The Knight’s Runaway Maiden
She hates all Warstones.
Can this one win her love?
Balthus of Warstone secretly loved Séverine, even though she was unhappily married to his brute of a brother, then she fled six years ago. Now her husband is dead, Balthus must find Séverine and reclaim her sons as his father’s heirs. Balthus’ desire is to claim her too, and despite his battle-maimed arm and her distrust of his family, he’ll prove he’s a suitor worthy of such a courageous woman…
Author Bio –
Nicole is the author of Harlequin/Mills and Boon Lovers and Legends Historical series. If she isn’t working on the next book, she can be reached at NicoleLocke.com, Facebook, and Twitter!
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Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of The Knight’s Runaway Maiden (Open to US and Canada Only)
*Terms and Conditions –US and Canada entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Six years ago, Séverine of Marteldois, took her two children and ran from her cruel husband, Ian of Warstone. His brother, Balthus, has been chasing her. In this scene, he chased her right over the trap she set for him and he fell into the pit. He already wanted revenge because she ran from his family; what will he do when he realises he can’t get out? More importantly, what will she do now she’s caught him?
‘I think you pushed him too hard into the hole you had made, Mama,’ Pepin announced.
‘She did not,’ Clovis said. ‘How else was he to fall in the hole unless she pushed him? And it’s a trap. Remember Imbert told us it took months to dig and line with smooth wood like that.’
It was the perfect trap, built inside a hut so no one from the outside could see it, and the truth of what she’d done in hitting Balthus of Warstone over the head and shoving him into it made her stomach curl.
After a few weeks of travel, they’d arrived at their destination. A small village where she had separated from the last of Ian’s servants who’d left with her that fateful day. Sarah and Imbert, the stablemaster, more friends than servants, had helped her enlist the others in the household.
They’d stayed together the longest until this village where she’d given Imbert coin to organise this hut and trap. Wind blasted against the sides of the thin structure. The rain had turned to snow then to slush. The weather was bitter and caustic. Even if they wanted to travel again, it would not be wise. She might have trapped Balthus of Warstone in the pit, but the weather had trapped her, too. It was just as well as she needed to know what danger he’d brought to this tiny village and to her.
‘Tell me what happened,’ she said.
‘It was only him,’ Clovis said. ‘He’s not the man you hit.’
‘Mama doesn’t hit!’ Pepin shouted.
‘Pepin,’ she pleaded. ‘Please.’
Glaring at his brother, Clovis added, ‘He slowed the horse when he got into the square and dismounted. That’s when we showed ourselves to him and ran.’
‘He got lost then!’ Pepin said.
‘And Sarah saw us,’ Clovis added.
Sarah, who must have immediately run to her to tell her to wait in the hut and prepare. So she had, right behind the door.
‘What then?’ she asked.
‘I went to the woods like you told me to,’ Pepin said.
‘And a good boy you are for doing so.’ The villagers were about so if harm came, he would be protected, but the woods was his favourite place to hide.
‘I ran here,’ Clovis said.
Clovis had burst through, closed the door and run around to the far side. Balthus hadn’t fought, hadn’t known he’d needed to fight because she’d cracked him over the head with a sturdy branch, pushed, and all that was left had been the sound his body had made when he’d hit the bottom.
Pepin peered over the smooth ledge. ‘Do you think his legs are broken?’
What had she done? She’d hit Balthus on the head merely to disorientate him, but even that felt like too much the way he’d suddenly swayed, then she hadn’t meant to push him so hard, but she was terrified it wouldn’t work. Was it possible he’d broken his legs, his arms…his neck? She hadn’t heard anything snap, but then she could barely hear anything over the roaring in her ears. With far more trepidation than her children’s, she tried to see to the bottom of the pit.
It was as dark as night…which was her intention because enemies didn’t deserve to see. But now she realised it was too dark.
She should be glad she’d hit and shoved him too hard. The entire family deserved pain, agony, and yet she felt ill. She needed to know if he’d survived.
‘Clovis, is he still…breathing?’
Eagerly lying near the edge, Clovis peered down; Pepin mimicked him. She threw more kindling on the fire. Perhaps more light up here would provide more light down there.
Fear was closing off her senses… What would she do if the youngest Warstone was dead? Could any amount of hiding save her sons from the family then? And where was the servant she’d first injured?
‘When you ran here, did you see anyone else with him?’
‘No, Mama,’ Pepin said. ‘Did he ruin your hide-and-seek, too?’
‘He’s not moving,’ Clovis said. She’d go mad with this conversation reciting all her fears! She’d hoped this village would be a haven for approaching spring. She wished, fervently, that Balthus had never found her. She didn’t want to run again. But there was no running from a dead Warstone.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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