Prisoner of My Desire

Prisoner of My Desire

4.2 186
by Johanna Lindsey
     
 

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Destined to be yet another bestseller from the inimitable Johanna Lindsey.

Spirited Rowena Belleme must produce an heir - or incur the dangerous wrath of a ruthless stepbrother who stands to forfeit his ill-gotten wealth. And the magnificent Warrick deChaville is the perfect choice to sire her child - though it means imprisoning the handsome knight and forcing

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Overview

Destined to be yet another bestseller from the inimitable Johanna Lindsey.

Spirited Rowena Belleme must produce an heir - or incur the dangerous wrath of a ruthless stepbrother who stands to forfeit his ill-gotten wealth. And the magnificent Warrick deChaville is the perfect choice to sire her child - though it means imprisoning the handsome knight and forcing him to bend to her amorous whims.

Vowing to resist but betrayed by his virility, noble Warrick is intoxicated by Rowena's sapphire eyes and voluptuous beauty. Yet all the while he plans a fitting revenge - eagerly awaiting the time when his sensuous captor becomes his helpless captive. . .and is made to suffer the same rapturous torment and exquisite ecstasy that he himself has endured.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lindsey, the author of nearly 40 romance novels, is back with a vintage cloth edition of this book (originally published in 1991), which proves that a well-written romance novel never goes out of style. The year is 1152 and, as a woman, Lady Rowena Belleme has no rights. Her evil stepbrother, Gilbert d'Ambray, desires control over as much English land as possible and has pledged Rowena's hand to Lyons of Kirkburough-a man so near death he is a walking corpse. Rowena at first refuses, but Gilbert threatens to kill Rowena's mother if she does not comply. Before the marriage can be consummated, Lyons dies and Rowena celebrates her good fortune, until Gilbert arrives with a new plot-Rowena must become pregnant before Lyons's death is announced. For three nights, Rowena lies with a handsome stranger kidnapped by Gilbert's men. Ashamed at the mistreatment of the man and knowing that Gilbert plans to kill him, Rowena helps him escape. Soon after, Kirkburough is attacked by Gilbert's nemesis Lord Fulkhurst. Rowena is captured and taken to the Fulkhurst dungeon, where Lord Warrick de Chaville cruelly strips Rowena of her title and forces her to become his serf. Despite their passionate hatred of one another, a fervor smolders between them, igniting passion of another kind. Warrick, always feared by the fairer sex, is intrigued by Rowena, who is not afraid of him. Rowena, accustomed to men using her for their own gain, is astonished that Warrick truly cares about her. But will their newfound love be enough to overcome Gilbert's vengeful wrath? Rowena and Gilbert are splendid protagonists, humorously stubborn and pleasingly forthright. (Dec.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380756278
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/28/1991
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
305,900
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.08(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

England, 1152

The lady was small and fragile, but with the tall knight standing before her, her frailty was much more apparent. Her blond head reached no higher than his broad shoulders. And when his open palm cracked across her cheek, her thin body jerked to the side with the force of it. A blow like that would have easily sent her to the floor if she were not supported. But she was supported, by two of the knight's men-at-arms. They stood well behind her, her arms twisted just so to thrust her forward so they would not take a blow meant for her. This kept her upright when she might have buckled, kept her there to receive another blow, and still another.

Across the small chamber, Rowena Belleme watched. She also was being held fast by two men-at-arms, the same two who had dragged her into this chamber to witness her stepbrother's brutality. Blood trickled down the center of her chin from biting her lips to keep from screaming. Tears fell copiously over ashen cheeks. But she had not been struck herself. Like as not it would come to that if she did not give in to her stepbrother's demands after this demonstration of his seriousness, but while his patience held, he did not want to blacken her with bruises that would elicit comment at her wedding.

Gilbert d'Ambray hadno such qualms regarding his stepmother, however. Lady Anne Belleme-nay, she was Anne d'Ambray now and once again a widow, now that Gilbert's father was dead-was of little use to him except as a hostage to Rowena's behavior. And there was not much that Rowena would not do for her mother. But what Gilbert wanted of her now ...

Anne turned to look at herdaughter. Her cheeks were blotched a fiery red with the imprints of Gilbert's heavy hand, yet she had shed not a tear, nor made a single sound. Her expression, so eloquent, wrung more tears from Rowena. It said plainly, This has been done to me so often, 'tis naught. Ignore it, daughter. Do not give the cur what he wants.

Rowena did not want to. Lord Godwine Lyons, the man Gilbert had found to marry her, was old enough to be her grandfather, in truth, her great-grandfather. And her mother had only confirmed the rumors she had heard of this old lord when Gilbert had demanded that Anne convince Rowena to comply with his wishes.

"I know Lyons, and he is not for an heiress of Rowena's stature. Even if his age were not an issue, the man has scandals of perversion attached to his name. Never would I condone such a match."

"He is the only man willing to fight to regain her properties," Gilbert had pointed out.

"Properties your father lost through his greed."

"Nay, it is every man's right --"

"To encroach on his neighbor?" Anne cut in with a full measure of the contempt she felt for her stepson, which was not even a quarter of what she had felt for his brutish father. "To raid and make war without recourse? To steal and force women into marriage before their husbands are even buried! Such rights only came to men since that weakling Stephen was made king."

Gilbert had actually flushed, but more likely with anger than in embarrassment for what his father had done to Anne. In truth, he was a product of the times. He had been only a child of eight when Stephen had stolen the crown from Matilda after old King Henry died. The kingdom had split apart then, half the barons refusing to accept a won-tan as their ruler, the other half holding by their oaths to Matilda, and now her son Henry of Aquitaine. Hugo d'Ambray was one of the barons who had then sworn to Stephen, and so he had felt justified in killing Rowena's father, who was Henry's vassal, and then forcing Walter Belleme's widow to marry him, thereby gaining control of all of Walter's lands, which Rowena as his only child inherited, as well as Anne's dower lands. And neither Anne nor Rowena had any recourse for this injustice, certainly not from a king who had thrown the realm into anarchy.

Unlike his father, who had had a streak of malevolence to complement his brutishness, Gilbert was like most men of his day, respectful when necessary, churlish when not, and intent on filling his coffers with the fruits of other men's labors. But because he had lived seventeen years with anarchy, his policies were no different from any other baron's. Most of them might bemoan having such a weakling that the land was rife with lawlessness, but then most of them took advantage and contributed to thatlawlessness.

Actually, in the three years that Gilbert had been Rowena's stepbrother, he had never said a harsh word to her, nor laid a hand to her in anger as his father had occasionally done. As a knight, Gilbert was well skilled and courageous. As a man, he was actually very handsome, with black hair and dark brown eyes that gave unease for their watchfulness. Until today, Rowena had hated him only because he was his father's son. For their own benefit and their petty wars with their neighbors, they had stripped her lands bare and taken everything of value that she and her mother had ever owned. Theyhad broken the betrothal contract her father had made for her, keeping her unwed strictly for their own profi I so they could continue to draw what they could from her serfs' labors, and demand war service from her vassals each year.

But last year Hugo d'Ambray had thoughtlessly decided to take Dyrwood keep, which sat between one of Rowena's properties and one of his own. That was tantamount to stirring up a hornet's nest, for Dyrwood belonged to one of the greater warlords of the north shires, the Lord of Fulkhurst, who not only came to the aid of his vassal at Dyrwood, routing the besie d sending them back to their own borders, systematically set out to destroy the man who had dared try to steal from him.

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