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Defiant Surrender - A Medieval Time Travel Romance (Ebook)

Defiant Surrender - A Medieval Time Travel Romance (Ebook)

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Unlucky in love, Maddie St. Clair hides behind an antique store and her mudlarking hobby. That is until she finds a medieval ring that throws her back to 1102 Cumberland and into the life of Lady Madeline Vincent, heiress to Norman lands and about to be married to an autocratic Baron, William Dowell, nine hundred years her senior.

Lord William Dowell protects his own. Usually, from his closest neighbor and long standing foe the Baron of Aimecourt. Forced to marry his dead enemy’s daughter, Lady Madeline, by King’s decree, he hides his growing respect for his wife behind a wanton mistress. Yet when Madeline’s life is threatened, William’s loyalty to his kin is tested by the astonishing desire that flares between them. Not to mention the love that Madeline ignites that would last an eternity. If fate will allow . . .

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England 1078 - Cumberland

Vanessa cuddled her babe close, the little girl’s cry torn away by the raging wind. The air bit into her skin to the point of pain. Still, she waited. Would not leave until her lover’s warming strength enclosed them both and gave them sanctuary.
She struggled to her feet as a door hidden within the stone walls of the gatehouse opened. A door she’d used often. The person she waited for and longed to see stepped forward. Wrapped in a fur cloak, he looked warm and well fed. His attractive visage with the short beard along his jaw heated her blood and inspired the desire to run her hands against his hard flesh.
“Why did you summon me, Vanessa?”
She started at the harshness of his words and looked into unforgiving eyes that were nothing like she remembered. His voice resonated with loathing and distaste, a tone he had never used before with her. Such severity was normally directed toward his wife or serfs. Never her.
“My lord, I have birthed our daughter. Look.” She pulled the shawl away and smiled at the babe as love blossomed within her. “She is yours.”
He cast their child a cursory glance before his eyes, vacant of warmth or interest, met hers again.
“What of it?”
“I had thought—” Vanessa’s words trailed off. Her lover had become a stranger. She willed him to look at her as he once did, like a man in love who cared for her well-being and happiness. After all the months she had spent in his bed, had acquiesced to his every need it was not possible he could now feel...nothing! Panic tore through her breast when she realized the truth.
Vanessa pulled forth all the dignity she could muster, before lifting her chin as scornful eyes scrutinized her dirty gown and unwashed hair.
“What of it?” he asked again.
The cold penetrated Vanessa’s thin shawl, but it was not the elements this night that made her shiver. His lordship’s voice, emotionless and hard, chilled her blood and all hope dissipated.
“You had said, my lord—”
“What, woman?” he bellowed. “That I would take care of you?” His Lordship sneered. “Why, that babe is probably not even mine.”
Vanessa gasped.
“You are a fool if you think I’ll acknowledge your child as my blood. I have a wife, and a legitimate babe on the way to secure my wealth and family line. I’ve no need for a bastard. Off with you, woman! Do not let your shadow darken my lands again.”
Dread crashed over her like a fallen tree. Vanessa’s arms tightened with fear and the baby mewed in protest. She eased her hold and stepped forward.
“But, my lord, where will we go? I have nothing. My family are not even from these parts.” She grabbed at his arm, stumbling when he wrenched it away. “Anthony,” she pleaded, “you must help me!” Tears welled at such harsh treatment. Vanessa shook her head. Her heart refused to acknowledge his callous, cold manner, though her mind reeled. He no longer loved her, nor even cared.
She had been used as a temporary bedmate for a peer of the realm.
His hawk-like features revealed no trace of sympathy as he reached into his pocket, pulling out some coins, and throwing them at her feet. The hem of his fur cloak slapped her leg as he turned and ordered the door bolted. The sound of the lock putting paid to her services.
Vanessa bent down, picked up the minuscule amount of coin and stared, stunned, at the cold stone structure. With the wooden door now firmly shut in her face, there was little choice but to place the meager amount into her pocket. She swallowed threatening tears as the taunting sound of the guard’s laughter echoed behind the oak. Distant flickering lights paved her way toward the village and she wrapped the shawl tighter around them both and walked away.
She needed to get back to London. Could only pray her family would welcome her, with a bastard child in tow.
She turned and looked back toward Aimecourt Castle. Anger coursed through her like a burning flame, evaporating any love she once felt for his lordship.
No man treated Vanessa Boulogne in such a way. The Baron of Aimecourt would be the first and last man, she silently vowed, to treat her like a piece of meat to be tossed to the wolves once his own gut was gorged and his hunger quelled.
No, Anthony Vincent would rue the day he had used her so. Chin high and back steely straight, Vanessa walked into the night shadows and an unknown future, promising revenge.
Aimecourt and its grand baron would pay.

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Medieval Romance
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