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Betty Thomason Owens
Sent on a mission to reunite the war-torn kingdom, Lady Jael and Prince William will face a darker enemy than either has ever encountered—will their love survive?
The second novel about Jael of Rogan (the Lady of the Haven), begins when King George Horatio du Frain sends her husband on a mission into the high mountain region of Cragmorton to reunite the far provinces of his kingdom. Jael finds the Vale of Cragmorton a land of splendorous beauty. Upon a high round hill stands the white stone walls of Wrenook and beyond, pastureland stretches to the shores of Lake Greshne, all within the framework of the jagged, snowcapped peaks of the Grand Touri Mountains.
The Cragmortons are as rugged as their surroundings...cold and uncompromising, their lives devastated by the rule of an evil magistrate. The castle has long been empty, its dark halls shrouded in mystery, the scene of a heart-rending tragedy.
When their peaceful reign is interrupted by a dark vision, fulfilled in the personage of a vile enemy from a distant land, who pillages and destroys everything in his path, Prince William must lead his men into battle and Lady Jael must learn to lead a kingdom without him.
A romantic tale of fantasy and high adventure, A Gathering of Eagles is the second Lady of the Haven novel. The Lady of the Haven is also available from AuthorHouse.
In the dead of night, Jael awoke to the sound of crying. She sat up in bed—her heart raced wildly—for it seemed almost as if the cry had come from her. She draped a shawl over her shoulders, crept from the room and drew near to Elizabeth’s quarters, for she assumed it must be Rose crying. As she passed the landing, a movement in the moonlight arrested her. Heart lurching, she retreated behind the corner of the wall and waited there, listening and watching.
A footstep sounded nearby. Jael turned to look and came face to face with Young Will, who seemed agitated.
“My lady, go at once to Aunt Elizabeth and the children. You must all get to the stronghold. I go to my grandmother.”
“What is it?”
He gripped her shoulders. “There is no time, just go.” He ran swiftly and silently away, keeping to the shadows.
Elizabeth was notoriously difficult to wake at times and this cold night was one of those. At Jael’s bidding, the nurse who slept nearby, ran to help prepare the stronghold. Jael took the sleeping Nathaniel up in her arms and then stopped again at Elizabeth’s bed. “Come, Elizabeth, we must hurry. We must get below at once.”
Elizabeth moaned and stretched out her arm. “I am sleeping dear, please do not wake me.”
At a sound from without, Jael laid Nathaniel beside his mother and ran out into the corridor. She could hear voices plainly now. There were men below stairs and the words they spoke were unfamiliar to her. Without a moment’s delay, she ran back to Elizabeth’s quarters and closed the door behind her. Elizabeth, awake now and holding Rose, jumped at Jael’s forceful entry. Jael waved her hands in a shooing motion.
“Get up, we have to go.” She tossed Elizabeth’s cloak at her. “There is no time for explanation.” She took a quick survey of the room and went to throw open the shutters. This proved difficult, but somehow she felt it was important. Perhaps those men would think they had escaped through the window. She took Nathaniel in her arms and sped past Elizabeth into the next room.
Elizabeth ran to and fro. She grabbed her shawl and blanket. “The stronghold—we must get to the stronghold.”
Jael called softly, “There is no time, we cannot now go that way.” She peeked through the doorway. “You must come with me.”
Elizabeth followed, but not without objections. “This is my dressing room, there is no way out of there—we have to get out—” Her voice broke.
Jael stood directly in front of her and looked into her fear-filled eyes. “Calm yourself Elizabeth, for the sake of the children. You have to trust me.”
The sounds outside the rooms told Jael the men were near at hand and apparently destroying everything in their path. At any moment, they would burst through that door. Jael scanned the small interior room and then turned to Elizabeth. “Go to the back corner and kneel down.”
“What? We cannot hide here. They will find us. Oh Jael!”
Jael held her gaze and spoke steadily, but with as much courage as she could muster. “Trust me, Elizabeth. We have only one hope of escape. You must be calm.” She looked at Nathaniel, who was now wide-awake with his lower lip trembling. “You are scaring Nathaniel.”
Elizabeth knelt, holding her sleeping baby close to her breast. Jael set Nathaniel down beside his mother and knelt before him. She caressed his cheek with her hand and spoke softly, looking into his eyes. “Be at peace, Nathaniel, make no sound.” He looked up at her, eyes trusting and laid his head against his mother’s side. Elizabeth encircled his small body with her arm. Her panic-filled eyes met those of her sister-in-law.
As the noises increased on the other side of the door, Jael mouthed the word, “Pray.”