By Possession

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Overview

A Common Lady
For years she had thought he was dead. Yet when Addis de Valence strode into Moira Falkner's cottage, there was no mistaking the sharp planes of his face, and the scar she herself had helped to heal. The young squire who had once been her hero was now her lord, a hardened man who returned to claim the son she had raised as her own. But Moira couldn't deny that Addis roused a passion she never ...
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Overview

A Common Lady
For years she had thought he was dead. Yet when Addis de Valence strode into Moira Falkner's cottage, there was no mistaking the sharp planes of his face, and the scar she herself had helped to heal. The young squire who had once been her hero was now her lord, a hardened man who returned to claim the son she had raised as her own. But Moira couldn't deny that Addis roused a passion she never thought to feel--and a perilous hope for a future that could never be....

An Uncommon Love
Addis returned from the Crusades to find his lands usurped by his stepbrother, and his country on the brink of rebellion. Determined to reclaim his birthright, Addis could not afford to be distracted by a woman--even one as tempting as Moira. Yet the only living part of his contented past lay in Moira--and his desire for her was more dangerous than his deadly battles with the king's men. By law, Moira belonged to him...but possessing her heart might be far more difficult.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553589221
  • Publisher: Bantam Books
  • Publication date: 6/27/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Madeline Hunter is a nationally bestselling author of historical romances who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. In a parallel existence to the one she enjoys as a novelist, she has a Ph.D. in art history and teaches at an East Coast university.
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Read an Excerpt

By Possession


By Madeline Hunter

Random House

Madeline Hunter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0553589229


Chapter One

Chapter 1

Wiltshire, England 1326

Moira felt the danger before she heard it. It rumbled from the ground  up her legs and through her back while she bent over the hearth setting some

water to heat. She froze as a distant thunder began shaking the cool dawn air  entering through her open door. She darted to the threshold as the sound grew  stronger. Stepping outside she saw the men approach through the morning  haze.

They poured down the hill from the manor house of Darwendon, aiming for  the village, four dark shapes flying on fast steeds with short cloaks waving

behind them. They looked like legged falcons soaring through the silver  mist.

Rushing over to a pallet in the corner, she crouched and shook the small  body lying there. "Brian, up now! Quickly."

Sun-bronzed arms and legs jerked and stretched and she yanked at one  wrist while she rose. "Now, at once, child! And silence, like I told  you."

Blue eyes blinked alert with alarm and he scurried behind her to a back  window. She could hear the riders galloping toward the cottages now. Brian  paused on the sill, his blond head out and his rump still in, and twisted with  apprehension toward her.

"Where I showed you, and cover yourself well. Do not come out, no matter  what you hear," she ordered, giving him a firm push. Even if you hear my  screams.

She watched until he disappeared behind the shed in which she stored her  baskets, then she closed the shutters and sat on the narrow bed. With quick  movements she tied her disheveled hair behind her neck with a rag, smoothed her  stained homespun gown, and stretched to move her darning basket near her feet.  Lifting a torn veil, she pretended to sew.

She tried to remain calm while the horses clamored toward her with a  violent noise. They were not stopping in the village. They were coming here, to  this house. The sour bile of fear rose to her mouth and she sucked in her  cheeks and forced it down.

Two horses pulled up outside in a melange of hooves and legs and pivoting  turns. Two men swung off and strode toward her. They barged in and peered  around the darkened chamber.

"Where is the boy?" one of them asked.

"What boy? There is no boy here."

The man strode to the large chest against the wall, opened it, and began  rummaging through the garments inside. She did not protest. Brian's things were  not in there, or anywhere they would easily find them. She had prepared for  this day, although the passing years had led her to believe him safe and  forgotten.

The other man grabbed her arm and pulled her up from the bed. "Tell us  where he is or it will go badly  for you."

"I have no boy. No son. I do not know who you mean."

"Of course you know," a new voice said.

She twisted around to the doorway and the tall, thin man standing there.  His long blond hair looked white in the dawn's glow.

"Raymond!"

Brian's uncle, Raymond Orrick, smiled smoothly and stepped inside, his  knight's spurs glinting. He gestured lazily and the gouging grip released her  arm. "Forgive them, Moira. It was not my intention to frighten you. We got  distracted in the village and they moved on ahead. They  thought . . ."

"They thought I was a peasant and undeserving of any courtesy."

He sauntered over to the hearth, glancing around the simple chamber,  taking in her two chests and bed and table and stools. His eyes finally came to  rest on the pallet. "He is safe?"

She moved up close to him, shooting cautious looks at the two others. Even  if they were his liege men he should not speak of this in front of them. "Aye,  he is safe."

