The Rose Red Brideby Claire Delacroix
More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest may fight for their love...The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.
Like a heroine in an ancient tale, Vivienne waited in the highest chamber of Kinfairlie's tower for her fated/em>
More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest may fight for their love...The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.
Like a heroine in an ancient tale, Vivienne waited in the highest chamber of Kinfairlie's tower for her fated lover. In the darkness he came for her, cloaked and hooded so that she would not see his face. He loved her sweetly, thoroughly...and Vivienne knew she had met her destiny. But in the morning light, her dream is shattered.
Erik Sinclair of Blackleith is no romantic hero but a disinherited warrior who arranged her abduction to regain his own legacy. Outraged by Erik's insistence that he needs her solely to beget a son, yet ensnared by the passion he awakens, Vivienne realizes that there is more merit in her taciturn spouse than he would admit. Erik is skeptical of her growing faith in his honor and her desire to recapture his stolen birthright... Little does he suspect that his rare gem of a bride intends to capture his barricaded heart as well.
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The Rose Red Bride
By Claire Delacroix
Warner BooksCopyright © 2005 Claire Delacroix, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKinfairlie, on the east coast of Scotland August 1421
ALEXANDER CONGRATULATED HIMSELF upon a matter well concluded. Although the marriage of his eldest sister Madeline had not begun auspiciously, his solution had ultimately proven to be a good one. Just as he had predicted, Madeline was wedded and happily so, all the more content for the babe already rounding her belly. Though Alexander had not located Rhys FitzHenry by any conventional means of matchmaking, the man who had bought Madeline's hand at auction had proven to be an excellent spouse.
All had ended well, and Alexander was inclined to grant himself credit for that happy fact. A man had to find encouragement where he could. There was little else that stood to Alexander's credit at Kinfairlie and he often felt overwhelmed by the burden of his hereditary holding.
Alexander stared out the window at Kinfairlie's fields, frowning that they were not more lushly green. The crop was slightly better than his castellan had predicted, but not sufficiently abundant. Though his sister Madeline was wedded, his brother Malcolm was training at Ravensmuir, and his other brother Ross was training at Inverfyre, there remained four unwed sisters for whom Alexander was responsible. The castellan had been firm in his counsel that there must be fewer mouths at the board for the winter.
The fields offered a telling reminder. Alexander would still have to see his sister Vivienne, the next eldest after Madeline, married before the snow flew.
Sadly, Vivienne was not proving to be any easier to wed than her elder sister Madeline had been. Vivienne was willing to wed, but she wished to feel affection for her spouse before her nuptials were celebrated. Indeed, she wished to be in love. Alexander was certain they had visited every man in Christendom to no avail. He might well roar if Vivienne met his gaze and gave that minute shake of her head one more time.
Though Alexander would prefer for Vivienne to be happy, August was already upon them. Soon he would be compelled to take matters into his own hands.
Alexander sighed and buried himself in the accounts of the estate, hoping to discover that matters were slightly better than he knew them to be. He did not have sufficient time to become bored with the tedium of checking tallies before a rap sounded upon the wooden portal.
Anthony, Kinfairlie's elderly castellan, entered the chamber and cleared his throat when Alexander did not immediately respond. "A gentleman to see you, my lord. He begs an audience in privacy at your earliest convenience."
Alexander was intrigued, for guests seldom arrived unbidden at Kinfairlie and even less frequently insisted upon privacy. "Has he a name?"
"Nicholas Sinclair, my lord." Anthony sniffed as Alexander started in surprise at the familiar name. "I am dubious of his character, my lord. No man of merit whispers his name and hides his face within the shadows of his hood."
Alexander sat back in astonishment. "But Nicholas Sinclair was the very man who courted Vivienne some years ago!"
Anthony straightened in disapproval. "I believe as much, sir, though the Sinclair men are rogues indistinguishable each from the other. They are said to be of Viking lineage, my lord, which gives them little credit." He apparently noted Alexander's interest in this new arrival and cleared his throat again. "Although I admit that is solely my own opinion, sir. There are those, often women, I have heard, who find a certain allure in Sinclair men."
What had gone awry between Nicholas and Vivienne? Alexander could not recall. Indeed, he might never have known. He had not paid much attention to Vivienne's loss of a suitor, for in those days, such matters had not been his concern.
"I should be delighted to see Nicholas Sinclair," he said, noting that Anthony was taken aback by his vigor. Alexander smiled, for he had come to enjoy surprising his very proper castellan. "Bring him to me with all haste, if you please, and some ale as well."
