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Authors: Catherine Kean

Tags: #England, #Historical Romance, #Italy, #Love Story, #Medieval Romance, #Romance

Medieval Rogues

BOOK: Medieval Rogues
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Medieval Rogues
Catherine Kean
Catherine Kean (2013)
Tags:
England, Historical Romance, Italy, Love Story, Medieval Romance, Romance

The Medieval Rogues boxed set contains two full-length novels and one novella by bestselling, award-winning romance author Catherine Kean.

A KNIGHT’S VENGEANCE (Knight’s #1)

When Lady Elizabeth Brackendale is kidnapped and held for ransom by rogue knight Geoffrey de Lanceau, she vows to escape and thwart his plans to exact vengeance upon her father. Yet the more she learns about Geoffrey, the tormented warrior haunted by father’s killing years ago, the more she yearns for him. Only by Elizabeth and Geoffrey championing their forbidden love can they uncover the deadly secrets that could save or destroy all.

MY LADY’S TREASURE

To save a kidnapped little girl she loves as her own, Lady Faye Rivellaux joins forces with Brant Meslarches, a former crusading knight. Together, they seek a lost treasure that might have belonged to the legendary Celtic King Arthur - a hoard Brant’s murdered brother sought before he died. Faye is uneasy about her alliance with Brant, who harbors dark secrets, but she has no other way to find the child. As passion flares between Faye and Brant, they find terrible danger - as well as a treasure worth more than gold.

BOUND BY HIS KISS

On her way to visit Lord Bramwell Hawksley days before they will marry, Lady Miranda de Vornay is taken captive by forest outlaws. Held hostage by their leader, she fights her shocking desire for the bold, handsome rogue she should despise, especially when he claims he is Bram, and that her betrothed is his corrupt half brother. Uncertain what to believe, Miranda must find out the truth. She will love only one lord: the man to whom she’s bound by his long-ago kiss.

 

 

 

 

Medieval Rogues

 

Boxed Set of

 

Medieval Romances

 

 

 

Includes:

 

A Knight’s Vengeance (Knight’s Series Book 1)

 

 

 

My Lady’s Treasure

 

 

 

Bound by His Kiss (Novella)

 

 

 

by Catherine Kean

 

 

 

 

Published by Catherine Kean

P.O. Box 917624

Longwood, FL 32791-7624

Visit Catherine’s website at
http://www.catherinekean.com

 

 

A Knight’s Vengeance
Copyright © 2011 by Catherine Kean

My Lady’s Treasure
Copyright © 2012 by Catherine Kean

Bound by His Kiss
Copyright © 2011 by Catherine Kean

 

 

All elements of these books are fictional.

The author reserves all rights to these eBooks.

These eBooks may not be re-sold or reproduced in any way.

 

 

Cover designs by Kimberly Killion, The Killion Group
 

A Knight’s Vengeance

 

 

 

Dedication

 

For my dear friend Alicia Clarke, who loved this book from its very first draft.

 

Your friendship and endless encouragement are very special to me. Thank you.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

So many people graciously shared their enthusiasm and kindness each step of my writing journey.

 

For fabulous, insightful critiques and editing suggestions, I thank many times over my friends and awesome critique partners Nancy Robards Thompson, Teresa Elliott Brown, and Elizabeth Grainger. I don’t know what I’d do without you!

 

My sincerest thanks also to my friend Cheryl Duhaime, who never fails to say “I can’t wait to read the rest;” to my dad, David Lord, who read and made suggestions on an early draft; to my mother, Shirley Lord, whose nurturing, creative soul runs rich and deep; and to my sister, Amanda Lord, who read this story at least twice and gave me constructive feedback.

 

Most of all, I must thank my husband Mike, who supported my quest to become a published author. His generous heart bears the hallmarks of a true hero.
 

Prologue

 

 

Moydenshire, England, 1174

 

“Father,” Geoffrey de Lanceau moaned. Wrenching his gaze from the dark outlines of the horse and animals nearby, he knelt beside the man sprawled on the stable’s filthy straw.

The metallic scent of blood seared Geoffrey’s nostrils. In the feeble torchlight, his father’s face bore the waxy pallor of death.

Tears blurred Geoffrey’s vision. His mind whirled with memories of flaming arrows. Thundering horses. His father’s agonized roar as a sword slashed his chest. Biting down on his hand, Geoffrey fought the sobs that tore up from his belly.

