Title FOR THIS KNIGHT ONLY
Author Barbara Bettis
Genre Historical Romance (Medieval)
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
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.
Roark stood panting at the top of the castle wall, where he had just pulled himself up. A gash in his side oozed blood, and his back hurt as if a brand had seared it. He looked around, counting heads.
“Everyone safe? Where’s Ralf?”
“His arm,” Rance said. “Being seen to.”
“My lord,” Baldwin broke in. “It’s Lady Alyss. She’s out there.”
Roark looked at the man blankly. Out where?
“She sneaked up here, t’ watch, and then—” the old knight choked.
“When you didn’t come back, she went to find you,” Simon explained. “We didn’t know it was her at first. She was dressed in—well—like a lad. She screamed at us for leaving you behind. The next thing we knew, she just—disappeared.”
“What in hell was she doing up here?” Roark roared. “Damned stubborn woman. Can’t she ever listen? When I get my hands on her, I’ll strangle her.”
He grabbed the rope, but Alain stopped him. “You’re hurt, my friend. Let me go.”
Roark pushed him away and swung over the side. He’d gone but a few feet, when he felt the rope under him move. Looking down, he saw his wayward wife.
“Put your foot in the sling—the loop—and hold on,” he shouted. “I’ll bring you up.”
Hands reached out to help him over the side, then Rance and Alain pulled. Roark shouldered his way in to add his strength. The rope fairly flew up the side of the stone, and they could hear an occasional, “Ouch,” as she bumped against the rough surface.
When her head came into view, Roark grabbed her beneath the arms and dragged. Setting her on her feet, he saw the blood.
“Oh dear God.” He ran his hands over her as he asked, “Where are you hurt?”
“Not my blood.” Alyss gulped for air.
It took a moment for Roark to realize she told the truth. When he did, he clutched her shoulders and shook her.
“What were you thinking?” he roared. “You could have died. Have you no sense?” With every word, his volume increased.
“Where were you?” Her voice rose to meet his. “You were supposed to come back with the rest. This is no time to be a hero, you are needed here. I need you, you great idiot.”
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she struggled free. She punched him in the chest. “Why didn’t you come back?”
Roark’s stomach clenched as he jerked Alyss into his arms. He pressed his cheek against her head, then reached up and flung off the rough cap. Caressing her freed hair, he wrapped her tightly in his other arm.
She could have been killed, taken from him, this stubborn woman. What had possessed her to drop into the midst of a battle, simply to search for him? Had she no trust in his ability as a warrior?
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Xlzynj (99 cents deal for all Amazon preorders)
A former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former journalism and English professor, Barbara Bettis plans never to be a “former” author. Now retired, Barb lives in Missouri where she writes, edits for others, and spends as much time as possible with grandchildren, who are growing up much too quickly.
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