Knight of Passionby Margaret Mallory
HOW CAN THIS PASSIONATE KNIGHT...
Renowned beauty Lady Linnet is torn between two desires: revenge on those who destroyed her family or marriage to her childhood sweetheart Sir James Rayburn. One fateful night, she makes a misguided choice: she sacrifices Jamie's love for a chance at vengeance.
TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST?
HOW CAN THIS PASSIONATE KNIGHT...
Renowned beauty Lady Linnet is torn between two desires: revenge on those who destroyed her family or marriage to her childhood sweetheart Sir James Rayburn. One fateful night, she makes a misguided choice: she sacrifices Jamie's love for a chance at vengeance.
TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST?
Jamie Rayburn returns to England in search of a virtuous wife-only to find the lovely Linnet as bewitching as ever. Their reckless affair ignites anew, even hotter than before, although Jamie vows to never again trust her with his heart. Then just as Linnet begins to make amends, she's tempted by one last opportunity to settle old scores. But a final retribution could cost her Jamie's love - this time forever.
KNIGHT OF PASSION is an amazing story...filled with sexual tension and hot romance. Add [it] to your summer reading list."RomanceReviewsToday.com"
[A] sensual and action-packed medieval romance."RomanceJunkies.com"
A wonderful new voice in the tradition of Gellis and Woodiwiss."Bertrice Small, New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen"
Mallory's debut is impressive. She breathes life into major historical characters...in a dramatic romance."4 Stars, RT Book Reviews on Knight of Desire"
An impressive debut...Margaret Mallory is a star in the making."New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh on Knight of Desire"
Spellbinding! Few writers share Margaret Mallory's talent for bringing history to vivid, pulsing life."New York Times bestselling author Virginia Henley on Knight of Desire"
A lavish historical romance, evocative and emotionally rich. Knight of Desire will transport you."USA Today bestselling author Sophie Jordan on Knight of Desire
Read an Excerpt
Knight of Passion
By Mallory, Margaret
ForeverCopyright © 2010 Mallory, Margaret
All right reserved.
The Louvre, Paris
“What if we get caught?” Jamie said, glancing up and down the palace corridor.
Getting caught was precisely the point, but Linnet was not going to tell Jamie that. She looked up at him through her lashes and said, “Don’t you want to?”
The way his eyes went dark made her breath catch.
“You know I do,” he said, brushing the back of his fingers against her cheek.
Her skin tingled from his touch. If she did not take care, Jamie could make her forget her purpose.
She felt a twinge of guilt for not telling him. None of the other young men at court would care what her reasons were if she dragged one of them into an empty bedchamber. But Jamie would refuse her if he knew. That stubborn sense of honor—misplaced though it may be—was one of the things she liked best about him.
“Everyone is attending the celebrations,” she assured him.
The feasting that began with King Henry’s triumphal entry into Paris with his French princess was continuing without pause through Advent.
“But the guest who has this chamber could return at any time,” Jamie said.
He sucked in his breath as she ran a finger down his chest.
“If you are going to be a frightened mouse,” she said, “I can find someone else.”
Jamie’s boyish sweetness was gone. He gripped her arm and jerked open the bedchamber door. Before she knew it, she was inside the bedchamber with her back pressed against the door. Jamie kissed her long and hard.
“Don’t ever say you will go with another man,” he said, taking her chin in his hand. “Don’t ever say it.”
“You are the only one I want.” This was the truth, but she regretted telling him. He would read more into it than he ought.
“ ’Tis the same for me,” he whispered and rested his forehead against hers.
She closed her eyes and breathed in his scent as she leaned against him. He could be such a tender boy.
But she did not know how much time she had. “Now,” she whispered in his ear. “I want to do it now.”
When she rubbed her hand up his cock for good measure, he made a sound between a growl and a moan and lifted her from the ground. Men were so predictable, so easily managed, there was almost no challenge in it. Still, Jamie’s reaction was gratifying.
As he carried her to the bed, Linnet gave herself a moment to savor the thought of how angry Alain, her “father,” was going to be. That man would rue the day.
From the moment Jamie laid her down and started kissing her, she forgot about Alain and her plans for revenge. This part she could not control, did not even try. A fire had raged between them since the day he arrived in Paris with the king. No matter how often they sneaked away to be together, the fire only burned hotter. She gave into it with abandon now, as she did every time.
Afterward, she lay in Jamie’s arms, wishing the contentment of the moment could last. It never did.
