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My Beloved

My Beloved

4.2 19
by Karen Ranney

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“A rich tapestry of love...embroidered with golden threads of sensuality.”
—Stephanie Laurens

A classic love story from Karen Ranney, one of the true legends of historical romance, My Beloved tells the poignant, sensuous story of the fabled Langlinais Bride, who has not seen her husband since their wedding day, twelve years


“A rich tapestry of love...embroidered with golden threads of sensuality.”
—Stephanie Laurens

A classic love story from Karen Ranney, one of the true legends of historical romance, My Beloved tells the poignant, sensuous story of the fabled Langlinais Bride, who has not seen her husband since their wedding day, twelve years earlier. Judith Ivory calls Ranney, “A rich, rare find.” And with My Beloved, the beloved New York Times and USA Today bestselling author enchants with the story of a truly unforgettable reunion—as an errant bridegroom, forced by perilous circumstance to return to his untouched, abandoned wife, finds himself bewitched by the innocent angel he wed but never intended to love.

Editorial Reviews

Stephanie Laurens
A rich tapestry of love...embroidered with golden threads of sensuality.
Romantic Times
Karen Ranney has written a very special book that taps into our need for the spiritual, our faith in the healing power of love, truth and goodness. My Beloved is a story of stunning beauty and deeply intense emotions that are sure to draw readers into the classic tale of good vs. evil. Kudos to Karen Ranney for her originality, inventiveness and great storytelling.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Loved , #1
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516 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

langlinais Castle
England, 1251

Were all brides as terrified?

Her hands felt icy, despite the fact that the air was heavy with the summer heat. How odd that her palms should feel cold and wet at the same time. Juliana wiped them surreptitiously on her surcoat. The embroidered cote she wore was too heavy for the warm weather. A veil was attached to the toque on her unbound hair; the chin band felt as if it were strangling her.

She had dreaded this day for years. She had only been five when she'd been led by her mother's hand to her father's side in the solar. The room had been hot and stuffy and crowded with people. They had spoken words she'd barely understood, about vas-sals and oaths and territories and land. "Do you un-derstand, Juliana?" she'd been asked. She had nodded, and said the words as she'd been in-structed. Then, she'd seen the boy there, the tall one with the brown hair and impatient tapping foot. He'd smiled at her, but she'd only scowled at him, then thrust herself behind her mother's skirts again.

She had not seen him again after she'd been led from the room. Only later did she learn it had been her wedding day, and the boy her husband.

At the convent she was known as the Langlinais Bride, for all that she'd never seen the castle before, and her husband only once. For most of her life, she'd lived at the Sisters of Charity, preparing for e role of chatelaine of this sprawling demesne. !ars had been spent inside gray walls, waiting for is very day.

She had another name bestowed upon her by the girls fostered at the convent. Juliana the Timid. Ju-liana the Mouse. "They are jealous of your position," the abbess hadtold her. Ignore their words. Pay em no heed. She had never told the abbess that air teasing rang with undeniable truth. She was frightened of the dark, disliked the height reached en when standing upon a stool, avoided the pond ~ the convent property. On the journey here, she'd discovered that horses could be added to that list of things she'd choose to avoid if she could.

But it hadn't always been so. Once, she had been brave and daring. The day she'd made a face at they who'd stared at her. The same boy who was now a man, and the husband she awaited.

She had lived in an agreeable limbo, married but it forced to be a wife. Ten years had passed, then twelve. At a time most brides would have joined sir husbands, she'd been sent word that Sebastian, Earl of Langlinais, had gone on crusade. Two years later, he'd returned. A week ago word had come, explaining that her husband had been imprisonedthe infidels, ransomed, then released. There was further reason to delay joining him.

Her journey from the convent of the Sisters of Charity had taken no more than a few hours, the procession of twenty men-at-arms escorting her a show of honor and force expected for a knight's bride, a lord's wife. At dusk they had ridden through the gates of Langlinais. An hour ago she had been escorted to the great hall and left there beside the fireplace. She could hear a faint summer breeze sigh through it now, as if calling her name. Juliana. It was more a warning than a welcome.

The great hall at Langlinais was easily three times larger than her childhood home and decorated more lavishly. She traced the painted outline of one stone block on the wall beside her. Her fingertip came away shaded red, and she hurriedly wiped her hand on her skirt once more. Her head was still bowed, but she glanced from beneath her lashes to see if her actions had been observed. Three men were setting up tables, and a servant girl had placed a large plat-ter upon the head table, but they paid no attention to her.It seemed no one knew she was here. Should she stand and announce her presence? The idea of call-ing attention to herself was daunting. It would be more fitting to simply wait until she was greeted. She returned to her covert perusal of the hall.

She could not recognize all of the different flowers painted on the wall. She had had little experience in the convent gardens. Sister Helena had merely pointed to the weeds and Juliana had obediently pulled them from the soil.Her skill lay in the scriptorium. Her joy there, too. With her husband's blessing, she might be able to continue her work here, in this new and imposing home.

The fireplace beside her was one of two structure in the great hall. They were built into the walls, the stones curving over the hearth in a wide arc. Comfort was evidently a priority to her husband. The iron brackets upon the wall were filled with a pro-fusion of oil lamps and candles. The night was being pushed back by such brightness. The rushes beneath her feet were clean, strewn with daisy and rose petals. And perhaps lavender, she thought, taking a deep breath.

