“Sarah Hegger has a gift for storytelling that is not to be missed. She’s a personal favorite of mine” (Kathryn Le Veque, USA Today–bestselling author).
Garrett has sworn vengeance on Sir Arthur of Anglesea for destroying his life when he was a boy—and forcing his mother into prostitution for them to survive. And he has chosen as his instrument Sir Arthur’s youngest daughter, Beatrice . . .
In a family of remarkable people, ordinary Beatrice strives to prove herself worthy. When her kin are threatened with losing everything, she rushes to London to find a way to rescue them. But little does she know her chosen savior is the very man who will see her family brought to shame. Now the only hope is that Beatrice’s kind heart may teach Garrett that love, not revenge, is the greatest reward of all . . .
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Time to be wooed. Wooed with honeyed words and sweeter touches. Delightful tingles spread to Beatrice's fingertips, rushed back again, and pooled in her stomach.
Spring filled the air with scents of new grass and wildflowers. The sun beamed from a cloudless arc of blue above her. Birdsong serenaded her, as cornflowers merrily bobbed beside the path. Even the insects buzzed encouragement. Only one thing was missing.
She dare not tarry much longer. Someone from the keep would soon come looking for her. Beatrice shifted her basket to the other arm and investigated a patch of what might be vervain. From the keep, anyone would see her picking wildflowers. Just as she intended.
A footpath disappeared between the dense green beech thickets. It crossed a small stream before meandering through the trees and down to the village below. Was he still down in the village? She tried to picture what he'd be doing. Working at the forge, perhaps?
She gave up on the plant and straightened. She wouldn't know vervain from, well, anything. Opposite the village, a path shot straight as an arrow through the meadow toward the castle. For certain, Garrett wouldn't come from that direction. Perhaps he wasn't coming at all. He'd made her no promises. There was no understanding between them. But, she dearly hoped all the same.
Hoping, however, didn't make him appear.
The sun blazed down harsh on her face and she'd freckle.
"Wish, wish, planted a feather and wished a bird would grow." Nurse's voice sang in her head. It was nonsense, pure and simple. Nonsense, like lingering alone on a path, pretending to pick wildflowers, whilst waiting for a man she barely knew to appear. A man with dark and mysterious eyes that whispered of secret places and forbidden pleasures. She was a goose. When she pictured the scene in her mind, it went thus. A beautiful maiden, garbed in her finest blue samite, engrossed in the gentle occupation of picking flowers by the roadside. The sun gleamed off her flaxen hair and brought roses to her alabaster cheek. Her slender form, bent like a reed to her feminine labors ...
Roses be damned, she was sweating beneath her silk. It would leave stains on the fabric. She'd never hear the end of it from Nurse.
A soft whistle jolted her.
Her heart leapt.
There he stood, by the thicket.
Smiling to warm her from the inside, one shoulder propped against a tree, arms folded across his broad chest.
An answering grin tugged at her mouth. She fought it back. A girl mustn't appear too eager. Inside her mind, the lady in the blue samite capered. He is here, he is here, he is here. Beatrice breathed deeply to steady her heart. Her damp palms slipped on the basket handle.
Looking for all the world as if he owned the ground beneath them, he jerked his head, motioning her to join him.
How presumptuous. Beatrice clicked her tongue, but moved toward him anyway. She'd tell him so as soon as she caught her breath again.
"Were you waiting for someone?" The breeze ruffled his hair. It was too long, but so thick and lustrous, like purest sable.
"Nay." Her cheeks heated at the lie. His mocking laughter irked her, but not enough to stop her willful feet from moving beneath the canopy of trees.
"What a pity." Dark and rich as treacle, his eyes filled with deliciously wicked intent. He took her basket and dropped it to the ground. "I hoped you might be waiting for me."
"And why would I do such a thing?" Her voice sounded breathy and eager. It would never do. He was already too sure of her. But how to dissemble when just being in his company was enough to make her limp as a pudding.
Garrett drew her out of sight of the path and the castle.
Excitement tripped along her spine.