“I’ve sent a letter to my parents,” Jamie said, rubbing his cheek against the top of her head. “I expect my father will grant me a small estate upon our betrothal.”
Her heart began to race. “Betrothed? You haven’t spoken to me of betrothal before.”
“Did I need to?” She heard the smile in his voice. “After what we’ve being doing, I thought it obvious.”
“But you never told me. You never asked me.”
“I see I have committed a grievous error,” he said, sounding amused. “All right, let me ask it, then. My darling Linnet, love of my heart, will you wed me and be my wife?”
“Nay, I will not.”
“What?” Jamie sat up and leaned over her. “I am sorry if I offended you by not speaking plainly before. You know I love you.”
“Men say that all the time.”
“But I mean it,” he said, rubbing his thumb across her cheek. “And I shall still love you when your beauty is no more than a memory traced upon your face.”
They had left the bed curtains drawn. In the sunlight from the tall window, she took in the strong lines of his handsome face, the intense expression in the violet-blue eyes. She swallowed. She hadn’t meant to hurt him. Why did he not tell her these things before?
She reached up and cupped the side of his face with her hand. “You will always be special to me as my first lover.”
“First lover!” His fingers dug into her arm. A moment later, he released her and flopped back down on the bed. “How you enjoy torturing me with your teasing! Sometimes you go too far.”
Why do men never believe what you say? They persist in believing “no” means “perhaps,” and “I despise you” means “I want you to write me bad poetry.”
“I do not wish to be a wife,” she said to Jamie. “I could not bear having a man tell me what to do all my life.”
Jamie laughed. “As if I would dare try.”
“You would. It is what men do.”
He turned on his side, his dark hair falling across his eyes. “Let us pretend you are serious. What else could you do? I cannot see you as a nun.”
She batted away his hand as he reached for her breast. “I may make a brief marriage.”
“A brief one?” he said, raising his eyebrows.
“Aye, to a very old man who will leave me a wealthy widow,” she said. “Or, I may become a famous courtesan.”
The bed shook with Jamie’s laughter.
“I am trying to be honest with you,” she said, slapping his shoulder.
“You are beautiful enough to become the most famous courtesan in all of France,” he said, pulling her on top of him. “And you know it very well. But enough of this foolishness. We must make our plan.”
She may as well be speaking to a turnip. She pushed away from him and sat up, wrapping her arms around her knees. In sooth, she could not imagine letting anyone else touch her the way Jamie did. But her plans required independence and money of her own.
Whenever her resolve weakened, she thought of the men who robbed her grandfather blind when he grew feebleminded toward the end. They were men he’d done business with for years; men he’d trusted and loaned money to in hard times. Not an hour after he died, these same men stripped their house in Falaise of valuables. Because of them, she and her brother, Francois, were stealing food to survive even before the English siege began.
One day, she would return to Falaise and destroy every one of those men who stole from them and left them to starve.
“Do you think your father will object to our marrying?” Jamie asked, startling her from her thoughts.
“Aye, he would,” she said absently over her shoulder, “because the devil’s spawn has already chosen a husband for me.”
Jamie jerked upright beside her. “He intends to pledge you to another?”
“After ignoring me and my brother for most of our lives, Alain thinks he can play father now and tell me what to do.” Alain sorely underestimated her. “He only claimed us because his legitimate sons are dead.”
Jamie gripped her arm. “Who is the man he wants you to wed?”
“That snake Guy Pomeroy.”
Jamie raised his eyebrows. “Your father aims high. Sir Guy is close to the Duke of Gloucester, the king’s youngest brother.”
“ ’Tis not for my benefit, you can be sure,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I hate the way Sir Guy looks at me. I swear, I would put a blade in his heart before I let him near me.”
“You are mine to protect now.” Jamie took her hand and kissed it. “I know you loathe your father, but he must be dealt with. It will be awkward if he has already spoken with Sir Guy, but that cannot be helped.”
“I have taken care of it.” She had to tell Jamie now. He would be so angry he might not speak to her for days.
“Let me do this,” Jamie said. “I know what assurances must be given, what pressures can be brought to bear. Your upbringing was… irregular. I understand these things better.”
“Think about what you are saying, Jamie,” she said, raising her hands in exasperation. “I am a bastard and a merchant’s granddaughter. I was not raised to live the kind of life you want.”
“You are of noble birth,” Jamie said in a firm voice. “Everything is changed now that your father has claimed you.”
