Lord Alex Stelton can't resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it's his. Desperate for land of his own, he'll do anything to win the estateeven enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.
Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she'd never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.
Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can't get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they'll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.
About the Author
Ruth A. Casie has always had stories in her head. Encouraged by family and friends this ballroom dancing, Sudoku playing, gourmet has given way to her inner muse writing the books she loves to read. Now, rather than writing marketing materials she writes historical fantasies about strong men and empowered women and how they cope with unexpected challenges. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information visit www.RuthACasie.com.
Read an Excerpt
Northumberland, England, 1290
"You won the wager with His Majesty," said Lord Bryce Mitchell astride his Arabian. He cantered down the forest trail with Alex Stelton, the newly minted Lord of Glen Kirk Castle.
"The entire court placed odds on whether I would succeed." The two men slowed their horses to a walk. Alex glanced at Bryce. "Did you lose much?" He refocused his attention on the trail ahead. "You should have put your coin on me. I only wager when I'm certain of the results."
"After one year of holding the old stones against the Scots, he actually gifted the castle and his ward to you." Bryce shook his head.
The ring of surprise in Bryce's voice and evident disbelief on his face amused Alex. "His Majesty is a man of his word. Did you have any doubt?" asked Alex, his head cocked to the side with one eyebrow raised. His face split into a wide grin.
"About the king being a man of his word or of you holding off the Scots?" Bryce colored his smooth retort with a smirk.
The two friends looked at each other, exploded into laughter, and continued on until they reached the crossroads where they brought their horses to a halt. The tower of Glen Kirk Castle, bathed in the setting sun, peeked through the trees still some three miles to the north. Alex surveyed his new holding. His chest swelled with pride. Mine.
"Though Edward did make you pay."
Alex was peeved by Bryce's patronizing tone. He masked his emotions until they were as unreadable as stone.
"Yes, you could say that." Alex tried his best dismissive tone. Best he forget the king's retribution for now. There would be time enough to deal with it later.
"Could? Surely you knew if he lost the wager he would find some way to make you pay. He doesn't lose gracefully at anything, but to actually marry you to his ward by proxy. I can still see the apoplectic look on your face."
"Yes, Brycewhat about the look on my face?" demanded Alex. His voice sounded strident even to him.
Bryce turned all shades of purple trying to conceal his mirth but he said not one word more. Instead he diverted his attention and polished the gold clasp, embossed with the Mitchell coat of arms, on his cloak.
Alex bristled at being the center of anyone's jest. He didn't take it well from his brothers, although the six of them only teased to vex him. Even though he was the youngest, his brothers deferred to him. They knew his worth and, it appeared, so did the king.
His teeth clenched at the thought of his proxy wedding and his humiliation. He knew he had to take a wife. He had to make his own way in the world. The Stelton holdings were extensive but not enough to provide him with an income. He'd have done anything to prove himself worthy of a holding of his own. Maybe even marry. Perhaps even Lisbeth. He never thought he would marry on the whim of the king. He had tried to argue, but there was no arguing with Edward. Faith, the king all but patted him on his head and sent him off like a new page. A page. He raked his hand through his hair.
With a nod of his head, Bryce motioned toward Glen Kirk in the distance. "Marrying Lisbeth does secure your claim to Glen Kirk."
Lisbeth. He had lived at Glen Kirk for a year and hardly saw her. The only way he knew she was near was the little charms she left or the serenity that surrounded them. She kept herself in the forsaken hunting lodge and managed to elude him at almost every turn.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"The Guardian's Witch” Ruth Casie- This was the first book I believe I've read/listened to by Ms. Casie. I have downloaded several more and look forward to reading them. She has an excellent style of writing that makes one feel included in the story. I would recommend this book &/or audio book to any of my friends that like to read a good romance story without getting too bogged down in erotic sex scenes. She handled that part of the book perfectly in my opinion. I very much enjoyed it. I really don't like to give away too much of the meat of the story as I'm afraid it will spoil the experience for others. There were several moments that Ms. Casie sprinkled throughout the story that I found to be touching and/or very intriguing. There were actually several memorable moments scattered throughout the story, The Guardian’s Witch, that I especially liked, however, I can only imagine how Lisbeth felt when she overheard Alex's claim on her, especially since he had not worked up the courage to tell her about their marriage. I read the book first then listened to the audible version since I liked the book so much. In the audible version, I enjoyed the smoothness of the narrator and the ability to shift between characters seamlessly. Lizbeth and Alex both were favorite characters of mine, and to Ms. Dawsons credit, I felt she did and outstanding job of pulling me into the story with her voice.