"I could not say. I could only hope." A bump marred the straight blade of his nose, as if it had been broken.
Her legs trembled. She longed to know the secret behind that tiny imperfection. All his secrets.
"I hoped you enjoyed my kisses and wanted more." He traced the line of her cheek. He was so terribly, delightfully, and wonderfully bad when he spoke thus to her.
"Nay." She shivered. Gentle maids didn't allow such things to be said to them.
"Nay? Mayhap I am not doing it right then?" Jaw firm, mouth full, he had a strong, beautiful face. He brushed her mouth with his thumb.
Her lips tingled. Oh, please, please, please kiss me. Her mind shouted what would be too brazen to utter.
"Shall I try again?" His voice sounded rough, like the coarse fabric of his tunic beneath her fingers.
Wordlessly imploring him to fulfill his teasing promise, she tilted her chin upward.
His lips brushed hers. Leather, fire, and earth, a scent uniquely his, would cling to her clothing long after he'd returned to the village.
Beatrice rose onto her toes, crushed her mouth against his. Heavenly. There was no other word for his kiss.
His tongue sought entry at her lips.
With the slide of Garrett's tongue over hers, heat settled in an ache between her thighs. She pressed closer to his hard, strong body.
He groaned encouragement.
Her blood pulsed faster and wilder.
He cupped her bottom in his large hands and drew her to him.
His male flesh firm against her belly shocked her and summoned a wanton inside her. He hadn't dared to go so far before. Yet, each time Beatrice encountered him, he took her further and further along a path that some tiny part of her mind warned her against.
When she was alone, reliving these stolen moments, her cheeks heated at her own daring. But when she was with him, male musk overwhelming her, she was powerless against the onslaught of his mouth and his hands. Need drove her.
Beatrice dared to rub her belly against his hardness.
His hands tightened, roughly urging her on as his tongue plundered her mouth.
The taste of him raged through her senses. So male. She wanted more.
One hand slid across her hip and upward. His touch burned right through her silk gown and the fine linen beneath it. He took and she gave, willingly. His hand curved around her breast.
She relished the swell of her bosom against his palm. It made the place between her thighs tingle. Thrilling. Too thrilling. She tore her mouth from his. "Nay."
Immediately, his hand dropped away. His fingers dug into her hip and he rested his forehead against hers as he took deep, calming breaths. "Forgive me, you have no idea what you do to me. I lose all reason."
"We must not." She wasn't sure on whom she was trying to impress this.
"You must know how I feel about you, Beatrice." He planted a soft kiss against her temple.
"It is wrong."
"Do not say so, sweeting. Do not say it is wrong. Nothing can be wrong for us." His lips burned the sensitive skin beneath her ear.
Already, her traitorous senses were responding. The chaste maiden retreated to the back of her mind and grumbled. This was not so shocking. Harmless kisses. She tilted her chin so the sweet torment could continue, if only for a bit longer. "I should not."
"Let yourself feel," he said. "Just for this moment. You and I, here and alone, let yourself feel what is betwixt us."
"It is a sin."
"Nay." He nipped at her bottom lip. "Sin would not feel this wondrous." Garrett moved his hand toward her breast.
Beatrice's knees weakened. Her head grew light. She could have stopped him. She should have stopped him, but she wanted more of his touch. A chaste girl would protest. Beatrice didn't want to be that girl. She wanted to feel this wondrous always. Especially when his long, hard fingers brushed against the stiff peak and her nipple tightened.
He took possession of her mouth. Hot and hungry, he demanded a response.
It seemed the most natural thing in the world to arch her back and push her breast deeper into his hand. His rumble of approval reverberated through her bones. She made a soft protest as he withdrew his hand and lifted his mouth from hers.
"Beatrice," he murmured.
She sucked air into her starved lungs, breast still tingling from his touch.
"I ache for you." He placed her hand on his braies. "See what you do to me?"
His hard flesh pulsed in her palm. She let him curl her fingers around the shaft. It was so carnal and base, so incredibly exciting. Her thighs clenched together. She wanted him to join his body to hers, to ease the damp ache at her core. The chaste maiden whispered in the back of her mind. She tugged her hand away.