“I am not changed,” she said. “What you need is a dull English noblewoman who will be happy to share the boring life you are looking forward to.”
“Linnet, you cannot—”
She lifted her hand to stop him. “I know how it will be. Each summer, you will come to France to fight with your glorious king. Then, each winter, you will return home to get your wife with yet another child, settle disputes among your peasants, and spend the evenings telling tiresome stories of your victories by the hearth in your hall.”
“It is a good life,” he said, laughing. “It only seems dull to you because you do not know it.”
She took his face in her hands. “You will be furious with me, but there is something I must tell you.”
“First you must promise not to speak to your father of our marriage before I do,” Jamie said.
He leaned forward to kiss her but froze at the sound of voices just outside the door. As the door scraped open, he threw the bedclothes over Linnet and turned his body to block the view of her from the door.
She scooted up next to him and called out, “Good day, Alain. How fortunate you brought Sir Guy with you; he’s told me many times he wished to see me naked in bed.”
Both men stared at them slack-jawed for a long moment. Then her father roared, “God’s blood, Linnet, what have you done?”
“Surely,” she said, widening her eyes, “I need not explain it to you?”
“You said she was a virgin,” Sir Guy spat out, then slapped Alain hard across the face. “I should have known a whore would beget a whore.”
Sir Guy was a powerfully built man, and his violence startled her. When he turned to Jamie with murder in his eyes, she put her hand on Jamie’s shoulder.
“I won’t forget this,” Sir Guy said in a voice so full of menace Linnet’s stomach tightened. “You shall pay dearly for this one day, James Rayburn.”
Jamie threw her hand off his shoulder. For the first time since the others entered the room, she looked at him. Jamie’s eyes were fixed on her, wild and accusing. She heard, but did not see, Sir Guy slam the door. Sir Guy and her father did not matter anymore.
“You planned this. You wanted them to find us,” Jamie said, his voice cracking. “You only went to bed with me to make your father angry. I thought… I thought you loved me.”
The air went out of her, and she could not speak. God have mercy, what had she done?
“You’ve ripped my heart from my chest,” Jamie said in a harsh whisper. “I am the world’s biggest fool.”
Jamie slid down from the bed, swept up his clothes from the floor in one arm, and started toward the door.
“I shall whip you within an inch of your life, girl,” Alain shouted. His face was purple, his fists clenched.
Jamie grabbed Alain by the front of his tunic and lifted him off his feet. “I am tempted to murder her myself, but I will kill you if you lay a hand on her for this,” he said, the threat in his voice as sharp as the edge of a dagger.
Heaven above, Jamie was magnificent, stark naked and furious.
“If you were not such a horse’s arse, she would not have done it.”
Jamie was defending her, which meant he was already halfway to forgiving her. She would explain it all to him. Then they could go on as before.
Jamie picked up his clothes again and walked to the door. He opened it and turned. “Send word if there is a child,” he said to Alain. “I shall be in England.”
October 30, 1425
The stench of the Thames made Sir James Rayburn’s eyes water as he rode through the angry crowd. The “Winchester geese,” the prostitutes who worked this side of the river under the bishop’s regulation, would not do much business today. The men filling the street were not here to seek pleasures banned inside the City; they were spoiling for a fight.
Earlier, Jamie had crossed the river to gauge the mood within the City of London—and found it on the verge of riot.
The crowd grew thicker as he neared London Bridge. Men glared at him but moved out of the way of his warhorse. As he pushed through them, his thoughts returned to the evening before. There had been far too many men-at-arms at the bishop’s palace.
Over supper, Jamie had tried to discern the bishop’s intent in bringing so many armed men to Winchester Palace. Under the bishop’s watchful eye, however, none of the other guests dared speak of it. Instead, they pressed Jamie for news of the fighting in France.
He obliged them, telling them of the recent battle against the dauphin’s forces at Verneuil. As he warmed to his tale, the ladies leaned forward, hands pressed to their creamy bosoms. He liked to tell stories. Just when he had begun to enjoy himself, Linnet’s words came back to him.
What you need, Jamie Rayburn, is a dull English wife who will be content to spend her evenings listening to you recite tiresome tales of your victories.
After all these years, Linnet’s ridicule still rankled. He had brought his story to an abrupt end and left the bishop’s hall for bed. Damn the woman. Five years since he’d seen her, and she could still ruin his evening.