"Ale, sir?" Anthony's silver brows rose high. "Are you certain it is wise to make a Sinclair so welcome?"
"Ale, Anthony, to be sure." Alexander spoke with the firmness he had learned to use with his opinionated castellan. "A guest is a guest, no matter his name."
Anthony cast a glance over the accounts, spread over the table before his liege lord, and his lips pinched yet more tightly. "I would suggest that your affairs not be so displayed, my lord. The Sinclairs have a reputation for coveting what is not their own."
"I have had my fill of the accounts at any rate," Alexander said, then began to put the books away as the castellan left. He rolled scrolls tightly and refastened their ribbons, storing all carefully in a trunk.
The table before him was bare when a tall, cloaked man entered the chamber. The man limped, favoring his left leg, but strode with vigor all the same. As Anthony had noted, the man kept his hood raised, and his face was in shadow.
Alexander turned, his curiosity keen. "Nicholas Sinclair?"
The man nodded curtly. "Good day to you. I thank you for this courtesy." Nicholas offered his hand and Alexander shook it. It was a large hand, tanned and roughened, the hand of a man well familiar with the weight of a blade. Nicholas's grip was no less sure than Alexander might have expected. His manner was purposeful and confident, and Alexander could not help but think that a man resolutely of this world might be a good partner for his sister who loved whimsical tales.
Alexander made to take his seat once more and gestured to the bench opposite. "I confess to a certain curiosity about your arrival here."
The other man pushed back his hood, then sat upon the bench. Alexander struggled to hide his shock. He blinked, he glanced down at his own hands to school his expression. Then he looked his guest squarely in the eyes again.
Nicholas Sinclair watched him shrewdly and Alexander knew that his discomfiture had been noticed. "It was not my intent to startle you," he said, though Alexander suspected this was not perfectly true.
No man could fail to be startled by the scar that ran from temple to chin on the left side of Nicholas's face. It was a puckered angry scar, one so vehement that Alexander was certain he would have remembered if it had been there before, one so angry a red that he suspected it was newly won.
Truth be told, Alexander could not recall Nicholas overwell, though the man looked vaguely familiar beyond the scar. Nicholas was tall enough to tower over Alexander, and was more broad of shoulder. His coloring did hint at some Viking blood in his veins, for his hair was fair and would have fallen straight to his shoulders had it not been tied back with a leather lace. His eyes were a striking, clear blue. He was tanned and muscled, and would have been sufficiently handsome to snare the eye of any maiden, at least before he had gained that scar.
"I apologize, for I am a man of blunt speech," Nicholas said. "I come to make my suit for Vivienne's hand."
Alexander found this man's arrival too convenient to be readily believed. He had learned some caution in arranging the match of Madeline and the hard edge in Nicholas's tone would give any man pause. "I had understood that you and Vivienne had ceased your courtship some years ago."
Nicholas averted his gaze. "Due to my folly alone."
"If you believed as much, then why did you not return sooner?"
"I had no home to offer a bride." If anything, Nicholas looked more grim at this detail.
"I remember this matter now," Alexander said, shaking a finger at his guest as his recollection returned. His father and Vivienne had argued heatedly about the folly of wedding a man who was unlikely to inherit property. Though Nicholas's name had not been mentioned, Vivienne had defied her father with such spirit that all had known the question to be of import to her.
And if memory served Alexander well, the ardent Nicholas had disappeared from Kinfairlie shortly thereafter. He nodded at his guest. "You had an older brother who would inherit afore you, did you not? Erik was his name."
A shadow touched the other man's features. "Erik Sinclair was disavowed. Nicholas stands laird of the Sinclair lands at Blackleith now."
There was no shortage of bitterness in the guest's tone, and though Alexander thought his reference to himself was oddly stated, there was no denying the lilt of the Highlands in his guest's voice. Perhaps the man was less accustomed to speaking English than Gaelic, and in Gaelic, the statement would have passed unnoticed.
Alexander's gaze strayed unwillingly to the other man's scar and he wondered what had passed between the brothers to cause such a disavowal and such bitterness. There was no good way to inquire after such a delicate matter, and what difference truly, if Alexander could ensure that Vivienne wed the man she desired and lived comfortably as well?
If the courtship had ended because of Nicholas's lack of an inheritance, she would certainly be delighted to wed him now that he possessed one.
In fact, a lingering affection for this very man might be the reason that she found no other suitor appealing. Madeline had certainly had a similar reason for finding all suitors lacking, and Alexander was striving to learn as much as he could with regards to understanding and pleasing his sisters.
