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Return of the Warrior

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Overview

Fearless men, their allegiance is to each other, to the oppressed, and to the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Sword — and they must never surrender to the passionate yearnings of their noble hearts.

Fiercely devoted to her people and her land, Queen Adara refuses to let a power-mad usurper steal her crown. But the only way to protect what is hers is to seek out the man she married in childhood.

A proud, tormented warrior, ...

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Return of the Warrior

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Overview

Fearless men, their allegiance is to each other, to the oppressed, and to the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Sword — and they must never surrender to the passionate yearnings of their noble hearts.

Fiercely devoted to her people and her land, Queen Adara refuses to let a power-mad usurper steal her crown. But the only way to protect what is hers is to seek out the man she married in childhood.

A proud, tormented warrior, Christian of Acre owes allegiance only to the mysterious Brotherhood — and has no wish to be king over anyone but himself. Now a bold and beautiful stranger has appeared in his rooms, tempting him with an irresistible seduction and demanding he accompany her back to their kingdoms ... or, at the very least, provide her with an heir to her throne. Though he cannot abandon the brave regal lady to her enemies, Christian dares not give in to his traitorous body's desires. Yet how can he deny the passion that is rightfully his and the ecstasy that awaits him in Adara's kiss?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Plenty of passion can't save this weakly plotted second entry in MacGregor's Brotherhood of the Sword series (after Dark Champion). Queen Adara must find the husband she hasn't seen since they wed as children if she is to save her small kingdom near Byzantium. Unfortunately, Adara's quest reaches an obstacle in Prince Christian himself, who not only has forgotten their marriage but wishes to avoid anything restricting his freedom. Raised in a monastery after the death of his parents and recently released after having spent six years in a squalid prison, Christian wants only to avenge wrongs done to fellow knights who shared his sufferings as a captive of the Saracens. While evidently set during the Crusades, the book has only a perfunctory sense of time and place. The trite, simplistic dialogue ("Fine, Adara. Whenever you decide to grow up and act responsibly, I shall be in our tent") as well as Adara's ability to say good-bye in several anachronistic languages ("Bon voyage. Auf Wiedersehen. Vaarwel. Arrivederci") show that MacGregor, who scored highly with her MacAllister series (Claiming the Highlander, etc.), has really stumbled here. Agent, Nancy Yost. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060565435
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/26/2005
  • Series: Brotherhood of the Sword Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 289,320
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Kinley MacGregor lives a life of extraordinary danger...as does any woman with three sons, a husband, a menagerie of pets, and a collection of swords that all of the above have a major fixation with. But when not running interference (or dashing off to the emergency room), she can be found chained to her computer where she likes to play with all her imaginary friends. With more than ten million copies of her books in print, in 26 countries, she certainly has a lot of friends to play with, too.

Writing as Kinley MacGregor and Sherrilyn Kenyon, she is the author of several series including: The Dark-Hunters, Brotherhood of the Sword, Lords of Avalon, and BAD. With an international, cult following, her books have appeared in the top three on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller lists.

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Read an Excerpt

Return of the Warrior


By Kinley MacGregor

Avon

ISBN: 0-06-056543-8


Chapter One

Adara spent the night in Corryn's tent, far away from her husband who might wish to exercise his marital rights. Truly, it was the last thing she wanted.

So she and Corryn had spent an interesting night getting to know each other. She'd been more than a little dismayed when the young woman had confided her gender to her.

She couldn't believe she'd been fooled so easily. But then Corryn wasn't the most feminine of women. Still, she was kind and amusing, and Adara liked her a great deal.

They had arisen early and broken their fast, then set about packing up Corryn's tent while the men in the camp did the same.

"Don't lift that," Corryn said as she rushed to Adara's side to stop her from moving one of the arcs by her cot. "We'll make Ioan do it." She winked at her.

Adara laughed. "You enjoy abusing your brother, don't you?"

Corryn shrugged. "All women need a man to lovingly abuse and I'm lucky to have a whole camp full of them. It keeps them on their toes."

She handed Adara a large, leather-bound book. "If you would like something to do, Majesty. Please carry this to Ioan in his tent. 'Tis a list of the men and their pay and he gets rather upset if I keep it too long."

Adara studied the thick ledger. "Why do you have it?"

"I was adding new names to it. We picked up three new archers while we were here. Ioan is in charge of his knights while I oversee the rest."

That made sense to her.

A bit apprehensive about the prospect of seeing her husband again, Adara left Corryn's tent to cross the way to Ioan's.

She expected to see Christian or Ioan in the tent, but neither was there. Frowning, she went to the bed where she found Christian's robe discarded.

Was he walking about naked?

