Promise of the Rose

Promise of the Rose

4.2 45
by Brenda Joyce
     
 

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Brave and battle-hardened Stephen de Warenne is to defend to the death that which is his by right of conquest -- including the golden-haired captive who awakens his soul's most secret yearnings. For theirs is a passion that will not be denied -- a magnificent fire that burns hotter and brighter than the blazing flames of war that engulf the land.

Overview

Brave and battle-hardened Stephen de Warenne is to defend to the death that which is his by right of conquest -- including the golden-haired captive who awakens his soul's most secret yearnings. For theirs is a passion that will not be denied -- a magnificent fire that burns hotter and brighter than the blazing flames of war that engulf the land.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062046185
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Series:
de Warenne Dynasty , #2
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
93,618
File size:
777 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Near Carlisle, 1093

A lovers' tryst. Mary could not help smiling to herself as she hurried away from the keep, careful not to be seen. It would be her very first such rendezvous, and excitement filled her.

She was in disguise. She had shed her fine outer tunic with its long, jewel-encrusted sleeves for a peasant's coarse woolen shift. Her gold girdle had been exchanged for a braided leather belt, her pointy silk shoes for wooden clogs, She had even been clever enough to borrow a pair of rough wool socks from the dairymaid, and an old linen veil covered her blond hair. Although her lover was her betrothed, a clandestine meeting was out of the question for any lady, much less herself, and she was determined not to get caught.

Mary's smile broadened. She was immersed in visions of her handsome laird sweeping her into his arms for her very first kiss. Her marriage had been arranged for political reasons, of course, so she knew very well how lucky she was to have fallen in love with Doug Mackinnon, a young man who had been her friend since childhood.

The sound of voices slowed Mary. For an instant she thought that Doug must have company, but then she realized that the voices were not speaking in Gaelic or English. With a gasp of fright she scrambled behind a big oak tree, crouching down in the grass. She peeped around it. For an instant she could not move, frozen with disbelief.

Norman soldiers filled the small glade in front of her.

Abruptly Mary haunched down even more, her heart slamming against her ribs. All thoughts of her tryst with Doug fled. Had she taken just one more step out of the woods and into the sunnyglade she would have walked fight into their camp!

Mary was afraid to move. She had been teased by her father many times that she was far too clever for a girl, and now her mind was already spinning out its own conclusions, Why were Norman soldiers there, on Scottish soil? Did they know of the wedding of the Liddel heir that would take place on the morrow? Liddel was an important outpost for her father, Malcolm, holding Carlisle and this part of the border for Scotland against the marauding, treacherous Normans. A fragile peace had reigned in the past two years since Malcolm had sworn fealty again to their Norman king, Rufus the Red, at Abernathy. Had the Normans been so clever, then, knowing that Liddel would be so preoccupied with the wedding festivities that they could camp under its very nose and spy-or do worse? Outrage swept through Mary. They were up to no good; she most relay this information immediately to Malcolm.

Her knees began to ache from squatting behind the tree. She raised herself slightly to take another peck at the Normans. They were making camp despite the fact that it was still sev eral hours before dark. Scanning the group of men in front of her, she instantly saw why. Her eyes widened. One of the Normans was hurt. Two of the knights were helping a huge man dismount from his destrier, blood pouring down one of his powerful legs. Mary hated the sight of blood. but she did not took away. She could not. For she was looking at a man she had seen just once before, but had been unable to forget.

Suddenly it was hard to breathe-her lungs felt crushed and her mouth had gone dry. If only she had been able to forget him. Two years ago at Abernathy he had stood behind his rotten King, William Rufus, towering over the King's head of flaming red hair, his face a hard mask, while Rufus was openly smug. And beneath Rufus, on his knees in the dirt, had been her father, Malcolm, the King of Scotland, forced at the point of a sword to swear allegiance to the King of England.

Mary had been the only maiden present-women were not welcome at such events-and she had come in disguise. It had been a gathering of armies, after another attempt by Malcolm to invade and conquer Northumberland. She had been surrounded by much of the Scot army, all loyal to her father. Yet their numbers had been pitiful in comparison to the forces facing them-the most brutal in the landthat of the Earl of Northumberland. The man she could not remove her gaze from was bastard heir to the earl, Stephen de Warenne.