He had three more to see wed after Vivienne, after all.
Nicholas continued with determination. "It is time I claim a bride and my choice is Vivienne."
Alexander found his reservations melting. This man had faced formidable obstacles, it was clear, and still he was wounded by whatever had riven his family. He could well imagine that Nicholas had never forgotten Vivienne, for though she was his own sister, he was well aware of her abundant charm. Her merry manner and optimism might be just the balm this man needed.
Perhaps his affection for Vivienne had been the one hope that had sustained him in the face of such trials.
The more Alexander considered the match, the more he liked its prospect. He asked after the revenue of Blackleith and its location, as a matter of responsibility, though such details were of less importance than his sister's happiness. He was reassured that Nicholas seemed to know fully the details of his holding, the number of tenants and amount of land, the annual tithes and what was yet to be done. Here was a responsible baron, to be sure.
"You need not doubt the weight of my purse," Nicholas said in conclusion. He removed a sack that jingled as he set it upon the table. He shoved it across the expanse of wood toward Alexander. "And I am prepared to show compense to you for seeing my suit successful in short order."
Alexander stared at the sack of coins, guessing that Kinfairlie's salvation was within it. He lifted the sack, as if less concerned with its contents than he was, and peered inside. His heart leapt at the quantity of silver coin, though he kept his features impassive. This would see them all through the winter, and let him take his leisure in wedding his three younger sisters.
"You seem anxious for haste," he said, noting the sole detail that troubled him. An honest man has no need to rush, Alexander's father had often said, and Nicholas's urgency made him suspicious.
"What man would not desire speed when the yearning of his heart is clear?" Nicholas smiled, though his lips seemed so unfamiliar with forming that curve that it looked more like a grimace. "I grow no younger. I have dallied overlong over this matter and would see it resolved. A man must seize the moment when the Fates favor his course."
"You have a scheme." Alexander did not let his hand close over the coin, not yet.
"I would not linger over banns and betrothals."
Nicholas frowned, then leaned forward, bracing his elbows upon the table. His eyes shone a vehement blue, which told Alexander the vigor of his intent. "I would capture my intended in the night, consummate our match, then be wed in the morning."
Alexander put the coin down on the board with force and pushed it back toward the other man. It slid across the polished wood until Nicholas caught it. "It is vulgar to steal a bride! Though others condone kidnapping and rape as expedient, it will not be done at Kinfairlie!"
"This course is a necessary one."
"No man of honor refuses to court his bride."
Nicholas leaned back, touched the wound upon his own face with a fingertip, and said no more.
"The Lammergeier wed," Alexander insisted, fearing that Nicholas offered some pagan convention instead of marriage. "We exchange our vows honorably and before witnesses."
"I fully intend to wed Vivienne as you suggest. I would merely celebrate the nuptial night before making those vows."
Alexander understood that the other man feared that his injury would repel his intended, but still he was troubled. One heard of such arrangements, though usually the maiden was seduced because her father protested the match. "Why such need for haste?"
Nicholas's lips tightened to a harsh line. "My cousin means to contest my suzerainty of Blackleith on the basis that I have no bride. I have need of a wife and a son, I have need of both soon, and I choose Vivienne." He looked Alexander in the eye. "There is no time to delay, for a babe is not brought to light in a night and a day. I desire to wed Vivienne, and I desire to ensure that she cannot deny my suit because of my wound." He cast the sack of coin back across the table and Alexander caught it.
This time, Alexander let his fingers close over the hard coins. Though he did not like the means, he could find no fault with the end result. And he guessed that if he declined Nicholas's plan, the man would leave Kinfairlie and find another bride.
Alexander could not so disappoint Vivienne. He knew that if ever there was a woman who could look beyond a man's face to his heart, it was his sister Vivienne. And he guessed that the reason she found favor with no other suitor was that this was the man she wished to wed.
"It is Thursday," Alexander said thoughtfully. "And it would be inappropriate for a wedding to be celebrated on a Friday, despite your desire for haste, for that day is meant for penance. Let your meeting with Vivienne be tomorrow night, then, and your nuptial vows be exchanged immediately afterward on Saturday morning. Saturday nuptials are a good omen for future happiness, after all. I will ensure that Vivienne sleeps alone in the highest chamber of the tower."
Alexander smiled, knowing precisely the tale he would tell to encourage his sister to do his will of her own volition. "Leave the matter to me. She will be there. I insist only that you grant her every courtesy due to a lady."
His guest inclined his head in agreement. "The wall of your tower faces the sea, and there are windows at the summit."