He let her go without protest.
Beatrice staggered back.
A flush stained his cheeks. Garrett straightened his shoulders and his hands clenched over his rope belt.
"We must stop." She wet her parched lips.
Heavy with desire, his dark gaze tracked the motion. "Why?"
She couldn't think of a good answer. Each time it grew more difficult to walk away. Disaster, hissed the maiden. It didn't feel like disaster, though, or sin. It consumed her, glorious and so very, very tempting.
"I will be missed." She gestured toward the castle. "I need to get back."
He dropped his head as she retreated. The grip on his belt tightened, the skin going white around his knuckles.
Beatrice hesitated. She wanted his touch again, but that way led to trouble. "On the morrow?"
"I do not know."
"Nay." The word burst from her. He was the best part of her day.
He stepped away from her, raking his fingers across his scalp. "We cannot continue like this."
She shivered and wrapped her arms around herself to ward off the sudden chill. "You do not want to see me?"
"Beatrice." He frowned. "You know I cannot tarry here. I would have been gone long since if it were not for you."
"What are you saying?" He couldn't be telling her he was leaving. It caught inside of her like a barb, and she struggled to draw her next breath.
"I cannot stay." He grasped her shoulders.
"You are leaving?" She could barely form the words past the constriction in her throat. Pain raked inside her chest. He could not leave.
"You know I must." He shook his head. Regret lined his beautiful face. "I cannot stay here, like this, and not have you."
"But you do have me, Garrett, you do." Beatrice grasped the front of his tunic. She had to keep him here.
"Not in the way I need you." His words hung in the air. He wanted to lie with her.
She wanted to, but doubt gnawed at her. Beatrice stepped back. Her thoughts were cloudy when she was close to him. He'd never said the words, but he touched her like he loved her.
Her virtue, however, must be prized and guarded. It had been impressed on her since she became old enough to understand the notion. Still, what could be better than to give such a cherished gift to the man she loved? And, yet, that maiden shrieked caution.
"Where will you go?" The thought of him leaving opened a yawning pit beneath her. This must be love. It could be nothing else. Since he had come at summer's beginning, the loneliness hadn't existed. With him, she was whole. She belonged. If he left, he would take that away. Her life would be gray again. Gray and boring and the same, day after cursed day.
"It does not matter." He shrugged. "I have been many places and will be many more before I am done. But here, Beatrice —" He opened his arms wide. "Here I have come home."
It so nearly echoed her thoughts tears flooded her eyes. She blinked to stop them from spilling over.
"Do not cry, sweeting." He cupped her cheek and caught her tears with his thumb. "I am not worth your tears."
"But you are." Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. "You are worth it to me."
"My sweet, sweet girl." He tugged her to him.
Beatrice burrowed into his chest, willing the world to fall away and let her rest here forever.
"We knew it could not be this way always. Sooner or later, we will get caught. Then, it will go badly for both of us."
Beatrice shivered. Her family would kill Garrett if they knew.
"Your father will die before he gives you to one such as me." He leaned his head back and looked at her. "I am a churl, Beatrice, a penniless traveler with naught to my name."
She shook her head. It didn't matter to her.
"And you are a princess." He rested his chin on the top of her head. "A beautiful, fiery princess, living in her castle on the hill, too good for any man to claim as his own. For you, there must be a brave paladin on his pure white charger to carry you away to his kingdom in the sky."
"I do not want a paladin. I want you." With everything in her, she wanted Garrett.
"But you have me, Beatrice. All that I am, I give to you." His pressed a kiss to her crown. "I have only my love and my body, and both are yours. Held between your delicate hands. You could drop my heart beneath your dainty slippers and step on it. I would not care."
His words sank about her like golden honey. He did love her. She knew it.
Gently, he set her aside. His eyes glowed down at her and warmed the aching hollow in her chest. "You must go back before you are missed."
"Do not leave." She grabbed his tunic. She must have his promise before he left or she might not see him again.
"Beatrice." He raised her fingers to his lips. "If only you knew how you torture me with your words."