If I could choose to live in one century in history, it would be the 13th century. I can’t tell you what it is about that time period that I love so much. All I know is that historical romances written in the 13th century are some of my all-time favorites. When I heard that Ruth A. Casie had written a historical romance with magical elements in the 13th century, I jumped in with both feet. Lisbeth comes from a long line of healers. Everyone in the village near Glen Kirk respects her for her compassion and special knowledge of herbs and tonics, even the King of England. When the King sends her Lord Alex as Protector of Glen Kirk, little does she know that her life will be forever altered. There’s something about Lord Alex, something she can’t place her finger on, that is, until he’s mortally wounded. Lord Alex is desperate to escape court and for a land of his own. The King gives him the coveted Glen Kirk (near the border of Scotland) along with the beautiful Lady Lisbeth as his bride. Alex groans but goes ahead with the plan. But before he can tell Lisbeth they’re married by proxy, he’s attacked and almost dies. Lisbeth saves Alex on more than one occasion and she begins to wonder if he’s the man for her. She certainly has intoxicating dreams about him. But she’s afraid, deeply afraid of losing him like she lost her parents and brother. Can she trust Alex enough to let him into her heart and once inside, can she share her deepest secret or will she lose him forever? A beautiful historical romance filled with intriguing characters, a complex plot with twists and turns, magical elements and a love story that made me swoon. I loved both Alex and Lisbeth (not to mention their parents) as main characters and once again, Ruth A. Casie creates a love so deep, not even death can stop it. She reveals both of them have trust issues (as well as other personality insecurities) and that just made them all the more likable. The plot, with all its historical details and surprises, was a pleasure to work through. Alex and Lisbeth go through a lot (and I mean a lot) of ups and downs but it all makes sense when you get to the climax. Ruth A. Casie wove quite a bit of suspense which I loved. I couldn’t turn the pages fast-enough. I read this book in two sittings and I highly recommend it! I’m hoping the author makes this a series as I would love to hear more about Alex’s parents and his six brothers. This is one of my favorite historical romances of all time! Favorite Character: My favorite character is Lisbeth and here’s why: she reminds me of myself if I was in the 13th century. She’s tormented by the death of her parents, deathly afraid of letting any man into her heart, a healer who has a gentle spirit, a passionate woman and quite independent. Even when people tell her to do something (like stay inside the castle walls), she’s a tad stubborn. Now, I’m not admitting to being a healer or a witch but the essence of Lisbeth is very similar to mine. She’s an extremely likable character and I want to learn more about her parents (hint, hint Ruth A. Casie). Favorite Quote: “She’d brought many a warrior to his knees saving their lives. He would be no exception.” ~Lisbeth My Rating: 5+ stars
I got the sample for this book. It was 5 pages and that included what the publisher was releasing in new books. Not one page of the story.
If you love fantasy, you'll love this novel. Ruth A. Casie does an amazing job at weaving words into a story that takes you back in time. The descriptions, dialect, and characters all work together to create a book that is impossible to put down.
Alex Stelton, Lord of Glen Kirk Castle is kept busy battling raiders and mysterious attempts on his life. While trying to figure out who is attacking his people and who wishes him dead, he must also find a way to tell Lisbeth that the king had them married by proxy... Lisbeth has had most of her family murdered and with her special powers she tries to isolate herself in fear of being named a witch. The two of them find that falling in love and working together to protect their home is the answer to their happiness.