of a young boy and the biggest, most striking man she’d ever seen, a man who had been cruelly tortured. His suffering tore at her heart. She wanted to soothe away the pain of the abominated eye, the burned and bruised leg, the scarred wrists. A sob lodged in her throat. She leaned on Rhodri, trembling from head to toe.
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As an amateur genealogist (aka an addict of family tree research) I became obsessed with tracing my English roots back to the Norman Conquest in the 11th century.
This turned out to be a pipe dream since I am not descended from the nobility and records were not kept for "common folks" until much later. Even then, early parish records are often indecipherable.
As a result, I began to write stories about a noble medieval family I conjured from my imagination. The Montbryces were born.
Like many people, I had an inner compulsion to write one good book. What was originally intended as that one book about my fictional family eventually became the 12-book series, The Montbryce Legacy.
In other words, writing superseded genealogy as my principal addiction, and I have since published more than 60 novels and novellas. Almost all are historical romances that feature, Vikings, Highlanders, medieval knights or Regency earls. You can find more details on my website https://annamarkland.com/.
I've lived most of my life in Canada, though I was born in the UK. An English grammar school education instilled in me a love of European history which continues to this day. While I may boast of being a proud Canadian, I'm still a Lancashire lass at heart.
Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an elementary school teacher, a job I loved. I then worked as administrator for a world-wide disaster relief organization.
I love cats, although I haven't been able to bring myself to adopt another one since unexpectedly losing Topaz a few years ago.
I have few domestic skills. You'll notice most of my heroines hate sewing!
I try to follow three simple writing guidelines. I give my characters free rein to tell their story, which often turns out to be different from the original version in my head. I'm a firm believer in love at first sight. My protagonists may initially deny the attraction but, eventually, my heroes and heroines find their soul mates. It seems only natural then to include scenes of intimacy enjoyed by people who love each other deeply. I believe such intimacy is wholesome. Historical accuracy is important to me, although I have been known to tweak history when necessary. I write romance because I find happy endings very satisfying.
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