"Three large windows are there, and they all lead to that chamber. You will have to scale the wall, to be sure, and it was wrought smooth purposely to challenge such a feat," Alexander said. "Surely your desire is sufficient for you to succeed at such a test of valor?"
Nicholas's eyes narrowed as he considered this scheme. He looked suddenly dangerous and disreputable, a man untroubled by the prospect of scaling a wall to seduce his bride.
But then, Vivienne adored old tales. If her true love made such an effort to win her hand, doubtless she would be charmed. Alexander was reassured that Nicholas understood Vivienne so well.
"And the sentries?" Nicholas asked, resolute as he began to rise to his feet.
Alexander mused for a moment, then knew what he would do. "I can ensure that they look away, though their inattention will not last long. Move with haste when the bell on the village church tolls at midnight."
Nicholas nodded and drew his hood over his head once more. He shook Alexander's hand with vigor. "I thank you for your aid in this. You cannot guess its import to me."
"Be warned that I will have your hide if you fail to treat my sister with honor."
The men exchanged a steely glance, then Nicholas turned away, his cloak flaring behind him. By the time Anthony returned with two mugs of ale, Alexander's guest was gone. RoseRedBride_ornament.jpg
VIVIENNE WAS POSSESSED of a new restlessness since her return from Madeline's new abode at Caerwyn. It was more than the rigor of routine after the adventure of pursuing Madeline and Rhys clear across England with several of her siblings. It was more than missing Madeline, though they two had shared more secrets with each other than with their other sisters.
Excerpted from The Rose Red Bride by Claire Delacroix Copyright © 2005 by Claire Delacroix, Inc.. 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.
Meet the Author
Bestselling author Claire Delacroix published her first romance novel - a medieval romance called THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE - in 1993. Since then, she has published over forty romance novels and numerous novellas, including time travel romances, contemporary romances and paranormal romances. THE BEAUTY, part of her successful Bride Quest series, was her first book to land on the New York Times list of bestselling books. Claire has written under the name Claire Cross and continues to write as Deborah Cooke as well as Claire Delacroix. Claire makes her home in Canada with her family, a large undisciplined garden and a growing number of incomplete knitting projects.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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But about a quarter of the way thru it got kind of stupid. It felt like the author went off on tangents about Darg, Tyan's relationship with Rosamunde and the dude who met up with the couple and helped then reach Eriks home. Speaking of Erik he was so indecisive, one minute he wanted her and the next he was abandoning her. Erik i found as a strange leading man, not sure what attracted him to our leading lady...certainly wasnt his stunning personality or his good looks. Compared to the first book i found this one lacking. I hope the next one is a little better! Would i recommend this book to a friend: NO but once i started it i felt obligated to finish it since it wasnt free. Hope this review has helped someone make up their mind about purchasung it, if you feel the need go borrow it from the library!
I paid for book and not one word on pages! Has this happened to anyone else?
In 1421 Scotland, Alexander, Laird of Kinfairlie, feels euphoric about his marriage auction that worked so well in spite of the objection of the bride, Madeline the oldest of his sisters. Alexander blithely ignores all that went wrong as he keeps thinking all¿s well that ends well as Madeline, who previously refused to marry, is happily wedded to Rhys Fitzhenry................... The successful brotherly matchmaker turns to Vivienne though Alexander plans to improve the process since the Madeline caper (see THE BEAUTY BRIDE). He thinks he found the solution when Nicholas Sinclair, the man who broke Vivienne¿s heart years ago, arrives to court his beloved as he can offer a home since his older brother Erik has been disowned. Nicholas insists he bed her in her tower where she awaits his return so that she has no choice but to marry as he needs a bride and heir rather quickly to deflect any estate challenges. Rationalizing he needs the coins for the other sisters, Alexander agrees. Vivienne and her beau enjoy the night together until morning light reveals cynical Erik as her mate and he insists she will begat him a legitimate heir................. Though similar in design to the first Kinfairlie medieval romance, THE ROSE RED BRIDE has a flavor of its own because Vivienne and Madeline have different personalities. The story line is fun due to Erik¿s denials that he loves her while vivacious Vivienne believes they were destined together, but rejects his cold insistence that she is an heir breeder. Fans will enjoy Alexander¿s latest matrimonial fiasco and look forward to the next jewel Snow White in the fall...................... Harriet Klausner
Beautiful story - loved the characters - Love this author!!!
I enjoyed Erik and Vivienne's story. Even though it was quite sad at times, Vivienne's promise to help Erik, whether he believed the truth behind her actions or not, was very sweet. Both could feel a passion between them even though it may have taken time to admit it.
