Lady Evelyn Montgomery, only daughter of the Baron of Rayne, detests the thought of marriage. She will never allow a man to control her. Crushed by the constraints of propriety, she steals away from the safety of the keep and stumbles onto a plot designed to stir up trouble between England and Scotland. When a mysterious hooded man saves her, she fights her attraction to him as they join forces to hunt down a traitor and save her father. But can she save her heart?
Gabriel is a Shadow Guardian. Hiding beneath his black cowl and blending into the night, he is sworn to protect the Baron's daughter. The spirited Lady Evelyn is far from the delicate flower he anticipated. She makes herself crystal clear, no man will possess her. Can he prove to her that love can be more than just possession? Or will the traitor they seek tear them apart forever?
Fear infused her body, Evelyn had been captured. The fear melted into anger. She thrashed in her captor's arms, twisting and kicking. His gloved hand tightened over her mouth and the other pinned her securely against his chest.
"I mean you no harm," a velvet voice whispered in her ear. "I don't want to bind you, but I will." Evelyn's heel connected with the man's shin. He cursed. "Although you evidently mean to harm me." His voice was calm, suffused with amusement. He carried her to where their horses were tethered.
Evelyn struggled to free herself, but he was much stronger. She was close enough to the keep to call for help, if he would only remove his hand from her mouth. He was all warm muscle against her back, a living, breathing stone wall. His breath caressed the fine hairs on her neck. When he stopped moving, she wedged her mouth open enough to fit her teeth around one of his fingers and bit down. Hard.
"God's blood, woman! I'm trying to help you," he swore in his velvet whisper, then readjusted his hand over her mouth.
So much for that idea. If she had to play along with the rogue, so be it. He held no weapon to her throat. Though his hold on her was firm, he did not cause her pain. His muscles flexed as he shifted her in his grasp. She was keenly aware of every part of him that touched her. Okay, so he had a weapon against her. Though she had yet to see his face, her body betrayed her with its reaction. Evelyn inhaled in an effort to regain her composure and breathed in his scent. It was fresh, earthy, and dangerously sinful. She groaned, embarrassed by her wicked thoughts.
Her captor stilled, his breath quickening. "I will let you go," he murmured. "If you promise to behave." She nodded, relieved when he kept his word.
Evelyn broke from his embrace and spun on him. "Who are you?" she hissed. "What do you want?" She scrutinized the shadowed man before her. He wore all black: boots, leggings, tunic, and cloak. The hood covering his head was positioned low purposefully to hide his face from scrutiny.
The man proffered a sardonic bow, waving his arm with a flourish. "I am your humble servant, my lady."
The humor in his voice made her wary of his intent. "How did you know I was here?"
"I followed you," he answered.
She swallowed the lump in her throat. Following her? The words of Sir Alexander echoed in her mind. She should have taken a guard. "Why did you not make your presence known?"
"That would not have served my purpose, my lady," he replied as he leaned against a tree, melding into the shadows. Since he seemed more amused than disturbed by her questions, she asked another.
"Why did you grab me?" she demanded, licking her dry lips. Formidable and mysterious, this man of the shadows aroused her curiosity.
"Ensuring your safety. You're not as quiet as you think you are."
Evelyn bristled. She was proud, unwilling to admit he was right. "Who do you think you are?" Her voice rose in pitch and fervor. "First, you follow me, then accost me, and finally insult me. You, sir, are playing a dangerous game. I should turn you over to the night watch." She poked him in the chest. "I don't need your help. I can take care of myself." Evelyn turned looking for her horse.
"I can see that."
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Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.
Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.
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