Title Daughter of the King
Author Ashley York
Genre Historical Romance
A mistaken identity. A gruesome murder. The uniting of two powerful clans.
Trained as a warrior…
Brighit of Clonascra is the only daughter of the fearsome overking, Sean, but despises the trappings and demands of womanhood. She’s far more comfortable training for battle than preparing a meal. Long held alliances require she set aside selfish dreams and take Darragh as her husband. The union intended to promote peace between the clans is interrupted by the shocking murder of a neighboring king and she quickly discovers there are far worse things than being wed.
Trained to be king…
Darragh of Drogheda has no wish to follow in the path of his father, Tadhg, but he is an obedient son and supports his father’s plans. His marriage to Brighit, however, will be no hardship at all since he finds her most intriguing especially when she fights him at every turn. A she-warrior indeed. Her persistent dismissal of him merely blows the fire aflame and sets him down the path to discovery of all her most tightly held secrets.
When she stands accused of the murder, can they finally come to an agreement that will give them each what they truly desire?
Heaving a heavy sigh, he swung an arm under her knees and grasped her shoulders to pick her up in one fell swoop.
“Put me down, ye oaf!” Brighit punched at his chest—surprisingly strong punches—and came damn close to heaving herself right out of his arms.
He tossed her astride his own mount, leaping up behind her before she could escape. With a strong arm wrapped around her waist, he yanked the reins with his free hand.
“Ye can continue to argue amongst yerselves, but I will see the daughter of the king safely returned myself.”
The only objection was the unexpected elbow to his side. He oomphed and tightened his hold on her.
“Behave, or I’ll take ye over my knee.” He spoke under his breath, loud enough only for her to hear, and urged the horse into a trot, away from the others and the wider path they would have to use.
“Ye and whose clan?”
He couldn’t be certain he’d heard her correctly. Once they were far enough for privacy, Darragh reined in his horse.
“Ye think I need help subduing my own wife?” He allowed his gaze to wander the length of her, a self-assured smile turning up his lips. “I think not.”
“Subduing? And won’t that be the way of it?” She snorted. “Forcing me to obey yer every command.”
Her words shouldn’t surprise him since she showed the same willfulness with her family. And just like with his own clan’s teachings, she’d probably been told the only reason a man took a wife was to have his needs seen to: food, children, intimacy.
“Ye’ll be an obedient wife.” His tone was even, his words untroubled.
“I’ll fight ye at every turn.” Her voice cracked with indignation, her body rigid before him.
Her determination set something off inside of him. “Ye’ll lose.”
Her eyes widened, and she nearly succeeded in leaping from his horse, but he was able to halt her movements.
“Settle yerself.” He kept a tight hold round her while her legs flailed, until she stopped struggling against him. “Does yer father know of these midnight jaunts?”
Turning to give him that tolerant expression he knew so well, she said, “Of course he does. I always have his blessing.”
And she lied. Brighit enjoyed treating him as if he lacked any intelligence, as if she thought him incapable of understanding anything beyond battle tactics. Mayhap not even that.
Her condescension had sparked his temper at first, but only until he noticed how irritated she became when he didn’t attempt to defend himself. When he answered in a calm tone, his demeanor remaining relaxed, she would scowl. And when he didn’t answer at all, she appeared about ready to scream.
In truth, why should he defend himself with any of them? The bards and fili sang of his abilities as a warrior even now, not to mention his schooling in numbers and letters. He served as warrior, clerk, and brithem to his ambitious father. If not for his sire’s expectations for him, Darragh would have been happy leading a quiet life, raising a family with a woman who loved and wanted him. But he had no intention of dishonoring his parents by breaking the betrothal, no matter how she behaved.
“Tsk. Tsk. Sneaking behind his back after he’s given ye more freedom than any other lass is not the best way to repay his generosity.”
Her eyes widened. “And ye know nothing about it.”
Darragh gave a shrug.
Her expression relaxed into clear gloating.
A sudden desire to keep her engaged pushed him to say more. “Explain it. Explain to me why ye’re off with the lads getting into mischief instead of safe in yer bed with the other maidens?”
“The other maidens.” She scoffed. “’Tis no concern of yers.”
“Ah, but it would give me great pleasure to know of ye.” He smiled at his own choice of words. “And soon I will be yer husband.”
In the flick of an eye, she was nose to nose with him, her chin jutting out. “Not. Of. My. Choosing.”
Facing front again, Brighit was stiff before him. Was there someone else she preferred to marry? She’d shown no partiality to anyone else that he’d witnessed. He’d watch more closely now. Not that it mattered overmuch. They were already as good as wed.
“Our betrothal is not up for debate.”
She remained unyielding.
“Mayhap ’twould be best for ye to remain with my clan.”
She glared at him.
“Getting to know the clan that will soon be yers will no doubt ease any concerns ye may have about our joining.”
“I’m not afraid of ye.”
“Brave words from a lass untried.”
Even in a loveless marriage, attraction went a long way to smooth the rough edges, and he definitely liked that flush of passion he saw in her when she verbally sparred with him. Passion was passion as far as he was concerned. Anger. Lust. Her willfulness, however, could put them both in a bad situation.
“We’ll see.” The declaration, delivered with her nose in the air, did not sit well with him.
“Take heed, Brighit. Yer father’s disapproval over yer behavior will not compare to my wrath if I find ye have dallied with another.”
Her wide eyes quickly narrowed. “And until we are wed, ye will understand if I give yer concerns the attention they deserve. None.”
That last word, spoken with such finality, felt like a call to arms. The excitement coursing through him was undeniable. So be it.
“Well then, ye will understand if our wedding night is not everything a young lass might hope for.”
Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author's imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.
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