Book two out did book one mudt keep reading
Love it! I truly enjoyed the story. Alexander, you have to wonder when he is going to learn. This is his second blunder at marrying off his sisters. Vivienne was so naive to believe that a fairy prince would come through the window but it was romantic. I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. I wanted to struggled Vivienne, everytime Eric brushed her off after he took her but she was stubborn ot the end. At the end I was so mad when Eric's wife was still alive, and here she commited another sin. I am hoping Vivienne's uncle would end up with Rosamund still end up together. He can't be dead.
Wonderful story, I love this series
This was a well-written, fun book. The Laird of Kinfairlie needs to find husbands for his sisters. His sister Vivienne listens to a tale told by the Laird and believes that her destined love will come for her. In the night a mysterious man does come for her, but in the morning she discovers he is Erik Sinclair of Blackleith, a disinherited warrior intending to regain his legacy. The story of their journey together was very entertaining and I couldn't put it down. This can be read as a stand alone story, though it is the second book in a series with related characters. I can't wait to read the next book in the series! Copy gifted by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In "The Rose Red Bride" is about Vivienne and Erik. Erik is trying to reclaim his home, but to do that he needs an heir. He picks Vivienne and seduces and kidnaps her. Vivienne is a strong character but naive in many ways. She is unsure of Erik at first but as the story progresses learns many things about him that change her views. I enjoyed her strength and adventurous spirit in this story. Erik is a wounded soul who becomes stronger throughout the story. The development of the story is great and was enjoyable to read. Copy gifted by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
What a fantastic book! I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first book in the series. Vivienne has always been a romantic and believed that she would marry for love and live life like a fairy tale. So one night, after hearing a tale of love and magic, she sneaks away to the highest tower in Kinfairlie castle and waits for her fairy prince to come to her. Only the man that scales the castle walls and takes Vivienne's maidenhood is not the prince she imagined him to be. Erik Sinclair of Blackleith has been cast from his home and believed dead. He has no choice left but to take revenge on the man responsible for his plight, his own brother Nicholas. Erik approaches Kinfairlie with one mission, seduce and kidnap Vivienne. The one woman who refused his brother's charm years before. Although Erik has no intention of falling for Vivienne, she is simply a means to an end, she finds her way into his heart. She is a woman determined to find her happily ever after and it looks like Erik may be her prince after all. I absolutely adored Vivienne and her determination to help Erik find his way home. She is not the typical maiden that you find in historical romances, she is strong willed and takes what she wants. I would highly recommend this series. **Copy gifted by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review**
The Rose Red Bride by Claire Delacroix It was such a pleasure to revisit the second generation of Claire Delacroix’s unparalleled Lammergeir family which I devoured when it was first published in 2005 and be swept away again by her epic medieval tale of adventure, romance, betrayal, redemption and retribution. No one sets a period perfect stage better than she does with dialogue and backdrops that draw readers right into the story and then be utterly beguiled by her fantastic characters human and fae, good and evil. And enchanted by the stars of her story Vivian and Erik. The Red Rose Bride is book two in the Jewels of Kinfarlie series, now available in all formats. The audible edition was flawlessly rendered by the seductive, alluring, melodious voice of Saskia Maarleveld whose perfection rings through every voice intonation and she masters a wide range of vocalizations that gives listeners a multi-dimensional savoring of the story that’s not possible by reading alone. And so far this is my favorite in audible telling of the series. Erik Sinclair of Blackleith is determined to reclaim all that is rightfully his, which was deceitfully stolen from him by his younger brother. To do this he needs a son, fast and for that he has a certain maiden in mind, the only woman who ever spurned his blackguard of a brother. Believing the false faiery tale told by her brother, impulsive, fanciful Vivian Lammergeir met and lost her innocence to a man in the tower room of Kinfairlie keep whom she believed to be a fae lover. But the light of day reveals he is but a mere mortal, one who is not her destined mate but who chose her only as a tool for his revenge. Is there yet a chance for them to find forever love or is fate a fickle mistress indeed?
I loved this trilogy. If you like historic romances set in the highlands then this trilogy is a must for you.
Excellent read...a different sort of romance
I am amazed at how much I enjoy your books! Especially this one and I cannot wait until your new release comes out this month. I am pretty sure you have gotten me addicted to reading!
This is a great story of heros and heroines! I loved it. I like how her books dont prance around and make the characters seem stupid about love and how to show it. They just commit to it and get on with the story.