Calling him boring was the least of Linnet’s crimes against him. No matter that he was three years older and she was not quite sixteen at the time—next to her, he’d been a babe in the woods. It embarrassed him to recall how he had worn his heart on his sleeve back then. While he professed eternal love and adoration, Linnet used him without a shred of guilt or regret.
After the debacle, he left Paris at once in the hope of reaching England before his letter. But nay. He had to suffer the additional mortification of telling his family he and Linnet were not betrothed after all.
Someone should have told him that men value a woman’s virginity far more than women do themselves. He had mistaken the gift of hers as a gift of her heart—and a pledge of marriage. Never again would he let a woman humiliate him like that.
That did not mean he’d sworn off women. In sooth, he had bedded any number of them in his determination to wipe Linnet’s memory from his mind. Most of the time he succeeded.
Thinking of her now put him in a foul mood. God’s beard, he could not breathe with all these people hemming him in. Judging by Thunder’s snorts and flattened ears, his horse felt the same.
“We’ve seen enough,” Jamie said, patting Thunder after the horse snapped at a fool who got too close.
With his untimely death, their dear and glorious King Henry had left a babe heir to two kingdoms. The Duke of Bedford, the dead king’s eldest surviving brother, had the difficult tasks of governing the French territories and prosecuting the war there.
While Bedford was occupied in France, two other members of the royal family vied for control of England. The power struggle between Bedford’s brother, the Duke of Gloucester, and their uncle, the Bishop of Winchester, had been simmering for months. Now that their dispute had spilled over into the streets, however, it was far more dangerous. Jamie must send a message to Bedford at once.
As Jamie turned his horse to return to the bishop’s palace, someone grabbed hold of his boot. He lifted his whip but checked his arm when he saw it was an old man.
“Please, sir, help me!”
The old fellow’s eye was purple with a fresh bruise. From his clothing, Jamie guessed he was not a part of the rabble, but a servant of some noble household.
Jamie leaned down. “What can I do for you?”
“The crowd separated me from my mistress,” the man said, his voice high and tremulous. “Now they’ve taken my mule, and I cannot reach her.”
Sweet Lamb of God, a lady was alone in this mob? “Where? Where is she?”
The old man pointed toward the bridge. When Jamie turned to look, he wondered how he had missed her. London Bridge was three hundred yards long, with shops and houses projecting off both sides. But in the gap created by the drawbridge, Jamie had a clear view of a lady in a bright blue and yellow gown sitting astride a white palfrey. She stuck out from the horde around her like a peacock atop a dunghill.
“Out of my way! Out of my way!” Jamie shouted, waving his whip from side to side above the heads of the crowd. Men flung themselves aside to avoid the hooves of his horse as he forced his way forward through the throng.
As he rode up onto the bridge, he heard the familiar sound of an army on the move. He turned and saw men-at-arms marching up the river from the bishop’s palace. God’s blood, the bishop had even sent archers.
Jamie had heard a rumor that Gloucester intended to ride to Eltham Castle to take custody of the three-year-old king. Evidently the bishop feared Gloucester’s intent was to usurp the throne, for he had decided to stop his nephew at the bridge by force of arms.
God help them all.
But in the meantime, Jamie needed to rescue the fool woman caught between the forces of the two feuding royals in the goddamned middle of London Bridge.
The mass of people caught on the bridge began to panic as word spread of the men-at-arms marching toward them. As Jamie pushed his way over the first part of the bridge, their shouts echoed off the buildings that connected overhead.
He was still twenty yards from the lady when he heard her scream. Hands were grabbing at her, attempting to pull her off the horse. She fought back like a savage, striking at them with her whip.
Someone caught hold of her headdress. Despite the noise on the bridge, Jamie heard the gasps of the men around her as a cascade of white-gold hair fell over her shoulders to her hips.
The air went out of him. There was only one woman in Christendom with hair like that. Linnet.
And she was in grave danger.
“Do not touch her!” he roared. He raised his sword and pulled the reins, making Thunder rear to clear his way.
He pushed forward through the seething mass. As he fought his way the last few yards, he heard Linnet’s voice over the clamor, cursing the men in both French and English.
A burly man gripped her thigh with a filthy hand, and murder roiled through Jamie. Just as Linnet raised her whip to bring it down on the man, she looked up and saw Jamie. Their gazes locked, and all the sounds around him faded away.
