The bluest blood and the hardest heart… at least when it comes to marriage… The daughter of a duke and granddaughter of a king, Adele of Vannes was bartered at birth in a marriage treaty for the sole purpose of producing a royal heir. When her philandering husband is slain by Norse marauders, she is coerced to wed again in order to protect her home and her people. Adele knows that her beloved Brittany needs a strong hand to survive, but how can she ever reconcile her bitterness and hatred with the desire she feels for her mortal enemy?
She’s the jewel he seeks for his Breton crown…A Barbarian bent on building a dynasty, Valdrik Vargr, ‘the Norse Wolf,’ is renowned for both his bravery in battle and shrewdness in statecraft. Setting his sights on claiming the kingdom of Brittany, he knows that siring sons from royal blood would solidify his hold, but the woman he would claim as his queen refuses to have him. Will he fuel her hatred by taking her to his bed, or will the man who strikes terror in the hearts of men be reduced to wooing his bride?
(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle worlds novella)
BUY LINK: Amazon
Adèle spent the night on her knees in prayer, gaze cast heavenward in supplication. She hadn’t dared to bow her head and shut her eyes for fear that sleep would overtake her. She couldn’t afford to be caught aware when the marauders came. And they would come. That was a certainty. Rudalt had never returned from his ‘Norse” hunt. None of them had returned. They were dead. She felt it down to her bones.
She’d dispatched riders to Cournailles but he was days away. He would never arrive in time. Her home would be burned to ashes before help ever came. Perhaps she could buy them off? Did she have enough silver and jewels to pay tribute? Or would the Norsemen simply extract their payment in woman’s flesh and men’s blood?
Her throat thickened at the sudden remembrance of her wedding night. She had borne Rudalt’s ravaging for years; surely she could survive it again. And survival was all she dared hope for. The Norse would come with their battle axes and siege machines. The Bretons might keep them at bay for a few hours or maybe a day, but penetration of their walls was inevitable. She had no true defenses outside of a few dozen archers. In his arrogance, Rudalt had taken the best warriors, leaving her defenseless.
From her bedchamber window, Adèle cast her gaze eastward where the sun was rising, painting the landscape of rolling hills in soft shades of pink and gold. She stared off into the distance, chewing her lip and willing her nerves to settle. Last night she’d worn holes in her slippers and bitten her fingernails to the quick. She now accepted that her fate was out of her hands. She had no choice but to entrust herself to the merciful will of God. If death awaited her, she prayed it would be swift.
Moving shadows appeared on the horizon. A moment later they took shape as a solid line of men. Hundreds of mounted men. But rather than shrinking in terror, a strange peace settled over her. She was the daughter of Judicael, a great warrior and Duke of Brittany. Her great-grandfather was Erispoe, the first proclaimed King of the Bretons.
She would do as the father and grandfather had done before her—she would fight them to her dying breath.
Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.