"...the intimacy in their relationship is tender, vulnerable and real, one of the best romantic relationships I've read..I loved, loved, loved this book and can't wait to read the next in the series..."
M.M. Carter, Amazon Reviewer
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A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
“It is dangerous to become attached to a du Lac. He will break your heart, and you will not recover.”
So prophesies a wizened healer to Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex. If there is truth in the old crone’s words, they come far too late for Annis, who defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves.
Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
"...I hear you surrendered,” he said, a faint hint of glee in his eyes.
Alden, who was still contemplating what Oeric had told him about his brother, looked up. “Good news travels fast.”
“As does bad.”
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had no choice.”
“That is what they all say, isn’t it?” Oeric laughed. “And who is this fine-looking woman by your side?” Oeric turned his attention to Annis.
Annis raised her head reluctantly. She had never met King Oeric, although she had heard a lot about him, mainly about his skill as a warrior from her brother, who liked to talk about worthy opponents to anyone who cared to listen. His appearance surprised her. Oeric was an old man, older than her father was. His hair was a soft white, his face wrinkled. His eyes were watery and the colour of a foggy blue sky. His clothes were lavish and skilfully embroidered. He smiled a welcome, showing gaps in his mouth where his teeth had been knocked out. Alden was right; she could see he was mentally undressing her with his eyes. He made her feel sick.
“What is your name, my dear?” Even the way he spoke to her was lewd.
“Annis?” Oeric raised his bushy white eyebrows. “A pretty name for a pretty girl.” He licked his lips. “And what are you doing in the company of Lord du Lac?”
Alden had to stop himself from saying king. The slight on Oeric’s part hit its mark well.
Annis nervously glanced at Alden. “I am his wife,” she whispered, fearing the lie.
“His wife?” he whispered back and then he laughed, turning his attention away from her and back to Alden.
“You lose a kingdom, but have the time to find a wife. Where did you pick her up? The dungeons?” Those gathered in the hall laughed at their king’s jest. “What did you do, my dear? Was it something horrid?” he asked Annis, stepping closer to her.
Alden’s arm shot out and pulled her closer to him. “The where and why has nothing to do with you.” There was a warning in his tone that he meant for Oeric to hear.
“You speak to me like a King. You forget yourself,” Oeric said, his eyes blazing with anger. “You cannot speak to me as an equal anymore. Annis, Annis.” He rolled her name over his tongue. “Of Wessex?” he stated, his eyes widening. “You married his daughter?”
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About the author
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.