In that moment when she was diverted, the burly man caught her arm that held the whip. Another man yanked at her belt. Over the thunder in his ears, Jamie heard her bloodcurdling scream as they pulled her off her horse.
“Hold on!” he shouted.
She was hanging off the side, clutching at her saddle with both hands. God help him, she would be trampled to death in another moment. Her horse had remained remarkably steady until now. With its rider unsaddled, however, it was wild-eyed, tossing its head and sidestepping into the crowd. Jamie’s heart went to his throat as Linnet swung sideways and slammed against her horse’s side.
The men, whose hold was snapped by the horse’s movement, were grasping at Linnet’s skirts as the horse flung her from side to side. She was hanging on by one hand when Jamie finally broke through to her. With one sweep of his sword, he slashed the two men as he leaned down and caught Linnet around the waist with his other arm and lifted her up onto his horse.
Praise God, he had her! Now he just had to get her off this damned bridge before arrows started flying.
“My horse!” she said, twisting to look over his shoulder.
Without warning, she leaned over the side of his horse with both arms outstretched. Was the woman mad? He gripped her tighter as she reached out to catch hold of her horse’s loose rein with her fingertips.
She sat up and gave him a triumphant grin as she held it up in her hand. Good God, she hadn’t changed a bit. She was happiest in the midst of tumult and trouble. He wouldn’t be half surprised to discover it was she, and not Gloucester, who had caused the riot.
“You gloat too soon,” he said through clenched teeth. “We could be killed yet.”
Her eyes flicked to the side, and she brought her whip down on an arm reaching for her horse’s bridle. He turned his horse and shouted at the crowd, “Get off the bridge! Get off the bridge!”
The panicked mass of people surged against them like rolling swells against a ship at sea. Linnet ignored his repeated command to “let go of the damned horse and hold on.” He had to hold her tight enough to leave bruises on her ribs, while she slashed at people who tried to grab her horse’s reins.
She felt so slight against him. It seemed a miracle she had been able to fight off those men and stay on her horse for so long. But anyone who touched her now would be a dead man. Jamie was a battle-hardened knight. Now that he had her, he had no doubt he could protect her from the rabble.
Flying arrows, however, were another matter.
By a miracle, he managed to reach the end of the bridge a hairbreadth before the bishop’s men blocked the way. Then he rode east along the river, away from the bridge and the crowd, until his heartbeat returned to normal.
They were a quarter mile down the river before he spoke. “What in God’s name were you doing on the bridge? An idiot could see that was no place to be today.”
Linnet turned around to look at him. This time, with the danger past, his heart did a flip-flop in his chest. In addition to everything else she was, did she have to be so beautiful? It was the curse of his life.
“ ’Tis nice to see you, too, Jamie Rayburn.” She cocked her head and raised an eyebrow. “After all this time, I expected a better greeting.”
He fixed his gaze dead ahead and grunted. God in heaven, how could she be so cool after what had just happened on the bridge?
When she leaned lightly against him, his chest prickled with sensation. Lust and longing took him like a fever. He should put her on her own horse now. He wanted to pretend she was too distressed to ride alone, but the thought was ridiculous. This one small weakness he would allow himself. It meant nothing.
“I heard you were with Bedford in France,” she said.
“When did you arrive in London?”
After a long pause, she said, “Are you going to tell me what you are doing in England?”
“Or ask why I am here?”
He felt her sigh against his chest. Against his will, he remembered other sighs, other times…
He had to get rid of her. “I trust your servant will make his own way back. Where shall I deliver you?”
“The bishop’s palace,” she said. “I can find someone there to escort me to my lodgings.”
Good. It was best he not know where she was staying. Not that he would seek her out, but a wise man avoided temptation where Linnet was concerned.
Taking a longer route to avoid the mob, he worked his way back to the bishop’s palace. Even over the stink of the city and the river, he could smell the tangy scent of citrus in her hair. The memory of burying his face in it hit him like a punch to the gut.
As soon as he saw Linnet safely inside the palace, he left her.
He went at once to the bishop, who accepted his offer to help mediate the dispute with Gloucester. For the rest of the day, the crisis kept him far too busy to dwell on his encounter with Linnet. He and the other emissaries traveled back and forth across the river eight times, attempting to forge a compromise. It was late in the night before the two feuding royals finally agreed to terms.
Jamie fell into bed exhausted. With the country on the brink of civil war, he had managed to push all thought of Linnet aside while he was awake. But near dawn, he was tormented by a dream of her. Not the annoying, sentimental sort of dream he often had in the early days after he left Paris. Nay, this was a raw, sensual dream of her writhing above him, crying out his name. He awoke gasping for air.
