Kissing the Bride

Kissing the Bride

by Sara Bennett

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060584337
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/29/2004
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Sara Bennett has always had an interest in history, and to survive a series of mind-numbing jobs, she turned to writing historical romance. She lives in an old house with her husband and two children in the state of Victoria, Australia, where she tries to keep the house and garden tidy, but rarely succeeds—she'd rather be writing or reading.

Read an Excerpt

Kissing the Bride

By Bennett, Sara

Avon Books

ISBN: 0060584335

Chapter One

The weather had not been altogether bad. South beyond London, the Forest of Anderida had enclosed them like a green ocean, but Henry had arranged for a guide to lead them through its timbered vastness. Snow had fallen, but not heavily, and not enough to slow down his troop of men.

Henry, huddled in his thick, fur-lined cloak, had thought wistfully of Christina, her long, dark hair covering the smooth, pale skin of her back as last evening she'd poured him wine from a jug. Her movements had been graceful and languid, and as she had turned to him, she had smiled. Aye, she had made a tasty picture, dressed only in her ebony locks.

He did not love her, any more than she loved him. Theirs was a relationship of convenience, and love was not something that was part of the contract between them. For Henry, women like Christina were a necessity -- a necessary pleasure. If she was not the greatest conversationalist, and her intelligence was shrewd rather than deep, what did it matter, when she more than satisfied him in bed? And as for Christina, the daughter of an ambitious minor noble, she was more than happy with her comfortable rooms and fine clothes and jewels.

"I have to leave tomorrow," he had told her, sipping the wine.

She had blinked. "Go where, my lord?"

"To the Downs in the southwest, Christina. To Gunlinghorn."

Her eyes had widened. "Oh, my lord, I would not like to go outside London! There are savages in the countryside!"

Henry had grinned. "Then it is as well you are not going, Christina. You will stay here until I return."

She had been relieved, Henry thought now with wry humor. Christina had had no desire to share the perils of Henry's journey. She liked him, or at least she liked the luxuries he could afford to give her, but that was as far as it went. She was glad he was going alone.

Why were women so fickle? They couldn't wait to get into bed with him, but none of them sobbed more than a few false tears when it was time to part. Was it something to do with him? Did he not please them in some way? Henry knew that wasn't so -- his women were always well pleased. When their relationship had run its course, and they left, they nearly always took with them a mutual fondness. Nay, the problem lay elsewhere. And Henry had lately begun to understand that something was missing.

But what?

As clever and handsome as he was reported to be, Henry did not know.

In younger days he hadn't felt the need to dwell on such puzzling and incomprehensible matters. Then all he had wanted was a lusty woman in his bed. But now ... I must be getting old, he thought in disgust. Or maybe it was seeing Radulf and Lily, and Gunnar and Rose, and Ivo and Briar, all so happy, all content with exactly what they had, all so much in love ...

It was ridiculous, but it made Henry feel lonely.


In his heart, Henry held a dark fear. Love would mean sharing all his secrets with another person and trusting them to understand. It would mean giving more of himself than he was prepared, or perhaps able, to give.

Henry had been more or less orphaned at the age of five, and at thirteen he had been a man well and truly. He did not look to love as a reason to survive.

What does it matter if I haven't found a Lily or a Briar? he asked himself angrily. He had what other men envied. He was well favored in looks and fortune, he had the king's ear and any woman he wanted. It was no boast, but honest truth. Women never turned Lord Henry down.


He had no time for love; it was the least of his concerns. He admitted to himself that that was why he preferred the lighter intimacies of women like Christina; it was less trouble. It was safer.

Henry and his troop of men rode on, into the wintry forest, through the fertile Weald and onto the windswept Downs. Here the Gunlinghorn River was born in the chalk downs and grew wide and strong, leading them into the Vale of Gunlinghorn. Winter rains had turned ponds into small lakes, and the water meadows were full of life despite the weather. Henry watched a long-legged waterbird fly low across the gray surface, momentarily surrounded by a flock of smaller linnets. Gunlinghorn had always been plentiful in its harvests of both land and water. Before the Normans came, life here had been fortunate, bountiful, and under Lady Jenova little had changed. In that regard, Gunlinghorn was truly a small slice of Eden.

The castle stood upon a tall hill, overlooking the Vale. From the highest point of the keep, one could look out over the cliffs on the coast of England, to the very sea the Normans had sailed across to make their conquest.

The keep itself was constructed of timber cut from the woods surrounding the Vale of Gunlinghorn. The strong wooden ramparts encircling the keep were currently being remade in local stone, with the grim-looking gatehouse already completed. Jenova was ferocious when it came to protecting what belonged to her, and Henry had suggested stone the last time he'd been here. Now, seeing with his own eyes that she had taken his advice, he felt an unexpected rush of pleasure.

Gunlinghorn's heavy gates opened easily to his name. Henry led his men into the bailey, casting an eye over the busy castlefolk, and nodding in reply to the many cries of welcome. He was known here. Liked, too, he thought. It was almost like coming home. With an odd catch in his chest, Henry realized that Gunlinghorn was probably the nearest thing to a family and a home that he had ever had.


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Kissing the Bride 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1075 England, Widow Lady Jenova asks her best friend, King William¿s confident Lord Henry to visit her at remote Gunlinghorn. William drops everything to travel the four days in wintry conditions to see Jenova to learn what she needs form him. There, she shocks him when she tells him that she is considering marriage after mourning the loss of her spouse for the last two years. Her chosen one is neighbor Alfric Baldessare, who would bow to her wishes and wants to know what he thinks especially since her potential groom¿s father demands that he be named estate guardian in the event of his son¿s death. Henry knows that the elder Baldessare hates him over a regal land decision so he has doubts about the match.----- While riding, a sudden snowstorm sends Jenova and Henry seeking shelter. When they find refuge, they hold each other tight for some warmth, but soon make love to the shock of them both. Jenova realizes that she is in love again though has doubts after her first husband¿s betrayal and Henry hides his feelings. However, the elder Baldessare plays ¿matchmaker¿ when he abducts her five-year-old son to force her hand.----- KISSING THE BRIDE is an engaging Conqueror romance starring delightful protagonists and wonderful secondary players to include a romance between the villain¿s daughter and Henry¿s top aid. The villain is so crazy that he seems like a caricature, but then again his actions force the lead couple to confess their inner feelings. Sara Bennett provides a fine historical that fans of the William era will treasure.----- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Heartbroken Lady Jenova vows to marry again because it has been two years since her husband’s death, but she refuses to marry for love. She asks her prominent friend, Lord Henry, for help. During their search for the proper groom, they grow closer and share a passionate kiss. Unfortunately for Lord Henry, falling for Jenova could cost him his friendship as well as his position.  Sara Bennett does a wonderful job weaving a tale of characters, who for the most part scheme together to awaken Jenova’s and Henry’s feelings for one another. The English setting plays a vital role in this story and described in exquisite detail. The characters’ garb and dialects are appropriate for the time, while Jenova’s and Henry’s relationship seems quite unique. Readers will want to read the series in order, but it isn’t necessary to appreciate this final chapter. Notes: This review was written for My Sister's Books. This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring! Cant finish this book. Only read 50 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable read
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