Surely not. But what else did he have to wear? She'd never seen her husband in anything but his monk's garb. Could something have happened to him? Surely the Sesari hadn't found them.

Placing the ledger on Ioan's desk, she left the tent in search of him.

She found Phantom and Ioan who were helping to load a wagon of weaponry. "Have you seen Christian?" she asked them.

"Last I saw he was in the tent with the physician," Phantom said.

"Is anything amiss?" Ioan asked after he loaded one large trunk.

"Nay. He wasn't in the bed. I was but curious." She looked around the men and noticed that Lutian had vanished as well. "Have you seen my fool?"

"I already said I know not where Christian is," Phantom said.

Adara gave him a droll stare.

"Oh," Phantom teased, "you meant Lutian. The other fool who does your bidding."

"Aye."

Ioan laughed at them. "I sent him off to aid in packing the spare tack, my lady."

"Thank you, Ioan."

Adara left them to find Lutian, but he wasn't with the others who were packing the tack and none could tell her where he'd gone.

A bad feeling went through her. Surely Lutian hadn't challenged Christian. Had he? Her mind ran away with ideas of her friend doing something profoundly dangerous where Christian was concerned.

"Oh please, Lutian, please don't get yourself killed."

* * *

"I'm going to kill you for this, Lutian," Christian snarled as he looked at himself in the polished steel mirror. His face was clean-shaven, his hair trimmed and styled by a hired razor. Good God, he'd even allowed the man to curl his hair and for what?

He looked like a stranger.

"You asked me what she wanted, my lord, and that is what she dreams of."

Christian grimaced at his reflection as he stroked his smooth and oiled cheeks. He looked like a bloody woman. How could any female find this attractive?

Sighing, he got up and paid the man who had shaved him.

He felt like a complete and utter ass and he still wasn't sure why he was doing this to please a woman he'd only just met. A woman he had inadvertently made cry.

He'd bathed in scented water, had bought a new mail hauberk, gloves and horse. He'd even dragged out his court clothes which he hadn't worn since Stryder's wedding.

"Have you memorized the poetry yet?" Lutian asked as they left the small shop.

"Of course I have." Sentimental slop that it was. The entire piece was an ode to a woman's beauty. "You are certain that this is what a prince does?"

"Aye. All women dream of a golden knight who plies them with gifts and words of beauty."

Christian reached up to brush his hand through his hair only to have Lutian slap his hand away. He glowered at the fool.

"It has taken us hours to make you presentable, my prince. Don't undo it on a whim."

Christian tightened his grip on his sword as he fought an urge to pull it out and skewer the man. This had best please Adara or he would indeed skewer him.

A group of women watched him as they passed by, then burst into giggles as they stared at him with lust in their eyes.

Christian smiled devilishly.

Mayhap he didn't look so imbecilic after all. But he wouldn't bet his life or his soul upon it. He only hoped his wife appreciated his efforts. If not, her fool would be hanged by nightfall.

* * *

"Oh saints preserve me. Who is that fine specimen of manhood? I know he's not one of ours. But with any luck, that might change."

Adara turned at the sound of Corryn's lust-filled words to see a knight riding down the pathway between the tents. She couldn't see his face, but the setting sun glinted off his form, making him appear to be golden fair, like an angel with a halo.

His stallion was white with a black and gold drape that matched the surcoat of the knight on his back. A golden rampant phoenix was embroidered on his chest and painted on the black shield that hung from his saddle. He carried a rippling black banner embroidered with the same symbol in his hand. He posed a fearsome sight.

Adara furrowed her brow as she continued to watch him. She knew those arms, but couldn't remember where she had seen them before.

"I'll be buggered," an older knight said from her right as he paused his own packing. "I haven't seen the arms of Michel de Chelrienne in years."

"Michel de Chelrienne?" Adara asked.

"Christian's father," Corryn answered as she cast a new look to the knight. "His father was the son of the duc there."

Adara felt her jaw go slack as she turned back to look more closely at the approaching warrior. That was her husband?

Mercy, the man needed to discard his monk's robes more often.

She didn't fully believe it until he reined his horse before her and his blue eyes seared her with heat. She'd known her husband was a handsome man, but this ...

This was unbelievable.

He buried his banner into the ground beside his horse. His gaze never wavering from hers, he slung one long, well muscled leg over his steed before he slid to the ground. She didn't move as he approached her. She couldn't. The sight of him had her completely riveted to this spot on the ground.

Adara wasn't sure what he had planned, but when he dropped to his knee before her, she was dumbfounded.

He struck himself on his left shoulder with his fist as a salute to her, then bowed his head. "My sword is ever at your disposal, my lady."

Laughter rang out from the men around her.

"As is mine," someone called out.

Christian ignored them as he looked up at her like something out of her dreams. The moment seemed surreal. Truly, it was a fantasy come to life.