He needed a woman, that much was clear.
But first, duty called. The Duke of Bedford had sent him home from France with two tasks. Last night, he had fulfilled the first by sending Bedford his report on the conflict between Gloucester and the bishop.
This morning, he must attend to his second assignment: keeping the young, widowed queen safe in the crisis. He owed this duty not just to Bedford, but to his dead king. But perhaps he could combine duty with pleasure. If past experience was any judge, one of the ladies at court would be happy to be his bedmate for a time.
He started the six-mile ride to Eltham Palace as soon as he broke his fast. Shortly after he arrived, he was taken to the queen’s private parlor. As he entered, Queen Katherine, a fragile-looking woman of twenty-four, rose to greet him.
“Your Highness,” he said, dropping to one knee. When he looked up, he caught the flicker of sadness in her eyes and knew he reminded her of that awful day at Vincennes, outside Paris. He was one of the knights who had carried the dying king into the castle, where the queen waited for him.
“I am so very pleased you have come, Sir James,” she said, holding her hand out for his kiss. She looked past him and smiled. “As I believe my friend is also, no?”
He turned to follow the queen’s gaze.
Linnet swept past him to stand beside Queen Katherine. With her stubborn jaw and her chin tilted up, she looked more regal than the queen. And here he was on his knees, groveling at her feet once more.
At the queen’s nod, he got up.
“My friend says you would not tell her what brings you back to England,” the queen said with a coquettish smile. “But you dare not refuse me.”
“I have come at the behest of the Duke of Bedford, who is concerned for your comfort and well-being.” He could not tell her of Bedford’s other charge to him.
“He has always been kind to me,” the queen said in a soft voice. She did not need to add, unlike Gloucester.
“I have an errand of my own, as well,” Jamie added, surprising himself. “I have come home to marry.”
Linnet’s quick intake of breath was gratifying.
The queen clapped her hands. “How delightful!”
“I have so many tiresome tales of my victories to tell,” he said, “that I really must take a wife.”
The queen laughed, though she could not have understood the jest. Turning to Linnet, she asked, “What sort of lady should we find for our handsome James?”
Linnet looked at him with her direct, ice-blue eyes and said, “I think he should please himself.”
Oblivious to the edge in Linnet’s voice, the queen clasped her hands together and beamed at him. “Tell us, Sir James, what lady would please you?”
“A dull English lady,” Jamie said, turning to meet Linnet’s steady gaze. “The kind who makes a virtuous wife.”
Excerpted from Knight of Passion by Mallory, Margaret Copyright © 2010 by Mallory, Margaret. 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.
Meet the Author
Margaret Mallory surprised her friends and family by abandoning her legal career to spend her days writing stories of romance and adventure. Finally, she can satisfy her passion for justice by writing stories that punish the bad and reward the worthyafter a struggle, of course. She grew up in Northern Michigan and now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, two children, fierce cat and silly dog.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
I enjoyed Margaret Mallory's other two books - Knight of Desire and Knight of Pleasure - but I have to say that with Knight of Passion, she has taken it to a whole new level. This is the one, in my opinion, that is going to separate her from the pack, which she was already edging out of to begin with. As a reader, I've always been interested to watch the progression of a writer's talent from book to book, it's exciting to see. It's hard to quantify Margaret's when the first two books were so good on their own, but this one is several leaps beyond, in every way - characterization, motivation, dialogue, pace, narrative, transitions, plot, setting, the depth of the novel as a whole, the intensity of the love scenes, everything. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm totally in love with Jamie! I also really liked that Linnet was such a strong woman. She did not need or want a man doing for her, she took care of business herself. It made the scenes of her vulnerability that much more emotional. I'm very much looking forward to Margaret's next book!
KNIGHT OF PASSION by Margaret Mallory is a wonderful, delightful historical romance set in 1420 Paris and 1425 London.This is the third in the All the King' s Men series but can be read as a stand alone. It is well written with detail and detail. It has wit, suspense, romance, sensuality, devil worshipers,knights, a queen and her ladies waiting, sorcery,true love, revenge and forgiveness. The heroine in this story is determined to have her revenge against the people who wronged her family(her grandfather) and stolen everything from them. She in independent, strong, full of life, beautiful, smart and gets into trouble at every turn.She has been in love with the hero for years but let vengeance get in her way until... well you will have to read their story. The hero is handsome, strong, a knight, has been in love with the heroine for years, wants to have a wife, one who is obedient and calm unlike the heroine, but love has it's own plans. I would highly recommend this story. If you have not read the first in this series I would recommend you read them (#1 Knight of Desire and #2 Knight of Pleasure) this have been a delightful series. If you enjoy Knights, suspense, fast paced, page turning, romance and a great read you will so enjoy this one. This book was received for review and details can be found at My Book Addiction and More and Forever Hachette Book Group.
