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Historical romance set in England in 1066 AD.
In the year 1066, England struggles against Norman invaders and two strangers cross paths on a pilgrimage fraught with peril - only to discover a love worth any danger...
Battle-weary knight Marc de Sens has never encountered a woman like Sunniva of Wereford: beautiful, brilliant, and miles above the curs who call themselves her kin. Alas, she is promised to another and Marc's obligation is to his three orphaned nieces. But when Sunniva's circumstances suddenly change, March learns the truth about her "betrothal"...
A rough-hewn knight so gentle with children intrigues Sunniva, who never knew a kind word or caring touch from any man until Marc rescued her from the grimmest of fates. When her loutish father and brothers are killed, Sunniva is finally free, but her troubles are far from over. Although March has appointed himself her protector, he has a dark secret - as well as an uncanny ability to disarm her completely...
"Rot in hell and back!" Marc bawled, bringing his sword round in a close, lethal arc that raised sparks on the bastard's belt buckle and rent a bloody welt across his chest. "No sanctuary here - you are dead!"
He stamped on the jerking creature and raised his sword, aiming for the heart, when a low moan beside him had him tumbling to his knees to guard her. At the same instant, her two attackers crawled away, stumbling through the door and out.
Marc let them go. Dropping his sword, he gathered Sunniva into his arms, whispering over and over in Breton, "You are alive. Safe. Safe, my angel. Safe."
He had been so afraid she was harmed that having her trembling but whole beneath his hands was overwhelming. Tears stormed into his eyes, swiftly followed by rage.
Where was her father? Her brothers? Where were the useless escorts, meant to protect?
"Hush, hush," he crooned, rocking her back and forth as he struggled to keep his own grief and anger in check.
He dared not look at her too closely while he had tears in his eyes and looked so unmanned, but the warrior's sense in him told him she was not fatally hurt in the flesh. He could smell no blood or sickness on her and though she shook, she did not grimace or writhe in pain.
The injury to herself, however: her integrity, trust, humor, spirit - Marc furiously blinked away the moisture in his eyes as he prayed that Sunniva would soon recover and forget.
"King Christ, ruler of heaven, let her not be afflicted by night terrors, as my poor Isabella is. Let her know peace."
He should be raising the alarm, since none of the other fools of the pilgrim party seemed to have realized yet that anything was amiss. He should be returning to his own three. In a breath, his memory went back to the fire that had carried off his elder brother Roland and his wife: on that dreadful night he had cradled his niece Alde in his arms, even as he was now clutching Sunniva; he remembered how his and Alde's tears had mingled as they clung to each other.
Sunniva did not cling. She was still too stunned to do anything save take great gasping breaths and shiver. There was a dark, welling bruise on the left side of her cheek and her eye was puckering, threatening to close altogether. Tears had streamed down her face; he saw them glistening near her nose and quivering lips. Such a red, soft mouth -
"Do you hurt anywhere else?" he asked softly, relieved when she shook her head. Longing to wipe away her tears, he held her close.
"Townsend brilliantly transports readers to the turbulent years of the Norman invasion with a tale of a battle-weary knight and a young woman on a perilous pilgrimage. Medieval fans will enjoy the colorful backdrop, historical events and realistic characters.
Sunniva of Wereford accompanies her cantankerous father and brothers on a religious pilgrimage, calmly accepting their abuse. However, she surreptitiously watches Marc de Sens and his three orphaned nieces, yearning for the touch of the gentle knight. But she's to be promised to another.
Marc notices the beautiful Sunniva,and when she's attacked by slavers he rescues her. When her kin are killed in battle he becomes her champion. Despite Marc's secret, his reason for being a Norman in Saxon England and the rumors he is a woman killer, Sunniva still falls in love with him. But will her love sustain her when she learns the truth about Marc's past?"
Red Roses for Authors
"This novel of Saxon/Norman conflict is filled with adventure throughout. Sunniva of Wexford is at the mercy of a brutal, uncaring father and half brothers who treat her as if she is a slave. Travelling on a pilgrimage for the sake of her fatherís painful leg, Sunniva is under constant attack both from her family and from slavers who would sell her as a whore. Her beauty has attracted the attention of Marc de Sens, a Breton knight travelling with his nieces. It is Marc who saves her from brutality and capture, but he has a secret.
Sunniva is falling for Marc, but pretends to have a betrothed waiting for her, because of her fatherís attitude. At first she cannot believe that any man would treat her with kindness and love, but as their journey continues and she is Marcís captive their feelings become impossible to ignore. Yet in such violent times can this mismatched pair ever find peace and happiness?
This is a powerful book, the writing strong, sensual with beautiful descriptive passages. I suggest another winner from this popular author. Five Red Roses."
"Marc de Sens is traveling on a pilgrimage to St. Cuthbert in Northern England with his three nieces. He has been given their guardianship and takes his responsibilities seriously. He wants all three of the girls to be able to feel safe and laugh and have joy in their lives. On the way to the shrine, Marc canít help but notice the beautiful girl accompanying her rude father and disrespectful brothers to the same place. His heart is instantly transfixed on the beauty of this woman, and when he finds out she is betrothed, his sadness if real. However, her engagement is not. Sunniva made up an engagement after learning about Marc from her brothers.
Sunniva canít help but notice the knight that is so gentle and soft spoken with his three charges. Her experience with men has not left her thinking very highly of them. When her brothers and father leave her to go off to war and in turn get killed, Sunniva is alone in the world. Marc promises her he will help her continue her journey, and he does. He just wishes she didnít believe the worst in him.
Sunniva and Marc fall in love, but the path to their happiness is paved with big huge boulders. Every single step forward almost certainty guarantees a step backwards. The biggest hurdle is Sunnivaís belief that Marc is an abuser of women. I watched this loyal and trustworthy knight and my heart went out to him because I knew he was good and kind. However, Lindsay Townsend and her wonderful characters didnít let me down. The love that Marc and Sunniva had for each other finally culminated in a relationship that was almost blessed. A KNIGHTíS CAPTIVE by Lindsay Townsend is a keeper in my book. I canít wait to read it again."
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