FEARLESS IN BATTLE
His surcoat still bloody from battle, William FitzAlan comes to claim the strategic borderlands granted to him by the king. One last prize awaits him at the castle gates: the lovely Lady Catherine Rayburn.
TENDER IN BED
Catherine risked everything to spy for the crown. Her reward? Her lands are declared forfeit and she is given this choice: marry FitzAlan or be taken to the Tower. Catherine agrees to give her handsome new husband her body, but she's keeping secrets, and dare not give him her heart. As passion ignites and danger closes in, Catherine and William must learn to trust in each other to save their marriage, their land, and their very lives.
This was a reread for me, and I enjoyed it even more the 2nd time around. I don't usually care for medievals but this struck all the right chords with me. The opening scene hooked me immediately, with Catherine's desire for a last bit of freedom before she does her duty to her father and the king, and with William's wish to be able to take her away from all her troubles. You see immediately that he is a man of honor, and she is also bound by her sense of loyalty and honor.
William was a wonderful hero who, while a fierce warrior, was filled with love as well as self-doubt. The times encouraged husbands to doubt their wives and wives to doubt their husbands. William's problem is that he's plagued by jealousy. And a right hand man who holds sway with him. William lets himself be talked into doubting and disbelieving Catherine, and she does not care for it at all. K, neither did I. Not one bit. When William realizes that he trusted Catherine implicitly all the years before, and why wasn't he trusting her now, it was like watching a light bulb go off over his head. I also loved how protective he was and how accepting he was of Jamie and Stephen.
Catherine is a strong heroine, yet also filled with softness and love. Her past experiences have taught her that she can rely on herself. Still, once she's married and has no say over her future, she'd rather share her life with William than not. Yet she gives as good as she gets when her loyalty is questioned. And is strong enough to save herself. Fiercely protective of her loved ones, brave in the face of adversity. A wonderful heroine.
It was definitely worth the reread. Oh, and perhaps my favorite cover of the year.