Well first off, this was an entertaining book. I didn't get sick of reading it, yet it wasn't one of those books that I couldn't put down. I liked the story enough, and the characters were well developed but there was a bit of a disconnect for me. I think my biggest hurdle in this one was Linnet. I know she was looking for revenge, but she came off as being deceptive, and a bit of a brat. I just wasn't that thrilled with her as a main character. I liked Jamie quite a bit more. He was a scorned lover who was still in love, and that made me feel sympathy for him. I also liked him because he knew Linnet's game, and could (to an extent) beat her at it. He also was a great "Knight in Shinning Armor" so to speak. The story was pretty good. The undertones of magic, sorcery, and such made it more appealing to me, as I tend to be drawn to stories with mystical or spiritual undertones. The love between Linnet and Jamie was a good catalyst for the story. I wanted Jamie to get what he wanted, but my disdain for Linnet made it seem bittersweet. I kept wishing she were a better person... But despite Linnet I still think this was a decent read. I was able to escape into the story with little effort. The historical side of the story may not have been absolutely accurate, but I think it was accurate enough to make it believable.
Regret. Pain. Hope. Passion. Love. Those are the themes of KNIGHT OF PASSION by Margaret Mallory, although not necessarily in that order. Fans of Mallory will recognize our hero, Jamie Rayburn as the little boy from <i>Knight of Desire</i>. In the first book of the series, Jamie was a cute and precocious boy. Now, in KNIGHT OF PASSION, Jamie has grown up and become quite the looker. He's returned to England, searching for a wife to build a home. Although his heart is drawn to Lady Linnet, his mind steers him away. He wants a nice stable wife - can Linnet play that role? The Lady Linnet's heart is torn in two different directions. One side of her wants to reek vengeance on the people who left who her poor and homeless after the death of her grandfather. She marries and quickly becomes a widow, all in according to her plan of generating wealth in order to track her prey across England. The other side of her, the side filled with love and hope, cried at having left Jamie to fulfill her dark mission. When she befriends Queen Katherine and finds herself once more in the presence of Jamie, the spark is quickly rekindled. Will her love for him be enough to convince him that she can change or will her mistakes destine her to a life without him? This book was a bit more intense for me than <i>Knight of Desire</i>. The first in the series with Lady Catherine Rayburn and William FitzAlan is still by far my favorite, but KNIGHT OF PASSION turned out to be pretty good competition. The relationship between Jamie and Linnet was one that kept you on the edge of your seat throughout most of the story. The passion was there, surely, but was the trust? Ms. Mallory teased us and then pushed us away, leaving us with the knowledge that both parties truly loved one another but wondering if a Happily Ever After was possible for these two. Unfortunately, I won't be able to answer this question for you. You'll just have to read and find out. One thing that makes Ms. Mallory's books so fantastic is the attention to detail she puts into them. Her writing is just as beautiful and colorful as the covers on the books and it is easy to get lost in the story through her words. Sometimes we see good stories, good plots, but the writing bogs the book down. Ms. Mallory presents us with a work that flows easily and reads quite well despite the complexity of the story and relationships therein. By far my favorite aspect of KNIGHT OF PASSION was Lady Linnet. Her backstory was painful and really tugged on the heartstrings. It was difficult reading about her at times because we knew what she was going through and what she needed, but the world always seemed to work against her and there wasn't a thing we could do about it. There were times that I wanted to shout at Jamie and tell him all about Linnet; tell him just to love her. Fortunately, I couldn't and watching the two learn about each other and themselves made for a fantastic story. I would highly recommend this to any fans of historical romance. The book is well researched, paced quite well, full of passion, and beautifully written. Ms. Mallory is an expert and one that romance junkies just have to experience.
I have read all 3 books and love them. The story kept me very interested and I love the history! I liked the good solid characters and story lines. Not just another romance!
