The Quest [NOOK Book]


A hostage for a hostage...

All his life, the notorious Rolf of Dragonwyck, known as the Dragon, had taken what he wanted by the strength of his sword and the fierceness of his spirit.  But now his enemies have found the chink in his armor: his beloved son.  With the boy held prisoner by the ruthless Earl of Seabrook, the Dragon will do anything to get him back.  Yet when he decides to trade a hostage for a hostage...
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The Quest

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A hostage for a hostage...

All his life, the notorious Rolf of Dragonwyck, known as the Dragon, had taken what he wanted by the strength of his sword and the fierceness of his spirit.  But now his enemies have found the chink in his armor: his beloved son.  With the boy held prisoner by the ruthless Earl of Seabrook, the Dragon will do anything to get him back.  Yet when he decides to trade a hostage for a hostage and takes the beautiful Lady Annice d'Arcy captive, the seasoned knight is in for a shock: far from the biddable maiden he expects, he finds himself saddled with a recklessly defiant lady who has a rather dangerous effect on his body and his soul.  Suddenly, the fearless Dragon wonders if he might win back his child...only to lost his warrior's heart.

With his young son held captive by an enemy, the Dragon is fiercely determined to get him back. What this seasoned warrior could not predict was the effect his spirited hostage Lady Annice d'Arby would have on his soul. He might gain back his child--and lose his heart in the exchange. Original.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307798657
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/27/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 141,662
  • File size: 3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Still crouched on the floor, Rolf pivoted on his heels to look at Annice. Sprawled on her side, propped up on one elbow, she faced him defiantly, eyes glittering with reflected flame. The hem of her gown was twisted beneath her, midway up her legs. Silk garters held up white hose, and her silk undertunic wadded between her knees in a tangle, restricting her movements. A bound rope of hair snaked across the stone hearth, dark-red strands glowing in the light like a line of fire. The tip of her hair was within a handsbreadth of the toe of his boot.

Nothing was said as they stared at each other, he furious, she as poised and tense as a she-wolf. Tension vibrated between them like the taut string of a lute. Beneath the shadowed fringe of her lashes, Annice's eyes were a clear, calculating blue that regarded him with speculation.

Meeting her gaze, Rolf read her intention and reacted swiftly. He dropped the parchment to the floor, one hand shooting out to grasp the end of her hair just as she moved to leap to her feet. He began to draw her toward him by the simple expedient of using her hair as he would a rope.

Slowly he wound it around his fist, forcing her to come to him on her hands and knees when the pressure grew too great to resist. There was fire in her eyes and in the epithets she flung at him, but in a moment she was at his feet. Still kneeling on the stones of the hearth, Rolf stared down at her. There was little pleasure to be gained from crushing a foe already vanquished, yet this woman seemed not to know of her defeat.

Battle lights sparked in her eyes, and a hot flush stained her cheeks with anger. Though the long, trailing cuff of one sleeve hadsomehow become entangled with the free rope of her hair, she still resisted his effort to draw her up to her knees.

"JÚsu," he muttered, "have you so little sense that you would still fight me?"

"'Tis not a question of sense," she shot back as she jerked at the offending hair and snarled cuff, "but of pride. If you must wed me, so be it. But l shall not yield to you easily, my lord of Dragonwyck, no matter how you try to force me."

A faint smile tugged at his mouth. "I have always enjoyed the contest more than the victory, milady. 'Tis sweeter, indeed, when the prize is hard-won."

"But is it so sweet to lose?" she mocked, freeing at last the cuff from the loosened strands of her hair. "I think not. For you, anyway. Those men more confident of their prowess know that even the best man can ofttimes be conquered if the circumstances dictate."

Rolf still held the other rope of hair in his fist. As if she were in her own chamber before a mirror, Annice began to comb her fingers through the flowing locks of her free hair. The ribbon wound through the loose tresses was a brilliant green silk; calmly twining it back around the thick strands, she rebound her hair as if he were not there.

Flipping it over her shoulder to fall down her back she looked up at Rolf with a bold gaze. "Do you fear I will escape you, my lord? I am but a woman, by your own words. I can fight such a fierce warrior as yourself with but pitiable weapons. My tongue and my wits are all I have as resources—would you deny me those?"

"At times," he said tightly, "'twould be advisable to silence that waspish tongue before I am tempted to remove it for you. And the wits you boast of would be better used to contemplate ways to keep me in a better humor with you, rather than seek ways to annoy me. Even a caged bird sings sweetly for its super."

Her lashes lowered and he saw a faint shudder pass through her body. He did not allow sympathy for her plight to move him. It would be kinder in the end to accustom her now to accepting him as lord and master.

Tightening his hand in the hair he still held, he slowly pulled her head back until her face was tilted up to his. He could hear the harsh rasp of breath filling her lungs, see her eyes dilate to wide pools as he gave another tug on her hair. Her nostrils flared slightly, and her lips parted. Half-sitting, half-reclining, Annice was propped with one hand against the floor, leaving her unstable and vulnerable.

Rolf slowly rose to his feet, drawing her up with him; one hand held the hair at her nape so that she could look only at him. Lifting her slowly so that her toes barely brushed against the stone, he held her suspended. He felt a quiver in her muscles as the arm he bent behind her back pressed her more tightly against him. The soft pressure of her breasts against his chest and thighs, trembling against his groin, sparked an immediate reaction in him that was vaguely surprising.

JÚsu, she should not be able to affect him so swiftly. Long ago he'd vowed not to allow a woman to cause him any emotion, beyond a certain distant sympathy or generous impulse. That this woman could send the blood coursing through his veins in a raging tide was more than enough evidence that he should avoid her. She squirmed in his grasp, feet banging against his shins. He held her more closely, one arm shifting down to press her hips tightly against him. Then his gaze focused on her face.

There was a sly, catlike smirk curving her mouth, and Rolf's eyes narrowed. Apparently she had felt his desire and would mock him for it. Yea, but he would show her how little she affected him.

Deliberately, slowly, he bent his head, smothering her startled gasp as his mouth captured hers. She did not try to avoid it—could not have, with his hand holding tight to the hair at her neck. As his lips slanted over hers, softly at first, then with growing pressure, her breath came more quickly. He kissed her until she went limp in his hold and he heard a soft moan beneath his lips. But it was not until her arm lifted to clasp him tentatively to her that he released her.

Setting her back from him abruptly, he gazed down at her. Uneven breaths lifted her chest, and her eyes were wide and moist. She put up a hand to touch her lips, which were slightly swollen from his kisses.

"Ah, milady," he said lightly, "do not become too captivated with me. Desire is ofttimes fleeting in a man...."

She looked first flustered, then angry as comprehension flooded her face with color. "Swine!" she hissed. '"Do not dare touch me again?"

"This is my keep. I dare anything." Rolf smiled slightly

"As you will soon learn when you are my wife, Lady Annice."


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Alot of action

    So much intrigue and action. The middle was at times slow, more historical back ground than I like. At times I thought I knew where the story was going, only to be proven wrong. I would recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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