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Tamara Leigh

Genre: Medieval, England, Historical Romance

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Saxon Bride

All one need say is his name-William the Conqueror-and powerful images arise of a man, a battle, and the island kingdom this Norman forged on the remains of Anglo-Saxon England.

The year was 1066, the place Hastings, the battlefield a meadow known as Senlac. It was here, on October 14th of that year, that the opposing forces of King Harold of England and William Duke of Normandy gathered to decide the fate of the country. This was the Battle of Hastings.

When the last blood had been shed and the dead lay beneath the dusk of an autumn evening, out of the carnage came the victor, Duke William. On Christmas Day of that year he was crowned King of England.

Though Anglo-Saxon England was never to be again, the Saxons proved too stubborn a race to submit to the Normans. Thus, William's reign was plagued by unrest and uprisings.

It is during these years following the infamous battle that I chose to set SAXON BRIDE. In this tale of witchery and deceit, revenge and intrigue, comes Rhiannyn. A proud Saxon determined never to be ruled by the murdering Normans, she finds herself battling a man whom she should hate, but in the end finds she cannot. He is Maxen Pendery, a Norman who fought at the fateful Battle of Hastings for Duke William. Turned a man of God to atone for his sins upon the battlefield, he is forced to leave the Church when his brother is murdered-supposedly by Rhiannyn. Though it is revenge that drives him, it is something far sweeter he will discover in her arms.

Here is an excerpt:

Maxen's ire gentled as he saw the fire leap higher in her eyes. Odd, he thought, but there was something so appealing about her daring. Something that went beyond bedding her, though it certainly did not exclude it.

"You do not hate me, Rhiannyn," he said. "You told me so yourself."

"I lied," she retorted.

He shrugged. "Then at least I can console myself with one thing."

"And what is that?"

He leaned near her. "That which you refused my brother."

She frowned.

"You desire me. Hate me...very well...but you also want me."

She gasped. "You fantasize."

"Should I prove it to you?"

Defiantly, she tossed her head. "Try, oh mighty Norman, and know the truth."

Though Maxen knew they were only words spoken out of anger, not the invitation they sounded once they passed her lips, he took up the challenge. Gripping her arms, he lifted her slight figure.

"What are you doing?" she cried, straining back. "Seeking the truth," he said, then cupped a hand to the back of her head and pulled her mouth to his. And true to his seeking, like a rose angry with thorns, Rhiannyn flowered in his hands and beneath his mouth...

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