Outside, the wind wailed past the stable’s walls. The lone torch inside hissed and spat. Light glimmered on the silk surcoat crushed into the straw. The embroidered garment, symbol of his family’s noble heritage, was soiled and torn.

Helplessness welled up inside Geoffrey like boiling pitch. As the acidic taste of bile filled his mouth, he curled his hands into fists.

He would not fail to save his father.

He had rescued his sire from the siege and found refuge. Now, he would save his father’s life. He would prove himself worthy to be the son of Edouard de Lanceau, a knight whose heroism had been lauded in
chansons de geste
and praised in the king’s court.

Until the king branded Edouard a traitor.

Until the king ordered Lord Arthur Brackendale to besiege the keep at Wode and kill Edouard.

Confusion and fear snaked down Geoffrey’s spine. His sire was not a traitor.

“Geoffrey?” The rasped voice sounded pitifully faint.

“Please, lie still.” Geoffrey pressed his palms to his father’s stained shirt. Fresh blood oozed between his fingers. “Need a healer. Poultices. Must stitch the wounds—”

“No . . . time,” Edouard whispered.

Geoffrey trembled. “Do not speak. Save your strength. The Earl of Druentwode—”

“—will protect . . . you now . . . as his own kin. I would do . . . same . . . for his sons.”

“Nay!”

Edouard’s mouth twisted into a pained smile. “Promise me . . . you will care for . . . your brother.”

“Live! You
must
live. Thomas and I do not want to be orphans.” Despair lodged in Geoffrey’s throat like a stone. “When Mother died, you swore we—”

“Promise . . . me.”

With a choked cry, Geoffrey wrenched his hands away. Panic and anger swarmed in his belly like flies. “Do not die a traitor.
Live
, Father. Prove Lord Brackendale’s siege was wrong. Prove you did not betray our king.”

Anguish shimmered in Edouard’s gray eyes. “Ah, my son.”

The tender words clawed at Geoffrey. “I cannot make the vow.” The tears he had tried so hard to hold back streamed down his cheeks. “I cannot wield a sword. I have no armor. I am naught but a
boy
.”

“Not boy.” Edouard groped for Geoffrey’s hand and squeezed it. “You are heir to the de Lanceau estates. I ask you again—”

His father’s tone held urgency. With a shuddered sigh, Geoffrey nodded. He curled his small fingers into his sire’s and held tight. “I promise. ’Tis a vow sealed in blood.”

Edouard groaned. Gasped. His breath expelled on a rush, faded to a gurgle, then . . . only the wind’s eerie shriek.

“Father?” Geoffrey looked down at his sire’s pale, lifeless hand. In the shadows, animals stirred.

Rats scurried across the fouled straw, eyes bright in the torchlight.


Father?
” Geoffrey’s voice rose to a wail. He freed his hand and blinked away tears. Screaming, he slammed his fist against the dirt floor.

With trembling fingers, he reached out and closed his father’s sightless eyes.

Geoffrey sobbed, shoved to his feet, and staggered to the doorway. Rage and grief burned like hellfire in the pit of his stomach. “I will avenge you, Father,” he cried toward the night sky shrouded with fog. “God’s holy blood, I will avenge you!”
 

Chapter One

 

 

Eighteen years later

 

“A love potion, dove? An elixir ta ease yer lonely heart?”

“Not this day, thank you.” Lady Elizabeth Brackendale strolled past the one-eyed peddler waving flasks and vials. As she sidestepped a mound of manure, she sighed. Love potion, indeed. Her heart’s afflictions could not be cured in that manner.

Behind her, she heard the voices and booted footsteps of her lady-in-waiting and two armed guards. What a nuisance the men-at-arms were, an unwelcome reminder of the perilous future.

Elizabeth shivered, skirted two men arguing over a spilled crate of onions, and walked further into the crowded market square. She would
not
spoil this rare, glorious day that her father had allowed her to leave Wode’s fortified walls. She would
not
worry about the lord rumored to be plotting vengeance against her sire, a rogue named Geoffrey de Lanceau.

Her father would deal with him.

Tipping her face into the breeze, she inhaled a waft of ripe vegetables, wood smoke, and horse. Ahead, men unloaded cartloads of cloth and spices, jugglers performed for a laughing crowd, and merchants hawked their wares. What a glorious mélange of smells, sights, and sounds. How she had missed her visits to the market.

