Lady Of Shadows

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Rhianna must marry the son of the man that killed her mother – what dark secrets lie hidden in the past?
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Author: Anne Ireland
Description

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Release: June 22, 2012

Editor: Carrie RO

Line Editor: Nan Swanson

Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek

Words: 68967

Pages: 189

ISBN: 978-1-77127-075-5

Price: $5.95


Back Cover:

Rhianna is the Lady of Shadows.  She is forced into marriage with a man she believes she hates and yet something inside her is drawn to him.  He is her enemy but he fascinates her and her heart is captured despite her determination to punish him for what his father did on the night of the Crimson Moon.

Robert is drawn to the beautiful girl with shadows in her eyes, but his father killed her mother and there has been too much bitterness between their families.  He believed his father’s curse lies on him and fears the terrible dreams that haunt him.  Is his wife truly a sorceress and can she cure him – will she?

Rhianna has learned to love her husband, but when he discovers she is not virgin he flings her from him and threatens to thrash her.  She has deceived him – how can he ever trust her now?

In vain Rhianna begs for understanding.  Her cousin raped her and that was the reason she was fleeing from her home when he found her.  She begs Robert to forgive her but he will not listen. Although he craves her body he will not admit to love and he leaves her to go to war.  Rhianna does not know whether he will return for her – and even if he does will he ever forgive her.  He already believes her a witch and she is beginning to understand she has the power that was her mother’s…


 

Excerpt:

“No, Mama, no.” My terrified cries echoed from the stone walls of my mother’s chamber as Wenna tried to prise me free of her skirts. “Please do not make me go...”

From outside came the sounds of shouting, the roll of heavy wheels as they brought the great engines of war close to the castle walls, and the clash of wood thudding against the gates. Every now and then there was a fearsome roar as the attackers made a fresh assault on our walls, sending their fireballs into our courtyards, and then screams as our defenders poured burning oil down on their heads.

“Go with Morwenna, child.” Her voice calmed me as always.  She stroked my hair, which was so like hers, flame-red and wild, with a will of its own.  “You know that I do not wish to part from you, Rhianna, but I must stay for without me the men would not stand. I am the lady of Penrith and here I shall live or die.”

“No, Mama.  Let me stay with you. Please, do not send me away.”

She knelt down then, this mother I adored, this woman who was my rock and my world, and looked into my face.

“You will go because I ask it of you, Rhianna, and because you must bear witness.  You must remember what happened here and one day – one day you will take revenge for us all.”

Suddenly I could not hear the sounds of war; there was only silence and a soft warm breeze that swirled about us, holding us two alone in all the world.

“Keep these for me, dearest,” she said and drew over her head the necklace she always wore.  Made of gold and heavy, it had a round medallion with strange markings.  She placed it about my neck and it felt warm where it had lain against her breast.  Into my hand she pressed a small journal.  “These things are important, Rhianna, and one day you will know why.”

“Please let me stay with you.”

My pleading was in vain.  Her eyes held that proud stubborn expression that meant she would yield to no one.  My mother was the lady of Penrith.  Her word was law and her people obeyed her.  To me she was the most powerful person in the world and I adored her.

“You will go as I bid you.  Tonight is the night of the crimson moon.  If you see it you will know that we shall not meet again in this life. It is not given to everyone to see such a terrible sight but I have seen it and so will you. One day you will take my place here and you will know all the things I should have taught you had I been granted time. You will know that sometimes we must all do things we would not wish because it is our duty.”

I tried to cling to her once more but she pushed me back and stood up.

“Whenever you see a crimson moon it means that something evil has taken place.  Remember that, my daughter.  Remember that you are the child of Rowena Morgan and that the power will be yours when the time is right.”

What did she mean?  Others spoke of my mother having the sight or the power of healing, but what did that mean? I was but eleven years of age and to me Lady Rowena Penrith was the most powerful person in the world.  Her beauty was fabled and her voice had the lilt of the valleys.

“Yes, Mama.  One day I shall take revenge for what has happened here.  One day I shall kill the Earl D’Auvergne.”

Her laughter was soft and delicious like thick warm honey.  “If you were a man I should tell you to kill him, to take a life for a life – but you will be a woman and a beautiful one.  Always remember that a woman has other weapons, and sometimes a smile can be sharper than the thrust of a sword.”

“I shall remember everything you have told me.  I love you...”

Wenna’s tore me from my mother’s side and held me firmly clasped against her.

“We must go or it will be too late.  They have started to break through.”

“Take her and protect her with your life, I beg you.  My father is dead but my brother is a decent man and he will take her in for my sake.

“I shall protect her but I wish you would come with us, my lady.”

“I must stay for as long as I am needed, to give courage to my people. I am theirs and they are mine but I would have my daughter safe.  Sir James Morgan will take my child and perhaps one day her father will return to claim her.”

“He should never have deserted you to fight foreign wars.” Morwenna scowled.  “I do not know why you stayed with him these many years.”

“Because I loved him, as I love my land and my people – and my child.”

Wenna took me then, dragging me from the tower room down the twisting stair that led to the great hall. The huge room with its vaulted wood roof was usually a hive of activity, filled with servants busy about their work or my mother’s ladies, visiting knights and pilgrims who stopped here on their way to some shrine or a great church. Today it was empty, stripped of the weapons that hung upon the walls

Everyone was outside, up on the walls or at the foot of ladders, helping to send cauldrons of boiling pitch up to the battlements so that it could be hurled down on the enemy.

The enemy was the English. Led by the Earl D’Auvergne they had demanded that my mother hand over the castle to them but she had refused and now they were intent on breaking down our defences.  My mother had taught me that the Welsh had fought for years to drive the English from our lands. She had told me of stirring battles and victories, of a time when the great English King Henry III had been sent scurrying back to London with his tail between his legs.

“Why do kings have tails, Mama?” I asked in my innocence.

Mama laughed and said that one day I would understand what she meant.  She had taught me about the struggle that had gone on for many years between our two nations. The people of Wales had ever been of a rebellious spirit.  Even the Romans had found it difficult to subdue our people and in the end there had been a kind of truce between us, a respect for an unquenchable spirit.

Always, she had made me wish to learn and my earliest memories were of standing at her knee as she told stories.  I learned of great battles won in Wales and much more.

“You must learn everything, Rhianna,” she told me.  “One day you will need your knowledge to help others.”

“As you do, Mama?”

“Yes, child.”


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