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by Mary McCall
Category: Historical Fiction/Romance
Description: English-born Lady Alera of Arundrydge is a procrastinating defender and nurturer with a secret gift. She wishes to avenge crimes against her family and find her father, who is missing and presumed dead. When a nefarious uncle hands her over to Viking slavers, she escapes only to be caught by a big, sexy barbarian, whose touch ignites passion. Laird Duncan Ranald has good reason to hate all things English. They nearly wiped out his clan. Discovering the luscious beauty who washed up on his shore and stoked his lust is English, he decides to keep her as his leaman for a little revenge. Realizing she's his soul mate, Duncan decides to wed her, but Alera won't cooperate. Escaping Duncan becomes nearly impossible for Alera as she helps his clan and he creeps into her heart. But if she stays, how will vengeance be had and what will become of her father?
eBook Publisher: Champagne Books, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: May 2011
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [426 KB]
Reading time: 275-385 min.
Arundrydge, England's Mid-Western Coast
Mama was right. Life was full of lessons. If she wanted to kill a bull, she needed a bigger blade.
"Praise be to Almighty God, His angels, and all His saints! You are alive!" Baron Robert of Arundrydge pulled his errant eight-year-old daughter from the fore-building into a fierce embrace, closing his eyes to the chaos in his outer bailey. He took a few deep breaths to slow his hammering heart, then clenched his jaw as anger nudged aside his fear.
"Of course I'm alive, Papa." Alera patted her father's cheek. "You know Henry will not let anything bad happen to me. He is the very best of all the angel guardians. 'Tis why I thank Almighty God for him every day like you told me."
Robert set Alera on her feet, kept a grip on her upper arms, and glowered down at her. "What in the name of Saint Ethelbert did you think you were doing?"
Alera smiled wide and puffed out her chest with pride. "I was playing bull bait, 'cause you told me I'm not allowed to go into the forest and bait no boars." She scrunched her face into a disgruntled frown. "I might have won, if I had a real sword instead of this cursed puny dagger."
Robert'growled and shook his daughter.
"You are rattling my teeth, Papa!"
"I ought to rattle more than your --" Robert broke off, grabbed Alera's wrist, and tugged her behind him toward the keep through the fallen stalls, broken pottery, toppled crates, scattered foodstuffs, and loose animals running amuck.
"Papa, I am not through playing yet," Alera complained. "Where are we going?" Her father growled again, and she frowned. Why was Papa acting upset? He was heading for Mama, but she was all right, wasn't she? She didn't need Mama to fix her. "Are you miffed about something, Papa?"
Baron Robert increased his pace.
Alera ran along behind him, unable to match his furious stride. "Papa, my arm is going to pop out!"
"You would try the patience of Almighty God, Himself!" Robert grabbed Alera by her waist and tossed her across his shoulder then kept going. "I may just have a talk with Him about you. I think you just earned an extra century in Purgatory."
Alera drew her brows together as worry plagued her. Purgatory was that place where bad little girls went and they couldn't have no water to drink or play games or nothing fun. She surely didn't want to go there. Why would Papa want to send his precious baby to such an awful place? "I thought you were glad I am all right, Papa. Is your gullet griping you again?"
Robert growled and walked up the steps into the hall.
"Bradana!" he bellowed at the top of his lungs.
"You know I love you, Papa," Alera reminded him.
A loud rumble came out of her Papa, and he headed up the steps.
"You love your precious baby too, do you not?"
"By all that's holy, cease your prattle." Arriving on the third level, Robert toted his daughter down the corridor. He balled his fist and struck open the solar door, slamming the wood against the inner stone wall.
Lady Bradana, sitting near the window, looked up from her tapestry frame. Her irate husband stomped into the chamber, carrying their dirty disheveled daughter. Her poor baby looked contrite and confused. Bradana compressed her lips to contain her chuckle at the sight of the pair. What had her wee precious been up to this time?