Raymond smiled in the familiar way he had used too often since her  fifteenth year. It was the smile that a magnanimous lord might bestow on a  favored servant. But she did not serve him, least of all in the way he would

most like.

"You have done well for us, but we have come for him," he said.

"Come for him?"

"It is time."

A sickening strumming began in her chest. She wished suddenly that she had  claimed that Brian had perished in this summer's fever. Behind her she felt the  presence of a fourth man enter.

"He is safer here," she said.

"It is time," Raymond said more firmly.

"Nay. It is unwise and you know it. Your sister, Claire, asked me to care  for her son before she died. You agreed because you knew Brian could be hidden  here. If you take him back to your home at Hawkesford now, the men who wish him  harm will learn of it and take him from you. You cannot withstand those who  invoke the king's name as they commit their crimes."

The latest man to arrive moved. He came around her, taking a place in  Raymond's shadow near the hearth. "Where is the boy?" he asked in a  commanding voice that expected a response.

She pivoted and peered at him. He stood taller than Raymond, and broader  too, and she could make out similar long hair, but dark, not fair. He wore a

peculiar garment on his legs, and no armor or sword. She could not see his face  well in the shadow, but he did not appear friendly.

Raymond looked over at the man and seemed to shrink a little, as if in  natural deference. That was not like Raymond at all. He counted his own worth  very high.

"The boy," the man demanded.

Raymond caught her eye meaningfully. He stepped toward her, whether to  signal that he relinquished responsibility for what occurred, or to protect  her, she couldn't say. With his movement, the hearth glow suddenly illuminated  the stranger.

She gasped. Surely not. It was impossible!

A handsome face composed of sharp planes emerged from the retreating  shadows. Deep-set dark eyes met her gaping stare, the low fire highlighting  golden sparks that brightened while he considered her. He turned slightly and  she gasped again when she saw the pale scar slicing down the left side of his  face from forehead to jaw, contrasting starkly with his sun-browned  skin.

Impossible!

"You know who I am?"

She knew who he appeared to be, who the scar and eyes and dark hair said  he should be. But that was all that reminded her of him. Certainly not the  suspicion and danger quavering out of him and giving that face a harsh,  vigilant expression. Especially not the crude garments that made him appear  like some marauding barbarian. In the hearth light she could see that they were  made of buckskin, not woven cloth. The hip-length sleeveless tunic  displayed the sinewy strength of his arms. More leather clad his legs to the

ground in two narrow tubes. The tunic was decorated with orange beads that  picked up the fire.


Excerpted from By Possession by Madeline Hunter Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2011

    Sexy, Smart and Endearing

    This is my favorite Madeline Hunter romance. It is sexy, romantic, passionate and interesting. Hunter writes ambitious historical romance, creating nuanced characters and a gripping story line. The main characters share a passionate and intensely romantic relationship. This novel is for readers who enjoy a strong, alpha male who meets his match.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2008

    A reviewer

    I sooooooo loves this book. It is so romantic that Addis want Moira all to himself. I've read this book so many times that it actually feels like I'm right there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2005

    Fabulous Hero!

    I just loved Addis, and Moira, of course, and the story was intriguing from page one. Very few books leave lasting impressions and very few heros stay in my memory, but Addis is one, (there's one other, Jason Bradford, in The Rose of Enchantment). Like Jason, Addis is unforgettable.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting medieval romance

    In 1326 Wiltshire, England, Addis de Valence has come to reclaim his son Brian, who has been kept safe by Moira Falkner, his deceased wife¿s ¿shadow¿. Moira loves the lad, but realizes that Addis has a stronger claim even if everyone thought he died eight years ago during the Baltic Crusade. <P>Although Addis is very attracted to Moira, he has bigger yearnings that do not include her as more than a bondswoman. He wants back his land currently controlled by Addis' stepbrother. Moira always loved Addis, who she knew she could never have due to their class distinctions. She contented herself to see to her beloved¿s happiness by becoming ¿Claire¿s shadow¿. Now he returns her feelings, but neither one can afford to act on their desires because Addis must contend with the King¿s men, yet neither one can not act on their heart¿s hopes. <P>BY POSSESSION is an entertaining fourteenth century romance that emphasizes the danger of the era especially treachery caused by friends, relatives, or allies. The story line is exciting due to the lead couple¿s unacceptable love for one another battling with their deep-rooted responsibility to do the right thing. Though Addis seems like an elitist martinet, he fits his times when it comes to a bondswoman (or any female). Madeline Hunter provides an arousing medieval romance that will send the audience seeking her other historical tales of defying society's taboos of love (see BY ARRANGEMENT). <P>Harriet Klausner

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