A dwelling not in dire need of a chatelaine.

All of the tables, the bustle of activity, and the smell of roasting meat made her wonder if there was to be a celebration to mark the occasion of her arrival at Langlinais. If so, she would sit at the dais with her husband. She would share a trencher with him, and be expected to smile and act pleased to be mar-ried to a man she'd met only once in her life when she was barely out of infancy. He had been pos-sessed of a kind smile and an impatience to be done with it.

Wilt he fee! the same tonight-our wedding night?

A soft knock was prelude to the call. "My lord?" Sebastian ignored both.

He stood in the master's chambers looking west, toward a sun that had already reached its zenith and was slowly descending into night. He knew what his steward was about to tell him. She had arrived. His bride.

"My lord?" Jerard was not going to go away, it seemed.

Sebastian went to the door, braced his hand against the thick oak studded with iron braces. This portal had stood for generations, bulwark against in-trusion, but it could not protect him now.

"She is here?"

"Yes, my lord."

What kind of woman would agree to the bargain he was about to make? My Beloved. Copyright © by Karen Ranney. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn't that shy after all.

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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My Beloved 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was really good and both hero and heroine amazing. The story however felt slow moving at the first of the book. Unlike some books that are full of action from the first page to the last, this story builds up on the love and romance and even action. You read how two people fall in love and how they cherish and try to protect it. It was a good read. I wish she would have wrote a book about Jerard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first story of hers I have read, and it did suprise me at how touching it was. I wanted to cry during parts of the book. Will be buying more of hers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is undoubtedly one of the best romance novels I've ever read. Talk about a book with heart. I sat with TEARS in my eyes through many parts. The words and descriptions came through the chambers of the author's heart. Powerful, powerful, powerful. I had cold chills. Do not miss this read. ...my first Karen Ranney but not my last.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the 2nd novel by Karen Ranney that I¿ve read this past year. I read ¿Till Next We Meet¿ (very good) and now ¿My Beloved¿. She is a new author for me and so far, a pleasure to have found! I liked how we met Sebastian in the prison and then his life after as a dark, brooding and secretive monk back at his flourishing castle, estate and city holdings. He seemed dark, mysterious and fascinating. I liked how we met Juliana at the convent with the religious sisters and her life as a child bride never claimed by her groom. Sebastian finally claimed his wife by sending for her and making a pact with her after he left the holy wars and prison. I enjoyed and was drawn in by all the secrets that Sebastian withheld ¿ the mystery of who and what he was all about was genuinely interesting. Especially since you found out later in the book that he was a complete man but, his situation made him view the world from afar for their sake more than his. I was moved by his genuine emotion, tenderness, contained passion and intense sadness. He was a great warrior at one time - now ¿ a man in hiding. He was a beautiful hero ¿ not in just face, eyes and forms but, in his heart and soul. I liked how Juliana developed from a spirited child, then to a reserved religious woman and then back again to a woman who fought for those she loved. She learned to take chances that few of us would do but, she did it because loved demanded she ask and receive more. Her dedication to reading, writing and copying scripts was a great development for this character. She was vibrant and giving and warm ¿ especially as she came to understand herself and life at a greater level. My favorite parts of the book were the secret fascinations each held for the other ¿ Sebastian for Juliana and Juliana for Sebastian. Could any two people as close as tied in matrimony be any further apart than these too? . Their longing was tangible, their desires tormenting, their need for the other apparent yet¿the distance remained due to Sebastian¿s commands that they do. Was he a monk? Was he a holy celibate and sworn to the God and not the pleasures of the flesh? Why was he in denial? The bathing scene was perfect ¿ desires raging out of control but, nothing can be done with them! They could not be together physically. But¿they could be together mentally and Juliana made sure they did that through conversations, disclosures of life events and daily and nightly contact. Language became their bridge ¿ their connection to the other. They then felt emotional for the other, then physical at the end of the book when they could and then¿ah the ultimate, connected by the spirit. The full circle of love. The secondary story line of the Templars and the crusades, the missing treasure of Cathar and Sebastian¿s hidden secret, the miracle at the end are all critical elements to this story. This author is really gifted when it comes to writing emotions you¿ll be drawn in and not want to leave Langlinais Castle in England and leave behind Sebastian, Juliana, Jared and everyone else. This is a winner, guaranteed. You will add this to your ¿best of the best¿ list. Happy reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful characters woven into a very original plot!
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It was ok
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that touches your heart, not your loins! There is truly beauty in the way Sebastian watches her and falls in love. This story is what love is about. First loving who the person is, and worrying about all that other stuff later. Read this if you want to read about love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ranney's masterpiece transports the reader back to the thirteenth century with electrifiying ease. The gripping, forbidden love scenes, between Sebastian and Julianna, will hold the reader spellbound with a heavy heart. Caution, set aside your time, for once you begin your journey, you will not put down this mesmerizing book. A must for your "desert island" keeper shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't finish and I don't know if I will be able to finish, because I already red 92 pages and nothing happens different, it is the same thing in the beginning until now, it is boring. It is still boring, I am in the pg 177 now and having difficult to finnish this one, I am considering to put it down, I can not understand the others reviewers opinion.