"I do not mean to torture you." Her heart twisted. She wanted to take her words back and wipe the sadness from his brown eyes.
"I know that," he said. "But you tempt me beyond bearing, when I know what I must do." He looked deep into her eyes, as if he could see right down to the secrets of her soul. His sigh whispered through the air. "Very well." He kissed her hands again. "I cannot leave you, not today, but soon."
"But not today?" She would find a way for them to be together. She didn't know how, but she would. She only needed more time.
"Nay, sweeting, not today."CHAPTER 2
Beatrice entered the castle through the postern gate to avoid being noticed by the guards. The main gates were kept tighter than Henry's braies. With their father and older brothers away, Henry treated his responsibility for Anglesea with his usual, infuriating zeal.
She slid along the curtain wall to the entrance of the inner bailey. Guards on the outer wall had their backs to her, their eyes trained outward. There were far too many people about for this time of day. Bodies swarmed everywhere beyond the open inner gate. She jerked back into the gatehouse shadows.
"Damn." She couldn't stay here either. Someone was sure to pass through the gate and notice her. Holding her breath, she inched around the gate tower.
Beatrice ventured a few steps into the bailey then darted behind three horses a boy was leading to the stables. She stuck to the castle wall shadows, gliding from one to the other until she made it to the keep entrance.
A guard stepped in front of her.
Beatrice froze, her heart in her throat.
"My lady." He bowed his head and turned away, scanning the busy bailey.
Her knees sagged in relief. She hurried into the keep, avoiding the hall. Fisting her skirts in her hand, she dashed up the stairs. Once she made her chamber, she would be safe from prying eyes. They were lucky at Anglesea to have the top floor so divided. If she were in an older keep, she might have to make a dash for safety across a wide-open space.
She threw open the door and slipped into her chamber.
"There you are." Nurse pounced.
Beatrice screamed and clapped her hand over her mouth.
Hands on her ample hips, Nurse glared from below her wimple. As usual, Nurse's wimple rested just above her eyebrows and pressed her face inward. "Where have you been?"
Beatrice needed a story, something to explain her absence. Her mind emptied.
"Saints," Nurse shrieked. "Is that your new silk?" Nurse's sharp eyes narrowed on the hemline. "And is that dust on your new silk?"
"What is all the bustle?" Beatrice tried for distraction.
"You should well ask." Nurse charged toward her. "Your uncle has sent word he arrives in time for the evening meal."
"Godfrey?" That would explain all the people about. "Do you think he brings word from London?"
"How would I know such a thing?" Nurse folded to her knees with a sigh. She grabbed Beatrice's hem and examined it minutely. "Why have you got grass stains on your gown?"
"Leave it." Beatrice wrested the material from Nurse. She wanted to hear more about Godfrey and what was happening in London.
"I will not." Nurse held firm. "I cannot abide to see a fine fabric ruined. Stand still and I will brush these out. What are you doing wearing your best gown, anyway?"
"I merely wanted to wear it." Beatrice waved an airy hand. She looked toward the embroidered flowers clambering the silk of her bed curtains. Anywhere but at nurse and those bright, beady eyes.
Nurse yanked on her skirt, forcing her closer. "Where have you been that demands your best gown and you leaving the keep?"
"I went for a walk. That is no sin, is it?" The lies were piling up in her throat, faster than flies on bad meat, waiting to gush out of her mouth.
"You went for a walk?"
"To the beech thicket." Heat crept up her face, and she cursed mentally.
Nurse sank back on her heels and studied her. "And what was there in the beech thicket that had you all dressed up like a dog's dinner?"
"Nothing." Beatrice threw her arms up. "I wanted to wear the dress. Then I got bored and went for a walk."
