Message From The Author
It seems like just the other day I was anxiously awaiting the release of my first book, LORD OF VENGEANCE (Jun., 99). Actually, its been about nine months, and during that time Ive had the great pleasure of meeting and hearing from many of youthrough your letters and e-mails, online, and at the RT Booklovers Convention in Toronto. (One of the best things about getting published has been the many new friendships Ive found through my writing!)
Meanwhile, with LADY OF VALOR, my April release from Ballantine/Ivy, I am inviting you back to medieval England again, where battles of love and war were fought with equal passion. No one knows that better than Lady Emmalyn of Fallonmour. Unhappily wed then widowed by the Crusades, Emmalyn is determined to control her own destinyeven if she must defy Sir Cabal, the mysterious
warrior sent to guard her castle for the Crown. Baseborn, but raised on the fringes of nobility, Cabal is the kings most-feared henchmana bold warrior known in battle as Blackheart. Skilled in war and hiding his dark past, Cabal has vowed never to risk his heart to love. The strength of that vow is tested once he meets Emmalyn, the courageous beauty who tempts him to defy his king, and whose soul-stirring passion has the power to bring him to his knees
Thank you so much for welcoming Gunnar and Raina into your hearts. I hope you enjoy Emmalyn and Cabals story, too! Visit me at members.aol.com/tinastjohn. For magnets and bookplates, please send SASE to 1500A Lafayette Rd., PMB 126, Portsmouth, NH 03801.
Excerpt from LADY OF VALOR
Emmalyn tried to ignore Cabals unexpected presence in the solar, scrambling to retrieve the candles she had dropped upon his arrival.
Her empty hands were trembling as she brought them down to her sides and fisted them in the thin fabric of her skirts. She felt a rush of panicked anticipation as Cabal came to stand before her, closer now, his intense gaze far too penetrating to be trusted.
With the back of his hand, he tipped her chin up, forcing her to meet his eyes. Why do you fear me so? Do you think I have come here to hurt you, my lady?
Emmalyn swallowed hard. N-no.
No? he echoed. What then? Ravish you, perhaps?
Please, my lord, do not
She tried to back away and nearly stumbled. Cabal caught her, righted her with a gentle hand. Youre trembling, he said quietly.
She could scarcely breathe. Please, dont touch me.
No, he soothed, not if you dont want me to. A long moment passed, then his voice rasped like rough velvet in the semi-darkness. Why are you so mistrustful, Emmalyn? Did your husband make you skittish around men? Was he inattentive? Unskilled in loving you?
Emmalyn looked away, unable to deny it, yet desperate that he did not unearth the shame of her marriage.
My lord, you go too far.
Perhaps, he said, his reply devoid of apology or repentance. He reached out and swept an errant tendril of her hair behind her ear. I go too far, but Im not Garrett.
Emmalyn could not answer. Heaven help her, she could scarcely summon her breath under the blaze of his compelling, seductive stare.
Mayhap you think me no better than him, Cabal suggested with a grim smile. Mayhap you think me worse. Do you see me as some sort of villain, my lady? Perhaps you view me much the same as that warrior beast you so despisethe vile Blackheart?
Are you? she asked breathlessly.
His lips quirked with wry amusement. Some days.
Perhaps it was the dim, watery torchlight that made his face so handsome now, made the harsh cut of his mouth seem less cruel. Perhaps her own loneliness made his touch seem so enticing, made this hardened warrior seem somehow tender.
It was madness, surely, that compelled Emmalyn to stay when every fiber of her being warned her to flee. Only madness would have allowed her to hold his gaze when it grew dark and heavy-lidded with hunger. Only madness would have allowed her to remain unmoving when his mouth began to descend slowly toward hers
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