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My Lady's Guardian

My Lady's Guardian

3.7 7
by Gayle Callen

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She Swore Never To Marry

Lady Margery Welles has the uncommon privilege of choosing her own husband-but it's a decision she has no desire to make, and the king wants an answer soon. Pursued by noblemen eager for a wealthy bride, Margery finds unexpected aid when Gareth Beaumont, her childhood friend, suddenly appears. Except her early champion is no longer a


She Swore Never To Marry

Lady Margery Welles has the uncommon privilege of choosing her own husband-but it's a decision she has no desire to make, and the king wants an answer soon. Pursued by noblemen eager for a wealthy bride, Margery finds unexpected aid when Gareth Beaumont, her childhood friend, suddenly appears. Except her early champion is no longer a boy, and his strength and virility are more temptation than any noble suitor. But Margery hides a secret that makes her determined never to marry-and not even her sworn knight can safeguard her from it.He Promised To Protect Her

Years ago in the midst of battle, young Margery's protection was entrusted to the twelve-year-old Gareth. Sworn to defend her in all things, Gareth has returned, years after his family curse forced him to flee England, to be her champion once again. Convinced of her imminent danger, he poses as Margery's devoted suitor until she is safely married, never imagining their ruse could become a passionate reality. For she has become a spirited beauty-and the lady's guardian now desires to become much more...

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While the jugglers were performing, Margery bit her lip and stared into the distance. What had she done by inviting Gareth into her life? She could barely get him to speak to her, and now he would be following her about indefinitely, a large, unsettling shadow at her back.

He entered the great hall, and though he was dressed as the plainest of knights, his good looks attracted every eye. But beneath that was a cold man, warped by whatever experiences he'd had.

When he approached the head table she was sitting across from her two suitors, who were desperately trying to win her attention onthis last night of their visit.

Gareth sat down beside her, so close her skirts were caught beneath him. Before she could ask him to move, he suddenly slid his hand over hers. Margery gaped at their fingers, then looked up into his face. His hot eyes were rife with intimate promises. A more faint-hearted woman would surely swoon from his beauty, but all she could do was let her mouth fall open, fish-like.

"Mistress Margery," he said, in a voice low and smooth as honey.

He leaned forward, and she leaned away, wide-eyed.

"I was thinking about your gift room. I hope you will neverhave cause to relegate my gifts to such a place. They are given in homage to your beauty."

Her two suitors crossed their arms over their chests and glared. At the same moment, they said, "Mistress Margery—"

She held up her hand, never taking her gaze from Gareth, who raised her other hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles. A shock of astonishment surged through her. What was he doing? Had he planned all along to court her, and be paid as a bodyguard at the sametime?

Her disappointment grew until she could no longer look into his face. Had she trusted the wrong man?

Margery pulled her hand away, struggling to remember every rumor she'd ever heard. Her brother James had once tried to tell her about Gareth's disgrace and his flight from the country. She hadn't believed James, but now she wished she'd paid more attention.

She looked into Gareth's golden eyes. They were narrowed, and seemed to be studying her intently. Was he looking for weaknesses?

He would find none. He was just one more man in a long parade of suitors she could never marry.

Grief threatened to overwhelm her at the futility of her life. But in these last trying months, she had learned to be strong—or at least to pretend she was. She called on that strength now and met his intensity with a smile.

"How sweet of you to promise gifts, Sir Gareth. But it ismost certainly not the way to my heart. You would only be one ofmany."

Her two suitors looked baffled, uneasy.

Gareth said, "I promise you, mistress, that you shall not put aside my gifts. They will be humble, yet from my heart."

For the first time since childhood, Margery experienced the blinding power of his smile. She saw it now for what it was: an imitation of an emotion he could not begin to grasp.

When the jugglers were finished, she had Gareth shown to a bedchamber. A few moments later, she said her own good-nights and went to her room, but Gareth's behavior would not leave her mind. She waited for a brief time, pacing before the hearth, then peeked down the corridor. There were no servants in sight.

She tiptoed past Anne's and Cicely's closed doors until she reached the chamber she had assigned Gareth. She put her ear against the wood, heard no sounds, then burst in and leaned back to close the door.

Gareth already had his sword drawn. When he saw her, he slammed it back into the scabbard. "Margery, never do something so foolish again. You will need protection for the rest of your life if you continue to make such thoughtless mistakes." He threw his saddle bag on the bed and leaned over to open it.

"So now it is protection again?" She strode towards him, hands on her hips. "Make up your mind. After all, if you're my suitor, I shall need protection from you!"

He straightened, and she took a step backwards. He seemed suddenly as tall and wild as the Viking ancestors he resembled. And she'd come in here alone?

"Protection from me?" he said. "You have already hired me as your guard. Did you think—"

He broke off and studied her for an uncomfortable moment, while she began to think she'd miscalculated.

"I was worried my acting would not be skilled enough." He looked down her body. "I've never had to make an effort to court a woman before."

Acting? A blush of mortification swept from her chest to her forehead. When he'd kissed her fingers, when he'd spoken of her beauty, he'd been acting?

"You asked me to come up with something to hide my true purpose here," Gareth said calmly. "I'm going to pretend to be another of your suitors. What better way can I be near you, keeping you from any danger?"

Margery remembered the heat of his gaze, the touch of his lips on her hand. Of course it was all an act. She donned a grudging smile, and buried the tiny pain that touched her heart.

Meet the Author

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she'd always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers' Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog, Uma, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane.

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My Lady's Guardian 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
camaibarb More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a great deal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gayle Callen's hero's are so dreamy...Gareth Beaumont is wonderful...the interaction between her hero and heroine are always wonderful...very romantic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago

In 1475 England, due to the strange visions he always suffered, Gareth Beaumont saved the life of eight-year old Margery Welles when treachery left her in peril. However, her brothers never trusted a Beaumont, including Gareth, and he soon began a life of a mercenary exile.

Now a dozen years later, Gareth awakens from sleep knowing that that Margery is back in trouble. Although he would prefer to pretend this was a dream, he knows the Beaumont curse has sent him a vision that he cannot ignore because of his oath to Lord Welles. He travels to Margery¿s home where he learns the King has granted her permission to marry anyone she chooses. She asks her childhood friend to protect her from unsavory suitors by acting as her fiancé. However, soon love enters the picture even if he is not her equal.

The third installment in Gayle Callen¿s exciting medieval romance trilogy, MY LADY¿S GUARDIAN, is an entertaining story filled with action and tension. The story line moves rapidly forward due to the antics of the engaging lead couple. As with Ms. Callen¿s previous novels, THE DARKEST KNIGHT and A KNIGHT¿S VOW, fans of the sub-genre will relish a tale that highlights the thrilling heart-thumping elements that make historical romances so enjoyable.

Harriet Klausner