1365 A.D. - After the Earl of Sandbourne banishes his supposedly unfaithful wife to a convent, his young son Michael swears never to set foot on the family’s estate until after his father’s death. Michael will then claim his title as the new earl and restore his beloved mother to a place of honor.
Fifteen years pass, and the now-knighted Sir Michael Devereux serves Lord Geoffrey de Montfort at Kinwick Castle. He accompanies the nobleman and his family to a wedding, where Michael unknowingly falls in love with the bride before he even knows her identity.
Lady Elysande Le Cler is angry that her usually indulgent father went against her wishes and betrothed her to a stranger prior to his death. Now as her wedding day approaches, dread fills her—until she meets a dashing stranger who helps her deliver a foal. Elysande loses her heart to this knight, frustrated that they can never be together.
Join Michael and Elysande as they find fate has other plans in store for them.
Michael's touch sent a shock through her. A low humming seemed to vibrate between them.
“I know you feel what’s between us,” he said, his voice low, the yearning unmistakable.
“Aye,” she replied, her breath shallow and rapid.
He gave her a crooked smile. “We are but strangers, yet I feel I’ve known you for a lifetime.”
Elysande’s eyes welled with tears. “But we have no future, Michael.”
His hands tightened on her elbows. “I don’t know how I’ll live through each day to come not having you by my side.” His hands slid up her arms to her shoulders. His fingers caressed her neck.
Elysande boldly told him, “I’ve never been kissed, Michael. ‘Twould be my fondest wish for you to be the first man to do so. I would like to hold that memory in my heart for all time.”
He hesitated. She knew if he were a knight of her uncle’s that he must be the most honorable of men. He wouldn’t act in an unchivalrous manner.
But she wanted him. Here. Now. If she did not have his kiss, she might wither and die.
So Elysande took charge like a knight riding into battle.
Their lips met. Hot desire, something she’d never known, raced through her limbs, dissolving her bones. Michael’s arms enfolded her, drawing her near. His tongue slid along the seam of her lips, teasing her, opening them for an adventure she had yet to experience. Then his tongue thrust into her mouth, dancing with hers, dueling, possessing her with a heat that spread throughout her body. Every sense came alive.
Elysande’s fingers pushed deeper into his hair as his hands roamed her back and slipped to her buttocks. He squeezed them, pulling her against him. She felt his manhood, hard against her, frightening her and yet bringing a sense of wonderment. She aroused these feelings in him. He caused her to burn with want of him.
Again and again his kisses branded her. His lips moved to her throat, burning a hot trail to the swell of her breast. His stubble scraped the tender flesh as his hand cupped her breast. It swelled, filling his palm. Elysande thought she might go up in flames and burn the stables to the ground, so great was the heat generated between them.
Suddenly, it ended. Michael’s mouth was gone. His hands fell to his side. A winter’s cold seemed to embrace her now that his warmth had fled.
“Michael?” she asked, not knowing how to form any word beyond his name.
He cradled her face, stroking his thumbs against her cheeks.
“You’re perfection, my love. My one true love. My sweet Elysande.” His last words were but a whisper.
She heard the strong emotion in them, causing his voice to go low and thick.
He kissed her once again, hard and swift, then pulled away.
“God forgive me,” he muttered and stormed from the stall.