Lord of Ice (Knight Miscellany Series #3)

Lord of Ice (Knight Miscellany Series #3)

by Gaelen Foley

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804119733
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/29/2002
Series: Knight Miscellany Series , #3
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 553,444
Product dimensions: 6.86(w) x 10.98(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

Gaelen Foley is the award-winning author of The Pirate Prince, Princess, Prince Charming, The Duke, and Lord of Fire. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two spoiled bichons frises, and is hard at work on her next novel. Readers can write to her at P.O. Box 522, Library, PA 15129, or e-mail her via her Web site at www.gaelenfoley.com.

Read an Excerpt

Berkshire

With a hard-eyed stare, Damien Knight, the earl of Winterley, swung the long-handled axe up over his head and slammed it down with savage force, cleanly splitting the upright log down the middle. The sharp crack of the blow ripped across the snow-frosted field like a gunshot, rousing the squabbling blackbirds that fed upon the frozen stubbled cornstalks. His movements were smooth, his mind blissfully blank as he threw down the axe, adjusted one of his thick leather gloves, and picked up the splintered halves of wood, stacking them on the fortresslike pile that had grown over the past weeks to looming proportions, as though no amount of fuel could build a fire capable of warming him. Positioning the next log on the tree stump that served as his chopping block, he dealt it, in turn, a death blow.

He repeated this ritual again and again, concentrating intensely on the task, allowing it to absorb his tattered mind, until suddenly, in the nearby field, he noticed that something had caught his stallion’s attention.

His white warhorse was his only companion in this place. The stallion had been idly pawing through the frost, nibbling at whatever bits of grazing it could find, but now it lifted its head and pricked up its elegantly tapered ears toward the drive. Damien wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his arm, rested his other hand on the axe’s handle, and squinted against the white glare of the mid-December day, following his horse’s stare.

The stallion let out a belligerent whinny and raced toward the fence, its ivory tail streaming out like a battle pennant. He watched the animal for a moment in simple pleasure. It must have been a month since Zeus had worn a saddle. Both of them were reverting back to a state of nature, he thought, scratching the short, rough, black beard that had grown in on his jaw. Without surprise, only a dim flicker of distress, he watched as his identical twin brother, Lord Lucien Knight, came cantering up the drive astride his fine black Andalusian.

Zeus raced alongside them on the opposite side of the fence, trumpeting challenges to the black for encroaching upon his territory. Fortunately, Lucien was too skilled a rider to lose control of his mount.

Damien dropped his chin almost to his chest and let out a sigh that misted on the crisp, cold air. He supposed his brother had come to check up on him.

He did not fancy the notion of anyone seeing him like this, but at least with his keenly perceptive twin, he did not have to pretend that he was right in the head.

Lucien and his bride of three weeks, Alice, were living in Hampshire, a two-hour ride from Damien’s ramshackle manor house, newly bestowed on him by Parliament along with his title. Not that he knew much about being an earl. His new rank seemed merely to have made him the servant of the bloody politicians. Picking up his last split logs and adding them to the woodpile, he cast an uncertain glance toward the run-down, overgrown mansion they had given him. Constructed of white-gray limestone, Bayley House, circa 1760, was modeled on a classical Greek temple with a triangular pediment atop four mighty columns. Damien thought it looked like a mausoleum.

It felt like one inside, too, sprawling hectares of empty floor bereft of furniture, cold enough to preserve a corpse. He half fancied the place was infested with ghosts, but he knew too well that it was only he who was haunted. He had neither the gold nor the energy to see the house brought back to life and properly appointed, nor did he particularly care. Spartan that he was, he did not require luxury.

Upon arriving here in November shortly after Guy Fawkes Night, he had set up camp and had been bivouacking near the fireplace in what had once been the drawing room. His fellow officers from the regiment—what few survivors there were—had scattered and returned to their families, but at least he was still surrounded by his equipment, all sixty pounds of which he had carried on his back for hundreds of miles on marches through Portugal and Spain. It comforted him: his trusty tent; his scuffed and battered tin mess kit and wooden canteen; his greatcoat for a blanket; his haversack for a pillow; a bit of cheese, biscuit, and sausage to sustain him; a few cigars. A soldier needed little else in life, except, of course, for liquor and whores, but Damien had given these up in an earnest effort to mend his fractured wits through the ascetic life.

’Sblood, though, he missed the lasses a hundred times more than the gin, he thought with a wistful sigh. Lucien could have his refined lady wife; Damien preferred low, bawdy wenches who knew how to handle a soldier. The mere thought of a soft, willing female roused his body’s starved needs, but he ignored his agonized craving for release, coolly setting the axe out of the way as his brother approached. He could not risk anything that might upset his precarious equilibrium.