"Hmmm." Nurse pursed her lips. "You are keeping secrets, my girl. I can see them on your face."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Sweet Bea"
Copyright © 2014 Sarah Hegger.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'll start by saying that I don't usually read historical romance, but when I saw the cover and read the blurb, I knew I had to read Sweet Bea! It is a fantastic story! Bea is a wonderful heroine. I immediately liked her. Garrett really changes over the course of the book, and his transformation is phenomenal. Their romance, their chemistry is woven so well in the pages, the reader is riveted to every word. The plot and the characters made this such a rich, satisfying read. I recommend Sarah Hegger's books to everyone!
good book i highly recommend
Loved Bea and Garret...Ivy, Tom, and Newt. Absolutely adore them...and now, this author. Five star writing, easily.
Enjoyable read that has adventure and sweet love. Part of a series. 226 pages
*This book has a feisty heroine, an anquished hero and wonderful secondary characters..
Everything a Romance Novel Should Be! Sweet Bea had it all. First and foremost, it had a heroine who melted my heart. Beatrice is funny, naïve, determined, adorable and surprisingly brave. While she melts you, Garret will break your heart. His need for revenge is great but his good nature shines through almost from the beginning. Ms. Hegger manages a thrilling and sometimes gory story while keeping romance central. The adventure she takes you on will make you laugh, cry and cringe. The violence of the age is highlighted but so is the romance and her descriptions are perfection. I loved the secondary characters almost as much. A righteous stable hand, a damaged woman and a reprobate child all come to life on the page. Bea’s family is just as fascinating and I can’t wait for the next book in this series about her sister, Faye.
This was a truly engaging and delightful read. The story had a good pace and a wonderful blend of romance and action. It caused me to work through a range of emotions throughout the story. The characters were truly charming and I can't wait to read the next installment in the series!
This book was a dramatic telling of a young girl's quest for adventure and her need to save her family. During the time of King John, there was always some sort of intrigue, espionage and political folderol. Beatrice of Anglesea is the baby of the family, preceded in the birth order by a lovely sisters and three strong brothers. All her life, she's been nothing more than Sweet Be a to them, a child prone to mishaps and hijinks. For that reason, when she sees an opportunity to make a difference for her family, she takes it. She seeks the assistance of Garrett, the handsome man who has captured her heart. Unfortunately, Garrett is a typical cur - just leading her on as he seeks his revenge for her father's act of war upon his. Poor Bea. She certainly isn't expecting this turn of events. Here's what I love about this book. Sarah Hegger took a prancing little princess and grew her into a brave, sensible, strong woman. Hegger also moved Garrett from being a jerk, bent on revenge to being a man so deeply in love with his former target that he’d do anything for her. If you love historical romance, especially stories set in the medieval period, this is the book for you.
Such a solid read! Adventure, character growth, deep emotion--it's all there. I'm still not sure which character I enjoyed more. Bea's personality is so light and lovely, the kind of heroine you love to cheer on. Garrett--well, he has some significant growth. Sarah Hegger did an exceptional job of taking a man with a twisted heart and guiding him to goodness. Another thing I enjoyed--the description. The author's words were so well crafted I found myself easily falling into medieval times and experiencing the journey along with her characters. This is my second read by this author and I'm convinced she's one I can rely on to consistently delivery great stories.
A very sweet, delight of a read, Sweet Bea was a lovely historical romance that I really enjoyed. It was a charming read and I really liked it. Bea was a wonderful heroine. She really was a genuinely sweet, kind, and just an overall likable character. Yes, she was impulsive and had a tendency to act first, think later, but it was always with the best of intentions. She was a lovely character and I really liked her. Garrett didn't make the best first impression. Not only did he come off as cold, but I also didn't appreciate that he was jumping into bed with the town whore while he was trying to woo Beatrice. But, as the book went on, he began to change. He proved that he was capable of kindness and, once he realized that he was in love, nothing came before Beatrice's happiness. In the end, I rather liked him. The romance was lovely. Bea and Garrett were very sweet together. Even with the obstacles between them, it was clear from the beginning that they had something special. And, there was some chemistry between them that turned the heat up. The plot was well paced and I was kept interested the entire way through. I really liked the story and the ending was lovely. Sweet Bea was a wonderful, charming historical romance that I really liked. It was sweet, lovely, and I enjoyed it all the way through. Romance lovers, this is a book worth checking out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review