Rachel Rossano is visiting my blog today with her newest book release....
After the fealty swearing ceremony, I wanted to sleep. The exhaustion of earlier pulled at my limbs, reminding me of the abuse of the past days. Yet, the troubadour continued to sing of a woman with flame-touched hair. The hero of the tale set off on a foolish quest to win her love by bringing her water from the fountain of youth. I held a small smile on my lips despite the vanity of the lady and the foolishness of her swain. Irvaine was wise enough to know that love cannot be bought with gifts.
“Your smile is slipping.” Irvaine’s hand closed over mine as it lay on the table. “Are you ready to retire?”
I nodded. “I am not accustomed to sleeping on the ground.”
“No ground for you tonight, my love. Tonight there will be a well-stuffed mattress, soft bedding, and me to keep you warm.”
I looked up in surprise to spot Rolendis walking behind him. She passed close enough to hear his words. Irvaine’s free hand brushed beneath my chin, setting my skin on fire as it tilted my face. His thumb grazed the corner of my mouth.
“I wanted to do this all evening.”
His mouth caught mine gently, exploring and savoring. My senses whirled. Catching his forearm, I tried to anchor myself to reality. Instead, the movement of his lips and the delicate pressure of his fingertips against my cheek pulled me into a world of his creating. I fell beneath their spell.
Only when he withdrew a hand’s breadth to study my face did reality gradually reassert itself.
“I should have tried that sooner.” His dark eyes studied my face, lingering on my mouth before returning to gaze deep into my eyes. That was when I realized the murmur of conversations around us had died down. I glanced out at the hall. The troubadour finally finished his song. Most of the crowd’s attention focused on us. I didn’t dare look Rolendis’ way.
With a scrape of wood against stone, Rathenridge rose to his feet and raised his goblet. “Hail Lord Irvaine and his lady, the beautiful Brielle of Wisenvale! May their marriage bring bounty and security!”
Irvaine smiled down at me. Over his shoulder, Rolendis avoided my gaze as she lowered her cup unsipped.
Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a winter of starvation if they do not find a solution soon.
Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king. When that same king demands Tomas marry the impoverished daughter of the late Lord Wisten, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.
Duty: a novel of Rhynan follows their journey from strangers to friends as they face complications from their pasts and the shaky politics of a changing regime. Then Brielle is implicated in her cousin’s treasonous activities. Can a marriage of duty survive treason?
Author of a growing stack of novels, novellas, and short stories, Rachel Rossano balances her time between the chaos of raising and homeschooling her three children and the world of drama and high adventure in her head. With her faithful husband and chief consulting editor by her side, she dreams of many more adventures to come in both of her double lives. Check out her work at http://Rachel-rossano.blogspot.com.
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