Lauren Linwood here, and I’m thrilled that today Book 2 in The Knights of Valor series is out!
Marked by Honor gives Raynor Le Roux a chance at lasting love. I introduced him in Word of Honor. He was my hero Geoffrey de Montfort’s best friend and cousin and didn’t land the woman of his dreams, Merryn Mantel. Geoffrey and Merryn were meant to be together, so I cruelly sent Raynor off with a broken heart. Thank goodness a feisty heroine named Beatrice Bordel is waiting for him.
Lady Beatrice Bordel blames herself for the riding accident that cost her father his life when she was a child. Tragedy strikes again when her mother and grandfather die on the same day, leaving her homeless. The young woman decides to travel to visit her grandfather’s closest friend, hoping she can use her domestic skills and lute-playing talent to find a permanent place in his household. Barely into her journey, a band of highwaymen accosts Beatrice and her sole servant. All seems lost—until Raynor Le Roux arrives.
As a knight of the realm, the code of chivalry guides Raynor’s life. While returning to his family’s home after many months absence, he rescues Beatrice, who tells a white lie to this handsome stranger. Raynor takes her to safety at Ashcroft, but his home has changed during his time away. No longer a thriving estate, Ashcroft has fallen into disrepair because his brother Peter is no longer interested in its welfare after his wife’s untimely death. Raynor determines to restore his home before he escorts Beatrice north so she may unite with the man he believes is her betrothed.
The couple’s growing attraction turns to love, but Beatrice’s dishonesty stands between her and Raynor’s happiness. Will she finally tell him the truth—and hope he forgives her deception—or will it be too late?
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Dusk turned the corner into dark. Raynor slowed Fury some. Though familiar with the road, he did not want to have the horse stumble and break a leg. He was only half an hour’s ride from Ashcroft—
Raynor pulled up. An unearthly scream sounded in the distance. He urged his horse on and saw light ahead.
As he drew closer, he realized the light was a fire. Raynor arrived and tried to make sense of the scene.
A woman rolled about the ground. One charred body lay next to a burning cart, its flames licking the night air. Another body had an ax thrust into its neck. He spied another fallen man several feet in front of the cart.
By the Christ, what had happened here?
Raynor flung himself from Fury. The woman crawled toward the burning cart. Part of her cloak had burned away. He didn’t know if she had been able to put out the fire before it damaged her skin. She must be delirious. He needed to keep her from approaching the vehicle, which looked ready to collapse. He didn’t want the woman pinned beneath it.
She staggered to her feet. Raynor spied another man rise from the ground, a lute in his hand.
The woman roared in anger. She threw herself at the man, landing upon his back. She wrapped her arms around his neck and locked her legs about his waist.
“Drop my lute!” she demanded, her voice a low growl.
The man, his back to Raynor and unaware of a newcomer’s presence, bucked as an unbroken horse, trying to fling her off.
Raynor took the man holding the lute and at least some of the dead scattered upon the road for highwaymen who had attacked the woman and the cart, looking for treasures.
The robber turned in circles as he grappled with the woman, his head facing downward. Raynor locked eyes with her and motioned for her to release her grasp. She shook her head emphatically, which he took as meaning no.
He took a few more steps toward the pair as the man relaxed his fingers. Raynor leaned over and caught the falling lute and placed it gently upon the ground.
The woman bit her lip as if contemplating what to do next.
“I shall deal with him,” he said quietly.
In response, she flung her legs from the man and released the stranglehold she had on his neck, dropping to the ground and taking a step back as she bent to retrieve her lute.
The thief stumbled a moment. He whipped a knife from his belt and wheeled to face the woman.
Raynor’s anger exploded. He closed the distance between him and the highwayman, brandishing his sword.
“Take on someone your own size, man, not a slip of a woman.”
The thief spun around and caught Raynor’s upper arm with the dagger, slicing through his flesh.
Without hesitation, Raynor ran his sword through the man.
You can find Marked by Honor, Knights of Valor Book 2 in ebook & paperback at:
And don’t forget Word of Honor, Knights of Valor Book 1!