"What has possessed you, Christian?" she asked.

"Your beauty. It has ..." he paused as if searching for the words. "Your great beauty has possessed my soul and ..."

More laughter and taunts rang out.

Her husband's eyes flashed angrily, but still he stayed there. "I would be your champion, Adara, and-"

"Simpering milksop," one of the knights finished for him.

Christian dropped his head and shook it. "This is not who or what I am," he muttered before he looked up at her again. "I'm sorry, Adara."

"For what?"

His answer came as he rose to his feet. With a determined stride, he went to the men who had been tormenting him. He struck the first man he reached so hard that he was knocked off his feet, to the ground.

"Milksop with an iron fist," he snarled. "And you'd best remember that."

The knights attacked. Even wounded, Christian fought them off, then drew his sword to keep them back.

"Cease!" Ioan's Welsh accent cut through them all. He pushed his way through his men to see Christian in his finery. Ioan looked at him, blinked, then burst out laughing. "Abbot? Since when do you dress like a woman?"

His expression stone, Christian tossed his sword into the air where it twirled around. He caught the hilt upside down in his fist and in one smooth motion sheathed it.

He paused beside Ioan and glared at him. "Be glad I carried you out of the Holy Land on my back. That fact, and that alone, is all that precludes me from hurting you. For both our sakes, don't try my patience and make me kill you after such a sacrifice."

Ioan's eyes twinkled in merriment. He leaned forward and sniffed. "My God, you even smile like one. What happened to you?"

Christian let out a tired breath and headed for the tent they had pitched for him.

Phantom asked in her ear as soon as Christian was out of his hearing range. "Only a woman can make a man sacrifice his dignity on the altar of humility. Tell me, Adara, did Christian just sacrifice his for naught?"

Nay, he didn't.

Adara did something she hadn't done since she was a child. She ran toward his tent, then drew up short as she saw Christian angrily unbuckling his sword and tossing it to the cot. The anger from his was tangible.

"Bloody damn fool," he growled under his breath. "I should have known better."

"Was that for my benefit?"

He turned sharply to face her and grimaced. "Well, I most certainly wasn't trying to turn Ioan's head in my direction, now was I?"

She squelched her smile at his dour words. "I surely hope not. If you were, I would say it didn't turn out well."

Her words didn't seem to have the lightening effect on his mood that she had hoped. If anything he appeared even angrier. "I've been mocked enough this day, Adara. If you wish to laugh at me, then join the others outside of my hearing."

She approached him slowly. "I'm not mocking you, Christian. I think you look noble. Kingly." She reached up to cup his smooth cheek. "You even shaved."

Christian held his breath as she stood up on her tiptoes and placed a chaste kiss to his cheek. Her warm lips were softer than silk and they made his skin burn, especially as he recalled even softer areas of her body. Her breath caressed his flesh as she nuzzled her cheek to his. The tenderest of chills went through him.

"I think you smell wonderfully manly. I could inhale you all day."

He hardened at her words and fought the urge to crush her in his arms and make love to her again. "I'm not the man you dreamed of, Adara. I am coarse and used to doing for myself. I know nothing of royal manners or decorum or even how to dance. I have spent my entire life either confined in cells in the company of men or on the battlefield. I'm not the cultured knight my father was. In truth, I feel like some sort of pretender in his clothes. How can a man such as I ever be king or husband?"

Those words set her heart to pounding as she pulled away. "I can teach you anything you need to know about royal etiquette. 'Tis far simpler than swordplay or battle strategy."

Christian was captivated by her dark gaze, by the flecks of gold in her eyes as she stared up at him with an adoring gaze that somehow erased all the embarrassment he'd suffered outside. He laid his hand against her cheek so that he could feel more of her softness. "I thought you would hate me after I hurt you."

"I was confused by it, but then Lutian told me that when a man knows what he's doing-"

He cringed and cursed at her words. "You spoke to Lutian about it?"

"Was that wrong?"

"My humiliation knows no boundaries."

"You are overreacting, Christian. Lutian explained that it is oft times painful for a woman her first time, but that afterwards it is better."

Christian wanted to kill both her and Lutian over this. "You shouldn't be speaking to another man about such matters! 'Tis indecent."

That set her temper off. "Don't you dare call me indecent. I have done nothing wrong."

Aye, but she had. "You have unmanned me before your fool and I have unmanned myself before the rest. I should have known better." Cursing, he snatched his surcoat off and would have burned it if it hadn't belonged to his father. "I shall never dress like this again," he snarled under his breath.

"Why did you dress yourself like this?"

"Because, I ..." Christian stopped himself before he told her the answer. It would serve no other purpose than to give her and Lutian more room to mock him.

