Raul de Porcelos, a dedicated Knight Templar, is duty bound to bring orphaned Irish Princess Cahira O’Donnell to wed the Earl of Orkney, Raul’s lord. But Cahira has a mind of her own and resists the handsome Templar, refusing to relinquish the castle and lands that her family died to protect.
Thrown together by fate, they come to know each other and a forbidden passion is kindled. Who will be the first to surrender to desire, the warrior-princess or the warrior-monk?
Crossing the yard, he entered the stables. One torch lit the dusky interior. The smell of hay lay heavy in the air. Several horses neighed and stamped their feet. A dove startled from its nest in the loft, its wings thrumming the air.
A wisp of movement caught his attention and he glimpsed her, huddled in an empty stall with her face turned to the wall. He started toward her and then stopped. She spun around and faced him.
“Get out,” she spat, lifting her arm and pointing at the door. “Leave me in peace.”
He couldn’t do that. Not that he feared she would flee — it wasn’t that. He couldn’t leave her like this, her face streaked with tears and fresh ones swimming in her storm-tossed eyes.
“Milady, I wish that —.”
“I’m not your lady.”
“Then Your Highness, I want to offer my —.”
“Nay, don’t. For your sentiment is false, Templar, as you’ve stripped me of everything.”
He couldn’t dispute that. He had taken away all that mattered — her freedom, her subjects, and even her legacy. All in the name of his honor and duty. All because a powerful lord wanted what was hers, and she was a woman alone in the world.
What she’d said was true – he and his lord were no better than the marauding English. They might not make war, but the outcome was the same. They’d take everything.
Words were no good. He couldn’t hide behind them any longer. He moved toward her, wanting to take her into his arms. He had no right to hold her, no right to comfort her. But the desire was so overwhelming he couldn’t stop himself.
When she saw him coming, she squared her shoulders and tilted her chin. As he advanced, she stood her ground. The seam of her scar glowed eerily in the murky light, as if reminding him of the harm he’d already done.
He wanted to comfort her — simple human contact. Words were no good; the refrain played in his head. Words had failed them, driven them asunder. And the final betrayal had been in the form of words — a pledge.
Reaching out, he gathered her into his arms. She hung in his embrace for one small piece of eternity. His arms tightened, and he grew drunk on the rose-scented perfume in her hair. His blood awakened from its long sleep of celibacy, kindling hot and fierce, running swiftly in his veins, responding to her slender form pressed against his.
And then she came alive. Kicking and spitting, curving her hands into talons, trying to drive her fingernails into his eyes. He reacted on instinct, catching her wrists and holding her hands away from his face.
Desperation and something else glittered in the depths of her jewel-green eyes. Her pale face looked bruised and beaten, flushed from hot tears. Her wine-red lips parted, forming words, but he didn’t want to hear her curses.
As if it was the most natural thing in the world, he lowered his head and took her mouth, swallowing her words, stopping the torment between them.
Her mouth felt hard and brittle, unyielding. She struggled, flaying against his superior strength, squirming to be free. But he had a task to complete.
Kiss her until all the words melted away, like the snow in the hollows when the spring sunshine found their secret places. Kiss her until she grew as drunk as he. Kiss her until he absorbed her anger, her pain, and her grief.
Slowly, one heartbeat at a time, she softened. Her joints loosened and her limbs ceased struggling. Her female form flowed into his, giving, so giving. Her arms came up and encircled his neck and her lips parted. Her breath was hot and sweet on his cheek.
The soft mounds of her breasts pillowed against his chest. The warmth of her body surrounded him, enfolding him in a cocoon of heat. And the taste of her mouth was honeyed like the finest mead.
He couldn’t get enough of her, couldn’t drink his fill. How long had it been since he’d kissed a woman? He couldn’t remember. In truth it mattered not because his mouth had been formed for this one woman. His body sculpted to fit the soft curves of her flesh.
A hot spurt of desire raced through his veins, turning his body turgid with need, rigid with wanting. The stinging torment of his arousal lay heavy and demanding between them. Mindless with passion’s promise, he ground his hips into her.
She moaned at the back of her throat and responded, rubbing her female softness against his male hardness until he thought he’d go mad with the wanting.
Mad with wanting?
¡Sangre de Cristo! Por Dios, he was a monk, sworn to celibacy, and she was a Princess, far above him. How dare he desire her? He hadn’t meant to desire her, only to comfort her.
Breaking the kiss, he pulled free. She opened her eyes and gazed at him, her smooth brow furrowed with an unspoken question. As if she expected — expected what? He should apologize, explain his inexcusable behavior. But humiliation sealed his lips.
Words had failed them before, and they failed him now.
And because she deserved more — so much more –the sun and the stars and the moon. If he could, he’d pluck them from the sky and string them on a rainbow. But he had naught to give her, and he was no better than a cur trained to do his master’s bidding.
Pivoting on his heel, he strode from the stable, allowing the door to bang shut behind him.
HEBBY IS AWARDING A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD TO ONE LUCKY WINNER IN OUR GIVEAWAY, PLUS THREE EBOOK COPIES OF THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR TO THE RUNNERS UP. TO ENTER, ANSWER THE QUESTION IN THE COMMENTS AND THEN ENTER AT RAFFLECOPTER:
“Given that a hero and heroine are attracted to each other but one of them usually takes longer to commit to the romance, which do you prefer it to be, the hero who holds out until the bitter end or the heroine who won’t give in until the hero has proven he really cares for her?”
About the Author
Hebby Roman is a nationally award winning author of eight print published romances, four historical romances and four contemporary romances, as well as her latest release, which is a medieval romance, available both in print and e-book form.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the past president of her local chapter, North Texas Romance Writers. She was selected for the Romantic Times “Texas Author” award. She lives in Arlington, TX with her husband, Luis, and Maltipoo, Maximillian.