He had not noticed her then. She had been standing behind her brother, dressed as Edgar's page, careful not to draw any attention to herself, she certainly did not want her own family to recognize her, for more than a scolding would come. Edgar had been an unwilling participant in her escapade, for be, too, knew how angry their father would be for this.

Mary had been mesmerized by the bastard heir, staring at him from around her brother's shoulder. Once his gaze had connected with hers, a mere coincidence. The moment had lasted less than a heartbeat.

As she stared at Northumberland's bastard now, Mary's fists clenched. Her gaze was riveted on the man. He was one of her father's worst enemies. She prayed his wound would cause him to die.

He did not appear to be at death's door. Although he had to be weak from loss of blood and in great pain, he wore an expression similar to the one he had worn at Abernathyhard and inscrutable. She knew he was ruthless; never had he showed the Scots any mercy. Was he incapable of feeling? Was he even immune to physical pain?

One large black tent had been erected in the open field, and the Northumberland banner already flew beside it. It was a striking flag, its field divided into three diagonal bands...

Promise of the Rose. Copyright © by Brenda Joyce. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Brenda Joyce is the bestselling, award-winning author of Promise of the Rose,Scandalous Love and The Fires of Paradise. All nine of her historical romances have been highly acclaimed, and four of them, including the first three novels in the "Bragg" saga Innpocent Fire, Firestorm, and Violet Fire have won six awards from Romantic Times and Affaire de Coeur. She has also won three industry awards for her trendsetting promotional bookmarks from Affaire de Coeur. Brenda Joyce is currently working on her next novel.

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Promise of the Rose (De Warenne Dynasty Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Julia Ball More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading books from this time period and a brief note to lovebug9588, Mary was sixteen and Stephen was twenty-three. Obviously not twice her age.
romance_addict82 More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Brenda Joyce's historic novels more than anyone else's but I was a bit baffled by Mary and Stephen. Just becuase is fiction doesnt mean it needs to be fantastical and it seems that in reality it would be impossible for a woman (no matter how sexually denied she has been) to fall so utterly in lust with a scary stranger that kidnaps her and who happens to be the enemy of her country. It was hard for me to like the plot with Mary wasting time arguing over unimportant thing but caving without a word when things really mattered. Is love supposed to be about a loss of dignity, pride, family, convention, shame, honor and everything else? I am all for uncontrollable passion but is so much more believable if the character at least TRIES to controll it, but the trial and tribulation of forbidden lust is completely non-existent in the story because there is no control, no deprivation. Everyone knows long term gratification after self-denial is much sweeter than instant gratification, so even though the tension tried to be conveyed in the story suggest that she is fighting her lust, her passions and her love, the reality is she really doesnt. In her stories it always seems like the women are the ones that have always something to prove to the hero, even though is the hero the one doing all the messing up. Mary constantly tried to prove her loyalty to Stephan to no avail when HE should've been the one proving himself to her, since HE is the one that took her from her family and attacked her country. I was left with an odd sense of dissatisfaction, like I was waiting more from him. I was waiting for him to deserve her. I was waiting for him to make SOME sacrifice since she had sacrificed EVERYTHING for him, principles, family, patriotism, etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful historical romance that will keep you cheering on the characters for a happy ending from the beginning to the end. It is a wonderful asset to the De Warrene Dynasty that Brenda Joyce has created. Good luck putting it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a really picky medieval romance reader...but I truly enjoyed this story. The only thing that I've found to be disappointing is that I haven't found a sequel. I'd love to see what became of Doug McKinnon, Geoffrey de Warenne and Stephen's other brothers as well as his little sister Isobel. Overall, I would definitely recommend this as good read and I appreciate how Brenda Joyce tried to stay as true to the historical facts as possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary is a perfect example of how women were tolerated and used for centuries. She was actually novel in her attempted adventures from the beginning with Doug Mackinnon and continuing on with her challenges to her father Malcom and Stephen her husband. I did not like her being hit by Stephan but, again, that's the way it was. Finished it in one day. LORRAINE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like her stories for the.most part. The problem with this book was Stephen not listening to a word she said and his infedility! Mary suffered this whole book and while the book described him as being sorry, he never really said it. He should have gotten on his knees and begged for her forgiveness
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt finish this book! The heroine was so annoying! I wanted to slap her! I was surprised because I loved The Conqueror
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