**New**Roslyn has no idea her fortunes are about to shift drastically—again—when the troupe she is traveling with takes shelter in the Castle Montrose, home of the dark lord, Roland Montague. But the past has caught up with her at long last ….The question becomes, can she cheat fate? And which of the two men determined to possess her will win?
Roslyn is a dancer in a traveling troupe seeking refuge from the freezing cold at the Castle Montrose. She is running for her life, though, and the last thing she wants is to become the dark Lord Montague's layman.And yet, the moment he sees her he demands a private dance in his chambers that she cannot refuse.
Spicy romance-medieval English warrior lord—mystery suspense—captive heroine--
There was no reward for virtue in the life fate had handed her, Roslyn reflected bitterly.
Her fellow troubadours had been outraged when they had finally stopped running long enough to discover why they’d been chased from the dubious comfort of Castle Kilkane. The lord of the castle had thought to bestow his favor upon her and she had had the temerity to scorn him? Who did she think she was? A bleedin’ lady?
The question of whether or not they would even allow her to remain with the troupe had been up for debate for many miles. It was only Gilly’s reminder that she’d landed them the gig in the first place that had finally decided the matter in her favor, but she had been forewarned. If the next lord of the manor decided to favor her, she had best grit her teeth and let him toss her skirts over her head, otherwise she need not think she would be traveling with them anymore.
A ragged shout of excitement went up from her fellow travelers. With an effort, Roslyn lifted her head and peered through the sleet toward the keep they were approaching, resisting the urge to blow on her freezing fingers to warm them lest it remind those around her that she was the reason they were all freezing, weary unto death, and starving.
A dark, hulking shape rose up from the crag overlooking the moor.
It was Montrose, the lair of the dark lord, Roland Montague.
* * * *
Roslyn shivered, but it was more than the cold seeping through her ragged clothing. The villagers in the little town they had left behind had not merely been bursting with the news that nobles from half the kingdom were gathering at Castle Montrose for a wedding celebration. They had been eager to impart the dark rumors that surrounded the lord himself, Roland Montague, brother of the groom.
Bloodshed had gained him his holdings, but it was said that he had been cursed for the evil he had brought upon the land with his army, his manhood withered in the flower of his youth and that malady had only made him more cruel.
The young bride he had taken shortly after he had become lord had met an untimely and mysterious death.
A wave of nausea rolled over Roslyn with that thought.
She was more than passingly familiar with the ways a cruel man could invent to rid himself of an unwanted bride. She would not have been where she was now except for similar circumstances, and the fact that her own husband had been no great hand at subtlety. Thrice, he’d beaten her nigh to death and three times she had lost the seed he had sown in her, and yet neither the beatings nor the miscarriages had achieved his ends.
She had her kinsman to thank for the poison, for when they had warned him point blank that they would not tolerate the murder of their kinswoman, Rolphe had simply decided that subtlety was needed. He might have succeeded save for the fact that her nurse was well versed in poisons and he had been too impatient to administer the poison slowly, so that she appeared to be sickening.
She had fled then, knowing her life was forfeit if she stayed, fearing it would be forfeit anyway, for she had no notion of how to fend for herself in the world. Fortune had favored her when she had stumbled upon the troupe and they had taken her in, but the fear was never far from her that they would cross paths at some noble’s keep.
He might not recognize the girl he had once called his wife, in any event. Nearly eighteen now and no longer in the first blush of youth, she had grown nigh three inches in the two years since she had fled. Between the late spurt of growth and the scarcity of food, she had lost the plumpness that had once been hers and gained the lithe body of the dancer she had become. Her hair, once a pale, faded brown, had been lightened to a bright auburn with the lye she applied to it regularly.
Published: May 2021
Word Count: 27, 253
Genre: Historical/Medieval Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
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