"Because why?"

"Just leave me."

"Nay, not until you answer."

He turned to leave only to have her block his way. "I will not allow you to flee until you answer me."

"I will give you no more reason to mock me."

"I don't want a reason to mock you, Christian. I want a reason to love you."

Christian went ramrod stiff at that. His heart leapt at her words that both terrified and elated him. "You don't want love. You want a king. You said it yourself."

"Everyone wants love, Christian, especially those of us who have never had it. Have you ever loved anyone?"

He glanced away from her as he shook his head nay.

"I have," she whispered tenderly as she reached out to run her hand along his arm. "He was a little boy with a generous smile who laughed with my brother as they ran in play. Since that day I have dreamed of having a house full of golden-haired children who aren't afraid of me while I've been tormented with dreams of them one day trying to kill me in my sleep. I, too, am scared of marriage. I'm scared of being used. But I am willing to accept you, my lord. To trust that you won't kill me or imprison me."

Her words tore through him. She was laying herself bare to him and it made him ache. "It seems to me, Adara, that you and I are both haunted by the same image."

"And that is?"

"My parents' love."

"Aye," she whispered. "They were beautiful together. I never knew anyone could be so happy as they were together and with you. I always yearned for my father to look at me just once the way your father looked at you, with pride and love shining in his eyes. For my mother to brush her hand through my hair and kiss my cheek as your mother did you."

No one had ever loved him since. There had never been another tender touch or words of praise.

In truth he missed it more than he ever allowed himself to admit.

"Let me love you, Christian. Let me give you the comfort of home and wife."

"Why do you wish to give me that?"

"Because I know that you are capable of the same love that your parents shared. The little boy in my palace glowed from the fire of it and I know that it still exists somewhere inside you."

He met her gaze levelly and hoped he could make her understand the truth of him.

Continues...


Excerpted from Return of the Warrior by Kinley MacGregor 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.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

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(32)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Excellent Love Story!

    All of the characters were completely in sync with each other...All of the main characters embodied honor and loyalty. The storyline tugged at my heart and had me so completely involved that I was hoping I was there to experience the joy of them falling in love. I am going to buy this...I hope there are men in 2010 that have these -warrior like qualities!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2005

    Awesome, Romantic, Exhilirating

    I could not put this book down along with Dark Champion. I have never read this author before but now I can wait till another book comes out. This story was so amazing that when Christian was stab in the church and the thoughts that came to him in regards to not wanting to die being angry with Adara just made my heart cry. I was reading this book on the train and my tears just wanted to slip down my face. Excellant book-hope they come out with another Brotherhood of the Sword-featuring Phantom. These series are amazing. I definitely want more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    awesome read

    what is taking so long to continue this series? i am a voracious reader of new material but this entire deries gets reread every couple of months.

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVED this book!

    I read this one first out of the Brotherhood of the Sword series and it was great! Loved the characters!!! Great storyline. I actually cried aloud while reading this. I recommend this one over The Warrior. I will keep this one in my own library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    an absolute MUST read

    I thought the story line and events were riviting. as with all of Kinley MacGregor books, I could NOT put it down. I have read it three times already and love it even more each time I read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    Outstanding

    This is the first Kinley MacGregor book I have read, and it will definitely not be the last. I only hope this is one of many more Brotherhood of the Sword books to come. Wonderful book.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging medieval romance

    In the Kingdom of Taagaria, Queen Adara worries that the neighboring monarchy Elgedera, ruled by the Regent Selwyn, will force her to acknowledge that his nephew her spouse Prince Christian is dead and she must marry his son Basilli. Desperate she needs her spouse and demand he either come home to rule over both lands, make her pregnant or allow her to divorce him and marry someone else. Adara¿s cousin Thera agrees to pretend to be her temporarily. A few months later, a naked Adara meets Christian in England hoping to claim him as hers. Although tempted, he rejects her, but is shocked when she proves they were married as children. She pleads with him that she needs him to secure her country¿s borders from his uncle and cousin and that his uncle killed Christian¿s parents and left him for dead in the monastery. --- After a few attempts on their lives, Christian concludes he must take Adara home and become king, but not stay or begat a child into this dangerous ugly world. She has the Europe crossing to persuade him that love beautifies the world. --- The second Brotherhood historical novel (see A DARK CHAMPION) is an engaging medieval romance starring a strong lead couple and ably supported by a solid secondary cast especially the mysterious Phantom and the Fool. Although the villains fail to live up to their reputation and it is doubtful that so many foreign soldiers could wander England without an alarm being raised, the story line grips the reader as danger accompanies the crossing. Fans will take immense delight with RETURN OF THE WARRIOR and want Phantom¿s tale soonest.--- Harriet Klausner

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