Snow flew up from under the black’s prancing hoofs as Lucien reined in, vibrant and pink-cheeked with the cold, his silvery eyes sparkling with the aura of the newlywed. He sat back in the saddle for a moment, rested his right fist on his hip, and shook his head, looking Damien over in sardonic amusement. “Oh, my poor, dear brother,” he said with a lordly chuckle.

“What?” Damien growled, scowling a bit.

“How charmingly rustic. You look like some her- mit woodsman. Lancelot, maybe, after he became a monk.”

Damien snorted. “So, she let you out from under the cat’s paw for a few hours, eh? When’s your curfew?”

“Only long enough for my sweet lady to remem- ber afresh how desperately she adores me. When I return—” He flashed a wicked smile. “—the welcome home ought to be worth it.” His luxurious black wool greatcoat whirled out behind him as he dismounted with an agile movement. Smart and elegant, full of Diplomatic Corps finesse, Lucien reached into his coat and presented Damien with a newspaper as he strode toward him. “I thought you might like to see what is going on in the world.”

“Napoleon still under guard on Elba?”

“Of course.”

“That’s all I need to know.”

“Well, burn it for fuel, then, though you certainly seem well supplied in that particular. Planning on burning a witch?” Lucien looked askance at the giant woodpile.

Damien regarded him wryly and accepted yester- day’s copy of the London Times without further argument.

Lucien passed a shrewd glance over his face. “How goes it, Brother?” he asked more softly.

Damien shrugged and turned away, abashed by his concern. “It’s quiet here. I like it.”

“And?” Lucien waited for him to report on his mental condition, but Damien dodged the unspoken inquiry, avoiding his twin’s penetrating stare.

“Needs work, of course, this old place. Fences to be mended. We’ll plant barley there”—he pointed to the fields—“oats there, wheat over there, in the spring.” If it ever comes, he thought.

“God, grant me patience. Do not be deliberately obtuse, please. I didn’t ask how your house is. I want to know how you’re doing. Has there been any re- peat of—”

“No,” he cut him off, flashing him a warning look. He had no desire to be reminded of his hellish delirium—or bout of madness or whatever the devil it had been—on Guy Fawkes Night. He hated even thinking about it. The booming of the festival cannons and exploding fireworks had played a kind of trick on his mind, deluding him into thinking he was back at the war. For a full five or six minutes, he had lost track of reality, a horrifying state of affairs for a man so highly trained to kill.

When he thought of how easily he could have hurt someone, it made his blood run cold. He had exiled himself here since that night and did not intend to show his face in Society again until he had somehow cured himself, was no longer a threat to the very people he had sacrificed his innocence to protect, and had become once more the ironclad military hero the world expected him to be.

He noticed Lucien studying him, reading him in his all-too-knowing way, those silvery eyes flashing with formidable intelligence. “Still having nightmares?”

Damien just looked at him.

He did not want to admit it, but the ghastly dreams of blood and destruction were even more frequent now, as though his addled brain could not unbur- den itself of its poisons fast enough. The rage in him was a frozen river like the ice-encrusted Thames that wrapped around his property. He knew it was there, but the strangest thing was he could not quite . . . feel it. He could not feel much of anything. Six years of combat—of ignoring terror, horror, and heartbreak—had that effect on a man, he supposed.

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Lord of Ice (Knight Miscellany Series #3) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Following the companion novel, LORD OF FIRE, this newest Foley work, the story of twin Damien Knight, is the perfect complement to the earlier release. Colonel and earl Damien Knight has chosen a reclusive existence at his estate in Berkshire following traumatic warfare in the Napoleonic wars. Haunted by post-traumatic stress disorder, Damien has determined that he is unfit for company when certain sounds cause him to relive battlefield memories.

But when twin brother Lucien informs Damien that fellow soldier, Major Jason Sherbrooke, has died, Damien must take responsibility as a guardian for Sherbrooke¿s illegitimate niece, Miranda FitzHubert. Journeying to Yardley School to inform his ward of her uncle¿s demise, Damien is in for quite a surprise, as the lovely Miranda is nineteen, and not the child that he expected. When he removes Miranda from the school, she is forced to trust him as she exposes the director of the school for his lechery. This trust is only the beginning of many tender exchanges between the two, which elevate their romance to a level not often found in this genre.

While staying with Damien¿s family in London, Miranda becomes the toast of the town, enthralling all with her beauty and charm. Everyone, it seems, but Damien, who has distanced himself, fearing their mutual attraction, and the harm he almost caused Miranda during one of his battlefield nightmares. But Damien¿s military instincts hone in when he discovers that Miranda is in danger. Unwittingly, he falls prey to her charm and healing nature as she comforts him in his hour of need.

