After the atrocities of the Crusades, Guy of Bournwood has returned home to nurse his wounds. Only the pure young woman he hears singing in the village brings him any joy. When he learns Claire is to be married, he faces the unthinkable - that another man will take her innocence. His only choice is to take her virginity himself. TO MY READER: Historians don't agree on whether medieval lords actually exercised their Droit de Siegneur, but it makes for a good story. Who could resist healing a brave knight who's been wounded in body and soul? ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Gaines has been writing erotic romance since its beginning with Secrets, Volume 1. She likes strong heroes with a tender side to them and heroines who can keep their men in line. When she's not writing hot, hot romance, she enjoys cooking and vegetable gardening. She loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website at www.authoralicegaines.com. EXCERPT: She walked to a window and looked out. The river ran near the tower wall. Beyond that, the landscape lay hidden in shadows, but if she squinted, her father's plot came into view. Their cottage stood at one end. Her parents and sisters would find their beds soon so they could rise with the sun in the morning to work the fields. Were they fearing for her now? And what of Tom? Alone in his room at the mill. He must be thinking of his new wife and the night she'd spend in the embrace of another man. The man in question came to stand behind her and rested his hands on the sill on either side of her. This close, his heat wrapped around her. The night could do its best to chill her, but Guy of Bournwood and his warmth would ward off any cold. "The perfect spot to watch for trouble." His voice sounded low and rich in her ear and vibrated through her bones. "I can see everything for miles." "Do you expect trouble?" "I depend on it." "The people would never rise against you." They'd mostly likely be slaughtered if they tried. "True, but I had to fight rivals for my brother's land," he said. "And, we're not so far from the ocean that the Vikings couldn't raid." "Vikings," she said. "I've heard of what they do." "I've beaten them off before and can again." He stopped speaking, but he stepped an inch or so closer to her. "You're safe this night, little bird." Little bird. No one had ever called her anything like that before. He said it so softly, as if crooning to a babe. She could have turned around to study him, but that would bring her too close to him. Even at her back, his size overpowered her. She'd never stood this near to a man except for her father and Tom. As different as they were from her own body, they didn't mark foreign territory the way Guy did. Maybe once she'd known him intimately, she'd feel different. Now, the trembling returned. He rubbed her arms-the first time he'd touched except for taking her hand briefly to lead her from the bailey into the great hall. Did intimacy begin this way? Would kisses follow and then the penetration her mother had told her of? If only she knew what to expect. She could fight off the fear if she had the knowledge. He turned her slowly so that she stood in a light embrace. The tips of her breasts grazed his chest. A jolt of sensation rushed through-hot and liquid and pleasant. She put her palms against his muscles. He might have been made of stone, he was so solid. He took her hands in his and brought them to his mouth for a kiss. Compared to the rest of him, his lips felt like velvet. After a moment of gentleness, he released her fingers and stepped back. "Get undressed."
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