Apprehension, cold as bone fingers, trailed down her spine. If only battle were not looming in the days ahead. If anything happened to her father . . .

She shoved the thought aside. When necessary, he would summon his armies, crush de Lanceau, and peace would again rule Moydenshire. Her father could not fail with Baron Sedgewick of Avenley and his armies at his side.

Baron Sedgewick. Her betrothed.

In seven days, her husband.

Fluttering strips of cloth lured her toward a stall. Blinking away tears, she paused and fingered a blood red ribbon. Resentment flared, sharper than her worry. She could not wed the baron. She
would
not! How could she marry and leave her father’s side with de Lanceau still a threat? How could she marry a man she did not love, but loathed?

She must persuade her father to break the engagement.

Or, she would find a way to escape it.

“Three pieces of silver? I suggest you reconsider.”

Recognizing the voice, Elizabeth dared a sidelong glance. Mildred Cottlepod, her gray-haired lady-in-waiting, scowled at a hunchbacked crone who sold healing herbs. Elizabeth’s gaze slid to her guards. They leaned against crates of squawking chickens while pointing to the jugglers who boasted of an impossible feat.

Onlookers shouted bets. Coins clinked.

The guards laughed and reached for their money purses.

Elizabeth sucked in a breath. Could she slip away? How wondrous, to elude her guards’ watchful gazes for a while. Since de Lanceau had taken up residence in his crown-awarded keep two months ago, they had become her permanent shadows.

Heat stung Elizabeth’s cheeks, and her fingers tightened around the ribbon. She was a grown woman, not a witless simpleton who needed constant supervision.

No harm would come to her in this peaceful town protected by her father’s fortress. Without her guards hovering nearby, mayhap she could think of a way to convince her sire to annul the betrothal.

And, she could choose the thread she needed to finish the embroidery on the orphans’ chemises and shirts, for she had promised the nuns she would be donating gifts of clothes and sweetmeats to the children. Her lips flattened on a painful, buried memory. She would not forget the thread, or the promise she had made, one year ago, when her mother and infant sister had died.

“Ye like it, milady?” said a gruff voice.

“Pardon?” She swung around, and came face to face with the stall’s proprietor.

He jabbed a grubby finger at the bit of silk in her hand.

“’Tis lovely.” She dropped a silver coin into his palm, far more than the ribbon cost, but no doubt he had a wife and children to feed. He flashed her a toothless grin. She smiled back and glanced at her guards. They were engrossed in the bet.

Lifting up her bliaut to keep it out of the dirt, she darted into the market square.

A thrill rippled through her. Freedom, at last.

The merchant who stocked the nicest thread was just past—

“Milady.” A man’s voice carried over the
honk, honk
of geese flapping to get out of her way.

Had her guards seen her?

Ignoring the shouts and
clop
of hooves behind her, she sidestepped a puddle and quickened her steps.

“Milady, look out!”

Elizabeth whirled around. A wagon laden with wooden casks rumbled straight for her.

The driver yelled for her to get out of the way. He jerked hard on the horse’s reins. The wild-eyed beast tossed its head, snorted, and refused to obey its master’s command.

Elizabeth lunged to the side, expecting to feel the stinging weight of the animal’s hooves. A muscled arm snaked around her waist. She shrieked an instant before she was yanked to safety. The cart hurtled past.

Elizabeth coughed. Waving her hands, she tried to disperse the dust that burned her eyes and clung to her cloak, hair, and skin. Her legs wobbled. She prayed the stranger who had saved her would not release his hold, or she would topple face first on the ground. She closed her eyes against a wave of dizziness.

“You fool. Were you trying to get yourself killed?”

Her coughing subsided. She recognized the deep, rich voice that had called out moments ago.
Fool?
Who would dare to chastise her so? She, the daughter of Lord Arthur Brackendale.

Equally annoying, she had sagged into the stranger’s arms like a swooning maiden. Her cheek pressed against his warm chest.

Elizabeth took a steadying breath, calmed by the rhythmic
thud
beneath her ear, the pulse of life. This man did not deserve her anger, but her gratitude. He had risked himself great harm to save her from a painful death.

BOOK: Medieval Rogues
2.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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