Who can resist a war hero in his darkest hour? In a truly memorable love scene, Miranda does the unthinkable-she overcomes her fear of Damien¿s dark side to become someone he can lean on and trust, just has he has become her pillar of strength. Tumultuous love scenes find the reader hooked to the last page, yearning to learn if the love between two deeply-scarred people can heal them and make them whole again.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Miranda falls for her new guardian, a war hero who suffers terrible from post-war trauma.
SusiB on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Damien Knight, a former soldier who recently received the title "Earl of Winterley", suddenly finds himself named guardian to a fellow officer's and friend's ward. He thinks Miranda FitzHubert is a small girl who can stay at a boarding school, but instead she's a nubile young woman. He wants her to find a husband, but at the same time, he'd like to keep her for himself. If only he wasn't going mad...This is definitely one of the historical romances whose history is no more than wallpaper. Very thin and threadbare wallpaper at that. I enjoyed the book despite, but not because of, that fact. For example, Miranda is easily accepted by nearly all members of the high society, even though she's the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and an actress. One of the (female) characters suggests that they go ice skating, because it's "good excercise", and on Christmas Eve, they sing "Silent Night, Holy Night" - even though this Christmas carol was performed for the first time in 1818 (it took me about 1 minute to find this out on wikipedia.de) and the book is set in 1814 - 1815. And then, there's the ice. I don't mean ice cream. I mean ice cubes. At one point, Miranda pretends to have twisted her ankle in order to be able to leave the ballroom with Damien, and he asks her if she needs some ice. People didn't have refrigerators at this time, they didn't even have electricity and I think it's extremely unlikely that they would have put ice cubes in their drinks - it would have been more believable if Damien had asked Miranda if he should get her some snow from outside to cool her twisted ankle. Despite all these facts, I enjoyed the book. Damien is a tortured hero, but he has a good reason to be, and he is only very rarely cruel to Miranda and other people. Miranda herself is no doormat - I despise doormat heroines - but not overly stupid and feisty either. I like the fact that she wants to help her former schoolmates, but isn't so selfless that she doesn't want to have a good life for herself. And she does realize that this good life can be gained much easier by accepting her guardian's wealth than by becoming an actress - which is a no-brainer in real life, but obviously not so easy to unterstand to the myriad of stupid romance novel heroines out there.
onyx95 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Spending six years in the war was all Damien Knight could take but when he came home he still couldn¿t seem to get it out of his head. Reliving moments of the war during his dreams and even in his waking hours. Hearing that one of his comrades had died finally gave him something to do, Jason had left him as the guardian of his niece. She had been left at the boarding school and virtually ignored by her Uncles for so long, Miranda FitzHubert was shocked to hear her guardian was there. It wasn¿t Uncle Jason, but the stranger who had turned wild the night before to save her life. Together Damien and Miranda set of for the Knight house, the hope of a new life for Miranda and maybe hope for Damien too.Book 3.¿. This is a really good Historical Romance, the emotional connection to Damien is well written. Such a strong and courageous hero, then showing a very vulnerable side - without it being odd or obvious. Keeping Miranda so innocent but giving her such experience and a traumatic past. Well done - and with the inclusion of Napoleon (and the war), so much of the Knight family (Robert, Bel, Lucien, Alice, Alec, and Jacinda), all the action (several intense fight scenes), and the romance, this is a great example of a good series. Now that the twins are happy and healthy with their little families, I want to know more about Jack, but I will be looking for the next book (Lady of Desire) which seems to be Jacinda's story.
lina_em on LibraryThing 5 months ago
because i didn't like damien, i took off one star. he just irked me too much.
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AnnBKeller More than 1 year ago
Damian, the Earl of Winterly, returned from the war with Napoleon scarred for life. Every time he heard a sudden, loud noise, his mind was plunged back to the battlefield. Immediately, he became a ruthless killing machine, literally ripping out the throats of his assailants with his bare hands! Although it is long past time for him to secure a wife and settle down, Damian is troubled. What if he unleashed such violence on his family or on an innocent? For their own protection, Damian Knight set himself aloof from society. Thankfully, fate intervenes. Upon the death of one of his officers, Damian becomes the guardian of Miranda FitzHubert. He has no idea how to take care of a child, but Miranda surprises him. His ward is no child. The graceful, long haired beauty rocks him to his soul, touching his heart in a way Damian couldn’t foresee. Still, if he cares for her, he must keep Miranda at a distance. Miranda, however, has ideas of her own. Miss FitzHubert continues to prod the remote Earl of Winterly, little by little revealing the man within. Killing angel or vengeful demon – which is Damian Knight? As an adversary closes in on Miranda, she may very well need both.
Virtual_Travel More than 1 year ago
Damien Knight is a tortured hero, but a hero nevertheless. He is quick to take action to protect those unable to protect themselves. Good, quick read. I suggest beginning at #1 in the series and reading through them in order.
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PomMom_MN More than 1 year ago
Love #1, #2 and now #3.....This one of the second twin brother (actually first born) was great. Gaelen hooks you in and keeps it going. I started with #1 and finished the series of these siblings. Couldn't put it down as I read more. Will definitely read more of her's.
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