BOOK BLURB: Though she is intended for the king, Calista Thorne picks up a crossbow to defend her ancestral home, Blackbriar Keep, from a gang of landless knights. She even manages to sink a poison-tipped arrow into their commander, who survives long enough to conquer the Keep and claim Calista for his own. Now, with her father’s life at stake, Calista must nurse the brigand back to health, and the strangest thing happens: She finds herself fascinated by his tautly muscled body, and enthralled by his hotly whispered demands.
Ever since his father’s death, the fearsome warrior they call Torch has been consumed by his quest for revenge. Taking Blackbriar Keep is the first step in that plan, and—by the three gods—it won’t be the last. But after taking one look into Calista’s smoldering gray eyes, Torch discovers a passion nobler than retribution. He will fulfill his destiny and take her from the usurper king, even in his weakened state. For with Calista’s love, no man has ever felt more powerful.
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Message from the author:
I want to thank you for hosting me today. I’m really excited about my new release, Destined For a King, because it’s a departure for me. Until now I’ve only published Regency historicals, but I’ve secretly wanted to write fantasy for a while now.
I first read The Lord of the Rings years ago as a teenager. That story started me on this path, but A Song of Ice and Fire pushed me into writing. That series so traumatized me that I had to write a medieval-style fantasy world where happily-ever-afters happened at least somewhat more often than shocking deaths of our favorite characters.
One of my favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings is Éowyn, the lonely shield-maiden who disguises herself as a Rider of Rohan so she can take part in the epic battle before Minas Tirith. In a story populated by so many male characters, she stands out, not only for her bravery but her feminism. When Aragorn tells her she ought to stay behind and lead the women, she gives a surprisingly feminist reply for a book written by a stodgy Oxford English professor in the 1950s:
“All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more.”
Éowyn rides on, of course, into battle at the Pelennor Fields and from there to meet Faramir and ultimately to her HEA.
I like to think Calista Thorne, the heroine of Destined For a King, would identify with Éowyn. Like the shield-maiden, Calista dons battle gear and takes up arms to defend her keep when it is invaded. However, Blackbriar Keep’s invaders are not the forces of evil, but simple men, though they have a fearsome reputation.
Calista stands her ground and shoots the leader, a brigand who goes by the name of Torch. His real name is a secret that just might bring down the kingdom, but Calista does not know this when they meet. To her, he’s simply a honey-tongued rogue who’s far too attractive for his own good.
(I may have had Sam Heughan in the back of my mind when I conceived of Torch.)
But the rogue has taken her father’s keep. When Calista’s wound turns out to be more dangerous than it first appears, she is forced to heal Torch or her father’s life will be forfeit. This situation naturally pushes the pair into even closer proximity, and Calista must fight a growing attraction, despite the fact this man ought to be her enemy.
Will she succeed? Of course not; this is romance. The question is more how long…
“Father, no!” The boy again. And since when was Thorne one to sire bastards? By all accounts he enjoyed a rarity among noble marriages. He loved his wife and remained faithful to her.
Torch forced his eyes to focus so he could study the features more closely—high cheekbones, a delicate jaw, not even the barest shade of a beard. What if the yeoman who had shot him wasn’t truly a lad?
He bit back a smile. “Do you have some objection to my choice of bride? Enough that you would have the insolence to voice your opinions before your lord and a roomful of your betters?” If this truly was Thorne’s daughter, let her choke on that, but he was only giving her the treatment she was due based on her dress.
“My lord?” she spluttered. “I have no lord.”
“Not even your father?” The flames along the walls danced in front of his eyes, tiny pinpoints that swirled like snow before swinging back into sharper focus. Damn it. He could not afford to pass out now. “And what of your betrothed?”
She reached up and pulled the black leather skullcap from her head. A cascade of thick, dark curls fell to her waist, incongruous against her gear. “My betrothed is not present here.”
“Pity.” He took a step forward, and regretted the action when pain shot down his leg. He forced his voice to remain light and steady as he went on. “I’m sure he’d find your current garments amusing. Is this the latest in ladies’ fashion in this part of the Eastern Strongholds?”
A wash of pink stained her cheeks. “He would commend me for shooting at you.”
“No doubt, no doubt, although he might chastise you about your aim.” Not to mention placing herself in such danger. “If you meant to kill me, you missed.” Although the way his thigh plagued him, she still stood a chance of accomplishing the deed.
Her gaze trailed down his leg, and he could nearly feel it like a flame burning through mail and padding. “What makes you think I was aiming for your heart?”
A buzz of laughter filled the hall. Even the austere-faced Kestrel’s lips quirked. Torch placed a hand on his chest and bowed to her, gritting his teeth against the pain.
“Well answered.” How he would love to trade barbs with her—of the verbal sort now that the fighting was over—but not until someone saw to his leg. A trickle of warmth coursed along this thigh—blood, beginning to seep through the binding. “But given my intent to wed you, perhaps you ought to aim for my heart next time. Only in place of a crossbow bolt, use your tongue.”
MINI REVIEW: This story reads so well as both fantasy and historical romance.
Heroine Calista’s betrothal to the King goes awry when her home is taken by Torch, the enemy of the King. Torch is only doing what he feels is right and just. Reclaiming what is his by right.
Their story has been long ordained and Torch must make that clear to the woman that’s his destiny.
Both characters were well written and complexity of their situation is well explored and presented to the reader.
If you love your romance to be sprinkled with a bit of magic and mystery, as well as action and some sensuality that’s way off the charts, grab this story as soon as you can.
Melanie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
AUTHOR BIO: Ashlyn Macnamara is the author of What a Lady Craves, A Most Devilish Rogue, and A Most Scandalous Proposal. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside of Montreal with her husband and two teenage daughters.
When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading, and wasting time on the Internet in the guise of doing research.