Another exciting, adventurous, mysterious, steamy, love story from the wonderful mind of Margaret in the "All The Kings Men" series! Being in love when they were young, Jamie Rayburn finds himself leaving the beautiful Linnet when he feels betrayed by her when caught in bed together. Not waiting to listen to reason, he takes off without another word. 5 years later, they are reuntied by fate. And all those old feelings come charging back at both of them with a heat so passionate they can barely keep their hands off each other - so they don't! Linnet and Jamie both have life lessons to learn and overcome, only to find out that what they thought they wanted in life, wasn't as important as wanting each other. They come close to losing that though when their minds, instead of their hearts, convince them maybe they should be on different paths. Wrong! Luckily, Jamie has a strong family that shows him, sometimes men can be real hard headed (no pun intended). When he goes back to see Linnet, he finds that she is missing, and must find and rescue his true love, before she ends up dead...or is it Linnet that ends up saving him? There's only 1 way to find out - GET THIS BOOK! And the other two if you don't have them. You'll enjoy the action, you'll enjoy the wity banter of all the characters...and you'll enjoy the sex that starts from the beginning, and goes all the way to the end!!! I will warn you that their are some interesting parts that include witches, sourcery, and potions. But when you read the historical facts pages, Margaret says that those things happened back then. So take it with a grain of salt and allow yourself to get caught up in the love to two wonderful people!!
Lady Linnet and Sir James "Jamie" Rayburn have been lovers and friends for so long at times it had been hard to not envision them together forever. But Jamie felt the choices Linnet had made in her life ruined their chances of ever being together and they parted ways not on the best of terms. But time does heal wounds and mend hearts and once they are reunited the fire of passion and love burn bright again. But has Linnet changed into the type of woman Jamie wants to marry or is she fooling him once again to gain another goal that he wants no part of. Linnet and her twin brother were left homeless and starving after their grandfather's death and the father that had disowned them returned to take what little was left of the estate. Their grandfather had been swindled of his fortune and the adult Linnet was determined to bring these men to justice and make them account for what they had done one at a time. While chasing them across England she befriends and becomes the confident of the widowed queen Katherine, which opens new and exciting doors. While her position was to keep the queen out of harms' way trouble their friendship was the core of the relationship. While with the queen she again encounters Jamie the love of her life and the man she still longs for. Linnet had left his arms and flown into another's but that was a short-term relationship that left her widowed and wealthy the combination she needed to seek out and enact upon her revenge toward the men that stole from her grandfather. Jamie is overjoyed to again have Linnet in his life but this time he seeks marriage and wants a woman to understand that it is time to build a future and start a family. Yet Linnet does want Jamie and does swear that she will behave in the most wife like fashion she knows how. But before the oath has left her mouth Jamie catches her in a compromising position with another man and he has said enough and looks to marry another. But can he really do that and never look back without regret when he leaves. No one believes this and Jamie is trying to convince himself of it but before too much time passes rumors begin about Linnet and witchcraft which Jamie knows are lies and whatever it takes to stop this nonsense he will make happen. Love abounds in this book but it takes some fighting and name calling to make these two wonderful characters figure out that compromise is not a bad word. This latest addition in the series updates you on the other books, which is always a reader plus because the reader is always curious about who is doing what now. Good story and great addition to the series. Mary Gramlich is The Reading Reviewer located at www.marygramlich.com
The last story of the trilogy. I adored Jamie, but I found Linnet a shallow self-centered woman. As I read, I understood her character more, but still did not think she truly deserved the honorable Jamie. Margaret Mallory does an excellent job of researching the period.
Loved the first two books in this series. This one ... not so much! It seemed really disjointed, and the characters just weren't as well developed. Almost seemed like it was written by someone else. Really disappointed.
Third book in a good series. The first two I liked better. This one I put off reading for a while. Linnet was not a favorite, the way she treated Jamie at first was awful! As I got into the story, I understood her reasoning better. Jamie and Linnet had a hot,hot romance. There was a lot going on in this one. I found myself liking it more as I got into the story.
I enjoyed this book very much. Great Hero!
I just didn't find this book a page turner, it took me two weeks to get through this book, i almost deleted it, but since i had paid for it i decided to suffer through it, very disappointed .
Just could not get into the storyline. Have to pass on this one. Love all the other books by this author.
This entire series was a Must Read. But this is my favorite i love how he always loved her, with ust the right amount of passion without it being offensive A wonderful new author.
I love it good read :)